Breathe Like a Tree
We've just passed through the fall equinox, that sweet swath of time that marks Summer's farewell; her long warm days moving into the darkening, yet wide open, horizon. The trees ready themselves for a new season, drawing sugar from their leaves and sending it deep into their roots, an embodiment of self-reliance and a tender ritual.
"Call in the fall season and breathe like a tree. Send your roots into the soft receptivity of Earth imagining the roots of your being deepening and expanding, sing the whispered song of the Earth just under her surface. Allow the leaves of your being to curl and soften, fold, and drop like well-treasured love letters. Let them fall all around you like the skirt of a whirling dervish, circling around you in their wild dance. Breathe like a tree. Fully present between the Earth and the Sky. Deeply grounded yet profoundly light."
Breathe like a tree. Stand without worry, shame, or a mind full of clutter, right smack in the middle of the Earth and Sky. Let the coolness of Fall brush up against your skin and remind you of your harvest. Gently remember all that you tilled into the soil of your mind in Spring, nourished throughout the Summer, and all that has come to be. Cultivate gratitude for the creativity, the sustainment, and the dissolution; for the nights and days, the inhales and the exhales, for the new beginnings and the perfectly timed endings.
Find Time for Ritual.
I am a lover of rituals. I love the idea of taking time to deeply connect, acknowledge, celebrate, and honor that which makes us whole, stirs our hearts, and moves us into a sacred place; a place outside of space and time and into the mystical un-ordinary.
A ritual is not to placate or change something outside of ourselves, it is, at the core of its power, intended to move and stir what is already within us. Rituals shift our consciousness, open our hearts, and connect us to the seasons, the cycles, and the beauty and grace of life. Rituals invite us to take time and reflect on where we fit, as an individual, in the cosmology of life.
The Equinoxes and Solstices are wonderful times to find this connection. A ritual that I love for the Fall is creating a prayer branch.
Take time to find a small and sturdy branch cutting, perhaps a branch from a garden pruning or a favorite tree, feel the texture of the stick, and notice its bark. Hold it in your hands and acknowledge what it has been and what it will be.
If suitable create an outdoor fire. Fire has been associated with ritual for thousands of years as a talisman of powerful transformation and release. If a fire is not feasible light candles. Find gratitude for the power of transformation.
Create an altar for your branch and place a bowl of strings, ribbons, and beautiful thin cuts of fabric, next to it, these should be natural fibers, wool, or cotton. On the altar, you might place cuttings of dried flowers, leaves, and other symbols of a passing season.
- Spend time reflecting on what seeds of desire you planted in the Spring. Ask yourself what you wanted to come into being, what ideas did you till into the soil? When you recall, take your string and begin to wrap it around the end of the stick, wrap slowly to mark the turning of time, and tie off the ends. You can wrap the flowers or leaves beneath the string as well.
- Next, begin to acknowledge what came to fruition from these seed thoughts, and allow your mind to stir up and recall the beauty and intentions behind your summer. Again, while contemplating and reflecting on Summer with gratitude for its unfoldment and gifts, wrap your branch.
- Now ask yourself, what needs to be released through the process of dissolution. What needs to return to Source and be reimagined? While listening to your own voice of wisdom, wrap another layer onto your branch.
- Fall is when we put the gardens to sleep, we let the leaves fall, and we nourish the fertile soil of life, mentally, physically, and spiritually. When you are complete with your reflections, place your branch somewhere in your yard or in a beautiful spot of nearby nature. Offer it back to Source in gratitude, and bless its return.
- In time, your branch will be taken back by the Earth and returned to Source, once again returned to the cycle of life.
OM & Blessings, Kate
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