For me, the months of July and August seemed so very long and hot. It was a Summer filled with Fire energy — literally and excessively, with rampant forest fires here in North America — and the absence of Water energy.
I heard the whispers of Mama Earth patiently biding her time as the year slowly moved towards the cooler wetter Autumn, towards balance. I heard the voices in this Circle yearning for the slower times and brilliant autumn colours: the scent of the Earth, the return of the mushroom season, a time of harvest, thanksgiving and gratitude.
In this northern temperate climate in which I live, in Autumn our blessed Mama Earth prepares her trees and plants for the coming of Winter. Unlike the birds who can fly south and the animals who can rest and hibernate in a den or cave, our plants and trees find other ways to protect themselves during the long cold Winter.
They shift their nourishment from the heat and light of Summer towards the cool richness of the Earth itself. The leaves and flowers, no longer needed to catch the light or pollinate, release and fall to the ground. Seeds, nuts and berries form and drop to the soil to ensure future growth. And the sap flows to the roots, anchoring the plant or tree even more firmly to the bosom of Mama Earth, pulling in minerals from the soil, storing the nutrients of its sap as starches and sugar. The trees communicate with other trees through the vast underground “wood wide web”, the mycelium layer, sharing nutrients and information, protecting and nurturing the colony.
Those of us who love herbalism delight in the medicine of this season: tapping into those roots, collecting and harvesting them for using in our medicines for the coming Winter. But we are also in relationship with those plants and trees, and must respect their needs: their right to live and propagate. Roots of all kinds can represent the chthonic world, the dark, the underground. They bring a special medicine of inner knowledge, depth and shadow.
As you stand in the energy of Autumn, as it begins its inexorable turn to Winter (marked by Samhain on November 1st in the Celtic-Pagan Wheel of the Year), embrace the energy of the trees and Mama Earth.
Root your Self. Preserve your energy. Breathe in the Medicine of Autumn. Connect with the Earth itself, and enter into relationship with your Root Chakra energies (aka Muladhara from the Sanskrit Mula meaning “root” and Adhara meaning “base” or “support”): instinct, survival, safety, stability, grounding, security and trust.
Our theme for this lunar month,
beginning with the New Moon at 03:47 October 9th (UTC),
I am reminded of these words from poet-author Rainer Maria Rilke
“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted,