This week, with the arrival of (first) Hurricane Sandy, Samhain, and then the Day of the Dead, we are being thrust into the darkest time of the year when the light wanes and the days grow shorter and shorter. It is a time for going inward, for sorting out what is working for us and what needs to be discarded to make way for the new growth that will come.
We can look to the world around us to find examples of how to honor this time of darkness. Animals are readying their nests and burrows for the winter to come. Trees are letting go of their leaves (especially after the wind we had yesterday!), and the energy of most plants is now settling into their roots. We too need to use this time to go down and in, to reflect upon our lives as they are and as we would like them to be. We are offered gentle reminders to slow down when we get a fall cold or find that we are needing more sleep. We often find ourselves getting sick during the fall because we are still running on the energy of the sun, the summer, called to do instead of be quiet. Rather than listen to our culture, which fills this time of year with activity, we should tune in to the rhythms of the plants and animals outside to see what we truly need. And if we’re lucky, we can actually hear our own intuition telling us exactly what will serve us during this season of change.
Hurricane Sandy reminded me to respect the immense power of the force of wind, and to consider the massive changes that winds can bring with them. In a literal way, winds knock down trees and blow roofs off of buildings; in the symbolic realm, winds shift the energy–sometimes too quickly–throwing us off balance, or creating irritability.
When I consider the larger transitions afoot–be they the small political shifts or the massive global climate crisis–I can see why we are all just a bit off balance, forgetting that we have roots under our feet, that we have the ability to change things, that we are held within a larger web of life. Just as we are looking at the animals and plants around us for cues about how we might approach a seasonal transition, we need to be looking much more adamantly to our communities of neighbors, friends, families, and acquaintances to weather the big transition that we got a hint of yesterday when Sandy made landfall. We need each other much more than we want to admit. We rely upon so many other beings for our lives and our safety, and it is time for us to declare that we are interdependent. There is no such thing as an independent being; we would not be alive if not for millions of organisms, plants, animals, other humans, and energies we cannot even fathom. Sandy is just a reminder of our interdependence, and all of the people who are coming to their neighbors’ aid to help them during this crisis are examples to us of how important we are to one another’s survival.