THE SEASON AHEAD
“I notice Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature”
— FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
Welcoming in golden autumn, October is a transitional month. The summer has well and truly passed, but its warm afterglow remains. The evenings draw inward and each morning a sharp crispness hangs in the air. Leaves begin to softly curl, turning from fiery amber shades to a muted brown; they fall, compress, return to the earth. As a well-known proverb goes: ‘The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.’ For centuries, cultures around the world have adopted rituals to celebrate this act and mark the Autumn Equinox.
Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on the lungs in Autumn, teaching us the benefits of mindful breathing. With each breath in and breath out, we release habits, commitments or thoughts that no longer sustain us on our journey. Similar themes run through autumnal traditions observing the transitions of souls to the afterlife, such as Samhain, Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, and Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead). Here, we honour the grieving process and find acceptance in the passage of time. The winter is nearly upon us.
Diwali (or Festival of Lights) is observed globally by Hindus, as well as some Jains, Sikhs and Buddhist communities, and celebrated on 24 October this year. To some, it marks the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil, honouring the return of Lord Rama after a prolonged exile. Clay lamps (diyas) are lit to help guide the journey home. For others, the goddess Lakshmi is celebrated for bringing prosperity.
Also towards the end of the month, on the 25 October, we celebrate the goddesses of the moon and the harvest with the Festival of Han Lu. Expressing gratitude for nature’s bounty is topical at this time of year. Commencing on 31 October, the traditional Gaelic festival Samhain signals the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year. It’s believed to be a liminal time when the veils between worlds grew thin and feasts were arranged for the souls of the dead. In the UK? Join the celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, on 28 October.
The sounds of the season: our favourite uplifting tracks to take you from golden hour to the witching hour and through to dawn.
As the cold slowly begins to draws in, we find ourselves spending more time indoors and home becomes the focus: we slowly declutter and settle into its embrace. Named after the goddess of the dawn, The Floristry’s Aurora’s Call Bouquets and Flower Jars are the perfect addition to autumnal tables, conjuring the colours and mood of the season.
For those interested in the arts, The Tarot of Leonora Carrington (Fulgur Press) pairs the Mexican artist’s acclaimed Tarot series with new archival imagery and essays. Carrington spent a lifetime filtering the esoteric traditions of diverse cultures and incorporated their ideas and symbols through her feminist lens to create a visionary worldview.
The Tarot of Leonora Carrington (Fulgur Press)
Although the daylight hours are fading, there is plenty to be done in the garden, including growing root vegetables for warming wintertime dinners. After the Autumn Equinox, plant garlic cloves, asparagus and onions in a bed of thick mulch. In hedgerows, look out for fruiting blackthorn to make a blood-red sloe gin (see London-based liquor brand Sipsmith for the perfect recipe). At the feet of large, well-established trees, sweet chestnuts can be found, plus look out for walnut husks as the month wears on.
Finally, find your creative spark as the Orionid Meteor Shower graces our skies from 2 October to 7 November, peaking on the night of 21 October. To locate the radiant, look for the constellation Orion, the Hunter, as it rises in the east after 10pm BST (9pm UT).