-- Carl Jung
As we cross the somber threshold into Autumn, into THE FALL, we are right to feel a tingling of danger crawling on our skin. The days become drenched in descending density--heavy rains, moist air thick with the fragrance of decaying leaves, the bluster of cooling winds, initially all a seeming and rude offence to the luminous levity of summer that seemed only a moment ago. But Autumn is the path of descent, as colding climes slowly murmur leaves to fall and the whole cacophony of green growing nature turns about from its glimmering zenith to whimper to sleep before the mysterious and holy darkness that Winter finally reigns with. We would do best not to fight against these flows here in the Northern Hemisphere but find ways, somehow, to swing saddles on these wild, northerly winds, ride the changes they carry, embracing the inevitable enigma of the slow darkening of days. It’s wise now to curl up with a hot tea in the scriptures of sweaters, falling into reflection and even sniffing around our souls for what hasn’t been grieved properly, as Autumn is after all when the Metal element in Chinese Medicine rules with the feeling of grief as one of its primary qualities. It asks deeply of us: what is howling deep in the amorphous cemetaries of our ever dying-birthing cells to be let go; to make space for new seeds to be planted? And in that, what jewels of wisdom are ready now to be harvested?
Let go. Let go. Let go. The very words are both exciting and yet chilling. But it’s not all doom and gloomy, for mastery winks at us to be tousled with; ignited: how can we find the ever-burning ember of our natural joy of contentment in all this shadowy toil? What spontaneous rituals and sturdy practices can be clung to to centre us to that essence in us that is always jocose and up for a cuddle party; up for a sharing of the heart’s indomitable light, that can stand tall, perhaps a tad jangly, but uprighted chin nonetheless in the challenges of the wind? FALL offers itself as ritual elder, guiding us through the tough terrain of an initiation where we are asked to maintain our essential brightness amidst the dimming of light; the hope to find even greater allegiance to the resilient sweetness of life even amid the barren cries of things dying. Our ancestors knew this well, were keen to the fact that a festival like Hallowe’en/Samhain was in order in the climax of all this descending to keep things like our highest sense, that of humour, well lit in the wandering catacombs of this season of decay, through festivities that danced with all that is ghoulish. But moreover, and richer, they observed that around this time the veil between worlds was thinner and so ancestors were called to and honoured for their ethereal wisdom and unparalleled support; spirits of all kinds and elements invited to expand the pageantry of what is alive; gods and goddesses incanted to help us sparkle our form into a little more of that formless ocean of radiant soul. The whole, holy mystery of worlds upon worlds, dimensions upon dimensions and both the profound and terrifying mysticism of that expansion danced with devotedly in festive delight.
It seems even more harrowing this FALL as we watch world leaders plummeting into sociopathy and the cries of Mother Earth’s suffering at the hands of a slumbering humanity more and more strident (species of bees are now for the first time on the endangered list, with hundreds of plants lost in the divorce). We are as a collective being put through an ultimate kind of initiation, one in which a Plutonian force seems to be presiding over in a change or die haunting of our holy house. We can no longer hide away in our glittering pop cultural conveniences or privileged social norms: we all feel the glitches in the weather and the demonic on the world stage beginning to rear its ugly head.
I take heart in the conscious communities I know and love here in Toronto and the growing enlightenment of culture the world over that I see after my recent trip to Europe. But everywhere is that whispering fear, a healthy one potentially, that is asking our spines to be a little more straight, to clang our minds with a little more awareness. Our unconscious hiding places are becoming scarcer it seems, as the radiance of awakening is now moving from mere playtime in the mystic to dive deep into the horrendous wounds of the Earth and the healing of millennial hurts. We are called to more fierceness in our love and tenderness and a true resurrection of the spiritual warrior archetype to meet this cosmic battle with a force of unstoppable compassion and aim us to serving a radical view of interdependence to unify all of us and all creation. Revolutions have never worked because they were not spiritual. A spiritual revolution will provide the ultimate understanding of our oneness and, more so, we need the warrior to inspire us to action to make certain good intentions don’t just rest on their mental laurels but transform the entire world. We need a well-intentioned reiteration by Krishna, that playful God of Love, who, often forgotten, had his greatest hit sagaciously counselling the warrior prince, Arjuna, about why going to battle, sacrificing one’s constant mind-mumblings to the unknowing danger of action, was primary.
There’s something holy in going down. I love all of our rainbows, all of our love magic parades and sweet intentions but it’s time to add something to the pyre of transforming love. We need to climb down more from the mountain where we sit in spiritual bliss into the burning world of risk and sacrifice. We need to understand what it truly takes to save a world and how far gone it’s all gotten. Thus, we need to hovel together, in tribe and community, for the devil always is trying to get us alone, where we are much more vulnerable to temptation and betrayals of our essential virtue. We are all pregnant with a new world—I see it, I feel it, in the shining joy of our eyes. But birth is dangerous too and we have to find the right means for it to be safely done and then to consider how will this child grow.
The Fall is such an ally: like all seasonal shifts, lunar cycles, astrological potentials, it can be a turbo-boost when our intentions are timed right, only Autumn sends us that much faster right into the places we often don’t wish to go—the realm of shadows; the underworld; the arms of godly Death. But in learning to die, we find out how to truly live. It’s cliché only if you just think about it. Doing it changes everything. So we may ask ourselves a sagacious inquiry around this time of year: what in me needs to die so that I may live a little more?…So let us FALL together to this sacred ground where we can hear the cries of our Mother and listen to what She needs of us in this great time of turning; FALL a little deeper into ourselves even, perhaps so far that we clutch the hands of our ancestors and hear their cries as well, what they need to be healing, and what wisdom they have gleaned from eternity. This is the path of descension, the path to the deep, the path where we reclaim what was once lost and find that greatest of alchemies: where wounds turn to wisdom and what is buried is made magic again by the dark fires of the Earth by Her wilderness of love; where mystery reigns like a singular flame in the middle of an immense darkness, with a breath after death…