Welcome to October!
Autumn is definitely making itself known here in the UK and we've officially entered the month of pumpkin-themed everything, winter coats, and Daylight Saving. This year that's on Sunday 28th October for the UK by the way. ( You're welcome!)
The end of this month brings us to the infamous Halloween/ All Hallows Eve, but also to the lesser talked about Samhain Festival. Samhain is known as the "festival of the dead" and is a celebration of the end of the harvest, the start of the coldest part of the year, and "completion". It has its roots in Paganism and, as with most pagan festivals, can offer inspiration in ways to situate ourselves within the greater context of the natural world. The changing seasons and the cyclical nature of life and death helping to provide a framework within to reflect and learn and grow.
Late October is officially the end of the growing season. Vegetation is dormant, frost kills off new greenery, and if spring is the season of new life, then this is the season of metaphorical death. A great time to reflect on things that have come to an end over the course of the year. Relationships, jobs, habits and other significant life changes. Time to take stock of the past and come to terms with it in order to look forward to the future.
It's also a fitting time to acknowledge that along with life, comes death. It's part of the natural order of things. This is a sentiment echoed in many spiritual traditions around the world, where death is seen and accepted as a part of living, and to accept that is to find freedom. A good time, then, to acknowledge those who have passed away, celebrating their memory and creating the space to connect with them in heart and mind. Within this context, death is not a thing to be feared but is part of the great wheel of life.
Ways to celebrate late October (with a nod to Samhain)
Gather your nearest and dearest around you and cook a big feast together with seasonal food (not just pumpkins!) to celebrate abundance and gratitude for the glut of the harvest, which although most of us are very disconnected from it now, is the only way we have food on our plates.
Set aside an afternoon or evening to dig out old family photos of ancestors. Chat with relatives about great-grandparents/aunts/uncles that they can remember. Ask for stories.
Spend some time reflecting on loved ones that have passed away. Hold them in heart and mind and let whatever comes up be felt, moved through, and then moved on.
Surrender to the season and wrap up warm, make the most of cosy evenings in warm places!
Savour your Savasana during your yoga practice. Corpse pose is an incredibly restorative and potent posture, well suited to this theme and time of year.
Until next month then. Blue Skies.
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Fancy a week of sun, sea and….yoga? Join Jasmine for a week of Yin and Yang yoga (May 21st - 28th 2019) in Corfu with Just Relax Yoga Holidays. (Mention her name when you book)