October, rain, a familiar chill and the comforting scent of fire smoke on the air. As if overnight, the morning starts later and evening closes quicker. Mars rises and Vega sets. Blankets and hoodies and fuzzy socks are lovingly pulled from the back of a drawer. Thoughts are thick and full.
This year, I don’t feel I ever fully unfurled for the summer. A life of lockdown alone in a tiny flat has kept much that would normally be drawn out into the length of a summer night firmly rolled into a corner. Padding from the bathroom to the table to the bed, and on days when the sun is out, to the strip of garden that has saved my life and mental health this year. Everything feels smaller. The world is smaller. It was supposed to be.
Autumn is a time for the great gathering in. A time for thinking over 9 months of life, assessing the things we stretched our limbs out to achieve when the sun was high, a season for clearing and making room for that which must be kept, stored lovingly through the darkness.
In the evening, it is dark again. The long summer nights since the June solstice have passed in a haze of trying to feel normal in a very not-normal world. Of stepping through the unknown and learning to trust. It is an irony that in the length of summer hours is when I’ve learned to walk in the dark, have faith in the unknown, to trust the path I cannot see.
I’m not sure how old I was when I first held divining rods. Perhaps 9 or 10. They all wondered if I had ‘the gift’ and handed me a pair of long, thin metal sticks in the shape of sideways Ls. We were standing on the dirt driveway outside our little adobe house, and someone put the rods into my hands – long end out – and shunted me off into the pasture. If the rods crossed then we knew where to drill.
I felt the weight of this responsibility because I had seen wells drilled before, our first well and wells on other properties, and I knew there was a big truck and it took days and days of a giant drilling rig to get down far enough to find water in a desert. I walked for awhile. I wandered. One rod spun to the right, then the other. Everyone dowsed for their wells in rural New Mexico as a matter of course, but I was just holding two sticks and really all the adults were ticking it off a list of things that none of them probably believed in. Everyone just wanted to get the well drilled, but if dowsing might find water in a desert then it was worth a try.
I wandered to the ridge, just at the edge of the driveway where the top of our 80 acres of land sloped gently to the east and down a clay escarpment into the arroyo below. The rods crossed. I stopped.
They drilled a well there sometime later and we had water and I never really thought about it again. I put so much of myself, my intuition, my well witch…away. She was not acceptable or real. She was evil at my church school. No she wasn’t real.
I learned to call it my gut and my intuition, I pushed her stomach aches and bodily responses away and ignored the moments when I knew something would happen before it did. Sometimes someone would comment jokingly that I was gifted or sensitive. I would be call the Oracle on a press trip or asked why I gave such good advice or how I knew. I shoved down my foresight about a friend’s impending breakup and sometimes woke up from a dream about a friend texting me to find that friend had actually just texted me, and I told no one because being a witch, an intuitive, a psychic, these are not acceptable.
This autumn is a time for the great drawing in. After three years of meditation, soul searching, reparenting, tarot reading, connecting, listening and hearing, past life regressions and telepathic conversations, and over a summer that has given me the space to feel into all of these things.
We’ve been taught that the darkness is bad, it’s evil, it’s scary, dangerous even. But darkness is simply half of a cycle, a critical half. A cycle we could not exist without. Like our lungs, we draw breath in, rest, flow in yin, sleep, allow our feminine side to be and nourish our bodies with life-giving oxygen. Then the exhale, expansion into masculine energy, awakeness, the doing, and an active offering of carbon dioxide to our planet. With each breath in, a moment to receive, feel, intuit, await in darkness. With each breath out, an expansion into all that we already knew in the light.
Let us be present in the liminal space between the long light and the great gathering darkness. Let us not fear the dark, but be gathered into the warm faith of our own divine knowing.
And let us allow ourselves to unfurl into all that we were told we should not be.