As I sit here, writing this, the rain taps at the window, the wind howling down the street, carrying with it the scent of winter and the first of the autumn leaves. The sky is fast moving and furious – low dark grey clouds set amidst a backdrop of pure white/grey. The central heating has been turned on. The apples are juicy on the trees. The starlings are flocking together. Welcome, Autumn.
My favourite season – as you may have guessed. From bright, sunny days where the sun shows the last of its strength, to watery, wind-filled days like these, it is a season of change like no other. Quick, altogether too quickly, it is over, at least the Fall is, when the leaves change and drop to the ground. After that, it seems Winter is here – only allowing Autumn a brief time of grace to shine in her beauty before all is blanketed under the dreamy cold slumber of Winter.
It is third week of October – and the hectic days of summer leading to the Equinox have long passed. I feel I can almost catch my breath – almost. The main bulk of the harvest is done – both agriculturally and in a personal sense. I have worked hard this year, and the rewards have been great. There are always disappointments – from the tomatoes that didn’t do well to the vagaries of life. But Autumn, with her beauty, captures our hearts and our minds, our attention, and causes us to stop, to listen and watch Her before She is gone.
Samhain is just around the corner. Time to let go of that which did not come to fruition. It is also a time to carry forth and collect the seeds of our new intentions – for we cannot throw these to the winds just yet. We release the dross of our lives into the flames of Samhain fires, and protect the seeds of new ideas and next year’s harvest within the larder of our souls. We cannot release everything – we must hold onto something to take us into the new year, something to sow our intentions with. It could be lessons learned, ideas that did have the time to grow, or ideas that came too late in the season to be utilised to their full potential. And so carry them over we must.
I hope your harvest has been bountiful, and that what you carry over be blessed as well. May the release of Samhain and the dreamy slumber of winter nurture you. May you find beauty and strength in this, the most inspiring and beautiful of all seasons. May the Goddess of Autumn bring you joy as she does me.
Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid, Witch and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 20 years. She is the Director of Druid College UK, helping to re-weave the connection to the land and teaching a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic religion. She has published many renowned books on Druidry including The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid and Zen Druidry: Living a Natural Life, With Full Awareness.