How do you bring yourself into alignment with the season?
If you are in the northern hemisphere you will be in autumn right now, and approaching Halloween, Samhain, the festival of the dead, at the end of October. So here’s something for you.
If you are in the southern hemisphere you are in spring and approaching the festival of peak greening, which the Celts called Beltane.
It would seem strange if people in the northern hemisphere were obeying some commercial directive and decorating their houses with greenery in honour of new life at the end of October when their season is in late autumn.
Would you think it equally strange when people in the southern hemisphere obey a commercial directive to celebrate the festival of the dead right now when our season is in late spring and full of life?
I am a great fan of the weatherman Philip Duncan. He stands in front of a screen where cyclones and anticyclones, airflows and storms are depicted on the satellite map. He seems to understand the flow of the wind, the drops and rises in temperature and is adept at interpreting the elements.
But best of all he holds the big picture. He doesn’t get distracted by the current storm, the current low, or the current high. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand where we are in high spring, he describes a pattern of storms and lows, changeability from day to day and then reassures us by saying ‘this is classic spring weather.’
And so it is. Just as in the northern hemisphere drought and stability is classic autumn weather.
How to align with spring
In Aotearoa, how might you align with the true weather season and resist getting hijacked by the commercial Halloween?
First, make a choice to align with Te Ao Māori. There you will find cultural knowledge about what is happening in Aotearoa in Whiringa-ā-nuku. This whakataukī (proverb) captures the essence of the season:
Ka whakaniho ngā mea katoa o te whenua i konei
All things now put forth fresh growth
Second, gather in all that is happening around you, tune in to the season, and celebrate!
Some ideas for celebration
Tell stories of love and attraction: Hinemoa and Tutānekei, or the lovers and the shellfish (told in Dancing with the Seasons (pp.167-168)
Create an altar or shrine to the season, with mānuka, kowhai, tarata, tītoki or whatever is flowering in your area. Breathe in the sweetness of spring.
Anoint yourself and others with essential oils. In Te Ao Māori fragrant perfumes were traditionally made from tarata or tītoki flowers and used to impregnate moss that was worn around the neck. If you crush tarata (lemonwood) leaves in your hand you will smell the fresh scent. (see above).
Hold picnics outdoors; that’s the safest place to meet according to the latest information about virus transmission. Maintain a safe distance. Let the breeze blow between you.
If you want to party, make it a green celebration with a keynote of green food, green costumes and creative energy, full of growth.
Create a ritual
Hold a ritual where you tap into the movement of the sap, the growth in nature, the surge that will sustain you and move you forward.
If you are in lockdown, your imagination can still leap up and grow wings. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of the dead. Stay in the green grass of the living.
Light a candle. Put flowers in your hair.
Share what is seeking to grow in your life.
Share what is inspiring you in this season.
Share what creative intention you will offer to the buoyant flow of spring
When you align to the season of spring, your immune system perks up in response.
You move with a bounce in your step.
You feel hopeful.
You respond to new ideas, new ways of living.
You are resilient.
For guidance in aligning with the season you are in, my Seasons’ books are there to help you.
Dancing with the Seasons is a personal guide to the seasonal flow.
Celebrating the Southern Seasons is the classic resource book.
Sun, Moon, and Stars will give you inspiration for celebrating with your family or whānau.