Two faces of autumn

by | May 1, 2017 | Uncategorized | 14 comments


Are you ready to enter the nurturing dark of winter?

We have just passed southern hemisphere Samhain, Last Light, the threshold to Winter.
This year it’s only recently that autumn has beguiled us with its golden time, that gift of a second summer. Before that autumn was filled with rain, storms and a cyclone, rolling in one week after another.

And then, what is usually the first face of autumn, has recently unveiled itself.



The first face of autumn

I think of the first face as ‘sweet autumn’, the golden time, when the season feels like a gentle reflection of summer, a welcome reprieve from the heat, and a time of stability and steadiness.

Most people, when they say they love autumn, are thinking of this phase.

Deciduous trees deepen their hue as the leaves turn russet, amber and claret reds. Apples ripen rosily and feijoas open up to reveal their creamy sweetness.

Autumn is full of beauty. It can also be a time of illusion: that life can be like this always — that we can ‘press pause’ on the golden time, and rest forever enfolded in warmth and mellow acceptance.



The second face of autumn

But the season has another phase. We had a taste of it earlier, and will soon be plunging into it again. This is the phase that is likely to invoke resistance, melancholy or anxiety.

For it’s a time of change. The trees begin to shake off their gorgeous raiment and will soon turn to stark silhouettes, as bare as spindly bones.

The temperature drops and you pull out warm clothing, and extra blankets for the bed. Coolness begins to bite and the rapidly increasing dark strikes a sombre note.

It’s time to move to a deeper, inward place, to start the spiralling journey down into the deep pit of winter.

How can you cross this threshold into the dark cold days? It’s in the second phase that you are likely to face fear and resistance.



It’s possible to learn to trust and flow with these changes

Ritualising the change helps, by bringing consciousness to what is happening, for esistance creates suffering and contraction, whereas acceptance creates ease and expansion.

Seasonal rituals enable you to release one season and flow into the next. As you engage your will to move with the seasons, without fear, you can then discover the gifts that each season brings, yes even in the melancholy phase of late autumn and early winter.

At southern hemisphere Samhain we mourn and remember our griefs.
And then another golden day comes whispering in.

May you enter the dance with trust and willingness, wherever you may be.


And if you’d like to find support with crossing the threshold, check out my Autumn Attunement.

Live in the present.
Do all the things that need to be done.
Do all the good you can each day.
The future will unfold.
—Peace Pilgrim

This post is an except from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of thiswebsite and receive a free audio meditation.


  1. Anita

    Thank you Juliet for putting into words what I feel in Autumn…the absolute blissful worship of the serenity and calm beauty of it and at the same time the trepidation at the intense cold it brings especially here down south. Your truth enables me to see and accept mine and with awareness and compassion embrace it. That allows me to be present to myself and to nature more fully. Bless!

    • Juliet Batten

      Anita, thank you for this lovely response. I know how challenging the cold is in the south island, having lived there myself through a winter. I’ve designed the autumn attunement to help with this very issue. I tried it out on myself and was left with a warm, sweet feeling.

  2. Hilary

    Thank you Juliet for a very timely reflection that has been a comfort and insightful to my heart.

    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, I’m so glad this newsletter has brought you comfort and insight. Thank you.

  3. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet- love the autumnal scents we get here in the northern hemisphere … thankfully we are about to go into Spring (I think – we were, but have had a couple of days of storms and cold – typical British weather) … But I love the Peace Pilgrim Poem … definitely worth remembering – cheers and relish your slow autumnal turn … Hilary

    • Juliet Batten

      Glad you like the Peace Pilgrim poem Hilary; it certainly applies to all seasons. Autumn is definitely turning slowly this year and every day feels precious. Thank you.

  4. Gallivanta

    Yesterday we had rain and overcast skies. Today we are back into that lovely golden time of autumn. The intermittent warmth helps me through the darker days. This year I have also rearranged furniture and soft furnishings; brought out warmer colours from storage, and tried to make things look cosier.

    • Juliet Batten

      Gallivanta, that sounds like a good way to prepare for winter cosiness. I like the idea of ‘intermittent warmth’ helping through the darker days. It’s so true. Thank you!

  5. Penny

    Oh my, your expressions of Autumn’s faces is a wondrous way to enter and embrace the season and the changes it brings. I love the Peace Pilgrim poem and will be entering it into my Commonplace book. Thank you, Juliet.

    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed reading about the faces of autumn. I love the Peace Pilgrim poem too and I like to think of it finding a home in your Commonplace book.

  6. Dana Leigh Lyons

    I find the whole of your post lovely and resonate, Juliet (as always).

    But this line caught me especially: “Ritualising the change helps, by bringing consciousness to what is happening,”

    Deep bow in gratitude to you and your work.

    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you so much Dana; it’s always good to hear from you and receive your beautiful messages of support!

  7. Jenny MOSS

    Thankyou for your Autumn wisdom. Down in Central Otago I have enjoyed once again the colours of Autumn. ( I was in Central Australia this time last year) The rosehips, the grape vines, the Poplars and willows have been inspiring. Yummy rosehip , crab apple and quince jellies to make and enjoy too. Wild seed heads on the tracks and side of Lake Dunstan. Now in the last phase of autumn we have snow on the hills and fires inside. But in my garden my cosmos flowers are having their final fling, so too the lavender and roses. Bright rosehips and herbs still giving colour and now the wax eyes are coming into the bird table. Matariki is beginning and its time to Give thanks, Rest and think about the future.

    • Juliet Batten

      Jenny, Central Otago sounds so rich and beautiful in its autumn colours. Thank you for evoking your world so beautifully!


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