The beauty of this season highlights a time of year that is ripe with the scents of the harvest, and the natural world shows all the signs of fall: The leaves on the trees and bushes are responding to the longer nights by releasing their hold on chlorophyll, and allowing their natural colors to come through, before letting go of the branch completely.
Nature prompts us to ask:
How is it that dying can be so spectacularly beautiful? And why is it that we can easily see and celebrate the beauty of death the way Nature colors it, but witness none of that beauty when death, seemingly the most permanent of endings, shows up in our own lives?
We can look to animist cultures for help in finding pragmatic beauty in the cycles of Life as well as the cycles of the seasons. In particular, the Hindu goddess Kali expresses the power and reclamation of death and decay. Two of her Mahavidya emanations, Dhumavati and Bhairavi, allow for us to witness, feel, and to be in close relationship with the very Earthly structures of death, decay and destruction, and how these structures give way to the next cycle of life, growth and creation. They force us to look so deeply into the death and decay that we are able to see new beginning just beyond them, indeed, the beginning created by them.
The people living in these cultures get to live, breathe and die in close contact with the endings of life and endings of things. Relating this closely to endings allows for a more sacred and peaceful anticipation of the next beginning. In these cultures, daily service and offering to these deities of cyclic destruction allows people to more deeply feel the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, and perhaps to have greater capacity and context with which to handle the birth, death and rebirth within this life.
We can also look to the Wheel of the Year to gain insight into the art of letting go. The September sabbat of the Autumnal Equinox heralds the beginning of the last part of the year. In this method of time-keeping, Samhain, coming at the end of the October, marks the very end of this cycle, making way for the growing dark that builds until the Winter Solstice, when the Sun makes his return. In observance of this, Samhain (as well as so many late-harvest festivals in other cultures, perhaps most famously so the Mexican Dia de Muertos) allows us to hold death close, be in right relationship with those whom Death has already transformed, and overall find peace and engagement with this, our most intimate reminder to celebrate each day and breath brightly and unabashedly.
Astrologically, October holds two archetypes, or signs: Libra and Scorpio. Libra ushers us into the last half of the Zodiac, where all of our evolution is happening transpersonally, or through relationships. This month, Mercury travels through Libra and halfway through Scorpio, ensuring that our powers of mentation and communication- how we world-build through receiving, processing and communicating information- grow our capacity for deeper and more satisfying relationships. On Sunday October 8, Venus moves into Virgo, having completed her very long stay that included a retrograde, in Leo (pay attention to Venus, as she rules both the eclipses this month). Wednesday the 11th sees Mars moving from Libra into Scorpio, and we can expect a deepening in our sense of personal power and power struggles. On Saturday October 14, a new moon solar eclipse occurs in Libra.
To Celebrate, on Thursday October 12, we have our monthly New Moon circle led by Autumn Austin. And on Saturday the 14th, the actual day of the eclipse, we have a very special event at Sanctuary Imports- "Living by the Moon" with our friend Sandra Fretwell. October closes with the full moon lunar eclipse in Taurus, for which we have a beautiful circle planned on Friday the 27th, led by longtime Sanctuary Imports astrologer Mary Beth Bender. For all events, head to www.sanctuaryimportsclt.com for more details and to register.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
FROM LLEWELLYN'S SABBAT ESSENTIALS SAMHAIN: RITUALS, RECIPES, & LORE FOR HALLOWEEN
apple curry soup
5-6 large apples, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups water
2 tablespoons sweet curry
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon chili powder
Combine all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low overnight. In small batches, pour ingredients into a food processor and puree. Pour the puree back into the pot and reheat for an hour. Serve warm.
STONE OF THE MONTH
As a stone of transformation, malachite is a fantastic stone for October. Malachite can assist us in changing situations and providing for the transfer of sacred information leading to spiritual evolution. It is an excellent stone for clarifying the emotions and for allowing for both the recognition and the release of negative experiences, both remembered and not remembered. As such, malachite is a very Scorpionic stone, as Scorpio is where we come into our deepest experiences of transformation and evolution. This can be a very intense experience, and malachite can be a great comfort during these raw moments.
HERB OF THE MONTH
Ginger is a warming herb, often referred to in herbal medicine as "the universal medicine." It can be given to almost anyone and will almost always have at least some benefit. These benefits include increasing circulation, promoting digestion, and increasing the flow of fluids in the body. Ginger has a longstanding history of being used to reduce inflammatory pain, move stagnant blood and other bodily fluids, alleviate migraines, cold and flu relief, and of course for improving digestion, nausea, and overall support of heart health.
No one quite knows how old ginger is, as it has never been found growing in the wild (unless first cultivated there of course). It is presumed to have originated in tropical India, but it is also an ancient part of Chinese food and medicine. As one of the important spices to open the spice trade routes, it became popular in Europe. It was popular to popular to keep a jar of ginger on the counter in 19th century English pubs so the clientele could add it to their drinks- and ginger ale was born.
Magically, ginger is associated with the element of fire, as well as the planet Mars. Perfect as an addition to any herbal spell mixture, ginger adds force and potency to every working. Ginger can act as an energizing tonic, bringing strength, courage, and health. Ginger can be part of a ritual to bring interest and passion back into a romantic union or be a strong addition to a protection spell. Chewing ginger has traditionally been a quick technique for bringing strength to the practitioner as they focus and release energy in magic.
With love and light,
The Sanctuary Imports Team