The circles are growing smaller these days.
Autumn with its darker mysteries brings a need for slowing down. Even the blood seems to thicken as Grandfather Short Tail prepares himself for the slow, purposeful crawl into darkness where, through dream journeys and quiet solitary work, he’ll shed the bulk he’s gathered and step forward once again into the light of a new day after the initiation of his healing.
We, too, sometimes, must lose the things we’ve gathered: emotional ties sustained for naught but reasons of perceived security; the burdens of friendships that no longer serve, or drag us back to places left behind; old habits crumpled up and tossed in a pile like clothing that no longer fits, but kept because of the comfort it provides.
Autumn is a time of difficult questions, and often, more difficult answers.
The ground, much like our own life path, is strewn with dead and dying reminders of greener times cast off. Sometimes we are saddened by this; and yet we might take comfort in the knowing that this casting away of dying things not only nourishes the roots of our existence, but opens space for a new and deeper greening once the snows of winter have subsided.
It is our clinging to these things that holds us back; our fear of leaving the closeness of our cave to gaze in childlike wonder upon the light of new and stranger visions.
Perhaps we tell ourselves that we’re too old. Or else we fear the lack of financial stability. While our years have taught us to weigh our responsibilities, our culture has taught us to bind our feet with them. And so we stumble from one extreme to the other, and this stumbling invariably becomes our initiation.
We might lose faith and walk away from it all, or bury ourselves in the security of the material. We might become short-sighted, and convince ourselves that it isn’t worth the effort. Or perhaps we’ll simply offer it up, and soldier through for the good of All Our Relations – placing ourselves in the hands of the Creator, and fervently allowing things to be as they are.
My own path has provided no easy answers. Old attachments still get the better of me. In this, I’m reminded of the child still learning to walk whose bruises tell of many misadventures, and also of once more rising to his feet – walking is, after all, a series of interrupted falls.
The nights grow longer. A brisk wind shakes clean the stiffening branches. And in the gathering shadows, a lumbering Old Man of the Forest takes stock of his provisions in preparation for the sacred work ahead. . .