Connect with the Elements for healing during this season of magic.
Samhain (pronounce Sow-In) comes from the Celtic word and means “summer’s end” and it coincides with the secular celebration of Halloween. In the pagan tradition it is Witch’s New Year and marks the beginning of the dark half of the year. It is followed by All Saints' Day on November 1st, then comes All Souls' day, both religious holidays based in Catholicism. Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, is a Mexican cultural celebration which lasts three days beginning on October 31st. Part of the tradition includes offerings and altars erected in honor of the deceased. Collectively, the three days of celebration are called Hallowmas. This time overlaps with the Islamic month of Muharram, whose focus is mourning for the prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Hussain ibn Ali.
During this time the veils between the worlds are thinnest and we are able to more easily communicate with ancestors, friends and even animal companions that have crossed over. It is a time of deep ritual, honoring and preparing for Winter. And it spans cultures, religions and ethnicities.
For me, this time is Pure Magic! I love all of it, the weather, the costumes, the altars, seeing people, adults and children alike, feeling safe to express their inner unicorn, dragon, peacock, or cowgirl. These archetypes matter to us and expressing them in full regalia can be deeply healing and can reconnect us with forgotten part of ourselves. The spirit of fun and merriment, tricks and treats, interspersed with the reverence of this holy time is a perfect brew. The energy of this time is both electric and deeply grounding. I believe it’s partially because we are making contact with the gone-befores. The dark time also invites us to retreat and connect with our own inner landscape.
The energy of this time can also spin us out a bit. Take said festivities, add an overindulgence of sugar, stir in the sensory stimulation of storefronts donning the trappings of the upcoming holidays and we have a perfect recipe for nervous system overload. In what feels like a blink of an eye, and often on autopilot, we plummet headfirst into Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwaanza, New Years. It’s a whirlwind and a time we are inundated with the message “consume consume CONSUME!” We may find ourselves buying more crap that we don’t need, that others don’t want (but are too polite to say so) for the sake of tradition, or more likely societal and cultural pressure, at least in the West. I often feel it can be the most unconscious time of the year. We are just trying to get through the holidays so we can breathe again. Why?
What if we paid a little more attention, and took a moment to contemplate a different approach? Celebrate with family and friends, Yes. Do the eating, drinking, regretting. OK. But before you shop 'til you drop this year, take a moment to think about what would truly fulfill and nourish you and your family. You can create a different reality. You can create new traditions that reflect your authentic self.
What about pooling some of the gift money and donating to a worthy cause? Goddess knows we have about a billion right now that could use our support. Involve the kids, teach them values of community and humanitarian ideals and move away from consumerism and entitlement. (“Johnny, how about 2 toys instead of 20”) This also serves to open dialogue and connection. Kids want to be included and they want to help. If Johnny knows he is helping a friend he hasn’t met in Myanmar from starving, or a puppy in Puerto Rico be transported for medical attention, I bet he would be on board. The tide needs to start shifting my friends, and we are the changemakers, and our children are the future. Trust me, they don’t need another four Barbies.
We can also add new rituals to our traditions that make us feel energized after all is said and done rather than drained and pissed off. Go into nature. Even your backyard will suffice. And connect with the elemental energies of air, fire, water, and earth. This is a very healing practice and nature is soooo out of balance right now. The outer landscape is a reflection of our inner, and affecting change within can have a huge impact on our environments. As Gandhi said: "Be the Change you wish to see in the world." Coming into reciprocity with Nature can bring healing to you personally, to your lineage, to future generations and to the world.
I invite you to use the elements to celebrate the season and bring healing to your life.
Air is the element that rules the mental arena. Use air to clear away looping thoughts and bring a dose of freshness to your mindset.
Wind, song, breathe, words are all in the realm of the air element. Go to where you can feel the wind. Let it surround you, feel the temperature on your skin. Take in the smells of any flowers, trees or the ocean mist. Take a deep breath and visualize the sylphs (air beings) taking away what ails you. Offer a prayer of gratitude to be carried by the wind.
Imagine the wind as a being...what are the qualities that this being possesses? For me, the wind carries the qualities of liberation, vastness, possibility, spaciousness and uncertainty. It can be hot or cold. It can be a gentle caress or a hurricane. This can be a fantastic antidote when feeling compressed or impatient. Connect with your breath. Be grateful for your lungs. Blow a wish on a dandelion and watch it spread. Intend to breathe in and out of your heart space to everything around you. Speak with kindness. Sing a song, tone, hum, shake a rattle or drum . Do it with friends for maximum potency.
The air signs in the zodiac are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Ask yourself the following questions. Which areas of life need more innovation? Where do I need more detachment? Where can I communicate with the intention of connection, and where do I need more balance and less judgement?
We honor Air in the East. The East is the place of the visionary. Call in the qualities of clarity, perception and perspective. Call in the winged ones and ask for a higher perspective.
Fire is the element that rules the spiritual arena. Work with fire in rituals of transformation and metamorphosis. Invoke the energy of snake or butterfly. Neither would consider going back into its old encasements once the transformation has happened. Dare to shine your light in the world and embody the manifestation of your highest octave. Be like the phoenix rising from the ashes, reborn.
Fire can be found in a candle, in a fireplace, in a bonfire. Many Mystics have stared into fire and scryed information. In Native traditions the pipe is sacred and the smoke carries prayers up to Father Sky. The heat in sweat lodges cleanses and purifies toxins of all kinds and allows for a process of rebirth and spiritual expansion.
The salamander are the fire beings. You can work with them to burn away old contracts that no longer serve. Write down everything you wish to let go of, put the paper in a fireplace or another safe container and let the fire transmute the energy. Fire is energy, passion, creativity, spiritual fuel, movement. We honor Fire in the South. The South is the place of the Healer. Call in the qualities of energy and innocence, of the Divine Child in each of us.
The fire signs in the Zodiac are Aries, Leo, Sagittarius. Ask yourself: In what areas of my life do I need to take action, be more creative, or add some passion? Where can I expand my potential and step into a leadership role? Where do I need to release aggression or drama? Do I think of others before acting? Do I wish to travel far and learn, teach, philosophize with like minded individuals? What is one concrete step I can do today in that direction?
Water is the element that rules the emotional body. Cleansing and purification rituals through water are ancient. The word Spa means Health through water. Jumping in a cold Stream activates the hypothalamus. Our tears are cleansing emotional debris out of our systems.
Make or take an essence, be intentional every time you take a drink of water. The average adult human body is about 65 percent water. Approximately 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in water and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water. We are water beings! The moon and the ocean tides mirror our internal cycles. Water is consciousness. It has the ability to change shape~snow, ice, liquid, mist. Although it changes form, its essence remains the same. What stage of consciousness are you in? Ordinary, meditative, transcendental? We have great capacity to enter into these healing states of consciousness with practice and intention.
The undine are the water beings. We honor Water in the West, the place of the inner teacher. Call in the qualities of wisdom, understanding and compassion. Many of the feminine deities are associated with water such as Yemaya, Oshun, Quan Yin, Lady of Lourdes to name a few. Autumn is the time of Water in the Medicine Wheel which creates an opportunity to heal what is out of balance in this realm.
The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. If you need some water balance, take a moon bath, especially during full moons. Add essential oils salts and Flower Essences to boost the Mojo of your intention. Let what no longer serves you wash away down the drain. Check in with your emotions on a regular basis. Your intuition is a very powerful tool that can help navigate many things. Are you feeling emotions too intensely? What do you need to release emotionally? Are there moments that you could go deeper, or ones that feel too intense and it would be wise to find some solid ground? Are you avoiding any emotions? Keep a dream journal and record guidance that you receive during this liminal time? Do you need more fertility in your life?
Earth is the element that rules the physical body. Plant something, walk amongst trees. Ground out any excess energy through your grounding cord. Walk a labyrinth or play hopscotch. Check out some earthing practices. Imagine sending beams of love through your feet to the center of the Earth for healing. We can work in reciprocity with the elements just by shifting our intention to do so.
The elementals are the earth protectors. Here we find faerie folk, elves, dryads and the crystals that live deep within the earth. The mountains are Earth energy. Make an offering to a plant or flower. Sit with your back to a tree and exchange energy. Take a yoga class. Build an alter. Hug a tree. Dance. Hike. Meditate in your garden.We honor Earth in the North. The North is the place of the Warrior. Call on the qualities of courage and perseverance. It is where we walk our path during this Earthly existence. Our spirits reside in incarnated bodies. Do something physical to honor this vehicle. Intend to walk in beauty and honor all your relations.
The Earth signs of the zodiac are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Do you need to be more tenacious in the pursuit of your goals? Are you being overly perfectionist? Do you need to organize your desk so that your life can function more smoothly and efficiently? How is your drive, discernment and dedication? Are you too much in the ethers and need some grounding? Is your career in alignment with your soul mission?
Rituals are as old as humanity. They mark initiations and rites of passage, endings and beginnings. They contain special markers such as music, flowers, colors, clothing, smells, taste, offering. They require presence and a period of silent observation. The openness to receive. They occur in places of personal and collective meaning. They involve listening and responding. They have the power to connect us to others and can reach across timelines and dimensions. They are a bridge between us and the larger part of us. Intention and focus is key.
I wish you a time of merriment, ritual, and remembrance during this season. May you connect more fully with the beauty of your being and take great pleasure in celebrating and honoring this season in whatever way you choose.
With infinite gratitude and blessings,
Claudia is a nature lover, alchemist and dreamer. She lives with her life partner, Ilan and her beloved dog, Osa.