Space scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, says that "Seeing the moon always soothes my nerves and helps me feel a little better". This month there will be a full moon and blue moon on Halloween. It's called a blue moon because it's the second of two full moons to occur in a calendar month. October 31st is also Samhain which is the festival that marks the end and beginning of the Celtic year.
Usually, at this time we have candlelit pumpkin lanterns and children dressed up in spooky outfits trick-or-treating door to door. Although, with the pandemic, probably not this year. The world is scary enough without adding anything extra!
Halloween is a traditionally time for honouring the dead. This can be done through a simple ritual, such as lighting a candle for a meaningful person in your life who has passed on. This might be an ancestor, such as a dearly loved grandparent, or it could be someone who has inspired you and whom you feel a spiritual connection to, such as a writer, poet, painter, singer, political agitator, or yogini. In yoga the root chakra (muladhara) is associated with ancestral connections and a sense of tribal belonging.
Below are some seasonal meditation questions focussing on the theme of honouring our ancestors:
Autumn is turning to winter now and the leaves are falling from the trees; the days are getting shorter and cold frosty mornings whisper that winter is on the way. One way to bring light into the darkness of winter and to escape our terrestrial troubles is to regularly take time to look up at the night sky. Dr Aderin-Pocock says, "All cultures throughout time have looked up at the night sky and they've found it a comfort." So, to soothe your soul and lift your spirits during this troubled time, remember this Halloween to look out for the blue moon, and I hope you find it a comfort.
Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing
Planting Seeds of Hope
Autumn to Winter Page
Find more inspiring ways of connecting with the stars in my forthcoming book, Yoga by the Stars: Practices and Meditations Inspired by the Zodiac
Today, walking by the river, showers of autumn leaves were falling from the trees and being carried along by the stream. The sun was shining through the trees and I had that I love autumn feeling. However, like many people at the moment I also feel a sense of apprehension at the thought of facing the winter ahead during a pandemic. Here in the UK the Covid restrictions we are living under change from week to week, and there is the impending threat of another lockdown hanging over us. Over the past couple of days, I've found comfort, amidst the gloom of world news, from reading through the Autumn Turns to Winter chapter in the Yoga Through the Year book, and working with the autumn to winter meditation questions.
Although the autumn-to-winter period is not a good time for action, it’s a great time for incubating ideas and making plans for next year. Yes, of course there is uncertainty about what the future will hold, but it's still good to dream and envisage how you would like things to be- after all magic happens!
Below are some meditation questions to help you visualise your plans and priorities for next year (Work, home, holidays, relationships, adventures, etc.):
When you answer these questions allow yourself to be bold and dream up a wonderful future. At the same time be aware of any worries and concerns that arise. Embrace both your fears and hopes and dreams with kindness and compassion.
Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing
The Autumn to Winter page of this website
And the Samhain page
Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, we are entering the darkest phase of the year, until the sun is reborn at the winter solstice in December. The dark half of the year gives us an opportunity to pause, rest, and rejuvenate. Just as the oak tree stays alive over winter by stripping itself of leaves and using almost no energy, we too can look for opportunities during this autumn-to-winter period to enter a place of stillness and simply be utterly present in the moment.
This year, during a global pandemic, as autumn turns to winter, it is more important than ever to stop, calm our system, to rest, and take the time out to heal. Below are some seasonal meditation questions which will allow you to consider how to create some healing space during the coming season.
The Autumn to Winter chapter in the Yoga Through the Year book has a yoga practice aimed at bringing light into the darkness and brightening up the dark days of autumn and winter. Sun imagery is used to lift the mood and shake off seasonal blues. The practice honours the autumn-to-winter urge to hibernate by including poses that draw the awareness inward, such as Standing Twist, forward bends, and Child’s Pose. To avoid the autumn-to-winter slump we include backbends to open the chest. Our yoga practice offers us many ways of lifting our spirits and lightening up the dark days of autumn and winter.
Autumn to Winter Page
Plant Seeds of Hope
Jilly Shipway, sharing seasonal yoga ideas and inspiration with you through the year...
Coronavirus: Finding Peace in Troubled Times
The next few weeks look set to be a challenging time as the world tries to find a way through and out of this coronavirus crisis.
Many of you will be self-isolating at home, so over the next few weeks I will regularly post simple, accessible yoga and mindfulness techniques to help you find your calm place in the midst of the storm. I will also post short, simple yoga practices for you to do at home.
Please consult the expert advice in your own country on keeping yourself safe and well during the pandemic.
Please feel free to share ideas and resources that you find in my blog, but please do acknowledge me and my website as their source. Thanks!
Disclaimer: if you have any concerns about your health or suitability to do yoga, please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the yoga routines in this blog.