September is another slightly awkward month for me. Its climate is often a little deceptive and the month and I don’t have a great track record; quite a few difficult memories of mine are placed in Septembers past. Some good ones too, but it’s a time that feels quite transitional, and I often find change difficult . Although it seems strange for the start of the new school year to affect an adult not in school , I think that the awareness of local kids returning to their classrooms, and of new uni students arriving in town, does imprint itself on my mind. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the change brought by the constant motion of the autumnal winds and falling leaves makes Vata the dominant dosha at this time of the year. As a vata-dominant person, it makes sense that I’m susceptible the tendencies of anxiety, restlessness and digestive issues that excess vata is said to be responsible for – and particularly susceptible to them at this time.
I hear Autumn’s first whisperings at Lammas, in August, but feel the season to really take hold in September when the leaves are noticeably turning and falling. Even though it’s not unusual for September days in the UK to be so sunny-warm that you could easily call them for summer ones, they take a while to warm up in the mornings now. It’s dark when I (usually!) wake and the long balmy evenings have gone. The first half of September usually sees the last day of the year that sees me in sandals.
As nature’s energy, its green and its water all retreat I feel the goddess of the land prepare for her rest. As she starts to settle down, (not quite ready to sleep but, as I tell it to my son, brushing her teeth and getting her pyjamas on!), an older goddess is watching through a door. Her cloak is dark, her eyes wise. Her lips are thin but her smile welcoming. The land is still bright with fruits and flowers and crops but it’s time to gather them up and follow the queen of the darkness into the months of longer nights. For me this is into the home I’ll spend more time in, into the different day-to-day schedule, into the shift in focus of the activities and food I’m drawn to, into different thoughts, rituals and meditations.
At Lammas, I generally find myself focussing on the harvest of what I’ve outwardly done that year; our garden harvest, new skills and progress that tend to be of an outward nature, that kind of thing. I also consider what I need to let go of in terms of my physical activities and/or material stuff. As the Autumn equinox approaches I tend to consider what I need to let go of in these terms too, and to celebrate my inner harvest; my self development, my emotional and psycho-spiritual harvest.
Shop window in Cabot Circus, Bristol, 2014