Wild woman, Jemma Louise Hunt, takes you to the brooding wilds of South Wales via her words and images.
The days feel increasingly overcast as the curtain falls on this year's summer. Leaves are cascading, flowers are wilting and the birds are migrating to warmer climates. There's an essence of sorrow as the songs of the swallows are replaced by the sounds of machinery and hedge cutting and the knowledge that little by little the wild and flourishing trees within the hedgerows that were once home to the growing fledglings, are diminished to orderly formations and straight edges. The branches cut back to bare naked stems, stripped away of their foliage and the fruitful layers that grew under the summer's sun. The farmers are clearing away the old to make way for the new growth and this is reflected in our own lives.
Autumn is a season of release. A time in which we reflect over the teachings and manifestations of the previous seasons, leaning into new ways and ideas, whilst simultaneously releasing all that no longer serves us. With this emerging sense of self comes great change as we bid farewell to relationships, thought patterns, and limiting beliefs. There is a growing realisation that the things we once held dear, such as our views and opinions, coping mechanisms, even hobbies, and the careers and people we once cherished, slowly begin to fall by the wayside. Such purging makes hearts ache and eyes sore, and the transition from the outgoing, passionate energies of summer into the melancholic relinquish of autumn can feel quite stark and sobering.
As we take this deep, transitional journey it is essential that we make time for our personal welfare by engaging in mindfulness practices that offer us comfort and support during this time, and for this month's mindful exercise I invite you to participate in a practice of patience and manifestation. Learning to take our time to germinate and bloom without force and emergency is difficult, it can be tempting to rush towards an outcome, especially when our inner landscape is awash with the despair and grief that so often accompanies Autumnal Release. But it is imperative that we feel through these emotions and acknowledge them fully, honouring all that we leave behind before turning our attention to the new.
A Mindful Invitation:
To begin, I invite you to seek out a local Rowan tree. If Rowan trees don’t grow in your country of residence, look for similar trees or shrubs that grow small, red or orange berries akin to the Rowan, such as the Guelder-Rose (Viburnum Opulus) or Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Whilst I commune with Rowan for the purpose of sharing this exercise, you can easily tweak the instructions to suit your particular tree or shrub – as with all Nature Connection practices, there is no right or wrong.
Standing before your chosen Rowan tree take a moment to acquaint yourself with your surroundings. Breathe in the local scents and cast your eyes over the varying colours and textures. If there are distracting sounds nearby try to push them to the background of your mind, paying attention instead to the quieter, more subtle sounds such as the rustle of the small animals and insects sneaking amongst the decaying foliage or small twigs snapping underfoot.
When you have familiarised yourself with the Rowan's immediate environment and feel a sense of oneness with the area, proceed by placing your hands upon the silvery-white tree trunk, and closing your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths as you focus on the feel of the bark against your fingertips. Smooth yet sturdy, a subtle metaphor for the softness of our own current vulnerability and the strength that lies within it. If you have the privacy to do so, connect deeper by resting your forehead against the cool, soothing bark, leaning into the Rowan's potent energy of resilience as you begin to acknowledge the inner turmoil that currently resides within you.
What is it that you are releasing this autumn? Look towards the farewells that conjure heartache, the final chapters evoking anxieties and fear. Meet with all these emotions and cry your tears, unleashing your heavy burdens with the gentle energy of the Rowan. Stay here for as long as you need to, or until your soul feels lighter, your mind is clear and a general sense of calm has washed over you.
When you are ready, open your eyes, take a seat and rest the back of your head against your chosen tree. Look upwards towards the delicate pinnate leaves, focusing on how they flail and quiver in the cool, autumnal breeze. Become enthralled and inspired by their insouciant nature for they do not cling on to what has passed. When the time comes to take their journey to the soft earth, they cascade willingly to make way for the buds of next spring. Take comfort in the idea of this shared experience, and the unification between yourself and nature.
Now cast your eyes beyond the leaves, moving further up the Rowan tree until you find it’s scarlet red berries nestled within the security of the higher branches, where they thrive out of reach of prying eyes and feasting land animals. The red berries carry the pollinated seeds that hold the potential for the life of new trees, and this is the perfect metaphor for the budding fruits of our own creation and the seeds of our potential.
At this point, I invite you to close your eyes once more and begin to visualise these small, succulent fruits. Imagine that each individual seed is the seed to the varying changes within your own life.
Perhaps through your Spring and Summer learnings, you have let go of old stories that you used to tell yourself to help you to feel safe, shedding yourself of old conditionings and beliefs, thus opening yourself up to a whole new way of life. You might have walked away from a toxic relationship in pursuit of a healthier love, or closed the door on a waning career to make way for a job that is more aligned with who you aim to be going forwards.
Take your time to place these seeds of change inside as many of the tiny berries as you can, and delve into every emotion of your creation. Feel how you want to feel, love how you wish to love. Visualise your definition of success, from what you look like to where you end up. Become so immersed in your future self that the melancholy of Autumnal Release is replaced by an overwhelming sense of strength, excitement, and personal empowerment.
Keep your manifestations safely locked inside the berries until the short, cold days of Winter’s Retreat. Upon which the fruits shall return to the earth by planting their seeds, releasing your dreams into the rich, fertile soil where they will nurture and grow, coming into fruition precisely when they’re meant to.
About the Author:
Jemma Louise Hunt is a poetic writer from South Wales, UK. She guides others in the art of Nature Connection, using the power of descriptive storytelling, poetry, and mindful invitations. Connect with her on Instagram @tales_fromawildwoman and share your own experiences using the exercises in this column