September is a transitional time. In the northern hemisphere, we're moving from summer to fall—it's the last chance for swimming, for berries, for flowers, and warm evenings. The light is changing, but the days aren't yet defined by darkness.
In this time of harvesting and preparation, there is a new life hovering on the verge of perception. It's a certain kind of new year, a time for release, renewal, focus, and adjustment. Here is a chance to greet our changing selves, our winter selves, who move toward us from the experiences of our past and the landscape of what is yet to come. What do we need for the darker days ahead? Where do we choose to keep our fires burning? This month, we invest in our readiness for the changes that fall and winter promise to deliver.
About this Spell
There are many beginnings in a calendar—the beginning of the Gregorian year on January 1st, the beginning of the astrological year on the Spring Equinox, and all the New Years that different cultures traditionally celebrate according to their own calendars. In some seasons, Earth’s renewal seems more obvious and effortless. But this month heralds a time of renewal that requires our active participation. We hold the thread of the past—all that we have known, all that has grown and ripened, all that is transforming, decaying, and falling away from us. We hold the thread of the future, with its promise of change and uncertainty, and the concessions our dreams must make to become real. This is the season to feel these fibers in our hands and weave them into something that will hold us through the winter. The words you speak, the steps you consider, the thoughts you dig beneath, the honesty you welcome in yourself and others—these are all parts of the weave.
With this spell, we recommit to time. We accept our place in cyclic beginnings and endings. At summer’s end, we ask you to study yourself and your changes—do you hear the call to begin again? There is time enough to answer it.
Meditation on Begin Again
For this meditation, let your breath be natural and find something to look at that is changing. It could be the light outside at dawn or dusk, or a tree with leaves beginning to turn. It could be a river, a child, the sky, or your own insides. To begin, simply watch the changing thing. Notice its relationship to time—are the changes visible to you as you watch, or are they slower than your eye can perceive? As you study this changing thing, let time settle around you and your steady watching. Then, with a shift of focus, begin to study your feelings in this moment—digging beneath your thoughts, into the wordless essence of awareness. Can you feel time humming through you? If not, can you imagine it? And then, if possible, keep this sense of yourself and your insides and return your attention to the changing thing. What newness are you bringing to this encounter? What might you notice this time, as if for the first time? Feel free to move back and forth like as many times as you desire, weaving the thread of your attention between a changing thing and your own whole self. If it ever feels good to do so, you can take a few breaths with the feelings of your inner body and let your (inner or outer) gaze rest on that changing thing and soften your gaze so that your focus widens and broadens. Here, in this soft and open gaze, can you watch and feel at the same time? Sometimes, in a flick of a moment, time will open up inside experience for wholeness to be perceived— watcher and watched, inside and out, changing and changeless—no difference, no distance. These moments come like sudden beginnings. And then they rush away from us, leaving the path open to begin again.
About the painting:
Corina: This is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve been in love with barn owls for a long time and drew this one with a vague, sketchy indication of where their markings should go. Often, if our collaboration gets troubled it’s when my sketch doesn’t convey enough of what I’m seeing to translate to my sister how to paint it. Being an essentially lazy artist (I often draw a quick gestural sketch and say, “we’re finished!”), I’m often handing drawings off to Jo with my fingers crossed, hoping I’ve conveyed enough information for her to make it something wonderful. This time, we had a clear shared vision, and it really showed. Some paintings take a lot of back-and-forth, a lot of revisions, sometimes a major overhaul and second drafts. This one emerged resplendent and soaring, as though it had been waiting for us.
Jocelyn: A favorite among favorites. I remember sitting down to paint this one and staring at our reference image for the face of this Barn Owl. Before choosing colors, I just stared and stared. It was as though I was being wrapped in something… As I began to paint, I felt that I was coming to know this bird in my own way. As is the case with each of our most favorite images, I felt as though the collaboration between me and my sister opened up so that I could collaborate with this owl on its own making—painting this owl, I felt like it was teaching me how.
This month's offerings:
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