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Harvesting our Gifts

By Canon Deborah Parsons, Canon Chancellor

We’ve just passed the Autumn Equinox. The time of the year when day and night are in perfect balance. It’s the time when we gather with family and friends to celebrate the harvest. The time when we bring seasonal food to share. The time of ripening fruits, nuts and berries. The celebration of nature’s abundance. A family gathering of Autumn’s end.

Summer has ended. The days are shortening.  Lawns are mown for the last time; beds and borders are tidied; flowers are dead-headed; trees and shrubs are pruned; bulbs are planted.

As the evenings draw in and the cooler weather and autumn mists envelop us, our natural tendency is to want to hunker down. It’s a time to go within. A time for rest and renewal. A time to re-enter the dark womb of the spiritual world and explore and understand ourselves better. A time for bringing our whole selves into balance: Light and dark; young and old; conscious and unconscious; active and passive; material and spiritual. It’s a time to practise gratitude and to clear out our living space, inner and outer, letting go of what no longer serves us well.

It’s also a time to plant seeds. The seeds which will incubate through the Winter months and re-emerge in the Spring, transformed and strengthened by their time in the dark.

So, what spiritual practices might support us in this season?

As we celebrate nature’s abundance, practising gratitude is an obvious spiritual practice. Take a few moments each day to focus on the things that you are truly grateful for: Visualise the people, places and things that bring you joy. Are there ways you might express this gratitude more fully in your life?

If your life seems out of kilter, how might you bring more balance into it? Why not reflect on the passage from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verses 1-11, which begins:For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven….” What season are you in? Is it the season you would like to be in?

Finally, is there a new thing in you that is wanting to be birthed? A new seed that you’d like to cultivate? A new gift or talent that you’d like to offer to the world. How might you prepare the soil and create the optimal conditions during this incubation period?

Like a seed or tuber

I grow, sometimes beneath

The ground, sometimes above it.

Unseen or seen matters not.

What matters is that I

Keep moving towards

The Light.