GUEST BLOG! Rituals For Embracing Autumnal Flow
In honour of my upcoming Autumn Yin series, Lexie has jumped on board to offer some ways we can truly embrace this time of year.
By BhSc Naturopathy student and budding Herbalist Lexie McPhee.
Autumn. The natural world slows and turns inward as the days shorten. The dawn brings a dewy chill and the nights become longer, darker. There’s a craving for warmth and cosiness within – the woollens come out and the firewood stacked. A change in the season is here and with it comes new energy, rituals and a thirst for nourishment. Autumn is all about transition. Looking into nature reveals themes of release and transition, honouring our shadow side and of course, the harvest. Reaping with gratitude what we have sewn in the previous spring. This all brings a clarity of vision and is the perfect time for introspection. Elementally speaking, Autumn is the season of the Metal element – mirroring back to us our deeper being – who are we? Why am I here? What do I want out of this life? How do I achieve this whilst maintaining balance? The season may be accompanied by grief – for we are letting go of the long summer sun and preparing for a darker colder time. This letting go and preparing to receive are represented by the Lungs and Large Intestine. Aside from our yoga practice, how do we care for these most important organs and move with the Autumnal flow?
Journal keeping can help to work through negative behaviours. Moving internalised emotions from our hearts and on to paper brings release. Ask yourself why you feel a certain way about a situation that is bothering you. Bring your attention inward rather than projecting blame or reacting purely in the moment. Try to imagine an onlooker’s perspective. Write down some things you feel grateful for, or catalogue some of the moments that brought you joy during the day. This might be noticing a beautiful flower, sharing a joke, the warmth of a particularly delicious hot drink … any number of tiny moments that make up life’s happiness.
Unburden yourself by writing down old hurts and worries – the ones we just can’t do anything about. Know that these can be released back into the earth with the autumn leaves.
Honour your soul with an autumnal treat – a locally made pair of woollen socks perhaps or a new book to settle into. Anything that adds a little light to your heart.
Clearing away clutter and organising your space is a homely way to remove stale energy and allows you to create the perfect nest to while away the long cold nights! A herbal smudging of your home and its contents is a tangible way of clearing old energy and making room for the new. You may have some herbs in your garden to make your own smudge stick such as white Sage (Salvia apiana) or Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) smudge sticks are often found in health food stores. If smudging is new to you, there are plenty of instructional guides on the internet to explore.
Cultivate warmth in your living areas with essential oil diffusions of Ginger, Cinnamon and Clove, or a combination of Lemon, Sweet Orange and Bergamot for an uplifting afternoon in.
Preventative treatment is our friend at this time of year. Slowing down and dusting off our self-care rituals to allow a smooth transition into winter is a must. Steep yourself an herbal infusion to nourish and tonify the respiratory system. Tap into the ancestral knowledge we all hold – trust your intuition and let your heart guide you to the right decoction. Herbs that are traditionally used to optimise lung health include Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Sage (Salvia officinalis), Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Licorice* (Glyccyrrhiza glabra) and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
Include some of these herbs in a herbal steam. Simply place the dried herbs (a goodly spoonful each) in a mixing bowl full of boiling water. Bow your head over the bowl and cover with a cloth or towel. Breathe deeply until the water cools and the steam dissipates. You can add a drop of Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil if desired.
Another lung loving practice is to take yourself towards nature – into the trees or near some running water. Breathe deeply into the belly and up into the tops of the lungs and match the length of your exhale to that of your inhale. When you can’t breathe out any more … breathe out a little more. This is a way to reach into the depths of the lungs and expel stale air from hours/days of superficial breath.
Choose seasonal fruits, vegetables and legumes to include with every meal – these provide a variety of fibres for the healthy function of the large intestine. Ensure you are drinking filtered water throughout the day to keep the bowels moving. Herbs that can be used to settle an imbalanced large intestine include Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). These can be taken as an herbal tea or added to your cooking. Garlic is also beneficial for warding off infection and feeding our beneficial gut bacteria. Mince a clove and add to meals raw, or enjoy a hot garlic soup!
Embrace this season of transformation and be kind to yourself.
Follow Lexie’s naturopathic lifestyle on Instagram @lexie_naturopath
Book a Naturopathic consult with Lexie at Wellnation Clinic Melbourne – detailed information and more articles by Lexie can be found on her website - https://medicatrixnaturopathy.wordpress.com/
Lexie is also the herbalist behind Wildflora Apothecary – topical preparations and oils for online sale at https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/wildflorapothecary?ref=search_shop_redirect or on Instagram as @wildflora.apothecary