Seasonal Attunement

Seasonal Attunement

We all tune into the special qualities of each season. It is inspiriting to deliberately engage with the weather, landscape, traditions, and mood of each month. When you take time to appreciate what you enjoy about each month and learn how to turn around challenges that a month may bring, you will find yourself in tune with the seasons and more closely connected to the cycle of life.

“Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” as Charles Dudley Warner said and Mark Twain more famously quoted. Seasonal Attunement is a practice for your inner. Spirit self to DO something about your relationship to the natural world, including the weather and the seasons that it signifies.

One of the most direct ways to align with the wisdom of the soul is to align with nature. Even when an urban environment or busy schedule minimizes the amount of time we are able to spend ‘in nature,’ the distinctive qualities and energies of each season offer a direct connection to natural cycles.

Seasonal Attunement is the choice and act of aligning or balancing one’s own feelings and mood with the pervasive sensibilities of the season and/or weather. It is an immersion in the ambience of a season in order to recalibrate and embrace or honor the gifts. It is a dance of releasing resistance and working with the felt sensations to be in alignment or at counterpoise.

Every season paints a distinctive landscape and evokes an ambience that is likely to color our mood and summon resonant feelings, desires, memories, and thoughts. Each season provides an environmental matrix within which you may feel prompted to focus on and strengthen attributes that are suggested by and reflected in scene, weather, and celebrations. Depending on your response to a time of year, you may find that you are inclined to explore an emotional or developmental ascent or descent.

A downward spiral that calls forth sadness, ennui, grief, or depression is an obvious descent. However, an emotional descent can also provide positive affirmation as a result of going deep within to acknowledge long-buried or unresolved issues, to forgive – yourself or another, or to identify and release reactions or fears that are holding you back.

Our culture acknowledges the Seasonal Affective Disorder brought on by reduced sunlight, which most commonly results in depression. However, you can choose Seasonal Affective Attunement by aligning or balancing your feelings and mood with the pervasive sensibilities of the season and/or weather. Rather than resist uncomfortable or challenging aspects of a season, you can choose to dance with the sensibilities and felt sensations of the environment. The dance may be one of embracing and celebrating the experienced ambience or it may be counterpoising an oppressive weightiness of experience with some opposite symmetry that restores inner balance. The intention is to be mindful and at choice or cause rather than at effect.

Our experiences of the solar and lunar cycles of time that create our days and months and years are integral to the experience of being human and the source of the traditions and celebrations that are woven into every religion. Most religious/life practices provide traditions that revolve around the seasons of the year.

For the Pagan or Wiccan, the Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals. In contemporary Paganism, it consists primarily of eight festivals based around the solstices and equinoxes, known as the quarter days, and the midpoints between, known as the cross quarter days.

For the Buddhist, the bhavacakra is a symbolic representation of cyclic existence. It is found on the outside walls of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Indo-Tibet region. The bhavacakra is popularly referred to as the wheel of life. This term is also translated as wheel of cyclic existence or wheel of becoming.

For the Native American, “everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that
is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything
tries to be round…. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is
round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. 
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always
come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle
from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk

“The Jewish notion is to bring these two aspects of time [standardized ‘commodity’ time and organic time] into sync with each other. Judaism says: Sunrise…sunset. Six days and the Sabbath. New Moon, full moon. Equinox and solstice. The full moon of the vernal equinox is Passover. The full moon of the autumnal equinox is Succot (the Feast of the Tabernacles). The last phase of the moon in the last phase of the sun is Chanukah. These holidays come at their organic time, coinciding with the realities in nature.” Reb Zalman, First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit, p. 2
When you take time to appreciate what you enjoy about each month and learn how to turn around challenges that a month may bring, you will find yourself in tune with the seasons and more closely connected to the cycle of life.

The Seasons of Our Life
The seasons of the year also offer an interesting way to frame and the seasons or stages of life. In our springtime, we are the fresh young Maiden, whose focus is on growing. This is the time of establishing roots. In our summer we become the Maker – making our way in life, making jobs or careers, our home and family. This is the time of growing branches. In our autumn, we are the Maven, and we focus is on fulfilling – the time of ripening and reaping fruit. In our winter – the time of being essence or seed – we are the Muse, inspiring others and ourselves. Ideally, the cold and dark of winter allow us to prepare for restoring ourselves to our original source and humanity to greater good.
Of course, at any point in our lives, we may experience any or all of these personas. Just as there are spring-like days in winter or wintry days in summer, the seasons of our life also offer forays into sensations or experiences of youth or agedness. In fact, most maturing women notice an inner youthfulness or timelessness that seems to belie their chronological or socially perceived age.

Resources for continuing the journey:
Diane Dreher, Inner Gardening: A Seasonal Path to Inner Peace, NYC: Harper Collins, 2001.
David Young, Seasonings: A Poet’s Year (With Seasonal Recipes), Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1999.
Barbara Bash, True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude, Boston: Shambhala, 2004.
John Sullivan, The Spiral of the Seasons: Welcoming the Gifts of Later Life, Chapel Hill: Second Journey, 2009.
Ruth Carol Cushman & Stephen Jones, Boulder County Nature Almanac, Boulder: Pruett, 1993.
Karen and Mike Garofalo, The Spirit of Gardening Website (3,800+ Quotes, Poems, etc. on more than 250 topics)
Nature guides/almanacs and gardening books

Re: Wheel of the Year