Sky Dragon over Lake ErieIt’s been interesting, this third month of autumn.Unusually warm with thunderstorms- rolling booms echoing in the wee hours of the morning.  Thunder is said to recede in the second month of autumn, demonstrating the ascendence of yin and the increasing separation between Heaven and Earth.  October 22nd and still no frost in this part of the world…

It can be challenging walking this road. Most other folks are squeaking, ‘oh gawd, I’m not ready for this.’ This is true- you are wearing capri pants in Western New York in October.

I’m not sure what you’re ready for…

Lest I start to fret, the signs are auspicious. In the early mornings this week, the crow brothers have been holding their convocation on Ridge Road.

“In the quality of the qi of the west you will find the same quality of qi as in autumn, there is something urgent, a concentration and a gathering.p.18 of The Lung, Larre and Rochat

This morning as I stepped out to take the dogs for our pre-sunrise jaunt, the air held me captive. Clear and exquisite as if the inhalation could extend to my toes and beyond.

“The ideogram for clear and fresh is qing. The qi of the lung has to be qing…The lung and the qi of the lung has to be the clearest inside the body with the double function of expanding and diffusing, and the only way for the upper part to act is to descend.”    pp.13-14, Larre and Rochat, The Lung

I’ll stop worrying now.

The yin is encroaching…

All is right in the world…

Same but different…

nasturtiumEarly on in the process of the Independent Study Project, I realized that the plants were catching my eye in a different way. My first training was in Plant Spirit Medicine- it was then that I began to see the invitations. Same plants I had scuffed through for years. Suddenly, they were saying

hey over here

It takes a bit of getting used to.

Nasturtium is a plant of summer. It spreads and lolls, lovingly entwining itself with all around it. Yet in autumn, it suddenly took on an intensity of color that would stop me in my tracks. Same but different.

It was a garden where, as one might expect, grasses flourished. It was not tended. It had been turned loose. It seemed as if the earth of the fields had been lifted out entire and placed unceremoniously into this garden.

“It’s so strange,” Hiromasa said.

“What is?”

“In the spring and the summer and the fall, the garden seems to be covered just the same with grass, but it’s different each season. Depending on the season, there’s grass that stands out, and grass that doesn’t. When the bush clover and the rest of the autumn plants have already lost all their flowers, though you can’t tell where they are right away, you can see the Chinese bellflowers and gentians taking their place that it seemed you couldn’t make out until then…”

“Hmm.”

“So that’s why I said it’s different. But even though I said it’s different, to tell the truth, I feel like this garden never changes in the slightest, too. That’s why…”

“It’s so strange?”

“Yeah.” Hiromasa nodded tranquilly. “It’s different while seeming the same. It’s the same while seeming different. Plus, I get the feeling that it’s not a matter of which of the two it is, but that perhaps it’s the way of the world for it to be both ways, naturally…?”

“That’s amazing, Hiromasa,” Seimei said.

p.188 of Yumemakura Baku’s Onmyoji: A Translation with Introduction by Karen McGillicuddy, 2004 Senior Thesis

The second month of autumn

ContemplationThe hexagram for the second month of autumn is Kuan, Contemplation (View). In this hexagram, we find the crux of the autumn equinox, the balance point between summer and winter solstice. Traditionally, during sacred ritual in ancient China, the deity was first invoked with a libation and then the sacrifice was offered.

“The moment of time between these two ceremonies is the most sacred of all, the moment of deepest inner concentration.”

At this time of year we too stand between the invocation and the sacrifice. Autumn invites us to move inward, to bring the lessons and gifts of summer deeper within. Most folks see the autumnal equinox as the beginning of autumn; the ancients saw it as the peak of the season. Small wonder that we mutter and complain of the weather for we expect it to conform to human expectations which have little relationship to the movement of the seasons.

                       “When the wind blows over the earth, it goes far and wide                                          and the grass must bend to its power.”

In case you were wondering, we’re the grass not the wind…