This tree close to my home kept asking me to take a photo of her because she captures the magic of autumn so beautifully. I asked autumn to show me her spirit so I could better understand the changes in mood going on around me. Two images came to mind. The first was of a young woman’s face in a tree. The image comprised of leaves and branches in the red, brown and golden shades of autumn. She was young and pure yet wise, reminding me a bit of the Virgin Mary or perhaps Persephone. The second image was of a snake that was shedding its skin, leaving behind the beautiful old skin in the same colours as the autumn leaves.
Whilst running I meditated some more on the symbolism of the snake and the autumn leaves in their beautiful colours. Autumn is a season of change, signifying the end of things blossoming before we approach the phase where we go deeper into ourselves. It is the season of contraction. We move closer to the time of reflection where we draw energy from deep within before starting the next phase of expansion. Autumn also signifies transformation and brings to mind the approach of the death phase of our journey. We leave behind the parts of ourselves that we don’t need any more, not because they are no good, but because it is time to move on to new things. The death analogy again links to Persephone, who was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. The snake signifies transformation as ever. In my mind’s eye I keep seeing the beautiful golden skin that it has outgrown.
It is the red-brown- yellow autumn leaves and the golden-brown-black snake skin that draw my attention, asking me to look at them with new eyes. Often we think of the things we have outgrown as useless parts of ourselves that we are doing away with. The beautiful autumn leaves and snake skin show me that this is not the case. When we shed things, moving on to something new, we give the old matter back to the cosmos to be used elsewhere. The energy goes back into the flow. The bright parts are attracted to other bright currents where they move in unison to create something beautiful. The stuffy, darker parts perhaps go to the ocean where they are transformed by the whale songs and other beautiful ocean secrets that we don’t know about.
The parts that we are shedding are useful elsewhere but no less beautiful because of it. If they need to be transformed then we have learned from them. They have enabled a new part of ourselves to emerge; an aspect of ourselves that we didn’t know was there. The things that have worked well can also be outgrown, simply because the experience is needed elsewhere for someone to learn from.