The Fall to Winter TransitionNov 07, 2023
The Medicine Wheel moves through the seasons of the year. The east represents springtime where we initiate our new intention for the year. We develop and learn about that in the south and summer. The west and fall are where we harvest and glean value from the things we cultivated throughout the year.
As we move into winter, we're going back into that time of introspection between this cycle and the new cycle next spring. So right now we're moving from the west (fall) into the winter (north). This transition into winter as the days get shorter can be challenging emotionally.
The late fall time change can hit us hard. This past Sunday, all of a sudden, it's getting dark at 5 o’clock. It may be dark when get out of work on Monday. It hits each of us a little differently but one way or another, it's in our face that it's not going to be fall much longer and winter is just around the corner.
Our range of vision starts incrementally decreasing as the days get shorter. When it's dark, we can't see far and our world is smaller. When it's light, the world is big and we can see far. As it gets dark earlier, this closing-in-on-us feeling may begin to emerge.
As we move from fall to winter on the Medicine Wheel, it's a time to naturally go inside ourselves. It’s a time of introspection where we reevaluate what's important to us. It’s asking, “What matters to me now that I've gone through this year? What changes might I want to make in this coming year?”
This time of going inside is a time with lots of feeling. The long nights bring us lots of time to spend inside of ourselves. We're not distracted by the shiny objects and the fun things that are going on outside in the summertime. We're are left with ourselves.
While there's huge value in this emotionally and spiritually, it can be disconcerting and disorienting. All of a sudden there's not much going on. We’re left with, “Whoa, it's going to be a long winter. There’s the holidays and then it’s January and February. Not this again.”
So how can we work with this time of year? We can embrace that there is a transition occurring inside ourselves. It’s embracing that I can spend more time with myself. I can be with my feelings.
I can reevaluate what matters to me in life, and be in my yin, discernment phase. I can be in this introspection, allow myself to feel, and not run away from it. While this can be scary, it’s often less scary if we actually embrace it and not run away from it. The idea of it is often scarier than actually doing it.
And… no one says that you have to do this alone. Perhaps there are not as many social gatherings as there are in the spring, summer, and fall, except for maybe the holidays, but they are a whole other emotion-rich time. However, you can be socially connected and find support.
If we're going to go inside, feel, and reevaluate our lives, it going to stir some things up emotionally. It's essential to have people that can support you. You don't have to go through this by yourself. You can call up a friend, have people over, or go see some music.
There's a tendency to isolate more in the winter, and sometimes that's okay, but we don't have to do that. We might have to work a little harder, but we can initiate things socially. There are likely other people who are also hoping to get some things going. It’s an important time to subtly lead.
Mostly, it's just being aware that there's this internal change going on and adjusting to it. We're connected to the earth and part of the earth. So as the earth’s seasons change, there are seasons changing in us. If we understand this and embrace it, maybe it's not so daunting. Maybe it can even become enjoyable.