5 Seasonal Changes from 12th November – 23rd December
INTRODUCTION TO THE 2ND WAVE
The Seasonal Connection
For this 2nd Wave of the ‘Olive Tree’ practice, we have chosen to begin in the Season when the Olive Trees are harvested. Now, their fruits are being beaten down from the trees and pressed to obtain the gift of their precious oil. At this point, their seeds, or olive stones, die back into the ground, taking with them the potential for the rebirth of new olive trees.
So, while celebrating and being nurtured over Winter by the fruits of the previous cycle, just like the seeds of the fruit, we are also being stripped bare to our essential goodness. We are thereby prompted to contemplate our highest potential, that we may bring forth purposeful fruits in the new cycle to come.
During these 40-Days, we will contemplate the properties of five transiting hexagrams from the ‘Seasonal I-Ching’ that reflect the Changes of Nature as we move towards Winter Solstice. The qualities of these five hexagrams take us through an archetypal transition, leading us through Death to Rebirth.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the qualities of these five hexagrams leading up to Winter Solstice also perfectly reflect the 5 emotional phases of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These stages are our attempts to process change and protect ourselves while we adapt to a new reality. As we pass through these phases with the guidance of the Seasonal hexagrams, we are ushered with Grace and self-compassion into to the Still-Point of Winter Solstice, from where we can more easily recognise, regenerate and Rebirth our God-given gifts.
In the first Lesson of the 1st Wave of this ‘Olive Tree’ Course we read:
When you release what you are not, emptying yourself of old thoughts and feelings, then you can relate to your emptiness and your own inner capacity. Resting in your capacity, you can reflect on the nature of your creative, silent space and sense what it is you naturally resonate with – you can feel the qualities you can naturally hold, can give birth to and ripen within yourself.
At Winter Solstice, we come deeply into contact with this silent inner creative space. And in order to relate to this emptiness and our inner capacity, we need to release what we are not and empty ourselves of old thoughts and feelings.
So, during the changing Season of our 40-Day Practice, we experience the process of emptying and releasing through Death, to then initiate our Rebirth at Winter Solstice and thereby activate our purest essence and highest potential.
At the outset of this course, we are thus invited to take time at the end of the CC meditation to reflect in stillness on these gifts that we, like the Olive Tree, have the capacity to unfold and bring forth. We reflect on how our gifts can bring ‘happiness to God’s Heart’, recognising that in cultivating and expressing our innate potential, we also fulfil the expressive desire of Source and find our ‘Purpose’ in life.
“Everything is an akasha, a space of containment and preservation. All beings and things are a capacity and each produces whatever expression it is ‘meant to produce’ – and that is its Swadharma. Its Swadharma is the nature of a given akasha, ‘egg or womb of creation’ to harbour, give life to and preserve a specific quality, or to contain a specific entity. It is what we might call its purpose, or its unmanifest potential DNA.”
~ Sara Avtar
STAGE 1: THE SEASON OF ‘FACING THE UNAVOIDABLE!’
Transiting Seasonal Hexagram: 27/51 ‘Shock / Arousal / Awakening
Period: 4 – 13 November
Emotional Stage: Overcoming Denial
After the previous hexagram ‘Biting Through’, it is the time when the exterior expression of the Sun’s life force (held in the decaying fruits and leaves etc.) is now ‘swallowed down the hatch’ into the cauldron of the Dark Mother’s belly… Her magnetism beckons our life-force, calling out to devour the old and regenerate the new. We are pulled towards the dormant seed state, deep within the Earth… It is the time when the sap in the plants drops… and seeds may be sown in the Earth.
In fact, seeds planted early, in November, then lie dormant over the Winter. But when Spring finally arrives, they then have the whole season to grow, which gives them a head start, thereby bringing their harvest times forwards.
This period of November is the moment when the gravitational pull of the toroidal zero-point inescapably pulls the manifest expression of life back down the plug-hole, down the shaft of the black hole, down the oesophagus towards the non-manifest still-point – the source of the next cycle.
Finding ourselves now in the inescapable grip of that gravitational pull, with the clear and sudden realisation of the outward world’s dwindling, can be a Shock! It brings us face to face with the unavoidable certainty of death! At best, this can jolt us awake, prompting us to live every day with full presence and gratitude, as if it were our last. But this can only occur, when we can embrace and accept the fear and agitation that this realisation brings.
In this phase there will be a shadow tendency of denial, to distract and avoid seeing or feeling the impeding inward spiral to death. But to face this and release it, we can take the initiative to observe our response to being caught in the jaws of death and watch the reaction of our inner dynamics and sensations closely, with self-compassion and gentleness. In the process of recognising the nature of our fears and agitation, we can contemplate them, patiently waiting until they release. Or, we can divert and transform the flow of agitation/discomfort by channelling our sensations creatively; for example, through deep gentle stretching or expressive dance.
As the deep-seated tension of our agitation and discomfort releases, we soften, and the body opens out, such that our awareness can enter the newly freed space, inhabiting the body more deeply. With this fuller incarnation, our vision unfolds, heralding a freedom and an awakening to the reality of being an embodied soul.
~ Sara Avtar
STAGE 2: THE SEASON OF ‘LETTING GO!’
Transiting Seasonal Hexagram: 28/42 ‘Augmenting’
Period: 13 – 22 November
Emotional Stage: Overcoming Anger
In this current seasonal phase, we enter into the transiting hexagram, called, ‘Augmenting’ or ‘Increase”. What is increasing is the gravitational pull towards the end of this Yearly Solar Cycle, towards the moment of death and the cusp of rebirth, at Winter Solstice. The manifest expression of life is being increasingly sucked back into its non-manifest Source.
Whatever old fears or tendencies surfaced as agitation or discomfort in the earlier transiting hexagram phase of “Biting Through” (at Halloween), but which were not yet released in the previous phase of ‘Shock’… will now be urgently calling for resolution. If, however, we have embarked upon the process of release, our subtlety and ability to nestle into the Origin of our Being will be augmenting.
This phase is like the sand in an hour-glass, gradually draining away from the top and increasingly accumulating at the bottom. But to pass through the narrow shaft from the top to the bottom of the hour-glass, we must release excess baggage, becoming lighter and more subtle, so we can pass through the eye of the needle.
We are thereby asked to release our identification and to let go… in particular of our attachment, our expectations, our beliefs – our investment in our mental stories, films and their outcomes. We are asked to let go of all that has wounded us, causing us suffering.
In fact, this is the moment to contemplate all that didn’t turn out as we wished, and to let go of all that sets us up for disappointment and regret. It is the moment to recognise that the deeper purpose of disappointment and regret is to teach us the elusive art of ‘letting go’. Yet, this is not as simple as it sounds, and many times our disappointment will revert to frustration and anger!
The ability to ‘let go’ emerges as we mature to see the subtle depths and wonder of life at work. Our vision helps us transcend our mental machinations and expectations, and to thereby flower in our ‘non-attachment’ – surrendering to the flow of life and all it has to teach us.
We may have free-will, but life is unpredictable, so our individual, personal agency can never really be in control. But as we release our contractions of disappointment, pain and regret, our hearts can open and we can listen to life, with and from our hearts.
And then we can attune to a deeper more universal inner pulse, ready to guide our lives with its innate harmony and vast wisdom, in accordance with the great fractal pattern of life. Then we can love whatever life brings, knowing that it is teaching us all we need to grow and evolve; to disentangle our lives, synchronise with and help others.
Our mature understanding and acceptance of life as it unfolds enables us to relax and see its natural, synchronistic magic. It enables us to become more joyful, loving and compassionate. Our awe and wonder of life, brings us into full presence. We watch and appreciate life’s charge in all feelings – in both pleasure and the pain, without discrimination. Our relaxation enables our breath and spirit to flow more freely in diverse situations, being no longer caught up in the overlaid stories.
Becoming more present is none other than our arriving at the zero-point of Source. It is when we dwell safely at the axel of the wheel, in the eye of the storm. It is the moment we are fully awake, aware of and resting in… the eternal moment. And from this silent, dark space of stillness, from this Ocean of Being, the Quintessence at the core of all, from the Heart of hearts… emerges Light and Illumination.
This brilliance is our eternal indwelling quintessence – that which can never die… and we are released from our self-imposed prison, from the story. This is not the happy ever after of the story-ending that we have always chased, but rather the happy ever after of the ending of all stories. For with our surrender and return to the Origin, time and suffering also come to an end.
~ Sara Avtar