The cycle of “seasons,” our personal and collective cycles

Many of you reading are probably familiar already with some of the energetic qualities of the seasons, and turning of the wheel of the year. As we have passed Samhain/Halloween in the northern hemisphere, we move towards the longest nights of the year culminating in the winter solstice on December 21. General wisdom suggests taking the hint from our environments to slow down, move into rest, connect with our ancestors, family or chosen family, and look inward to reflect in preparation for the New Year. These are the collective movements that we can feel into, and find greater ease in surrendering to them.

Lately I’ve been thinking about personal cycles, the ways that we as individuals feel these changing energy flows and how they intersect with our own energetic calibrations. For me personally, I experience two phases in the year where I feel called to slow down. I do feel it around this time with winter approaching, often with a sort of crescendo of busy-ness and overall burst of intuition in the Fall that initiates a preparation for the spring renewal. In the heart of the winter and leading into its end I turn inward to rest, having prepared for reemergence, and reflect on what has passed and what is get to come.
And then I feel this cycle a second time in the spring, a push of intuition (for me this is a more uncomfortable one, often defined by growing pains, bursts of growth followed by intense release) that starts to peak in advance of the summer solstice. Around the end of June and the eclipse season that happens around this time I usually start to feel veeeeerrry wiped out and depleted. Many of you know I usually plan a “summer slowdown” in July and it’s for this reason! I spend as much time in the woods, in the ocean, in the sun, and with plants and animals as possible. I do a lot of dreaming and planning in my mind but I do so quietly. The Fall initiates that reemergence into the world, engaging more externally and “reaping the harvest” of the summer’s dreaming and creating within.

While perhaps in some ways our bodies may mirror the seasons more directly (though I think it’s pretty common to feel some fatigue and overwhelm in the hottest summer months too), our minds and emotions may have their own cycles, moving more quickly or slowly. We may be in a variety of different points in the cycles of building and release, preparation and harvest, beginnings and endings, in different aspects of our lives or even fluctuating levels of our energy moment to moment. 

A cycle is a circle, not a line. 

It is always moving, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. There are perhaps opposite energetic qualities within a cycle but they are also part of the same whole. They are happening together and often simultaneously. Even in rest, we are becoming perhaps more active unconsciously,  journeying in the mind and memory. And when we are in a state of active building, our unconscious takes a back seat (or sometimes we wish it would!) while our focused intention is in the foreground. Each season contains its opposite, and sometimes different cycles line up in a way that floods us energetically.

One of those cycles that has been at the forefront of my mind recently is the life cycle, and in particularly my own exiting from the “childbearing years” without children (earlier onset perimenopause has me straddling between not actually being in middle age quite yet, and feeling my body move into what is likely to be a lengthy transitional phase). With striking consistency and repetition I am seeing the reflections of parenthood, and increasing awareness of how you are seen by others when you choose not to be a parent. There is a suggestion that one’s life is less meaningful, or full of love, and that there will be no one to take care of you in your elder years. I respect the choice to have children tremendously, and I love to have parents and children close to me in my life, but I see it as one of many paths that are meaningful and fulfilling. I have also been thinking about this personally in regard to the ancestral lineage on my mother’s side because I am actually the only living person of that family line besides her, and so my choice not to have children ends that family line completely. It feels somehow a huge responsibility for healing, and also one I wish to carry with grace rather than a heavy weight.

I felt heartened when I saw a link in my inbox to a fantastic podcast episode exploring this very topic of ancestral healing when it actually ends with us. It left me feeling more hopeful that there will be enough of us childless people that we will devise ways to take care of each other. It was an affirmation of so many of my feelings on the topic. Towards the end of the episode they touched on the archetypes of the childless woman and femme.

Historically to be a childless woman or birthing person is usually a villainized archetype, depicted as ugly, vengeful, powerful perhaps but malevolent, feared, and cast to the edges of society. In an era of history where there is no concrete need to keep populating the planet, the societal beliefs about bodily autonomy, extraction and value, and perpetuation of lineage are coming into stark relief. When reflecting on Eurocentric individualism, a primary feature is the toxic focus on individual needs and benefiting oneself. But it also contains a paradox, which is that at the same time there is an expectation that your energy should be limitless, you should be able to do it all, and perform whatever your prescribed role is no matter the cost to your wellbeing. And that once you are no longer “productive” you are not valuable as a person.

I wonder if maybe another “Fall cycle” we are in is societal, as a generation approaches middle age and many of whom for the first time had the capacity to actively choose the role of parent or not (and noticing who is not afforded this choice); and as efforts towards decolonizing praxis continues to expand with more people choosing to imagine futures where all beings can be free. We can see this on the environmental level too, in the current mass extinction event and climate crisis leading towards some kind of ending and beginning.

In the New Age sphere there is much talk of a “New Earth.” What does this mean? How does one apply the wisdom of moving through this literal season towards winter, with the awareness of the spring that follows, into these other cycles? While the imagining of new futures can bring much needed hope, it’s worth remembering that death cycles are often painful ones and surely we are already feeling the challenges of paradigm shifts and collapse. Not all of us are imagining the same thing when we think of these “new futures,” indeed some of those imagined futures I find quite bone-chilling.

This and how it intersects with karmic integration will be a point of contemplation for quite some time for me, but I’m feeling it move into focus this particular winter. I’m looking for examples of how to hold space for this transition into another phase of adult life. I’m seeing the aligning of these personal and collective cycles as an opportunity to cultivate new understanding and deeper presence.

Where do you feel cycles ending, and beginning?

How do the various cycles of your own life line up or form counterpoints?

What practices and actions support your ability to shift though these cycles in a resourced way?

In your own personal sphere, which cycles are honored and discussed, and which ones are ignored?

What about in the broader spheres of your environment?

And how do you find the balance between hope and realism as you feel those cycles turning?

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