October 20, 2011 in reflection+self · 4 minute read · views

there is something about october.

can i tell you a secret? i tried this project two years ago; following along with wicca: 366 and exploring paganism as an outlet for my spirituality. as a way of connecting to the world of around me, as a way of feeling anchored. it would be exactly two years ago on october 25th. there’s something about this month, the full-force of autumn and the warning of a cold, dark winter that causes me to seek the warmth and comfort of ritual. it shouldn’t be a surprise that so many holidays—from so many religions and spiritualities!—fall in the next few months. we all make that desperate grab for connection when the days grow shorter and darker because we all feel a little more separate from nature. we surround ourselves with loved ones and the warmth of spirit that it brings, distracting ourselves from the bitter cold outside. it’s no secret that humans are heavily influenced by the weather and the seasons. It amazes me that so many of us forget this on a daily basis.

sit somewhere in a natural setting…as you sit, imagine that you have roots that connect from the base of your spine. these roots reach not only down into the earth, but out to everything on it…take a moment to feel the pulse of your connection…notice where your connection to things and people might be weak and where it feels strong. 

wicca: a year and a day, pg. 2

i went to the park across the street for this exercise, sitting in the center of an open field facing the sun. it was… awkward. i live in a pretty large apartment complex and this particular park is mainly used for dog walking. i had originally planned to be at my father’s house in wisconsin’s southern countryside, where it’s quieter… but i suppose the purpose of this is to be able to feel and focus on the earth from anywhere.

and, you know—i’ve realized it didn’t need to be this huge, life-changing experience. ignoring and isolating oneself from other humans is not the point.

one particular dog and his owner made me laugh, made me appreciate the connection that we—all living things—share. Dog was not leashed, his owner granting him the freedom to romp and play unrestricted. owner clearly wanted to return to the complex and was walking towards it without really looking back, trusting that his companion would follow. Dog saw me, and as the owner continued to walk, Dog laid down in the grass a few meters to my right and almost perfectly in line with me. Dog just continued to watch his owner walk away, tail wagging and an expression on his face that made it clear he knew he should be following and thought it would be funny not to.

when his owner turned and finally noticed, urging his companion to follow, Dog stood and shifted sideways a few feet closer to me before laying back down. same wag of the tail, same doggy grin. his owner laughed, walked towards Dog in an attempt to leash him and bring him own. obviously, Dog wanted to keep up his game—so as his owner approached, Dog spiraled away from me (and his owner) before finally shrinking down and submitting.

when humans find themselves pulled towards a path they don’t expect, they rebel and grow anxious and upset. most of us are convinced that there’s some kind of danger in taking these new paths. Dog accepted it, walking back to the familiarity of the complex alongside his owner like it was a brand new adventure. we should all adapt to change so easily, with such excitement and eagerness. life is adventure.

did i connect with the earth? not in the way i expected; i didn’t feel the grass or the trees or the wind. but i connected with other life, sharing in the Dog’s joy in experiencing everything and the bond he shared with his owner. that connection i was seeking to be reminded of? i found it.