Honoring Our Rooted Seasons

There’s a period every year where sadness tends to pour over almost every single one of us. It’s the time of year where the sun seems to not shine as bright, it doesn’t want to burn as warm, and the clouds tend to blanket over us all bringing more darkness than we pretend to enjoy. However, there is a big chunk of the transitional shifts of Autumn and Winter where there is excitement and eagerness because of the major holidays happening all over the world that brings peace, harmony and love into everyone’s atmosphere.. but just for a short while. After the major holidays pass, it’s when we begin to deeply notice the frowns, the sighs, and the overall feeling of nothingness. You have heard it from your friends, families and co-workers, it’s the conversation around Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The Need For Sun

While the exact cause for S.A.D is still unknown, it’s likely linked to the idea that during the colder months we are not getting the sun exposure we are used to having in the warmer seasons- but why is that when the sun doesn’t go away? The sun doesn’t leave, but rather it gets pushed further away from us. During the warmer months it’s quite obvious that it’s the time where we want to be outside hosting barbeques with friends, going on adventurous hikes and baking out in the sun to get our subtle glow. When we don’t have the warmth of the sun embracing our skin we feel that we can no longer have the fun we had in the warmer seasons so we tend to curl ourselves indoors, but we are lacking the attention Autumn & Winter deserves. Although the days are much colder, we can still have our fun in the sun by spending time bundled up by a fire in the backyard, going on snow trail walks, enjoying seasonal festivities such as picking apples, having a good spook at a haunted house or simply by sitting by a window doing whatever you wish.

The sign of Autumn, Goldenrod.

The sign of Autumn, Goldenrod.

Elemental Shifts

In Ayurvedic practices, this is the time of the year where Ether and Air are most dominate expressing their delicate qualities of flow and mobility inspiring much discovery towards how we behave during these cooler months. Because of these elemental qualities, the Dosha that is most present is Vata. The Vata Dosha brings a sense of tranquil movement throughout the mind and body, but just as blissful as the other two Doshas can be, there can be excess and depletion when not cared for. In Vata season we must express the okayness that is solitude and grounding.

Until we can honor the elemental shifts of our seasons, and all that it can bring us, we must first come to terms that us too are a season all on our own. Just as the leaves on trees change their color, fall to the ground and get buried in the snow, we must also follow the example that is Earth. Before the days of fast movements we were slow, perhaps, a little too slow- but we understood the fundamental practices of being a human in the wild and how to care and treat our bodies in time of great environmental change.

Hug a tree. Seriously, do it.

Hug a tree. Seriously, do it.

Autumn energies

As leaves fall from trees, energy contracts and moves inward, nourishing the roots of those plants. Everything in nature tends to fall silent and slow, but nature is not out on a vacation, the web underneath the soil is still hard at work. These are autumn energetics at their finest. As humans, we are also a part of nature. We are affected by the weather, the local reach of seasonal foods, and the reduced hustle of the season. However, we too come in seasons. Until we understand that we are part of earth’s ecosystem, we won’t begin to understand that us too require seasonal shifts. Just as the trees do, we too must become grounded with the earth.

In fall and winter it’s easy for us to interpret that everything is dying, and that is the furthest from reality. Plants are breaking down their cell walls for new growth, they have used the necessary nutrients for the days of summer, but has then in return received the necessary nutrients from summer’s season to begin to breakdown and feed the beds of our ground.

It is a time to reflect and turn inward as we prepare ourselves for the remainder of the cold seasons. After all of the activity of summer, it is a time to slow down, care for ourselves, and tend to things at home so that we have the energy and nourishment we need to get through a dark and cold winter and fall season. The darkness brings time for relaxed eyes, sensual evenings and mystery. The cold brings us cozy socks, warming foods, roasts by the fire and the eagerness of a hot shower.

You were made for this.

How To Nourish:

  • Make friends with oils and balms. This is the time where our skin and hair is at its driest and applying oils to every inch of our body will bring our skin back to life.

  • Remember that moisture begins within so be sure to incorporate healthy oils in our meals.

  • Add more warming herbs to your recipes such as cumin, rosemary, cinnamon, mustard, nutmeg and ginger.

  • Replace your iced teas and fruit infused waters with warming chai and decoctions.

  • Keep your fruits to a minimum and focus on loving soups and seasonal vegetables. Think steamed and stewed meals such as: stewed apples, steamed squash and chili.

  • Encourage yourself to eat salty, sweet and sour rasas (tastes) this time of year.

  • Bring deep frequencies through your ears with sounds of drums and gongs to balance your body’s rhythm.

  • Follows earths example and wear warm tones such as orange, red, brown and yellow.

  • Savor the abundant harvest of life. Give yourself the gift of grounding and nourishment this season—you’ve earned it!

Rooted Allies

Harvesting roots can be an extremely difficult process, and without proper training and education around harvesting guidelines, I highly encourage you to purchase your herbal roots from a local herb shop or farmer if you can, or get them online from reputable sources such as    Mountain Rose Herbs   .

Harvesting roots can be an extremely difficult process, and without proper training and education around harvesting guidelines, I highly encourage you to purchase your herbal roots from a local herb shop or farmer if you can, or get them online from reputable sources such as Mountain Rose Herbs.

In Autumn, some of our most supportive herbal companions are the roots! Autumn is the time for harvest and digging because the Earth has provided it’s underworld webs with so much nutrients over the course of Spring and Summer. This is one of the most generous seasons. Roots of a plant are quite simply the life force for it- think of it as a strong spine. It reminds me of a gentle metaphor where we can remind ourselves that because this is the “Rooted Season”, it gives us the ability to root ourselves indoors and to practice self love. There are 3 major roots that are recommended during this time of year and that is Dandelion Root, Burdock Root and Yellow Dock.

  • Dandelion Root- Dandelions are a plant that almost every person seems to want to get rid of. They grow in abundance, but they are the most undervalued plant there is. They bring the first sign of spring, and the whole plant can be used to support the body in spectacular ways. However, now that the summer sun and rains have finished falling upon the flower, all of those nutrients have been sent to the roots quietly hanging around underneath the soil. Dandelion root is bitter. However, the bitter, the better. Dandelion root is a powerful diuretic, stimulating kidney function as well as the movement of bile from the gallbladder and liver.

  • Burdock Root- While Burdock is not as hated as our dear friend Dandelion, he is still very much still considered a “weed”. Burdock is known as a powerful alterative supporting liver health. It has been used for all types of skin ailments, including eczema- which brings me to the fact that Burdock can be super supporting during our times of dryness. Additionally, this herb is also bitter, and is also known as a “blood purifier”, as evidence now supports its ability to rid the liver of environmental and chemical toxins.

  • Yellow Dock- Hello, we have another bitter herb! Traditionally, yellow dock has been used as a laxative, alterative, a mild liver tonic and a nourishing herb for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Greatly enough, people love to take Yellow Dock for its ability to increase iron levels for those who suffer from iron deficiency because the plant itself is a vegetable source for iron! .

So, don’t fret dear one. Spring and Summer have passed, but ahead of you lies such a beautiful season full of love, nourishment, grounding and solitude. Use this time to focus on you, start a new hobby, catch up on our collection of books or do anything that brings out the most authentic loving rooted self. You deserve this time of peace and pause, and the best part about it all? Sunshine is always one sleep away.