Season of Remembrance

Here at 55 degrees North days are getting shorter and darker as the traditional Season of Remembrance approaches. Towards the end of this month we’ve Hallowe’en / All Hallow’s Eve, All Souls or All Saints Day, followed in November by Guy Fawkes’ Bonfire Night and Remembrance Sunday – celebrations for all our lost loved ones, our ancestors and the nation’s armed servicemen and women. Amongst these ceremonies we include homage to the dark side, mischievous ghosts and ghouls of nature and the city and the ancient spirit of protest as honoured in the famous failed gunpowder plot. Celebrations from varied cultures and religions, here and abroad, share similar themes; Jewish Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement – and the Mexican and South American Day of the Dead.

So this is a good season to practice remembrance and traditionally to do this with artistic flair and creativity; food, colourful decorations, costumes and pageantry and in quiet prayer and meditation.

Earth-Spirit-chanting.jpgearth spirit chanting

Here are some questions you might like to ask yourself:

What is it that I need to remember?

What have I forgotten as the year has sped along?

Who could I remember and appreciate?

What do I need to remember so that I act differently in the future?

Who could I forgive and whose forgiveness could I seek?

Can I bring to mind all those I have loved, lost, hurt or been hurt by, and send them my heartfelt good wishes?

Art Project
Make your own commemorative wreath of branches, leaves, dried or seasonal flowers and fruits, photos, mementos, quotations. Take time over the weaving together aspect of wreath making as a symbolic binding in body and memory of our good thoughts and intentions.

You could commemorate a special person for their unique gifts, personality, achievements, life.

And here we are also currently being bombarded with the vocabulary of CRISIS fear, panic, MELTDOWN, depression, recession?

How do we avoid overwhelm and denial to remain awake and able to act with clarity?

Remembrance Exercise
Here is an exercise to try:

Preparation: place reminders of your loving support system nearby – e.g., photo of family, spiritual teacher, special safe place, religious symbol. Create a safe quiet place for about 30 minutes.

Bowls.jpgremembrance bowls each made in or from clay of a special place, holding stones or seeds from a special place

Tune into each of your most troubling afflictive emotions, one at a time.

Begin with one that feels close to you right now, for example, fear.

Invite it to visit you, to conjure its currents in your body; its sensory associations in your mind, feel it as fully as you can. Sit with this in an attitude of curiosity, getting to know it and how it works in you.

Then ask your senses and imagination “What colour is the medicine, the antidote for this?”

Go with whatever colour presents itself to you – this can take practice and will depend on whether you are a natural visualiser – for some it may come more as thought.

Then colour a small area, 2 – 3 cm. square or circle (more if you need to) with this colour, allowing tonal variations as it plays within and around you as you ‘look’ at it.

Quietly look at and breathe in the colour and notice what happens with the emotion, and if you receive any unexpected insights.

Does a word or phrase arise in connection with the healing colour?

Repeat this with several emotions in one session or explore them individually at separate times.

Make your own colour cards, poster or colour wheel to look at – reminding you of some inner imaginal remedies for disturbing emotions.

Or combine all these important colours in a single image – like a flower.

At the end you might like to tune in to see if there is one single colour that has a special healing quality for you – your ‘constitutional’ colour remedy – personally I found this a very interesting, surprising and helpful process – I’d be interested to know how you get on.

And as with the Harvest Mandala, you might want to remember that your wealth, qualities in your life are not so dependent on finance. All the skills, talents, connections, even the longings you have.

Gather these up into a symbolic bundle as a reminder of how rich every life is.

Red cloth is traditional in many cultures for protective power and is often used to wrap important spiritual objects in – like our memories.

And then of course it is also wonderful sometimes to forget ourselves, let our loved ones fly free, and dance round our autumn fires, releasing fixed self images and old habits to the flames and smoke, dancing with whoever we find there, like the swirling sparks, alive.

Invitation to Join Our Discussion Forum
Do please share your experiences and discoveries on the forum – you may inspire someone else and pick up a new idea to try. Visit: /forums and contribute to the thread, Art Therapy. You’ll need to register with a username and password first, then click on the link to our private Global Family forum.

Beverley A’Court
October 2008

To find out more about Beverley and her work

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