The Way Beyond Death
In autumn, we embrace the dying. As the leaves grow spotted, then yellow and aflame, we watch the world around us begin to wane. We’ve grown so accustomed to the idea of autumn, the disappearing of the green, that we forget how truly profound it is. For those of us in the deciduous belt of the world, every year we witness the living world around us die. And in doing so we begin to glimpse what lies on the other side— the way beyond death.
Every time we are witness to a death in our life, we are simultaneously studying its mirror— the life that waits for us on the other edge. Whether that’s the death of a relationship, a dream, or a loved one. When we watch something we held so close begin to fade, we come into contact with the undercurrent that flows beneath the ending. The realization that, even in the leaving, something new arrives. That life continues, even after death.
What happens when everything from your above-ground life curls in on itself, falls to the earth, and is set aflame? Autumn helps us to see that this clearing out is not only natural, it is how we touch the beyond. It is how we learn to live, not in spite of death, but in celebration of the paradox of that borderless border.
For many cultures throughout the world the West was emblematic of the beginning that lurks just beyond the end. The West is the place where the sun sets, the mysterious time of darkness that precedes the dawn. For the Celts, who believed that a new day began at sunset instead of sunrise, the West was the way beyond death. It was where the ancestors lived and where the Otherworld waited for our return.
During autumn we enter the western part of the wheel of the year, and everything this evocative time can bring us. Like the wind whistling through the crevices of your life, there is a high musicality to this time. A symphony of integration and understanding that can come in when we approach this season with intentionality.
On a deep, intuitive level, we all know the themes of this season as well as we know our own bones. But something really magical happens when it’s dug up like a root and exposed to our awareness. We can work with it in a way that is even more profound.
In my new video The Medicine of the West, we explore all the hidden realities of autumn and how you can harness this time to navigate into the deep spiritual waters it brings.
I just rewatched this video yesterday and last night I had dreams that showed me exactly how my life is mirroring these deep seasonal powers. I woke up feeling clearer than before and ringing like a bell— it’s real, these themes. They are as alive as the western wind, you must only let them enter you.
And if you want even more profound guidance and doorways into this powerful time, check out my online class, Herbs for the Otherworld.
Over and over again we hear from students that this class was “absolutely life-changing”, and that it opened a gateway of real-life connection with the Otherworld that they never thought possible. Come visit the course and see for yourself.