Autumn is a feast for all senses! It is time for collecting seeds and mushrooms, for picking apples, for walking, for sensing a new season of slow and beautiful decay, and for wrapping yourself in warm and soft clothes. Like all other seasons, autumn manifests the cycle of life. It is all about transformation. Autumn is alchemy right before your eyes.
What/who is better at that than fungi?! Fungi are neither plant, nor animal, albeit closer to the latter. This is no single, widely accepted system of fungal classification for mushrooms, yeasts, and molds. Fungi are beyond. They eat rocks. Digest pollution. Nourish and kill plants – and people. Turn ants into zombies. Survive in outer space. Give hallucinations. Produce medicine. Make food. Influence our cognition. Nearly 90% are undocumented. One of them is more than 10 square kilometers wide and somewhere between 2.000-8.000 years old, several hundred tons heavy and resides in Oregon. 400 million years ago, gigantic fungi were for at least 40 million years the biggest living creatures on Earth: Two stories high. Like true alchemists, fungi transform dead material to living by converting hard-to-digest material into something that other organisms can use. Fungi are leading in cleaning up our mess and contributing to a sustainable world.
In autumn, the birds will migrate. I always look up at them with a sinking heart, a feeling of loss, and yet I think: What an accomplishment, as ancient and natural as it can be. With a long and hard journey ahead of them, they stick together to protect themselves and each other, and the leading bird falls back in the flock when it gets tired. Somebody else steps up and takes the lead. No fighting, no power struggle. Shared leadership.
I wish some of our human leaders would do the same to create necessary change and new vitality. Or even be inspired by the awesomeness of fungi.
WALKS AND TEA
On your autumn walks, you can collect common weeds such as dandelion leaves or English or broadleaf plantain leaves and make infusions once you get home (infusion is a strong tea).
Put 30 g of fresh herb and 1L of boiled water (cooled down to 70-80 degrees) in a sealed glass container and remove the herbs after approx. 30 minutes, or later if you wish. Drink the infusion the same day or the following, but no later than that. These strong teas are supportive of your liver (dandelion) and lymphatic system (the plantains). The practice itself is soothing for the nerves and good for the soul.
If you are interested in learning the benefits of herbs and to make your own infusions, oils, and tinctures, I recommend an online course that I have attended @nordiskurtekundskab (in Danish). Many other Insta-profiles share their knowledge, and you can slowly build up your practice.
MEDITATE ON THE LIFE AND SEASONS CYCLE
Calm your mind and meditate on the cycle of life which autumn so beautifully embodies. The Kundalini Sa-ta-na-ma – meditation is simple and very calming. It can be done silently, with closed eyes, even on the train. Or whispered. Sa means birth (spring), ta means life (summer), na means death (autumn) and ma means rebirth (winter). The full Kundalini meditation is called Kirtan Kriya. On sa let thumbs touch index fingers; on ta touch middle fingers, na ring fingers and ma little fingers.
Standing yoga exercises, like The Tree, are calming and grounding.