Drinking Sky: An Autumn Ritual for Deepening
There is an exquisite poetry in the ways heaven and earth devotedly flow back into one another, like divine lovers losing and finding each other over and again. Through their undying love, the Ceremony of Life continues through the turning of each season. Each one of us is a participant in this great love affair.
We have just crossed the threshold into fall and the full moon is pulling the ocean of our inner tides in ways that can be unsettling. Yet amidst this turmoil is a quiet reflectiveness under the grey sky. A light breeze is lyrically undressing the yellowing leaves from Weeping Birch’s smooth, silvery body while rain spills all around like gentle tears, embraced by earth upon its return home. I feel how this simple witnessing opens some movement within and I find a way to let go into this transition, settling more deeply into my body. Stillness. Quiet. Completion.
Autumn signifies a time of releasing, pruning, composting and ending where life is stripped down to bare essentials. Moving down and in, we return to our roots so that we may conserve our vitality. In the darkening of the light, the spirit realm becomes more available to our awareness. Our eyes adjust and we learn to see with the inner eye while the animal body comes alive, helping us sense what we cannot see. We feel, sniff, listen, and move slowly down to the source of water where we are nourished and baptized. Here, the seeds that we have harvested from previous seasons can gestate for as long as they need. Mortal time surrenders to the timeless.
In Linda Hogan’s book, Dwellings, she describes taking a walk with a friend after a recent heavy rain. They stopped where there was a bowl naturally carved into stone filled with rain water. She describes how she and her friend “drank sky from the surface of the water”.
When we ‘drink sky’ we imbibe waters that are approximately 4.5 billion years old. They have touched life forms that no longer exist, ancestors known and not known, mountains, stones, mineral rich caverns deep within earth’s belly, marshes, streams, rivers and seas. We touch sky and cloud as these waters rise up to the heavens until they they follow gravity back down to earth as rain and snow to nourish life on earth once more.
When we drink sky, we are nourished by this incredible voyage which also happens within our own bodies and psyches—where over and over, season after season, we rise and fall along a great journey that works us, changes us, forms us over lifetimes.
To honor this sacred time of deepening, letting go, loss, transition, spaciousness and settling, I offer this simple ritual you can do alone or with a loved one. Make it your own.
The next time it rains, set out a special cup or bowl that fits nicely into your cupped
hands and set it out to fill with rain water. Let the sound of raindrops falling speak to
you and nourish you. Show your gratitude for the incredible journey the water has taken
to be here with you right now, and all that it has touched along the way.
Take a moment to consider the earth from which the cup is made—its life and history,
the plant and creature beings who lived on and in that earth and all the seasons it has
lived through and bore witness to. Show your gratitude.
Then shift your attention to the hands that shaped the cup, the heart and soul of those hands
and all that the being they belong to has lived through, their hopes and dreams, longings
and losses. Bless this heart and soul and show your gratitude.
Now consider the fire in which this cup had to pass through in order to become strong
enough to serve as a vessel able to contain all that is put into it.
Once there is just enough water to take several small sips from, take it to a place inside
or outside that feels sacred to you. Sit silently for a moment, letting your full weight
surrender to the earth. She is always holding you whether you are aware of it or not. Take a moment to really feel yourself being held.
Notice how your breath rises and falls naturally, seamlessly joining your inner and outer
world. Notice how breath moves like spirit and enlivens physical life.
Take a moment to acknowledge all that you have been carrying in your body, mind and
heart, neither indulging nor denying. Simply give it some space to just be while
returning to your breath and surrendering more of your weight to the ground supporting
Then notice how you are experiencing the transition of fall and what might be needed
to let go into the medicine of moving downward and inward. Offer tenderness and
spaciousness to the vulnerability that can come with such transitions. Take a moment to
be with whatever comes up and simply offer it your loving presence.
When you are ready, with intention and gratitude, take slow small sips leaving plenty of
space in between each one. Notice how silence lives between each breath as the holy
water of sky trickles down into the earth of your sacred body.
When the cup is empty, take a moment to be still. Notice what is evoked in you and
what felt senses arise. Offer your gratitude in the form of a song, prayer, flowers,
stones, herbs, a deep bow.
With all that is happening at this time we need all the resources we can gather, not only to weather the changes we are undergoing as a planetary culture but to be able to sense deeply into our innermost being for the threads of our gifts—our medicine. I keep hearing the words, “Now is not the time to hold back.” As I listen for how I may best serve with my wholeness, the answer is not always clear or easy and is ever-changing and evolving.
How might life be different if, when in the midst of tumult and change, you felt truly supported and seen? If there were enough room for the full complexity of your feeling world to simply be just as it is? If, through the confusion, resistance and grief someone invited you to sit with her and look out into the darkness together?
Whoever you are and wherever you are in your path don’t be afraid to experiment, or make mistakes. Just know that there are no wrong moves, just the reality of each moment unfolding with opportunities to learn and engage with the wholeness that is our birthright. You matter. You belong. You are loved. The world needs what you have to offer, and no offering is too small.
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ‘Re-membering Wholeness, Belonging and Kinship Through Changing Times’.