This is the time of the year to summon the energy of courage. We are getting ready for the winter to descend on us with its cloak of chill and rain. We must collect our wood for the fires that will keep us warm. The wood of the soul is our courage, our yang energy.
For children this energy is found in the elements; in the exercise of running and playing in them, swimming and immersing in the waters which already seem too cold.
In the mornings the cool mist is settling with the edges of winter breathing close by. Cold tendrils reach into our valleys and spread across the land with the darkness of the night fading slowing in the morning light. But the sun breaks and dissipates the mists, casting a spell over us helping us to forget that winter is coming.
Clear skies and warm sunshine can easily lull us from our winter preparations. Autumn’s energy is the gathering of power, the summoning of our inner resources so that we can be ready to retreat with the winter months to our warm homes.
It roars, this autumn energy, with cold winds blowing in from the ocean. As the wind gathers in strength it shows us how the building of the reserves of courage is formed in the roaring. So take your children out for the last of these blissful days of warmth and energise them with nature.
For yang energy to fully develop it needs expression and that needs space. Nature activates us and gives our bodies experience of a wider range of challenges than our modern homes can provide.
In autumn actively increase the occasions you take your children out into nature. Be mindful of your intention; to ground them and strengthen them, building their access to their yang energy which will have many benefits as winter descends. This intention will enfold you and will encourage your adult body out of its place of busy or comfortable retreat. In nature there are no distractions to fulfil and we can meet our children on terms of mutual benefit and lots of unexpected fun can be had.
A great place to take children in autumn is the beach. You will be rewarded with hardier children, acclimatized more effectively to the coming winter. Ocean water gives our bodies a boost of minerals and strengthens the immune system. Even if the changing weather has already affected your child’s general health, the salty air of the ocean will help heal even sick lungs. (Though the time spent at the ocean would need to be very short.) Generally encouraging children to swim in any waters at this time of year helps build this resilience in them.
It is the theme of autumn, this gathering of energy, this storing of the wood of our family’s soul. There are many ways of doing it. Sleeping outside on clear, sharp, cold nights is a great activator for children’s beings at this time of year. They become inspired by the change of perspective that this spontaneous garden camping can bring.
Cooking an evening meal by a fire outside is a wonderful way of fostering the dragon energy in children. Make really simple meals that they can cook such as pieces of meat cooked on sticks, potatoes cooked in the ashes, damper or apples on sticks. Children really gain a lot of personal power from cooking their own individual things on a fire together with family or a few friends.
Mornings are also great occasions to experience the changing season. Children love to go for surprise walks in autumn mornings. It is entrancing to walk through the mists that trail magic through the breath of the cold morning air. The activation of interest in the mysteries of changing seasons is aided by parents looking for the signs themselves and finding their own wonder.
Reawakening the sleeping dragon of our childhood memories is met with great enthusiasm from our children who love to find us face to face in their dimension of now-time.
Drum up the dragon energy for your whole family; roar with it. Visit nature and exercise pushing past your comfort zones. Run leaping with joy into this season of magic. Find your heart warmed by the heat of courage as you allow spontaneous energies to guide your family into nature’s smorgasbord of opportunities for fun and adventure.
Kristi McMullan has been a parent at Golden Hill for many years and has a unique and wonderful way of incorporating Steiner philosophies into her life. Click here for Kristi’s Earth Parenting Facebook page.
If you would like to share your ideas, thoughts or visions for what a Roaring Autumn might mean for you, we would love to hear from you.
For more on how the Golden Hill School and parent community find ways to welcome in the season’s change click here