Spiritual Reflections for OCTOBER 2022 – IN-GATHERING


peaceful walk through a hillside, lakeside meadow toward sun over mountains - Pearrygin Lake State Park, Washington, USA

Before the new month begins,

it can be helpful to take stock

of upcoming holidays/holydays,

so we’re ready to approach them

with more intentionality.


Here’s a partial list of major observances* in OCTOBER 2022:
  • Thu. 9/15/22 – Sat. 10/15/22: Hispanic Heritage Month

  • Mon. 9/26/22 – Wed. 10/5/22: Navaratri – Hindu celebration of the victory of the Mother Goddess Maa Durga over the demon Mahishasura, observed via storytelling, performances, prayer, music, ceremony, fasting, and feasting

  • Tue. 10/4/22 – Wed. 10/5/22: Yom Kippur – Jewish celebration of atonement and forgiveness, observed via prayer, fasting, and reconciliation

  • Fri. 10/7/22 – Sat. 10/8/22: Muslim celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday

  • Sun. 10/9/22 – Sun. 10/16/22: Sukkot – Jewish celebration of harvest-time

  • Mon. 10/10/22: Indigenous People’s Day – U.S. celebration of First Nations (Native American/American Indian) cultures and heritage, formerly (and still in some places) misnamed Columbus Day

  • Fri. 10/21/22 – Tue. 10/25/22: Diwali – Hindu festival celebrating the victory of light over darkness, observed via lamp-making, performances, prayer, music, ceremony, fasting, charity, and feasting

  • Mon. 10/31/22: International celebration of Halloween/All Hallows Eve


It can also be helpful to look at

common themes and reflection and conversation prompts,

to provide more of a center for our spiritual experience.

May we learn to hold these questions in our hearts,

not just this month, but all year long.


For the month of OCTOBER, one theme might be IN-GATHERING

With the end of Summer, many of us have felt a definitive shift in the rhythm, busyness, and orientation of life. Now immersed in the nostalgic romance of Autumn and looking to the holiday-packed months ahead, we may find ourselves in a more contemplative mindset, our awareness turned to our quiet, inner dimensions. We are collecting ourselves.


This interior harvest coincides naturally with the agricultural one. We can now take stock of our experiences these last few months, distill our most potent learnings, and ready ourselves for the fresh wave of activity on the horizon. In this, we must let go of the superfluities that still claim our attention and refocus on the most basic of basics: the people and natural elements that enable us to be here, and compassion to each other. These are the sacred grounds on which our future will stand.


I offer some reflection questions and conversation starters:
  • What nourishes your sense of nostalgic, Autumnal romance, your contemplative mindset, and your ability to feel ready for the coming months?

  • How can you honor the luminous cultural contributions of people of Hispanic descent to our world?

  • How can you better recognize the active presence of First Nations people and their reclamation efforts in your community?

  • What have been some of your most potent learnings so far this year?

  • What superfluities have claimed your attention that you want to let go of?

  • What essential people and elements do you want to hold more closely going forward?

  • In what ways have you needed compassion recently, and where have you been reluctant to give it (this is usually a good indication of where it’s needed from you)?


May we all remember IN-GATHERING in our lives!

 

*In this series, A Holyear of Holydays, I focus only on major religious and U.S. civic holidays/holydays that are not named after any one person. This is for the sake of cross-cultural relevance and avoiding unwieldiness.


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