Published November 15, 2007 by
October marked the end of the growing cycle, now completed with the harvesting of the grapes and the making of wine. It was vintage time for ancient Roman farmers, time to clean and fumigate the wine cellar. Early October was a busy time as the farmers gathered in the olives and bunches of ripe grapes. The grapes were then mounded in large batches on special pressing floors in the rural villas, where the pressed juice was then stored in large holding vessels called doliae as next year's wine.
Modern Ritual to Experience Nature and Oneness
Find a secluded place outside to meditate on a quiet October day. perhaps the sacred spot in your garden or a special retreat known only to you. Let all of your senses take in the beauty of nature. Think deeply on these thoughts as the Buddhist monk which that Hanh teaches us to honor this feeling of oneness and connection with nature and the divine:
Contemplate an autumn theme leaf, with its rich red or golden color as it hangs on the branch ready to fall to the ground at the slightest breeze. Consider that the leaf had been a mother to the tree. During the spring and summer, the leaf had worked to nourish the tree. Yet when it falls to the ground, as it must. and returns to the soil of Mother Earth, it continues to nourish the tree. Be comforted in the knowledge the dying leaf will again return to the branch of the tree, soon, next spring.
Modern Ritual to Honor Departed Ones
The final solemn days of October provide an opportunity to reconnect with those who have gone before. We already celebrate Halloween with images of ghosts, goblins, and skeletons connoting the season of death and endings. This is also the time to visit the graves of one's ancestors and bear bouquets of flowers or small offerings to the dead spirits.
Faith and Commitment
The unsettling time of October, the period of death and separation, can be bridged. Hope can be kindled during this somber dark time. Yet, faith and belief in the divine are required, and spiritual commitment is critical. For Apuleius, a Roman author of the second century C.E., and for many Romans, true belief was in the divine goddess Isis. With her, there was no dark abyss, no empty void.