Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Fabric Between

"For these beings, fall is the only normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond." - Something Wicked This Way Comes. Ray Bradbury

There is something special and unusual about this time of year. I've always loved the Fall; Halloween in particular. The child in me relishes in any opportunity for dressup and mischief. However, lately I've thought more deeply about these feelings and want to share.

The Halloween we know in the USA means costumes, candy, toilet paper and shaving cream to most. In other cultures the holiday is tempered and is a prelude to the celebration of All Saints' Day. However, the fact that other, non-Christian cultures and religions have many sacred days during this time speaks to the distinction of this transition from Summer to Winter.

Something else I've noted about the Fall relates to my work. I am an Orthopedic Surgeon and take ER call at some community hospitals. Beginning in late September, I see a spike in the number of older folks who break their bones. Most of the fractures are hip fractures which occur with very little trauma. It's well-known in my field that a hip fracture is "the harbinger of death," meaning that about 30% of older people who have a low-energy hip fracture will die within the year afterwards. Before people like me were around to fix hip fractures, mortality would be closer to 100% for this population.

Makes sense: in the Fall the weaker animals in any society will pass on as they might not survive the tough Winter months. Humans are animals, after all. Why shouldn't this rule apply to us?

But I believe there is something more to this. Our weather right now is not brutal. There's little difference inside the home of the 90 year-old woman between late August and early October. So why does her hip break now? What force has called this woman to her death sentence? And does she want to go?

In my yoga studio we have a "focus of the month." For October we discuss Halloween and it's implications. The Yogic philosophies, too, bring forward the increased spiritual presence of this time. We are taught that there are forces larger than us who work with us through our practice and allow us to do things we did not think we could not in our conscious mind. There are things we cannot see which support and help us. And, in turn, we as spiritual beings support and help others through the energy we create in our practice.

This season electrifies me. I feel a vibration in the air that does not exist at other times.

Are all of these separate things linked? Yes. Does the tilt of the Earth during the Autumnal Equinox do something to us that creates this energy? Do things happen here on Earth for reasons we cannot explain? I believe so.

The fabric between our tangible, touchable existence and the strong spiritual world becomes thinned during this time. The spirits that hover around us can touch us and move us to do things we might not be able to do at other times. These same spirits might be calling to my older fracture patients, telling them to come up and join them. And some of these ghosts tell us to dress up and eat candy.

Perhaps they are the lucky and blessed ones who are called away from our world at this time. I know that my Aunt Odette, who died today, is a pure soul whose life was lived in simplicity and innocence. And she is called to be with her mother and the other nurturing spirits just on the other side of that fabric. And in my heart I know she is at peace.

Namaste and Happy Halloween.

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