Giving Thanks

~ Sarah Knight, PhD, RM

Traditionally, autumn is a time of harvest. The seeds that were lovingly planted in the spring have come through their bloom complete to fruition, and in this we celebrate. The “horn of plenty” image that is so strongly associated with Thanksgiving is symbolic of our cups and tables overflowing with the bounties of nature. Bounties that men and women, as creatures of agriculture, invested much time and energy in, knowing that the return would come in the form of deep nourishment.

The ancient Celts of Ireland celebrated harvest time with a festival called “Lughnasadh” (pronounced loo-nah-sah) – a festival of light, with “Lugh” frequently referenced as the Sun God. They marked this time of year as one of great importance, where not only the light and the harvest was celebrated, but also the coming of the dark and the death of the crops. They had a deep understanding of the cycles of life, and knew that the “end” – that is the return of seed and energy to the soil – was necessary in order for there to be new beginnings.

As is with the land, so it is with us. We are connected to the greater energy system of the earth, and what is crucial to our own annual cycles of death and rebirth is a marking of our harvests. Take some time to contemplate…what projects, relationships, or situations have you put energy into this year, that you are reaping the rewards from now? What do you need to keep on putting work in to and what do you need to let go of? Really notice these areas, and give gratitude to the harvest, to the teachings you gained along the way, to yourself for all your hard work, and to anyone or anything else that supported you.

Contemplate also the areas where you put your energy that did not lead to a fruitful harvest. Take time to notice why – perhaps something else got in the way, or perhaps this turned out to not be the right crop for you to be putting energy into. Be thankful for the opportunity to learn from these, as like any farmer will tell you…a successful harvest often involves leaving lots of room for doing things differently the next time!
The energy of gratitude is like a loving dig in the soil for the groove that we drop our new seeds into. By simply noticing, and reflecting on, what harvests you are grateful for, you are putting some energy into the seeds that you are planting for next year’s horn of plenty. Seeds that will spend the winter in rest, gathering energy in preparation for the germination of next year’s crops.

So…what do you give thanks for this thanksgiving?