The online version of our seasonal Tree of Life Cycles newsletter for Falling Leaves 2020.
Falling Leaves | Mabon | Harvest Festival | Autumn Equinox
(Click here to read about the names we chose for the annual cycle of traditional festivals throughout the year, and why we chose them).
We don’t usually start the Tree of Life Newsletters with SoulSchool news, but this time there is an important piece of news relating to the way we are going to run these newsletters from now on!
Just a week or so from now we will be announcing the new website which Will is busy developing – with some very exciting new opportunities for all our existing students and for anyone new who wants to join in! I won’t say any more right now – we want to save it as a big surprise.
Future newsletters will be available on the new website, and the videos and any audio content will also be embedded there. The kind of content won’t change, it’s just you will just get access to it in a slightly different way – and you will always get a notification when a new one has arrived. They follow the seasons and the eight newsletters are spaced around six weeks apart.
My newsletter videos will always include some content relating to the seasonal change, with suggestions for a ritual or an inner journey. Click below to watch the Falling Leaves video now.
Falling Leaves – Autumn Equinox
RETREAT: QUIET: GATHERING IN: CONSERVATION
Whatever you have been planting earlier in the year, whether it is a garden of fruit and vegetables or another kind of creative ‘garden’, this is time for gathering in your harvest, choosing the best fruits for preservation. You will feel an inner calm descending when you let go of the desire to hold on to plans or material things that no longer serve you. Mother Nature has distributed her bounty and now you need to acknowledge the gifts you have been given.
With the change of season comes a natural tendency for quiet evenings, reading or learning, mending and restoring, preparing for longer nights. Find simple activities that will bring pleasure as you retreat, but also look forward to the mid-winter festivities in a few weeks time. If you have gifts to make or buy, or cards to choose or design, then now is the time to make YOUR list and a budget.
The leaves that drift at the edges of pavements and paths are glorious colours, red and gold, reminding us that even when the energy of growth has fallen back, we can still experience immense beauty in Creation. We can take delight even in the wind and the rain, and take pleasure in finding warm clothes and wellies for wrapping up and splashing in puddles.
Falling Leaves ritual
Use a red candle and red, gold and brown autumn leaves you have collected from nearby to create a decoration for your sacred space, whether this a special table or just a window ledge in your bedroom. Set up a date with yourself to review the year so far and look ahead for the next twelve weeks until the winter solstice – at Yule. Allow yourself a couple of hours of quiet time when you can shut the door on the usual business in your household.
Choose some peaceful music. Bring along a diary and your Journal. Spend the time reviewing your life during the last six months – since Sticky Buds (the Spring Equinox). Check how your plans and goals have been unfolding. Decide whether you need to give more time for these to develop, or whether any ideas could be abandoned in favour of plans that might be simpler and faster to implement.
Use your diary to plot out activities you see as necessary during the quiet months – identify what you feel is true to your real purpose in life, and still commands your attention and energy.
Guided Journey: Archangel Raphael – The Healer
RAPHAEL – The Healer
Keywords – Reassurance, harmony, reconciliation, healing, love
Heavenly Body – Venus
Colours – Pink, lilac, lavender
Festival – Falling Leaves
Raphael’s name means ‘healing of God’ – raph is Hebrew for ‘healing’. They are always included in the various different lists of seven archangels of the Divine Presence and is well known as one of the four Archangels of the Directions who watch over Creation.
There are conflicting ideas about which planet Raphael can be associated with. Some occult traditions say the Sun, others Mercury. But Michael is often identified as the Archangel of the Sun, which is appropriate for the ‘commander in chief’ and I believe Gabriel is equally right as Archangel for Mercury, because of Gabriel’s powerful associations with communicating messages. As Raphael is on the passive, feminine, side of the Tree of Life, described as a diplomat, and as a healer and matchmaker in The Book of Tobit, I think it is quite appropriate to assign Raphael to the planet Venus.
Some New Age authors give the colour green to Raphael, but my personal experiences have always brought up the pink, lavender and lilac range of the colour wheel. I think this is because Raphael can be associated with a gentle, soothing quality, such as we experience when we watch the sky at dawn or dusk when the clouds are tinged with all those soft colours (these are also the times when the planet Venus is visible in the sky). Also, the most popular healing crystals are rose quartz and amethyst. However, as I’ve often said, there is no absolute ‘right’ colour for the Archangels — in the end it comes down to your personal experience.
Here’s a guided journey to make contact with Raphael. To get the best out of it, please take a little time preparing, as suggested in this guide.
After coming out of your visualisation, speak the following Invocation to Raphael:
Invocation to Raphael
Raphael, Archangel and Divine Healer, I understand that Divine Love heals all things and I open myself to the flow of this Love. I seek healing for myself, and the inspiration to heal others I meet. Remind me, day by day, that we are all connected, and help me unblock the channels through which Love can flow into my life.
(A bit more) SoulSchool News
As I mentioned above, Will has been developing a new website for SoulSchool and we expect to launch it early October. As a preview, let me just share a couple of delights that will be available:
Grounding your Life Purpose is a 12-week course that you will be able to follow, either as a self-study student or with personal supervision, available mid-October. I call this a ‘Gateway’ course and you don’t need to have already followed The Shefa Method in order to apply – although you will get the deepest and most positive satisfaction if you do have a regular meditation practice.
I’m also going to be offering an eighteen-month supervised Seven-Step Programme. Following this carefully planned sequence of courses will accelerate your spiritual development. It will also – if that is your calling – prepare you for future face-to-face workshops. Obviously, we can’t put definite dates in place for workshops until we see how life settles down over the coming months.
I want to give a big plug for the Scientific and Medical Network, and this will include a recommended movie, website link and books.
I don’t know how many of you have heard of this long-established British network – founded nearly fifty years ago – but they are well worth your attention. On their website at scimednet.org their strapline is: Exploring and expanding the frontiers of science, medicine and spirituality.
Over the decades, SciMed has offered members and other interested visitors really special conferences under the headings Mystics and Scientists, and Beyond the Brain, with a wide range of inspiring speakers, especially including those scientists regarded by their colleagues as ‘heretics’. One very well-known speaker is Rupert Sheldrake, an example of a serious, dedicated scientist who does not dismiss the spiritual dimension.
Many of these conferences have been held in the UK, and geographical and financial circumstances may obviously inhibit you joining in. So – thanks to Covid-19 – here is the good news! Right now the network is offering lots of events online using Zoom technology. You don’t need to be a member to get notifications of events. Tickets come at manageable prices, although they are cheaper for members. Membership is not expensive and concessions are available.
We were recently delighted to receive an invitation to a movie and a book launch, all around the topic of the magic of fungi. So here are a couple of reviews I hope will entice you to look further:
Fantastic Fungi – Directed by Louie Schwartzberg (2019). Includes interviews with Paul Stamets, Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, Eugenia Bone and Suzanne Simard. Can be rented or bought from their website – fantasticfungi.com – YouTube, VUDU, Apple TV, Google Play or Amazon Prime. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TRAILER.
Louie Schwartzberg is a pioneer of time-lapse photography – he is the only cinematographer in the world who has been shooting time-lapse film 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for over three decades. He has made it his mission in life to reveal the invisible marvels of Nature on film, whether they are too small, too big, too slow or too fast to see, and in Fantastic Fungi he brings all his skills to bear.
But Louie’s film astonishes at so many levels. Most obviously, there is the ground-breaking time-lapse cinematography, which reveals the activities of an incredible array of mushrooms and other fungi. It is stunningly beautiful to watch. But mushrooms are simply the fruits of a much bigger – and hidden – network of tiny filaments extending everywhere underground. These are the mycelium, which are shown using amazing cutting-edge CGI. Then a panoply of experts show us how integral fungi are in every aspect of our day-to-day lives, how we could not live without them. How they are literally everywhere, quietly taking care of business. They show us astounding developments in bio-engineering, replacing pesticides, cleaning oil spills, creating new materials for making products, and speculate on the role psychoactive mushrooms may have played in pushing our evolution from apes to self-aware humans, capable of abstract thought and language. This is a visual feast, but also a feast of marvellous facts, ideas and possibilities.
Fantastic Fungi is definitely more than a beautiful showcase of jaw-dropping cinematography. It is a life-changing experience. It is a philosophy. It is an initiation into the metaphorical significance of the mycelium, helping us shift our way of relating to each other and the natural world. At a time when the old order is rapidly fading and we desperately need a new paradigm for organising ourselves, this is a film whose time has come. – Will Shaman.
Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures by Merlin Sheldrake (son of Rupert Sheldrake) – Bodley Head (3 September 2020). Get it on Amazon here (we are not Amazon Affiliates).
I haven’t read this yet! It hasn’t arrived in the post. But I am recommending it on the basis that just a couple of nights ago, Will and I tuned in to the SciMed launch event where Merlin answered lots of questions about the book. He is such a delightful personality – quite a mischievous character who seems very happy to share stories about scrumping for apples with his Dad, Rupert. They wanted to make cider from the fruit of apple trees associated with the famous story in which Isaac Newton ‘realised’ his theory of gravity after an apple fell on his head. The picture, by the way, is a copy of his book, which Merlin soaked in water to grow these oyster mushrooms, which he then consumed. This scientific-cum-performance art-cum-shamanic act typifies his boundless enthusiasm for life and eclectic approach to scientific ideas.
Merlin is a talented and well-trained scientist in the field of biology, but his book is so much more than the story of how invisible networks of fungi underpin ecology. It is a call to realise how the fungal networks teach us to connect with each other. Fungi are highly successful organisms, but they have no centralised organisation, their networks follow threads, flowing with energy, directed towards an effective interlacing of vitality. I’m very much looking forward to reading it.
Here’s a second book recommendation – and I have read this one! I was very please to discover that SciMed are presenting an evening with the author, Jeffrey Kripal, an American religious studies professor. The date for this talk is 7 October, 7.30 BST. If you sign up for their newsletter you will get invitations to all similar events.
The Flip: Who you really are and why it matters by Jeffrey J. Kripal – Bellevue Literary Press (2019). Get it on Amazon here (we are not Amazon Affiliates).
I came across Jeffrey Kripal because I follow a YouTube channel called New Thinking Allowed, with an American parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove, who interviews lots of very interesting authors. Jeffrey Kripal is a professor of religious studies, also interested in bridging the apparent gap between empirical science and the so-called ‘paranormal’. This short, easy-to-read book explains how people, including scientists, can experience a ‘flip’ in their usual mind-set when some kind of unusual experience prompts them to see the world with new eyes. The ‘flip’ happens when someone gets a direct realisation that mind precedes matter, and not the other way round. Consciousness is not the product of brain cells. Consciousness is… Well, it just is!
Related books and events…
Having just delved deep into The Flip, I was delighted to discover that Jeffrey Kripal will be a guest on a Science & Medical Network event coming up very soon, Wednesday 7 October at 7.30 BST. So I’ll be there for the Zoom meeting! Then I’m lining up for an evening with Anne Baring, co-author with Jules Cashford of The Myth of the Goddess (all lovers of the Divine Feminine should own a copy of this classic book), will be the Science & Medical Network guest on Wednesday 14 October, again from 7.30 BST. I know Anne because, in the past, I’ve run meditation and Angels Script workshops in her house near Winchester. Anne, now in her eighties, is a wise elder worth listening to. She worked for many years as a Jungian analyst and has a breadth of research from many years of study. Her book, Dream of the Cosmos (2013) is highly recommended as well. This visionary autobiography includes many of Anne’s dreams and an archetypal history of the Divine Feminine. Now she is re-emerging after being side-lined for many generations, Anne Baring is calling us to embrace a sacred vision of reality that is supported by new advances in science.
I do hope you will discover the rich treasure house of offerings through Jeffrey Mishlove’s free-to-watch YouTube channel, and also join the Science & Medical Network’s newsletter so you keep up with their very special events, presenting some of the leading experts in the fields of science, medicine and spirituality.
Will and I need to get back to revising the website and preparing new courses for you. Falling Leaves coincides with the Rosh Hashanah festival, so we wish you a joyful Autumn season and a Happy New Year!