This is part 1 of 4 in our The Wild Side series.
The crisp leaves fall, the snow rises up in a glittery dance, the spring blossoms wet with dew hang in delicate precarity, and the blistering sun offers a warm blanket through its cloudy overcoat.
Life changes with the season, yet we fail to ask this question:
What life-changing season am I in?
In D&D the druid is well attuned to the changes of nature and the particulars of a season to a specific climate that they safeguard. The climate provides the bounds of seasonal variation and sets the guardrails for what flora and fauna best survive in its embrace. And while the climate might certainly change, the seasons offer a more pronounced variation that marks how life moves through a cycle of birth, growth, decay, and compost - much like our own lives.
For many folks, there are only four such seasons observed - spring, summer, Autumn, and winter. For those spending more of their time indoors in a corporate environment, these seasons might be named Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 – which feels particularly disenchanted.
Yet, even with these dividing lines, time seems to slip away and we miss the beauty and nuance of all of those moments that make up a larger season. Change in our lives feels more like shifting gears in a car than a gentle unfolding of our experiences moment to moment.
In the traditional Japanese calendar, they mark out 24 divisions of time, or sekki, then split into 3 for a total of 72 kō that last for five days each. Each of these small periods has a poetic name of its own to reflect the changes of nature, such as “Bush warblers start singing in the mountains (February 9-13).” Reading the calendar is less of an act of organization and more a practice of poetry marking the ebb and flow of life. Together, the microseasons tell a beautiful and immersive story of the whole year.
How would you describe your year if you used the same microseasons approach?
What changes or shifts would describe your last five days (like the kō)?
What name would you give the last fifteen days as a whole (like the sekki)?
What story begins to become clear when your year is understood in this way?
Understanding seasons as a set of divisions might enable us to plan, predict, and anticipate. Seeing them instead as descriptive periods of activity puts us in a position of observing and celebrating the currents of change that constantly flow around us. If we continue to feel into those waves, they can carry us forward to further, deeper transformation.
Much like an artist, defining the seasons of our life in retrospective gives us permission to honor our growth, our struggles, our triumphs, and our natural resilience to find our way forward through it all. The marking of seasons is a pause and an inflection point that invites us to celebrate transition from who we were to who we are becoming.
After all, the seasons are not just the changing of the environment around us, they are the changing of our own inner world – an intimate reflection of the natural world we call home with its own times of rebirth, growth, decay, and death.
For when one season ends, another season begins. Change is always chasing us around the next corner.
Autumn & Jerod