First Day of Autumn
New season, new beginnings!
Today is Sukkot eve AND the first day of Autumn. It's considered a magical yet risky and dark time of transition, which caught me a little off-guard this time, as I'm immersed fully in teaching my week-long course about the Oriental Fragrance Family.
This is the season that replaces growth and abundance with diminishing light. Like a waning moon is preparing itself for a new one. It's a time of uncertainty, reflection and preparation for colder, darker days when natural resources are more sparse and rare... That's the time when one needs to stock-up on all that's needed to survive for the upcoming season, on every level - Physically, this is the harvest season, where stocking up on food, fire-logs begins; and preparing warm clothes as well as getting the shelter protected and sealed against rain, snow and cold winds. From a young age I learnt that the meaning of the holiday of Sukkot is to make us more appreciative of having a permanent home or shelter, rather than a tent of a tabernacle that is open to all winds and rainfall can penetrate it easily from above. Experiencing the first rain in Israel usually happens when we sleep in our Sukkah... It's exciting, even if very uncomfortable. And it's a relief when at the end of the week, we can go into our warm beds and enjoy a sense of security...
Socially, this is the time for families, friends, neighbors and communities to get together, support each other, celebrate and thank for the abundance we're blessed with. And also making sure everyone else who's less fortunate will still not be left behind. In the following week, every Sukkah (and in my case - my home; because I do not have a yard to build one in; and also because I'm not exactly religious - I just like to keep the connection with my ancestors and with the traditions I grew up with - even if just by blogging about them and connecting them to my perfume and artwork). So I hope my humble home will be blessed with guests this coming week and in the future as well.
Spiritually, transitions are a great challenge as they push us forward against our will and against our constant illusion that we have the option of stepping up the ladder of growth, dwelling on the past or being stuck wherever we are. We grow whether if we like it or not, and whether if we accept it or not. And growth is painful, especially because unlike the snake, we don't have the ability to get rid of the old skin completely... So when we grow, we feel the stretching of our soul and it may feel as ugly as stretch marks for a while, but not for long. We will soon feel comfortable and fresh in our new skin and ready to embark onto the next big journey!
Emotionally, this is where perfume and the senses comes into place for me, as I find great comfort and refuge in anything that is fragrant and sensual - from the colours of the changing leaves (regardless of how cliche this is!) to the textures of fall attire (wool, suede, tweed, cardigans and tights all over again) find fall scents to be particularly soothing to my soul. The scent of burning leaves, mossy undergrowth in the forest, the chill of the cooling ocean in the evening, mushrooms, the aromas of spicy pastries and chai tea, roasted vegetables, dried fruit and burning resinous incense.
This holiday I'm going back to working on my Etrog perfume and I'm very curious to see how it unfolds. It's not a particularly autumnal scent, becuase I'm planning on it to be an exotic eau de cologne type of scent; but it is very strongly connected to this season and this holiday and there is no better time to do it!
Happy Sukkot to all of you who are celebrating; and if you live in the city, drop by for some chai :-)
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Location:my back yard