November is the dark, mysterious void. It is the time between the end + the beginning. It is not the old year… we left that behind on Halloween/Samhain. But, it is not yet the new year either – at least not the traditional calendar’s New Year. It is a dark void. Another place. An in-between space. Liminal. Mystical. I often feel that November is filled with nothingness. However, as I have begun to actively live in rhythm with the seasons, I understand that November is actually filled with great potential.
This is the month that, for me in the Nordic country of Sweden, the darkness becomes overbearing. The days are gray, cold, raw, and so very dark. The sun rises later + sets earlier every single day. The trees lose the last of their colors, leaving them bare like skeletons. And the world is filled with browns, grays, and blacks. The season of Darktide is upon us.
I often hear people talk about surviving November. Their goal is to make it to December where the holiday mood begins in full force, twinkle lights pop up everywhere, and the world becomes a magical, almost hopeful place… waiting for the celebration of the Christmas, the solstice, and a brand spanking new year. There are parties + food + music + holiday joy.
But, November. It’s just a black hole. A dark void of nothingness. So, how do we survive? Is it even possible to transform the negative feelings of this month and instead make the most of the dark void of November? And I don’t suggest decorating for the holidays early or skipping over November, as tempting as that may be. Instead, I challenge myself (and you) to hold out + to really be present all month long.
November is what it is. It is difficult to face. And there’s no changing that. But, we neeeeeed this void.
In order to begin a new cycle of life, a new year, and a new journey of growth, we need the void. Because, here’s the secret… everything begins in the void. So, that’s why I want you to meet me in the void. To dare to embrace the dark void of November + to squeeze out all of the mystery, mysticism, and wisdom it has to offer.
November is a month for deep introspection. The void provides us the perfect setting for engaging in slow, quiet moments of contemplation. It is the perfect time for deep inner work. And for rest – after the crazy, wildness of Halloween + before the hustle + bustle of the holidays.
And, now that we’ve fallen into the mood of the void, there’s a bit more that I want to share with you.
Yes, November is the dark void of nothingness, grayness, and cold, dreary days of mystery. And it is hard to deal face the 30 days of this month. But, the vibes beg of us to turn inward.
With that in mind, though, I want to create another mood. Perhaps the deeper, truer mood of November.
And that is the mood of gathering. Of coming home. Literally, of coming inside since the cold, dark days + nights of late autumn + early winter are slowly coming. But, of also coming home to ourselves. Mother Earth has turned toward her season of rest. So, now, we can too.
This is the time of the year that is meant for all kinds of gathering. We gather the last of the nuts + berries + leaves on the ground, hunters gather meat to be used all winter long, we gather together in our warm, cozy home with candles lit. We gather around the table to nourish our bodies with thick, hearty soups + casseroles made from earthy vegetables. We gather around the fire to tell stories and to sip wine + whiskey. We gather on plush sofas + chairs with blankets + books + hot chocolate. We gather together to laugh, play games, watch movies, bake, give thanks and to just be together.
I believe that we are meant to use this void to reconnect to everything that is simple + real + good. Like time together. Good food. Good wine. Even if we are only 2 people gathered together. Even if we are enjoying these cozy moments in solitude.
Speaking of solitude, we can still gather when we are on our own. And, this is the absolute deepest way to embrace the void of November. This is the time that we can come inside, get cozy, rest, reflect, and gather up everything that is in our soul. It is the perfect setting, mood, and time to drop way down into the mystery of our own soul and begin to gather our own secrets, wisdom and powers that help us know how we want to live our lives + how we hope to grow when the spring months arrive again.
As I gather in the dark mysteries of November to search my soul + cozy up in my home, what I want to do is to turn off all outside influences. I want to put the books down, ignore all the rules, and just figure out what I feel. I want to land in the quiet darkness and find time to listen to my ancestors, nature, and my intuition. I want to listen, feel, create.
As much as we hate to admit it + as much as life seems to not support it, November provides us with some much needed downtime. Time that, if we use it to gather in the void, gives us a chance to self-reflect and plan for our next great move. While we may miss being outside on those long, warm summer nights, these long, dark nights of the void give us the opportunity to spend some very special time with ourselves and our loved ones.
November is the void, yes. But it is a deeply spiritual space. Because this is the place where everything really begins. This is the reset. The womb. The place where we drop our roots way down + nourish our souls with rest, reflections, mysticism, inspiration, quiet, silence, and darkness so that we can rise up, ready to embrace life even more than ever before.
This is the mystical void that guides us to unearth our own ancient wisdom within. There is nothing else to do except to just be when you’re in the mystical, liminal, space of the void. And that is exactly what we need after a year of activity, growth, and release. We need this time to return home. To rest + contemplate + give thanks. It may feel like absolutely nothing is happening, but we are like the trees + the flowers, we are part of nature, and our bodies want to slow down + hibernate. Our souls need these dark times to reconnect, re-anchor, and remember who we truly are.
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my heroes + inspirations – Joseph Campbell. He captures everything I want to say about why we need November’s void. So, come inside my friend, make a warm cup of something and settle into November. It’s gonna be a deep, dark one.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. If we fix on the old, we get stuck. When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction. Hell is life drying up. The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed. If we are hanging onto the form now, we’re not going to have the form next. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Destruction before creation.”
From A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
Don’t forget THE GATHERING, my 30 day creative photo journey on social media through November. Meant to help us all be a bit more present during these dark days + nights.