Hello again, 
Today is Samhain, another of the year’s cross-quarter days, at the midpoint between autumn equinox and winter solstice. It's another ancient festival marking the beginning of winter and descent into the dark months; the end of the harvest season and this year’s growth cycle, when herdsmen brought livestock down from their summer pastures and into barns for the coldest part of the year. Samhain honours and celebrates this descent into darkness, welcoming the necessary season of death and composting that makes space for rebirth. Now of course celebrated as Halloween, and proximate to All Souls Day and Day of the Dead, Samhain is an invitation to reflect on death and dying, to embrace the darkness from which all light emerges, and to honour our ancestry.
The beginning of this dark phase of the year also invites us to let go and clear out what is no longer wanted or needed, so that the winter can offer space for reflection and peace, and make way for renewal in the next cycle. We can enter the fertile void: a liminal place in which we can wonder, enquire and feel but don’t yet need to make sense; a space in which seeds of new ideas can emerge but lie dormant, nourished in the dark… (the fertile void is an important concept and phase of our journeys too).
In this spirit we have some audio reflections from Gemma to share with you, some updates from recent collaborations, and some glimmers of hope and inspiration below. We’ll be back in your inbox for the final time this year at winter solstice. 
Til then, with love and hope,
Iris, Gemma, Hadeel, Jo and Lily
New Constellations
Reflections from the void
Surrounded by Samhain’s autumn leaves, Gemma recorded some reflections on the unseasonable warmth of this autumn, her recent conversations with leading thinkers, makers and doers across different sectors, and what we can do to restore our lost connections.
A number of our other audio encounters explore themes relevant to Samhain and the fertile void – including those from grief tender Sophy Banks, healing-centred educator Dr Angel Acosta, and funeral director Poppy Mardall. Explore the growing constellation of encounters at https://newconstellations.co/listen/ or wherever you listen to podcasts (and we always love hearing your thoughts on them).
We are just back from spending a week with the incredible 2022 Yale World Fellows, where we ran a powerful journey in collaboration with Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir (who previously recorded this beautiful encounter). This was the first time we have blended the journey methodology with Hrund’s work on how honing our intuition can help us navigate times of uncertainty. It’s also the first time we’ve run the journey for such a global group – from 16 countries, across every continent – and the richness of the wisdom, the variety and depth of examples and the range of perspectives and approaches that the Fellows drew on was stunning. 
Among the extraordinary autumn colours of Sheffield Massachusetts, we explored the reality of our present moment, what’s obsolete in our current systems that we need to turn away from, how to connect with our intuition or InnSæi to spot the glimmers of the future we want to build and the values that underpin them. We supported each fellow to map their own set of stars or principles to help guide them through transformation towards futures of human and planetary flourishing.
We ran this in partnership with Emma Sky, Director of the International Leadership Centre which was founded earlier this year to support innovative, effective and adaptive leaders to address the most acute and complex challenges facing the world. Applications and nominations are currently open for the next cohort of World Fellows – the team is looking for exceptional leaders from non-elite backgrounds so please help spread the word. You can hear Emma discuss ‘The End of the End of History’ and hear other World Fellows on their podcast too.
Glimmers of a new economy
What would a new economy that serves the future be, look and feel like? Who must be part of this new economy, and of making it happen? Last month, the funder collaborative Partners for a New Economy hosted a gathering in Cambridge, bringing together 90 thinkers, funders and change-makers working in myriad ways across different places and systems to transform our economies. We were there leading a session and created this audio encounter with some of the participants, exploring their dreams for a new economy that would allow all people and nature to flourish, and how we might start building it.
Image credit Marcella Giulla Pace: it took her ten years to capture these 48 colours of the moon.
We have a strange relationship in Western culture with death and grief: too often shutting it away despite the fact it touches all of us. We have seen how exploring our relationship with loss can be a powerful route to hope and possibility, and with Samhain an invitation to reflect on and lean into this, here are a few tools and resources we have found valuable.
Life Support is a beautiful experiential tool helping people have conversations about death and dying (also featuring lovely audio from Jo), while Sophy Banks’s Grief Tending in Community offers tools and workshops creating spaces where “grief is welcome – knowing that without space to grieve, our joy, love, and aliveness may diminish and shrivel”. Stephen Jenkinson and Francis Weller both have powerful bodies of work exploring death and grief (we especially love the books Die Wise and The Wild Edge of Sorrow), while Modern Loss, The Grief Case and The Grief Gang are among platforms modernising and normalising conversations about loss.
End of Life Doula UK is an association of professionals helping people navigate terminal diagnoses and helping demystify death in communities. Ivor Williams (who is part of our Bold Dreams journey) is an associate, as well as a designer working on human-centric approaches to dying, bereavement and grief – he recommends A Beginner's Guide to the End and How to die well among other resources, and writes on his work here.
Much has been said about the grief many of us are feeling around the climate and ecological crises – here is advice from Environmental Psychologist Dr Susie Burke on coping with it. And we have come across many hopeful signals in recent weeks that these are being taken seriously – from a report suggesting “The Climate Economy Is About to Explode” to scientists charting a new course to reach net zero by 2050 and CO2 emissions growing by only a fraction of last year’s big increase. We loved the stories of Panama enacting a Rights of Nature Law and cosmetics company Faith In Nature appointing Nature to its board, we'll follow with interest to see how things shift and if others follow suit. In this piece philosopher Jonathon Keats goes a step further – exploring incorporating the world’s plants and animals into our democratic systems.
Towards Regenerative Resilience is a brilliant playbook from Common Vision and Local Trust exploring different models of community and collective resilience in the face of the many interlocking challenges we are facing, speaking of which we loved the story of how Heeley Trust has been helping create a prosperous, community-led local economy in Sheffield. And our congratulations to the 2022 Cohort of UK Acumen Fellows – leaders from across the UK creating a more just, inclusive and sustainable future. You can keep updated on their impact here.
Some events over the coming weeks that may be of interest: there are still three sessions left in this powerful series of peer learning labs from Healing Justice London, Kate Raworth has a free online lecture coming up for the Schumacher Center, and Rachel Coldicutt will be among speakers at this symposium exploring the future potential and ethics of Web3.
Finally, a beautiful poem for this time, from Mary Oliver: 
In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it 
to let it go. 
Thank you for reading, may this time offer space for reflection and letting go.
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