The dark part of the year is always when I feel the most spiritual. I don’t know whether it’s the quiet, the introspection, the gentle, female, passive energy, or the love of the festivals at this time of the year.
Winter, for me, is a time of death before rebirth. This is not meant as a negative comment. Rather death in the sense of peace, the void, the absence of chaos, the complete and utter stillness of the soul before a vibrant re-invention. It’s a time for snuggling up at home, by the fire, under a duvet, and having time to sit back and smell the coffee, and in a rather more metaphysical sense, contemplate one’s life and review where you are headed and what should be the next move.
Winter is also a blank canvas, as a wise and sadly long-lost friend of mine once pointed out. When the frost, ice and snow come, they freeze away germs and they wipe away the ugliness of the world. They bring an energy of crispness, freshness, all possibilities, and the ability to start over.
There are many things we can do to harness the energy of the season, helping us feel more in flow and unleashing the magick of pure peace, love, compassion and giving on the world.
~ Invigorating winter walks recharge the batteries and connect us with nature, allowing a time of stillness inside for inspirations to pop into our ever-chaotic minds.
~ Making wreaths, or ice wreaths, to decorate our homes and gardens create a sense of welcome, a sense of occasion, and a sense of the sacred energies of both Christmas and Yule.
~ Feeding the birds is a compassionate thing to do, creates good karma, repays nature for the abundance and fortune it blesses upon us in the light half of the year, and brings winged life and hope to your living space throughout the winter months. Birds especially like energy-filled suet treats at this time of year.
~ Creating a gift exchange for Christmas or Yule or both allows you to connect with friends and ensure each person knows how much they are loved and thought of during the year without great expense. Make it a home-made, crafty gift exchange for extra thoughtfulness and to make it all extra-special.
~ Decking the halls with evergreens – pine/spruce tree, wreaths, holly, ivy, mistletoe, poinsettia, and evergreens brings the outside in, along with the promise of life and light to come. Traditionally, such decorations bring protection to the home from dark forces, and some have meanings of their own. Some would believe the festive tree points to the heavens; holly represents masculine energies while ivy represents the feminine, so to have the two creates balance; mistletoe is a symbol of love, romance and fertility.
~ Lighting a candle in the darkness, the simplest of spiritual practices but also one of the most powerful, strikes a flame of hope in the heart – not only yours but anyone who sees it, so place them in windowsills on the darkest of nights, the winter solstice. Burning a Yule log or having an open fire has much the same effect. Make simple candle magick by having each candle represent a wish, or a quality you want to bring to your life. Make some of your wishes universal – for the highest good of all – to create even more good karma, bestow your blessings upon the world, and anchor YOUR light in the darkness.
~ Making and sharing nourishing winter foods with friends and neighbours shows you care and is a real feel-good activity. Google or Pinterest Christmas cookie recipes – there are thousands out there. Use any box and cover with wrapping paper tied with ribbon for an extra festive touch. Don’t forget to make them truly magical with the secret ingredient – love. Say a simple blessing or your wishes for the recipient over the cookie mixture, symbolically sprinkle in love, and/or sprinkle with edible glitter to represent the magick you have woven.
~ Working ice magick means you harness the tremendous creative force of the elements at this time.
~ Giving to those in need – either your money, your time, or your talents – at this time brings light to others. The season is all about giving, and it’s important to give to those who may not always receive. There are many worthy causes and charities out there, and you may have your favourites. But for me, thinking of elderly or lonely friends and relatives, including them in any plans, and bringing a hot drink or lunch as well as a donation to homeless or struggling people trying to busk or earn a crust on the streets, are my ways of being a light in the winter darkness.
~ Making snow creations with your children – snow angels, snowmen, snowladies, snow animals, snowballs, snow sculptures – bring that Christmas magick home to them and make wonderful memories for the future.
~ Searching for and collecting a log in parkland or woodland in January wraps the dark half of the year up nicely. There are many naturally fallen logs after the big freeze and this could be your Yule log when December rolls round again.
I will blog individually about any of these I do this year and in the future, and add to this as I find more magical winter practices over the years.
Coming soon to this page: Imbolc traditions and celebrations.
~ Copyright Silverla StMichael, November 2012 ~