I made a decision to embrace Winter and doing so changed my life! I had always tolerated winter reasonably well. As a kid I skied, skated, and created masterpieces (in my own mind) with the plethora of snow we received; growing up in the White Mountains. As a young adult, I admired it from my window, as it piled up outdoors; watching my kids play in it, as I eagerly awaited 'nicer' weather that I could do something in. Having let go of skiing (it was a lot easier and cheaper when I was a kid and my dad built ski lifts and I skied for free), and skating became less often, as the local indoor rink didn't have as much appeal as the outdoor skating I experienced as a kid. Whatever the reason Winter had lost its childhood charm and had become a thing to succumb to like a chore you must endure.
My relationship with Winter began to change when I started living with the Wheel of the Year, choosing to celebrate Earth's changing seasons. At first, it still involved a lot of holing up for the Winter but I changed how I viewed the experience, embracing it as an opportunity to go deep into myself. I studied the metaphysical arts; reading, drumming, creating, and journeying. I went deep with my projects creating wearable art that made winter dressing more fun, and I began searching for warm, winter gear that would make being outside in it more enjoyable.
When the pandemic hit and being home became the 'thing to do!' I took my winter endeavors to another level by building a fire pit close to my driveway; making it easy to get to when the snow banks get high. I started inviting folks over for Winter Fires as a way to gather safely. Soon my winter was filled with drum circles and ritual fires, stories, and laughter. I realized that I didn't need to be athletic or spend a ton of money on gear (although having good boots and ski pants is a plus) to spend time outdoors in the winter. I could plant my storytelling self near the fire, pour myself a hot cup of coffee (from my handy-dandy thermos), and truly enjoy the beauty of snow, cold crisp skies, and the joy of being near a warm fire in the cold!
You do not need to snowshoe, ski, skate or snowmobile to enjoy the beauty of Winter. You simply have to choose to embrace it in your own fashion; whether it be cuddled up near the heater with hot tea and a good book, or gathering your friends around an outdoor fire. The choice is yours...personally, I choose to avoid being miserable as often as possible.
The simplest magic takes place in our minds. It happens through small actions, like choosing to see the beauty of winter, getting close and personal with your bathtub, finding your favorite winter tea, and allowing yourself to embrace the simple pleasures of warm sweaters, cold cheeks, outdoor fires, and crafts. Winter is an opportunity to go deep into one's spiritual cave and explore who we are and who we want to be. Whether you get snow, rain, or just less sunlight Winter is a blessing; giving us the opportunity to go slow, breathe deep, and dream!
One of the ways I give my appreciation and find my own joy in Winter is through decorating my sacred spaces; stringing dried fruit through the trees, lighting Nagini the Stone Snake with beeswax candles (as seen above), offering incense and herbs to the nature spirits and genius locus of the place I call home. (Below is a simple spell for you to try.)
WINTER LAND HONORING SPELL
This magical working is suitable for all ages, making it a fun way to introduce children to the importance of honoring nature. By using biodegradable items we ensure that our magical working leaves no trace, causing no damage to the natural environment. (If you are decorating a land you steward it is ok to use other ornaments as you know you will be the one cleaning things up!)
YOU WILL NEED- A bag of oranges, wax paper, embroidery thread and needle, and scissors (strings of cranberries and popcorn are also great ideas for outdoor decorating), incense, candles, (drums and rattles are nice as well). holiday music on your phone is good too ( I personally recommend 'Jethro Tull's, Songs from the Wood', Hot cocoa or spiced tea in a thermos is a great add-on to this list.
Cut oranges into approximately 1 cm slices, and place on wax paper to dry for 1-2 days. (I like to leave mine in the kitchen window so they can absorb moonlight). As you slice them think about all the wonderful things the land has given to you over the last year.
After drying for a few days use your needle to sew through the orange, tieing the ends to make a loop; big enough to loop it over branches. (4-6" of thread for each orange)
Gather your dried/semi-dried fruit in a bowl and gather your incense and candles and head out into the yard or wood you tend.
When you get to your sacred space; the place you are leaving your offerings light the incense and candles, as you state your intention: I am (your name), and I am here to give my thanks to the Spirit of Place that is this land, and the nature spirits that reside here.
Put on holiday music if you have it on your phone and begin decorating. Make merry and celebrate the land that loves you back! Give blessings with every orange slice you hang!
When the decorating is done, sit back and enjoy a treat and a hot beverage in the sacred space you have created.
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