Winter. Season of darkness, stillness, quietude and cold barrenness. Season of slowing down, of going within and of Shadowcraft. Oftentimes a season of scarcity, where resources can be difficult, if not impossible, to come by.
Historically, I have not been a big fan of Winter. I detest being cold. And I get cold even in warm climates. (I was regularly bundling up during my time in Hawaii.) I have tendencies toward Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I would often find it very heavy on my soul when the amount of daylight available dwindled to a few measly hours a day.
It was during Winter that my depression would rage the loudest and most fierce. Winter is a time when our Shadows can more freely roam about the cabin, fawning for our attention. Before I learned how to meet and engage with my Shadows, this would be a horrifying time of trying to hide from my fears, distracting myself from my perceived failures and generally doing whatever I could to deaden myself so as not to have to deal with them.
It was hard. And it wasn't pretty.
Now, however, I find myself falling a little bit in love with Winter.
I never would have expected this infatuation, yet here it sits all snuggly and cozy with me by the hearth. We've been flirting for a couple years now, Winter and I, and this year I woke up to find myself absolutely smitten with the darkness, the stillness, the quiet.
I've done so much Shadowcraft—over the past four years, specifically—that I am now able to welcome those Shadows that knock on my door asking to come in from the cold on these blustery days and nights. I am able to invite them in for tea, to listen to their stories, and to embrace them with love and compassion.
I have been exploring the Scandinavian concepts of hygge, lagom and others finding inspiration for how I can incorporate more self-care and simple pleasures into my life. This, of course, applies to every season and cycle, but feels especially helpful for me in Winter, considering my rocky history with the season.
I'm enjoying the slowness, too. As a self-proclaimed member of the Turtle Tribe, I like taking a slower approach to life. I like taking my time to do the things I choose to do. I like to savor my moments and my movements when I can. (Of course, I do have impatient and quick-moving moments, as well. I am a Manifesting Generator with a Gemini South Node, after all. But, on the whole, when I'm in flow, I prefer to flow slowly like molasses.) I like having time to process myself and my life and my experiences.
I start feeling the first twinges of nostalgia in late Autumn, and those feelings intensify in Winter. This prompts me to take stock of my life. Winter is my time, as it is for many, to re-evaluate my own personal state of things. I can then make conscious decisions on what to cull and what to curate moving forward. Curation is a big theme for me right now, and I'm grateful for this Winter's womb to allow me the space and time to give it the consideration needed to do it well.
What is your relationship to Winter, gentle reader? Do you love the cold, the darkness, the barrenness? Or do you hide under your covers just counting the days until Spring returns new life to the earth? Either way, I thought I'd share a few of the ways that I find some bliss in Winter, in hopes that they might bring you some, too.
My Current Favorite Ways To Make Winter Wonderful:
Create Cozy – I love the warm glow that only fire can provide. And in Winter, it feels especially welcome. A working fireplace can be a blessing in Winter providing both heat and ambiance. But, if a fireplace isn't available, (and even if it is) I'm all about candlelight. Tealights, tapers, pillars, they're all good in my book. In addition to fire, or as an alternative if open flames aren't allowed, battery operated candles, fairy lights and incandescent bulbs create a cozy environment for both moments of quiet solitude and cheerful social gatherings. (Plus, this type of warm lighting is far better for the body than the harsh blue light of LEDs.) Add to the lighting some soft music, inviting textiles and scents of the season (evergreens, peppermint, firelogs, toast) and suddenly Winter feels all warm and cozy and delicious.
Dolce Far Niente – Dolce far niente is Italian for the sweetness of doing nothing. This concept was made famous in Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Winter is the perfect time to dip your toes in these sweet waters. The pace is already slower, and there's generally less going on (once the holiday bustle is ended). Some of my favorite ways to experience dolce far niente is to fall down a Pinterest hole; discovering new blogs and websites that interest me; reading a book or magazine; lying in a cozy bed enjoying the feeling of being swaddled and supported; and connecting with a loved one (whether in person or from afar). The options are endless. The point, for me, is to not have any kind of goal or obligation involved in the experience. No set times, no musts, no shoulds, just sweetness.
Body Care – While my mental/emotional relationship with Winter has become a favorable one, my physical relationship with this season is still a challenge. Winter is fraught with cold weather, man-made heat and extreme temperature changes throughout the day. This can wreak havoc on the body. Skin can get dry, crepey, inflamed, flaky and requires more exfoliation. Muscles can become tense and joints can stiffen. Blood and lymph circulation is slower and can become restricted. Digestion slows. Dehydration is common. Vitamin D production slows down due to a lack of exposure to sunlight. Eyes can become strained due to the increased darkness (or the increased artificial lighting—often harsh LEDs). Natural internal rhythms can become disrupted. So, it's especially important to take good care of the body during this season. Some of my personal favorite ways to do this are dry skin brushing; daily facial regimen with weekly nourishing treatments; gentle movement (stretching, yoga, dancing, walking, etc.); eating high quality raw ripe fruits and vegetables every day; drinking filtered water, herbal teas and elixirs daily; trying to stick to a regular schedule (especially for sleeping); resting my eyes regularly and using blue-blocking glasses while interacting with my computer or phone. This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers the essentials for my own winter care, and my body is always grateful for it.
Creating Meaningful Rituals – I'm a fan of ritual at any time of the year, and Winter is no exception. My personal Winter rituals tend to focus on simplicity, hygge and self-care. Some of my favorite Winter rituals center around making and drinking herbal teas and elixirs; getting myself ready for bed; having a quiet moment with my tarot deck and my journal, and walking in Nature. I also find myself wanting to connect more with particular deities and/or magickal beings during Winter. I will often enact rituals to forge these connections.
Taking Time Alone – Winter is a beautiful season for spending time with myself. To be fair, it's necessary for me to carve out alone time in every season, but I do feel like I'm more able to connect with the deeper, often neglected, parts of myself during Winter. I am a natural introvert. However, I have also spent a LOT of my life alone, and that has helped me to realize how much I value connection with others. For me, I need a balance of solitude and social connection. The cycles of Nature reflect that balance of internal and external in the more external, yang, light half of the year and the more quiet and introspective, yin, dark half. Winter is the moment in the year's cycle that is most conducive to taking time alone. Nature is at Her most supportive of us during this time. As the bear retreats to its cave for hibernation, so, too, are we given time to get quiet and restful with ourselves. In doing so, we are able to emerge in the Spring more whole and integrated and ready to connect with others from a more authentic, rejuvenated version of ourselves. My home space is my sacred sanctuary. I make sure to schedule enough time in my sacred space so that I may just be. This restores me, recharges my batteries and leaves me eager to connect with friends and strangers from a place of wholeness.
I hope these tips for finding your bliss in Winter will serve you well. Try them out, or use them as inspiration to find your own blissful ways to experience Winter.
And, as always, if you want to share what's working for you, get more info around my practices, or uncover ways you can become more present and sovereign in your own life [in any season], then please reach out to me. I love hearing from you!
Sending you wishes for a warm and wonderful Winter season,