The Blessings of Deep Winter
by Melissa Potter
From a deep place of gratitude I want to express my heart-felt thanks to the Creator of this beautiful earth I live upon for the teachings and blessings each season of our year brings to us!
Winter Gifts From The Mother
Pachamama, Mother Earth, is my greatest teacher and the nourishing provider for all that I need. At each turn of the sacred wheel of the seasons, she provides for my body - always - but also for my very soul. She is the water of my emotions, the fire of my spirit, the air of my breath and the home I live upon. As I dance at the threshold of winter, with Orion's belt and the cold, beautiful, white moon shining in her sky above me, I am most honored to receive the divine (albeit snow-covered) gifts that this season blesses me with!
Connecting Deeply with the Season of Winter
How can you connect more deeply to the season of winter? It's almost as if you do not even have to try. It's more about opening yourself up to the Spirit of Winter and allowing yourself to be taken by the hand and led down a beautiful, snowy path through a magical forest that is your inner landscape!
Winter is the deepening time. I love to begin my day peacefully by moving through my home in candlelight. This connects me to my ancestors and creates a feeling of deep peace and serenity to honor the birth of a new day. From this place it feels magical and inspirational to watch and wait for the young winter sun to rise in the east through my windows. As each day of winter passes by, the sun builds in strength and power.
On winter evenings, there is nothing as beautiful as the midnight-blue sky filled with stars! I am in love with knowing that this sky surrounds me as I cozy down into my sleepy, dreamy, long winter nights! I am drawn to building fires in my wood stove for warmth of body and soul. I don't like to travel much in the dark time of the year; during wintertime, my own back yard and the local, winding roads of the small town I live in with their open fields and spiraling rivers are my favorite places to be because this place is my home; and winter is the season in which I feel most at home in my own body and most connected to the rhythm of my soul. I love to surround myself with books, comfort food and family. Activities like journaling, creating small ceremonies and connecting with the sky and serenity of nature are most appealing to me. This is the natural way that I connect with this part of the seasonal cycle. Like many animals in nature, we are pulled into ourselves for hibernation and dreaming during the long, dark nights. We go within to reflect on our life and to find the treasures that tend to get hidden by the bright light of summer and spring when there is so much blossoming around us that we can forget about what lies hidden beneath the surface of ourselves! For me, a way-too-busy woman, this is such a welcomed time of rest and quiet reflection. In my spiritual tradition, which is earth-based, it is considered a true and sacred gift for me to stay present to my inner processes and to honor these dark times both in peaceful silence and with my family, friends and spiritual community.
The Spirit of Winter is, in ancient traditions, the Wise One, the Crone and Sage of old who live in our psyche and in our bones. They are always near, these Ancient Ones for they want and wish for the opportunity to teach us their ways. During the long, dark, cold days of winter, They come to us with peaceful presence to guide and witness our seasonal transformations each year as the Great Wheel turns to the North, the place where Winter lives!
As a woman who worships the Sacred Feminine & Masculine Divine, I call upon the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess and the Wise Sage, Grandfather Winter to lead me to the deep storehouses of my soul where my original essence awaits. How long my inner self has been calling to me through the hustle and bustle of life's busy days and nights! By the time winter comes, I cannot wait to go within; within my home and most especially, within myself to hear my own sacred heartbeat, to feel my own rhythm!
"She's been waiting.
She's been waiting so long.
She's been waiting for her children,
To remember to return!"
~Women's sacred circle chant. Author unknown.
In these modern times most of us have to go off to work during the day. We have projects and deadlines. Many of us have children to raise, to teach and to drive here and there. But we do have a choice as to how we spend the sacred times on either side of our busy days! The morning and the evenings are both sacred to all ancient peoples for they are the in between times and the rest & heal times. May we use them well!
A Ritual To Call in Guidance From the Spirits of Winter
~This year gather cedar, pine, or other greenery, dried flowers and berries from your yard, neighborhood or local park, and tie them together with red yarn or ribbon into what is called, a Gratitude Bundle. The red is a symbol of our heart and is used in many indigenous healing traditions.
~Choose a peaceful place in your home to do your ceremony. I set out a white candle; white is the color of winter and the sacred underworld where we go for renewal and transformation during the dark part of the year. You can create a small altar and upon it you might place some evergreens, your candle, a bowl of incense or white sage, an image of a wise woman or grandfather figure that you feel connected to, and any symbols of the season that bring you a feeling of comfort, hope and peace.
~When you're ready to begin, you can visualize a peaceful circle of light surrounding you. Let this light come from without: the rising, building energy of the sun or moon and from within: the flame of love and light in your own heart. Feel the inner and outer lights magically blending to create a golden circle of light all around you. You are now between the worlds where magic lives!
~Light your candle and incense as you welcome in the Spirit of Winter and Wisdom and any other Ancestral Guides you wish to invite.
~Then, in gratitude for "blessings already received," sit in a comfortable position (preferably on a cozy chair with a blanket and a cup of hot tea beside you!) with this gratitude bundle in the palms of your praying hands and call to them from a silent, still place within you. Go to them with your prayerful requests and offerings of sweetness, faith and trust:
"Ancient Grandmothers, Grandfathers, I call to you from my deepest heart! It is Winter on the wheel and my soul seeks rest and comfort! I wish to harness the transformational power of the most reflective time of the year. May you lead me through the long and dark nights of winter. May I feel your loving presence guiding me along the rich, fertile, dark pathways of my soul and through the inner caves of my deepest self where I wish to walk with you as my teacher. I seek your wisdom and guidance; the treasures and the hidden gold of my own beautiful heart, the gemstones of my soulful self...And I come to plant the seeds of my future; the next step on my journey through life that will take root in spring! I come to you with gratitude for your wisdom and your ancient teachings! May I stay awake to the sparkling, star-filled nights and the special, spiritual blessings you will bring to me!"
When you feel that you have completed your prayers for guidance, you can close your circle by sending your blessings of gratitude out to the world and to everyone you love! If it feels safe for you, you can place your burning candle in a bowl of water so it can burn through the day and evening safely as it reminds you of the connection you will always have to the love, light and guidance from within!
The Fires Within!
With these guardians by your side you can dance beneath the stars, tend the fires of your soul and in small rituals, weave magic into the long, winter nights!
The Sun was reborn at Winter Solstice and it is building in its power and strength once again. That growing light lives within us, too and it flickers with each beat of our sacred heart. It will guide you through the winter nights and light the way into your future. Offer yourself to the cauldron of transformation that is Winter. Receive the great blessings that are promised to you when you come home to your own soul!
Always, there are fires, warm and inviting, and hot cups of tea from the kettles to welcome you! For they have been awaiting your return since the wheel turned to winter again!
Will you embrace this sacred mystery? The mystery that is You; the most exciting mystery you will ever solve! Know you are never alone! The Ancient Ones are here with you to guide you along the dark path.
Break out in song!
For within you is the light!
Sing, Oh, Sing!
Sing, Oh, Sing!
For, within you is the light!"
May you embrace this season of hope, faith and joy!
With Blessings of the Deep Winter,
(This article was first published in the Winter 2010 issue of Spiritual Renaissance. You can view it there at: http://www.spiritualrenaissance.com/)