Winter months can put us under observation by our consciousness. Spills of depression, slow creativity, cold, and indifferent feelings accompany the longer nights. Now is an excellent time to look to nature, challenge your creative endeavors, and meditate in darkness.
Stillness, a winter attribute, has never been a restful concept. Usually the precursor to a horror film scene, stillness condenses all the subtleties of the present. Sitting in the now can be like watching a horror scene clip on repeat without a conclusion. Resting with your fears may not be comfortable, but furthering self reflection and “unpacking” can be a process that fits with the winter solstice.
Here are five (plus a bonus) directional steps I took to find peace until Yule.
- Nature– The kids and I walked into the forest and collected fallen brush, pine cones, and sticks to bring home. We cut oranges with their points out and pierced them with whole cloves. The oranges we dehydrated for 4 hrs at 200F. We twined, tied, and woven, the orange slices with pine cones, rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon sticks into a garland and a wreath with a stone and shell decor. We found the most beautiful Stropharia Ambigua on our walk, and Malakai pointed and “oohed.” We didn’t have a camera, so we can’t share it with you. It is a yellowish-white mushroom with a curtain of lace around its top.
- Candle Lighting– It’s essential for us to find closure for the people we lost during the year. Winter is a time for deep longing and mourning for those who have passed. Lighting a candle and saying words to those on the other side can help heal open wounds and quiet, frequently visiting thoughts. The luminaria, “little lantern,” is historically a Spanish tradition of decorated paper bags with a candle, while Laternelaufen is a German tradition of walking with lanterns. However you want to partake in lighting candles within your traditions, the candle continues to symbolize spirit.
- Shadow Work– “Unpacking” can be a process, but reflecting on your worst moments can lead to your best ones. Shadow work isn’t about blaming yourself but becoming self-aware by exploring the parts of “you” that are usually avoided. Getting a journal to conduct your reflections will help anchor your thoughts. Since the beginning of December, I’ve been using these prompts from Eight Benefits of Shadow Work and how to use it in your Journey to further explore my actions, reactions, and thoughts.
- Planting seeds for spring– This action can symbolize hope, new beginnings, joy, and sacred connection. My daughter and I planted Passionflower, Zinnia, Morning Glory, and Delphinium in little starter pots inside a warm room by the window. I will tell you if they sprout, it’s cold.
- Tree cutting– having a live tree in your home can feel like murder, but the “Christmas” tree tradition is Germanic, Nordic, and pagan. Decorating the tree with objects symbolizes giving light into the new year. This year we were gifted with a permit to cut down a tree. We drove into the snow and found a perfect tree that I took down with a saw. Our friend’s husband helped me get the tree down the mountain and onto the car. Our tree is beautiful, and I enjoyed getting a real tree, even if it was just for this year.
- Card Making– Each card marks a reflection on your present period and the current period of the receiver. Well wishes into the new year, and sincere thoughts will guide your helpers, friends, and family. A card with a simple message can convey appreciation and love.
Giving to others and participating in self-care will help you get through these winter months and bring light into your future. This world is a beautiful place if we can work with the darkness. I hope you enjoy Yule tomorrow the 21st, I know I will be with some spiked hot cider and friends. Blessings.