Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

About Winter

Blessed is your gift of the Winter,
The icy winds that sweep clean the world;
The bare trees that reveal the glittering stars;
Silent roots growing deep within the land;
Sleeping, resting, going within;
The surrender to the dreaming dark.

For much of my life, I dreaded Winter.  My anticipation of its awful dark and cold was so intense, I even let it haunt my enjoyment of Autumn.  In fact, I remember wondering how anyone could really like the Fall, knowing it meant Winter was coming.

I grew depressed and despondent as the daylight waned, and was certain I suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I found my kindred spirit in the character Momma in T.R. Pearson’s hilarious and brilliant gem, A Short History of a Small Place.  Momma could make it through the Christmas holidays and the New Year, but pretty much fizzled out after that.

By February, he writes, “Momma is a lost woman.  On February afternoons, Momma turns on all the lamps in the house and sits in the livingroom in one of Grandma Yount’s burgundy boudoir chairs where she applies herself to the same novel she has been reading off and on for six years now…

“But no matter the lamps and the distractions, the last two weeks in February tend to take Momma under and occasionally she frets and cries and tells Daddy how she has to get away from [the town of] Neely, how she has to get away from February, how she’d nearly be willing to die for a spring day.”

That’s how it was for me, and I know that there are many others who more or less feel the same way. Believe me, I really do sympathize.

But.

As I tuned in more and more to the Earth path of spirituality, I discovered that one of its many surprise gifts was that it revolutionized my experience of Winter. Nowadays, I couldn’t feel more differently about it.

I actually love the gray monotony of Winter. I long for the cold, drenching rains that come, or the brilliant, icy sunshine.  Snow is only an occasional treat here, so it is a momentous celebration.  I relish Winter’s brittle silence,  a hush on the land so vast that you can almost hear the roots underground creaking and stretching out.

I bow to blessed Orion, riding high in the Winter sky. I delight in the hip, artful ways people have taken to wrapping knitted scarves around their necks. In fact, I love woolies of all sorts. And I revel in the pleasure of walking in the non-stinging, gnat-, chigger-, tick-free woods.

And speaking of the woods, the only time we can really see Moonrise at our home is in Winter, when the trees are bare. There is nothing more heart-stopping than a majestic buck deer silhouetted in the Winter Moonlight.  And I bless the evergreens that punctuate the gentle browns and soft khakis of the landscape.

I love all the busy birds, especially the return of the juncos. How fun it is to see swaths of them, with their little slate gray feathers popping against a fresh new snowfall.  It is my favorite time to curl up with long, complex novels. Winter means wood fires, snuggly blankets, slow-cooked comfort dinners and cinnamon spiced tea.

More and more, I find that I need the dark, quiet retreat of Winter. I hunger for the long nights, the silence, the deep going within. Living in harmony with the Divine Earth means that to me, even Winter’s reminders of death are not unwelcome, but fiercely beautiful.  I am learning to embrace every part of the Great Turning.

What about you?  Does Winter bring you joy or sorrow?  What blessings and challenges do the cold dark days bring, in your experience? I invite you to post your thoughts and feelings.

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  • November 12, 2010, 11:02 am Corrine Kenner

    I love winter. I’m not really an outdoor person, but most people don’t understand that.

    Spring and summer are beautiful, but there’s also so much pressure to go out and enjoy it that sometimes I feel more stressed than relaxed by it all.

    In winter, no one criticizes me for wanting to curl up inside with a fire and a good book. Plus, the long, dark nights are great for writing, cooking, baking, and crafts.

    I’m also more comfortable, physically, in winter, because my pale, Scandinavian body was built for cold weather. In the summer, I get sunburned just riding in a car. When the temperature climbs, I feel like I just want to crawl out of my skin. In winter, I’m happy to slouch around in a sweater and thick socks and take life as it comes.

  • November 12, 2010, 12:08 pm judy

    I don’t like the cold, but there are things about Winter I do love.
    Let’s see… Walking home at night surrounded by sparkling fairies in the moonlit snow.. and snow makes everything sooo quiet.
    Waking up some mornings to see the whole world dressed in white.
    And like Corrine said.. on the grey days, not feeling the need to go out at all.. freedom to ‘chill’ in the warm house. My natural instinct in Winter, like the bears, is to enter the cave. I get a lot of artwork done in my Winter cave and emerge in Spring ready to bring it to my table in the marketplace(at Readers Studio!) See ya there!

  • November 12, 2010, 12:30 pm Susan

    I used to hate the coldness of Winter. Then, one day, as I was walking to the train to go to work with the icy cold wind blowing in my face, I realized that Winter has to be itself. Where I live, that means cold, snowy, dark, slippery (and of course beautiful, too when the light plays off the snow). So I stopped asking Winter to be something other than what it is and began to welcome it for being its true self. And after all, when the Winter is not cold, don’t we all worry about what that means for ourselves and our beloved planet?

  • November 12, 2010, 12:46 pm Beth

    Corrine! I love this observation! I totally agree!!! Never thought of it that way, but YES!!! Now I wish we lived closer (okay, maybe not Minnesota, though..) We could spend all Winter together baking cookies and playing!

    And Judy.. I love what you wrote. Don’t you love not only how beautiful it is outside, but snuggling in for creative hibernation!

    Susan.. such a wise epiphany (although in a MOST challenging circumstance! Brrrrr!). Winter is very much about surrender, isn’t it? So we might as well. Plus, like you, I have been concerned when recent years have not brought the true killing chill-down time that is normal for the plants (and bugs!!!) in our climate zone.

  • November 12, 2010, 3:37 pm Morgan

    I quoted you in my blog, since I enjoyed what you wrote so much.

  • November 12, 2010, 4:34 pm Beth

    There you go, Morgan.. I tweaked your post so the link would work.

    Wow. Thank you so much for including me in your post about Chinese medicine, wisdom ways and the seasons. Great insights!

  • November 12, 2010, 6:48 pm Catherine

    Beth,
    is that your poetry below the picture? it’s so beautiful…

  • November 12, 2010, 10:56 pm Kathleen

    Autumn always stirs me because I know that winter is close. Even before turning to an earth based path I felt this way. A bit opposite most I suppose, I find summer oppressive and heavy but that may be because I am a native Floridian uprooted to Louisiana. This year especially I am craving the quiet stillness of winter. I’m a winter solstice baby and I always wondered if that was the reason I was so drawn to this time of year.
    The starlings art is beautiful!

  • November 13, 2010, 7:09 am Beth

    Catherine.. Thank you.. this is what I recite for the bead of Winter when I work through my prayer beads each day. If you back up to Thursday’s post, you can see the entire prayer/spell for each bead so far. (Or you can go back through my posts for the past couple of months).

    And thank you, too, Kathleen. I lived a long time in the deeper south, also including Florida, and never once missed Winter at that time; in fact, I know I was trying to hide out from Lady Winter! But then, come to think of it, I am a Summer baby. So I think you might be on to something with that.

  • November 15, 2010, 11:33 am Maria

    I struggle through the winter. I feel just like you described, Beth. I don’t think it’s an accident that when I had an emotional breakdown, it was in February.

    But I’m trying to change that with vitamin supplements, herbs, and a list of fun projects to keep me happy to be indoors. But it’s a very good point that my earth-based spirituality may be what will eventually help me to embrace winter.