Around this time each year I unconsciously start trying to find representations of the feeling that has started to grow within me in these darkening days. Winter creeps slowly into mind and body and before I know it, there’s that feeling again! I don’t know why I’m even surprised anymore.
How will I ever put this feeling into words so I can share it with you? I think that’s why I seek it from others, so I can have it presented to me from another’s mind, showing me I’m not alone. I scour my library shelves, go deep into Winter Solstice, Yule and Christmas rabbit holes online, seeking the right story, the right mythology, folklore or song, but I’ve not yet found it. Maybe you can help?
Winter unfurls deep in my bones, spreading slowly like delicate hoar frost in the land around me. It feels like the cold, laying heavy on my skin as well as on my heart. For a weight is what it is, but an unspeakably old one at that.
In the time around the Winter Solstice images emerge from my subconscious, the life force of the land withered down to the smallest of flames as all around me is shedding, dying back, all save the evergreens who keep that flame burning. The lifeforce is still thrumming but barely illuminates the walls of the cave in which it sits … then the old stone wheel of the year, concept made manifest. The sun wheel, cycle of the seasons, now grinding, slowed to almost stillness as the Earth slumbers and turns within…
These snippets come close to this bodily feeling, spiritual knowing. This season takes me back, back and back into the hearts and lives of my ancestors. Archetypes reach out of time and promise the embodiment of the season, the Green Man, Holly King, and there’s the tomte, Cailleach, Krampus and Cernunnos as psychopomp, and others still, I feel them calling but don’t yet know their stories.
So, I’m saying this season feels ancient, the scent of decay rising in the dark, the warmth of my hearth-fire on my skin so familiar to my ancestors, the heartrending beauty of vibrant ivy on moss, of cleansing frost on fallen leaf and the comfort of blankets, shawls and endless layers. Somehow, I feel closer to the past, closer to those who have come before me and, more than that, closer to very heart of the Otherworld and all of its beings and lore. I seek on, trying at my altar too, reaching out in the dark behind my eyes, walking the inner realms and seeking communion, companionship with this darkness, with the symbols of this ancient season.
How can I expect to find anyone who can conceptualise this connection to deep past, this feeling wrapped up neat and served to me from this mundane world, from this modern age and from another mortal mind? I guess that’s the point; only turning within, immersion in the arms of the dark, the gods, my guides and ancestors, only they can know what I seek perhaps… time to go ask…
But before we part ways onto different paths, welcome to this fledgling blog and please do comment below. I’d be fascinated to hear if you relate to this feeling of Winter embodied.
If you want to dive deeper into the Solstice, into Yule, rather than following the same tired expectations around Christmas, download the ‘Reframing Christmas’ zine on the free page. Or if it’s a deep dive into the magic of the season you’re after, check out the ‘Reenchantment is Resistance’ workshop replay. Lastly, if you want to give the gift of insight, consider a tarot reading gift certificate from the Offerings page.
May your Winter be cosy, restful and insightful