Magic + Myth : A Spirit and Wellness Guest Post
by Jennifer Labelle
Snowflakes, frosted windows, icy cold mornings, frozen starlit skies.
When most people think of winter these are not the things that come to mind. Winter has gotten a bad rap in many parts of the world that face bitter low temperatures and blizzards at this time of year. Beyond Yuletide celebrations, gift giving, and the thrill of newly fallen snow; winter has a lot to offer magical practitioners and spiritual-folk alike.
In pre-Christian Europe winter began after the harvest, when people worked hard to gather the food and supplies they would require for the dark half of the year. Soon after the harvest was midwinter, or Yule as many call it today.
This midwinter celebration went by many names in different parts of the world including Yule, Saturnalia, Yalda, and Mōdraniht. The standard midwinter celebration lasted for several days, and rejoiced in the birth of the sun after one of the longest nights of the year; something that is later reflected in the Christian Christmas with the celebration of the birth of the son of God.
Winter was regarded as being a time for quiet reflection, peaceful tasks, and letting mother earth sleep until she awakens again in the spring. For this reason, the dark long nights of winter are excellent for shadow work, magic studies, honing your craft and embracing calmness and tranquility. There are few tasks to be completed other than those within the home and the darkness sets in before many get home from work.
While to many, winter can become a depressing time of year, there are two important ways in which we can find its value for magic. Embrace the magic of winter through the creative use of darkness and solidarity with the flow of the season in order to grow in your spiritual development.
The darkness of winter offers a perfect environment for meditation. The distractions are gone, as are the excuses and guilt we sometimes find when we are trying to devote some quiet time to ourselves. Being relegated to the indoors also allows us to do the tasks we haven’t been able to find time to do throughout the rest of the year. Finish that painting, knit a scarf, learn a new method of divination. These are all spiritually and soulfully enriching practices that often get neglected in favour of more action-based tasks. Though winter seems like a quiet and restful time, just as the earth is doing we are resting, nurturing ourselves, and preparing for the year ahead.
The outside world in the winter time can be equally as magical as it is during the spring or summer. For many nature-worshipers, the cold is hardly an obstacle. It is important to remember that wherever you are on this earth, there is a need for every season you go through. Winter, though often cold and barren, has its value. The plants and animals have time to rest and hibernate before the coming spring. The sun dips below the equator as the earth balances on its wobbly axis. There is a pattern to all things, a reason for each of them, and spending time outdoors during each season connects you to this universal truth.
No matter where you live in the winter; a woodland, the countryside, the city, the seaside, or even somewhere warm and tropical; the variations in the weather – both subtle and not subtle – remind us that there is a rhythm to all life in this world.
Jennifer Labelle – A forest dweller of the Great White North, I practice my craft and my art from a cottage at the opening of a wild wood. An elfin wanderer, a Wiccan practitioner, a psychic spirit conduit, a Viking queen. I collect woodland curiosities, medieval weaponry, Viking armour, fairytale clothing, mystical jewelry and magical art. I am a student of the Universe, a scholar of Celtic and Norse mythology, ancient history and traditional music. I connect with the First people of my land and cherish their native religion. A purveyor of artistic goods and mystical services on Etsy, as well as a writer of forest tales on Facebook and Instagram.