Wintertime is the most magical time of the year! And not only because of Christmas and all the celebrations and the gifts. Winter is a magical time to truly disconnect and reconnect with ourselves and our magic so we will be more than ready, after a moment of introspections and coziness, to get out of our comfort zone in spring and start opening ourselves to others and nature.
- Why should we all honor winter?
- Things to do to honor winter
- Making some winter tea
- Pagan winter festivities
- My favorite rituals for wintertime
- Honoring a winter god: Ull
Why should we all honor winter?
It is the magical moment of stasis, the plants have lost their leaves, hedgehogs and bears have gone into hibernation, the great northern lakes have transformed their surface into a large mirror of ice. Many birds have gone, chasing the heat, families gather around the fire to warm up and wait for spring to make Nature shine again in all its bursting beauty.
But, as I said just now, this is precisely the moment in which we can sow, and it will be the theme of sowing that will guide our practices and our honoring winter. Death and Life on Earth, and throughout the Universe, perform their fatal dance relentlessly, and so, even winter is no exception.
If you look at the branches of the trees, everything can appear dead, but we know that from those dry branches, in a few months, new shoots will sprout. And it is precisely in winter that the time comes to bury the seeds in the Earth.
When March 21st arrives, on the occasion of the spring equinox, the bursting energy of Aries will give the seeds the strength and courage to break the earth’s crust and emerge, bringing life again. The same happens within us. It is time to make new resolutions for the cycle that begins.
This is the focal point of meditation for the winter solstice: now is the time to sow everything we want to achieve and harvest.
Things to do to honor winter
There are some things you can do to honor winter and to truly let the energy of this precious season connect with you. Let’s see them together.
Taking a relaxing bath
A relaxing bath is something you should consider to disconnect and reconnect in both your body and your mind. What should you put in the tub? Essential oils or bath salts?
In addition to relaxing, essential oils also help to moisturize and nourish the skin, if you want to use them, proceed as follows: once the tub is filled, pour 4 or 5 drops of your favorite essential oil: lavender helps reduce stress and anxiety but I also recommend rose, bergamot, jasmine, chamomile and mandarin.
To the essential oil, also add a tablespoon of vegetable oil of your choice such as almond or jojoba.
Using essential oils
- Mandarin: It awakens the taste for discovery and the desire to get involved.
- Orange: It stimulates feelings of joy and increases intuition and sensitivity, calming states of anxiety.
- Cinnamon: It encourages creativity, gives energy and a sense of protection.
How can I use these essential oils?
You can put them in your bathtub, or you can use an oil diffuser to let their energy pervade your space.
Winter is amazing for some kitchen magick! What about baking something homemade like bread? It’s easy, it honors our ancestors and it recalls our process of getting ready for what’s next. The bread will take its own time to shape and “grow”, just like we do during wintertime.
The best candle to use during wintertime is definitely a black candle to get rid of any negativity and let its energy gather all that no longer serves you and send it away.
Light up a black candle in the afternoon when darkness falls down and burn it completely.
You can do it once a week or more, according to your preferences.
Winter is the perfect time to meditate and to truly focus on our inner self, on our inner realm, and on what you are ready to let go. Spending some time at home gives us the chance to commit to the practice even more. You can do a relaxing meditation or a meditation to let go of what no longer serves you.
Being winter, at the turn of the New Year, journaling about your hopes and dreams can definitely be a wonderful way to unveil your true self. Open yourself up and be honest with you about what you would like to achieve, what was the good and the bad of the past year, and so on. Knowing what you want will make you realize what you need to leave behind.
Using divinatory tools
Winter, being an introspective season, can be the perfect moment for some divination. Rune, tarot cards, pendulum. What’s the best tool for you? Choose your own and spend more and more time connecting with your intuition.
Chant a prayer
Making some winter tea
Winter teas are the best! They help you relax and honor moments of recollection and coziness.
Pour a tablespoon of the mixture into 100 ml of boiling water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes, and sweeten with lime or chestnut honey.
Drink in the evening for deep relaxation!
Pagan winter festivities
Winter solstice (Yule)
The winter solstice that corresponds to the Celtic festival of Yule is the shortest day of the year, the hours of darkness reach their peak to leave the space, in the following days, for light. The Winter Solstice usually falls on December 21, some years on the 22nd, and marks the beginning of the winter season.
It is an important moment of transition because darkness meets light, giving it its place. It is a Death / Rebirth of nature, so much so that in the following days, on a religious level, the birth of Jesus is celebrated, which is a rebirth of the Sun.
It is also a dramatic moment because until the end we remain with bated breath, in the hope that the light really comes and that the Old Sun goes out to make room for the new Child Sun.
Being such an important day, it is obviously rich in symbols and since the dawn of time, it has been celebrated with various rituals and celebrations. Some communities used to celebrate, for example, the birth of the God of Wheat.
The celebration of rituals in the past was not accidental but due to the belief that they influenced cosmic cycles. That’s why propitiatory bonfires were lit, candles were used to illuminate the darkness, and people celebrated around the fires.
My favorite rituals for wintertime
Letting go ritual
Since the winter Solstice is the moment when darkness reaches its peak, it invites us to look inside ourselves, let ourselves go to darkness, which by its nature reconciles the ability to flow with life, abandoning the thirst for control typical of waking.
But it is also the right time to get rid of the uncomfortable past and a ritual handed down to this day, rather unique, consists of destroying old dishes, throwing away useless junk to make room for the new.
Yule branch ritual
Another ritual features the so-called Yule Branch. It is enough to get a branch thanking the elemental spirits of the place where we found it, clean it and decorate it with wish cards. How to make them?
Simple, write your wishes on small pieces of paper and have the other family members do the same exercise if you want.
Close the cards, tie them with a ribbon and hang them on the Yule Branch, which will be placed on your home altar.
Fire is an element that belongs to many of the ancient solstitial rituals and we too can use it in this phase of transition. After having listed the things we intend to get rid of from the past because they are limiting, we throw the list into the fire, asking for the help of the element or a Master we feel close with to get an indication of the imminent future.
If desired, you can perform a special shamanic journey for the occasion, but it is advisable to do so in a group led by an expert. Unless you are familiar with the technique. Letting go of what is no longer useful on your journey, to allow something new to be born.
You can light a candle that symbolizes the sun’s fire, burn a juniper branch and get yourself some live plant Mistletoe which, when everything is apparently dead, symbolizes life and has always been considered magical.
Its sperm-colored berries represent fertility and for many traditions, they ward off evil and bring good luck. Let’s recover the ancient, wise, and magical traditions and honor life!
Making your own ritual
Such a delicate moment of transition requires calm and for this reason, although the consumer society encourages us to go in a hurry, we should carve out a few moments of tranquility by dedicating ourselves to activities such as reading and meditation.
A very simple but effective ritual that symbolizes rebirth is the hot bath. In fact, the water represents the uterine waters, from which to be tenderly cradled in view of the new life.
Honoring a winter god: Ull
If you are into deities and gods, the best deity to connect with is definitely Ull.
Ull is one of the Norse gods known as the god of winter, his mother the goddess Sif and his stepfather Thor, although it is unknown who his father was, it is believed that he may have been an ice giant since Ull loved the cold and the ability to ski on ice in winter.
Do some winter activities outside to honor him or create a little altar bringing an image of Ull and some tools that make you think of winter. Do a prayer for him if it’s your thing.
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