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It's difficult to believe a new beginning lies within the darkest times of our lives. When all is stark and cold, how can we have faith new life is just around the corner? When the wind is so cold and nothing is blooming, how can we believe flowers will return and the sweet breath of Spring will grace our lives once more?
It takes work to place our trust in the unseen. But that is exactly what Mother Nature asks us to do. She gives us a little incentive at this time of year, by encouraging our faith, with the first purple crocuses that spring from her fertile soil. Even though the soil may be covered in snow and ice, those tiny purple buds remind us Nature has been taking in nourishment from the cold and icy water. She has recycled dead things, turning them into pieces of wonder, ready to burst forth in all their glory, as the Sun warms her body.
Eggs and bunnies take on a special meaning at this time of year. They symbolize fertility and new life. We feel the quickening of life in our spirits. Our bodies long to stretch beneath the Sun. We long to lie in green grass and gaze at blue skies. We feel the need to hook up with someone or something. We are stirred to new levels of passion and creation. We can't deny the joy of Spring.
In the southern hemisphere of our planet, Nature is preparing to rest. She is moving into hibernation time. Our earth brothers and sisters who reside below the equator now plan for their season of darkness. Such is the duality of our planet. One half of the earth is gearing up while the other is slowing down.
Whether you are quickening or slowing allow this time of year to fertilize your mind. Let go of what should be and be with what is. See the beauty in that which is rising to the surface, or find the joy in settling down after a long hot season. Trust to the power, which creates and infuses all things. Blow kisses to the rising Sun or sing praises to the night.
Blessed be is the Wheel which forever turns.
Nature lays her white cloak across the forest floor. It shimmers with ice crystals reflecting the pristine beauty of a starry night. In the distance a proud elk bugles. Deeply he breathes in the scent of winter.
At home your kitty curls in your lap. Your dog cuddles next you and you know why in some faraway places, it took three dogs to keep you warm through the night.
Nostalgic scents of pine, evergreen, cinnamon and bayberry tickle your nose everywhere you go. You can hardly wait to start a fire, turn on your twinkle lights, wrap some presents, or watch a favorite holiday movie.
Winter is here and the dawn of the Winter Solstice draws near.
Long gone are the golden evenings of summer. Darkness comes early. And due to the magick we perform called Daylight Savings Time, darkness comes even earlier, making us anxious to get home after a long day in the world.
It is the time of stillness and reflection. Even though stress can be at an all time high, we try to pause and remember the blessings of winter.
It's hard to go against the norm of living in a 24/7 society. Our bodies crave the opportunity to slow down and our spirits long to rest. As we hurry from place to place, instinctively we feel the stark presence of silent trees, creatures burrowing deep within in the earth, and the frozen state of water. We long for olden times, some real and some imagined, when twilight time meant the day was done, and we could just settle in and stay in our caves.
The darkness of winter and the bitter cold make us long for the warmth of the Sun. Before false light and electric heat was available, we knew the preciousness of sitting before a crackling fire to warm our bodies and cook our food. While we appreciate these modern conveniences, our spirits remember the darkness, the smell of pine and how we counted each day, longing for the return of the Sun.
Those who practice the Old Ways remember. We keep to the turn of the Wheel greatly anticipating the longest night of the Year.
Some stay up all night working their magick, while others awake in the wee hours of the morning to celebrate the first golden ray light, on Winter Solstice morning. Across the Earth, many cheer, hoop and holler that we have survived the darkness, welcoming the return of the Sun.
The Sun brings us hope, light and renewal. In times of uncertainty it is good to remember Nature is in charge. She greets us every morning and kisses us each night. It is good to know, no matter what our human minds can conjure, Nature still reigns supreme.
As Winter makes its presence known, take time to rest. If you live in the city consider visiting a park. Sit upon a bench on a chilly day and take a breath. If you live in a rural place, go for a long solo walk while you enjoy the quiet of cold day or the darkness unencumbered by false light.
Light a candle and have a private conversation with your gods and goddesses. Give yourself a break and know you've done your best, in whatever situation your mind chooses to reflect upon. Allow the return of the Sun to bless you with the opportunity to begin again. The Earth is alive, the stars still shine, and the cosmos still awe us with their glory.
May your hearth and home, kith and kin be blessed. Blessed be is the Winter Solstice.
-- Najah Lighfoot
It's the season for all things Witchy!
Doors creak. Tiny goblins wait for treats, dressed and ready for school parties. Lighted pumpkins grace doorsteps. Scary movies and ghost stories abound everywhere. In the early hours of the morn a black cat graces your path. You stop, pause and marvel at the mystery of the season. The time of Samhain and Halloween has come.
It is the celebration of all things Witchy. We celebrate loved ones who have gone before us, cemeteries, death, and the promise of renewal.
A portal has opened. If you're a believer, you may receive a message or make contact with a dearly departed loved one.
It's time to get out your tarot cards, plan your wardrobe, and decorate your home. Some will honor Hecate. Others will honor Baron Samedi, and many will honor Dia de los Muertos.
Many will attend Witches' Balls, while others can hardly wait to attend a Halloween party. Some may combine sacred rites and rituals, with the fun of a Halloween inspired festival. Whatever path we choose, you can be sure Witches will rule the night.
This is the season for scrying. As the Moon crests high in the night, gather your mirrors, gazing balls, and bowls of water. Prepare yourself to contact your shadow side. There is much wisdom to be gained in the darkness. Allow your mind, guides and higher beings to take you on a journey. Embrace the mystery of the season and let it guide you.
Plan a ritual to honor your ancestors and those who have gone before you. It is a time of recognizing loss, with the celebration of love. Light orange candles, black candles, and skull candles. Leave offerings, which are meaningful to your loved ones. An offering could be flowers, a favorite treat for your beloved dog, cat or fish, or a delicious morsel your loved one enjoyed, before they crossed over.
Spend some time in the cemetery. Take a cemetery tour and get to know those who are buried in your local area. Drop some flowers at a tomb, which speaks to you, or leave an offering at the base of a cemetery tree. Be sure to thank the tree for being a guardian and a source of comfort. Don't be surprised if the sensation of weeping suddenly overwhelms you. It's okay. There can be gratitude and release in the season of death. If your ancestors are buried near by, take some time to visit their final resting places.
Use your imagination as you dress for Samhain/Halloween night. Break from traditional garb and add a splash of the decadent and mysterious to your wardrobe. Sew pentagrams in hidden places in your clothes, if you can't wear them outwardly. Make a donation to a Pagan organization that aligns with your beliefs.
And finally before the night is over, steal away to some quiet place by yourself. Take a moment to simply be. Give thanks for all the good things you've received this year. Take time to be in the mystery.
Written by Najah Lightfoot.