The Darkness of Winter

I used to hate winter.  As a summer baby, I have always loved the freshness of spring air and the joy that seemed to be ever-present even in the midst of the summer heat.  Though I have always thought fall was beautiful, the crispness in the air was a constant reminder of the inevitable: winter was coming, which meant it was going to get dark earlier and I was going to have to endure cold, snow, and ice.

It was only when I began studying astrology, which led me to study Earth’s amazing cycles, that I really began to appreciate all of the seasons, including winter.  Understanding that nature is always moving towards balance and equilibrium, I began to see winter as the natural balance of the heat of summer, a reminder to us to get quiet and allow the external stillness to reflect within us.

Winter, in its darkness and mystery, holds many secrets for us if we are still enough to listen.  The Great Grandmother, the wise Elder Woman, is the personification of winter’s energy.  Our ancient ancestors honored the Great Grandmother through ritual that gave meaning to their lives and helped them to channel the energy of nature.  Here is a powerful ritual you can do alone or communally:

Cleansing Fire Ritual

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  • Cauldron or fire safe bowl or pot
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Candles and/or incense/smudge sticks (optional)

This ritual is so powerful because it utilizes the warm of fire, which provides a natural balance to the chill of the season.  It’s also great to do when transitioning from one year to next.

For this ritual, the purpose is to burn away and lay to rest energies that are no longer needed.  Begin by cleansing your space in any way you normally cleanse space; if cleansing space is new for you, burning a smudge stick while affirming positive vibes is an easy way to do this.   After cleansing your space, center yourself and reflect on the past year.  What do you want to do differently in the new year?  What energy do you want to leave behind?  Write these down on strips of paper and, when finished, place each one in the cauldron, one-by-one, while stating your intentions for the opposite.  For example, if you are burning away procrastination you can say, “As I burn away procrastination, I affirm that I will use my time well so that I accomplish all of my goals,” or something like that.  Use your own words and speak from your heart.

Once you have burned away all you want to be rid of sit in that space for moment and see yourself walking in the blessings you’ve affirmed for yourself. Once you feel you have completed the ritual, thank your guides for supporting your spiritual work. You can take the ashes and release them to the earth at the base of a tree.

If you try this ritual, let me know how it works for you!  I really enjoy comments and interacting with readers.