Winter is coming quickly. A lot of people see this time of year as bleak, depressing, or just boring. Here are some tips to stay attuned to nature during these months.
❄️ Go outside. Even if it’s cold, the trees are bare, and the only colors are muted and dull. We often think that summer is the only time to enjoy the outdoors—the only time to hike, meditate outside, etc. In winter, there are no lush green trees or balmy days filled with sunshine and the smell of flowers. While summer is intoxicating, winter is a time to contemplate and reflect. Go outside. Feel the cold. Feel the mud and the dead grass and the chilly wind. Listen to how quiet it is. Understand that the dark half of the year is a time of silence, stillness, and death. It’s natural to have an aversion to these things, but take some time to sit down and just listen. Breathe. Feel the reality of silence and death around you. It’s a sobering experience, but also a very insightful one. If you have any fear of death or quiet, now is the time to go sit with those things as they appear in nature and just meditate with them.
❄️ Eat cozy foods. It’s cold outside—warm up with hearty soups, stews, homemade bread, and root veggies. Warm spices and hot drinks will keep you feeling grounded. This is a wonderful time of year to practice kitchen witchcraft—focus on coziness, family, protection, and rest.
❄️ Study magic! The Dark Half of the year is devoted to self-reflection, rest, and contemplation. Snuggle up indoors with a fluffy blanket and devote some time to studying magic and witchcraft with a hot cup of magically-brewed tea.
❄️ Think spirits are sleeping along with all the greenery? Think again! The Dark Half of the year, in many cultures and spiritual traditions, is considered extremely spiritually active. Deities like Odin, Berchta, Hekate, and spirits such as elves and ghosts are very active this time of year. You can choose to honor them if you want, or practice various spirit-working techniques. If you’re into necromancy or divination, this is a wonderful time of year for those things.
❄️ Be kind to local wildlife by installing things like bird feeders outside your home. We modern humans may have an easy time of it in winter, but animals struggle to survive during these months. Any bit of kindness will be much appreciated.
❄️ Nurture your fire energy. During winter, it’s easy to internalize the cold and take on its characteristics—sluggishness, sleepiness, a foggy-headed feeling. Some crystals that are great for winter include golden rutilated quartz (aka Venus hair), citrine, carnelian, obsidian, and garnet. All of these crystals contain a strong fire element as well as offer grounding qualities, mental clarity, and protection.
❄️ Go out and forage for magical ingredients! Melted snow is extremely purifying and can be incorporated into spells for purification and cleansing. Icicles can serve as temporary wands, especially in spells that require a strong water element. The ash from bonfires (or hearth fires) can be used to make black salt. Fallen branches can be crafted into wands. There may be nothing growing this time of year, but you can get creative and still find magical ingredients in unexpected places. Just be respectful and don’t collect from places where it’s illegal!
This is by no means a comprehensive list—these are just some ways I’ve celebrated the colder months. I hope they’re helpful in any way!
2018 was the year of initiation. the year of learning lessons, releasing karma, and encountering that which challenges our soul. it has been a karmic roller coaster, to say the least. we have gone through an initiation that has set us up perfectly to step into your purpose during 2019. it’s time for you to become the hero of your story. in numerology, 2019 is represented by the number three ( 2+1+9=12 — 1+2=3). it’s the number of creation and magic. whatever you consciously create during the upcoming year will set the stage for the years to come. in 2019, you are deserving of a happy ending. own your power and create that for yourself next year!
🎃 Visit loved ones at a cemetery. If you know where any of your loved ones are buried, give them an offering and just sit with them for awhile. Tell them what’s going on in your life, thank them for being around to offer you protection and guidance, etc. Cemeteries aren’t spooky places—they’re sacred and I find them very cozy :) Treat the dead with respect on their holy day
🎃 Carve a pumpkin with runes and symbols, then sprinkle the inside with different herbs and spices to create a Spell Pumpkin! Make a pumpkin for protection against malignant spirits, abundance, psychic power, etc
🎃 Do you honor the goddess Hekate? A traditional offering involves leaving a home-cooked meal at a crossroads (her sacred place), making your wish, and turning around. DO NOT LOOK BACK. If you hear or see a dog on your journey, that’s a good sign that Hekate has heard your wish. Even if the offering is eaten by an animal during the night, don’t get upset—this is one way Hekate takes her offerings
🎃 This is one of the best times of the year for divination. Do some scrying, tarot-reading, etc
🎃 Properly protect your home from wandering negative spirits on this night. Negative spirits are repelled by iron, salt, loud sounds (including wind chimes), and genuine laughter. Conversely, attract positive spirits to your home by burning frankincense, cinnamon, or sandalwood
🎃 FEAST! This is the last harvest of the year. Cook a big meal and invite friends and family to enjoy it with you! It’s also customary to invite the spirits to your meal as well. Set a place or two for any spirits you want to honor. If you’re alone on Samhain (like me), a nice party of you and a few familiar, kind spirits makes a lovely celebration
🎃 Have a bonfire! But not just any bonfire—throw in some herbs and spices to make it magical. If you can’t have a bonfire, make a spell candle instead.
🎃 Place lit candles in the windows to let spirits know that they can take refuge at your home on this night. If your house is properly protected, only kind spirits will show up. Leave them offerings and send them blessings. Take precautions and cleanse your home the following day, or before you go to bed that night
🎃 Reminisce a little. Tell stories about your deceased loved ones and ancestors, go through old photo albums, etc. Odds are, they’re probably sitting nearby and listening fondly
🎃 This is a great time for banishing, cord-cutting, and general “letting go” rituals.
🎃 Play music that you love, eat food that you love, and share this sacred day with the spirits in a warm and happy environment :) Happy Samhain!
Samhaine, or ‘Allhallow Even’ has for many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years been associated with Them Folk. In this post I’m going to explore the connection with the Sidhe, and let you know what makes it so special!
The faeries have special celebrations at this time, with each court holding its own special spin on it! It is notably the time of many ‘goblin markets’, usually as a side-show to a great revelry, with much merriment and dancing. They have a number of competitions, like sports, and these are often the cause of the fae’s whisking unsuspectful mortals, as the presence of a living human in a team is supposed to loan great strength to it. The faeries often invite those with whom they are friendly, as well as the wandering dead, and witches, ghosts, and faeries are said to dance together tonight. It was, however, considered dangerous to spy or come to the festivities uninvited.
Perhaps the culmination of all the festivities was the biannual Faery Rade, a kind of ride in procession with the queen or king or both leading, and the others riding behind in pairs. All are generally on snow-white horses. White, darting lights hover and dance above them, these are generally interpreted to be either earth lights or the more elemental sort of faery. The sound of hooves was normally heard before the Rade was seen, but no print or trace of the Rade was ever seen after. Sometimes it was visible from afar, but became invisible at close quarters. Those who witnessed it would crouch or lie face down so as not to be noticed. The Rade was, however, a faery raid upon humans and farm animals, children and beautiful women (!) were liable to be taken if they were not protected. So it was part ceremonial and part practical. Both kinds of faery did this, both the human-sized trooping fae and the more diminuitive sort. Humans invited on the Rade often got into trouble when discovered, for example, drunk in the King of France’s wine cellar, but the faeries normally rescued them before the trouble got too bad!
The faery folk generally move homes biannually and on Samhaine, around midnight, all of the faeries would take of at once on horses and hemp-stalks and would all rush off in what looked like a huge, rushing cloud to passers-by, moving from their Summer to their Winter quarters.
The final tradition directly related to the faeries was that any berries or harvest could not be harvested after Samhaine, as the Phoukas (a kind of faery) had blighted them. This applied especially to blackberries, the Faeries Fruit