As we journey through the cycles and time, we are kissed by the seasons of Earth—the transitions of the sky, the stars, the earth.
As I sit here on this night in Ontario, Canada, I find myself thinking about the past few months, and I want to invite you in to think with me.
What does the winter symbolize?
Well, in multiple systems, the winter relates to death, the darkness, the letting go. It is represented by the direction of North, the element of Earth, and the energy of the Divine Feminine. Keep in mind that there are so many different systems out there; this is drawing from shamanism, paganism, and Traditional Chines Medicine (TCM) to name a few.
It is a time to let your yin be replenished with rest and nourishment. In TCM, it is water that rules, as it is the most yin element and, therefore, our kidneys (yin) and bladder (yang) are at the forefront. The kidneys house our fear; the winter helps us to expel fear from our lives by seeing the truth, which is only possible when met in stillness. It is also believed that the kidneys essentially rule our skeletal body due to their function in metabolizing water in the body. The winter can be quite dry for skin and hair, so you may notice you drink more water and hot beverages as a way to stay hydrated.
Lately, I have been reflecting on what I did on December 21st, the Winter Solstice, and how I was feeling. I am thinking about the months I have spent in the cold, with less sunlight, and I am feeling the beautiful reminders of warmer days ahead.
What did you do this winter? How did you spend your time? Because of the current societal structures the world seems to be in, I spent a lot more time at home than ever before. I have nested for the first time in my life. My house is organized, my bed is made, my laundry is done, and wow, I didn’t know how much that would change my mood.
If your house is messy, that is cool! Everyone is dealing with this differently and everyone is at different times in their lives; there is no right answer or way of being here. If you read anything else I have shared, I talk quite openly about my experience with things we know as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
If you know what I am talking about, then you know that a messy space usually fits into that beautiful blend of mental f*ckery. This winter, I have felt supported by myself in new ways. Instead of focusing on the course I haven’t finished, the 10 pounds I haven’t lost, or the pages I have not written, or anything else I did not get accomplished or get to do that I wanted, I am seeing the comfort in the nesting—to make my space my own, because I had to be able to enjoy it. I am grateful to ground in this way.
I get it, winter is a weird time. Truthfully, though, I have always liked the winter; probably because it let me get away with feeling awful, sleeping in extra late, drinking bourbon, and feeding my workaholism. It also let me enjoy the quiet of the suburbs, as the snow blanketed the noise so beautifully, and the night is one of my favourite times to explore.
Another thing that is so beautiful in the winter is the naked trees showing themselves off; I love the skeleton of a tree. It is just so honest. It reminds us to be naked, honest, and beautiful in that, because it is simply who we are. It reminds us to let ourselves off the hook, to let the leaves fall from our lives so that we can survive knowing we will thrive by doing so.
The trees tell a story of true freedom, of surrender, and of intimacy. They send us messages from the Divine Masculine energy of strength in sturdiness, in truth, and in taking care of the self.
As winter begins to turn her face away from the sun, we are hearing spring form the first whispers of growth.
After spending months in the dark, in the hermit, the hanged man, we are starting to welcome the energy of the empress and the emperor. We are seeing the possibilities ahead for us and the limitless growth—we will the actions we want to take and we take them in full trust that we will succeed.
As we step further from winter and her face begins to darken, there are pieces of us that we too shall witness turn away. There are lessons we have faced, conversations we have had, stories now lived—integration is taking place even as you read these words.
Who were you in the fall? Who are you now? What gifts of wisdom has this winter poured into you?
As we approach March 20th, the Spring Equinox, the times are shifting, the light is growing, the earth is awakening—our slumber is over. The death of winter brings the rebirth of spring, and with that, the rebirth of you.
You can offer yourself time and space to create a ritual where you offer your old self to the thawing Earth and plant seeds of your new self to water this spring. You can do this mentally, physically, or energetically—there is no right or wrong way. Trust your self. That is the best thing you can learn to do. Take some time and reflect.
As winter dies, so do parts of you; as parts of you die, your entire self dies; when your self dies, you become reborn. A new self in whatever way that is for you.
Let yourself dry out, let the ambers slowly burn, let the light wake up and remind you that you have not been alone and that the darkness of winter has shown you the truth you maybe did not want to see.
Be still beautiful souls, be still.
Witness the balance of night and day.
May your darkness be your teacher.