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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in winter

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Winter is starting here in Wellington New Zealand, and has been heralded by a weeklong southerly storm. The Cailleach, she is not far away and can be felt in this the first of the winter storms.  Offerings are already being made by unsuspecting people who were silly enough to bring umbrellas as protection against the strong southerly winds.

 

The Cailleach, a Scottish winter Goddess brought here, if you will, by settlers from the British Isles.  She is similar to Hine-nui-te-pō  the Maori Goddess of the underworld and death, who was here before. It maybe that the Cailleach found her,Hine-nui-te-pō as a sister, their energies do seem to coexist in a complementary way.  Well they do for me anyhow.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for sharing! You have a great sense of place, informed by an awareness of the Gods and spirits.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
February Reminders

When February has been Harsh

It's just one foot in front of the other. 
It's just one moment, 
then another, then another-
Till the footfalls mark a footpath
and the breathing is a testament.

~Amoret

It's funny how time flies and yet remains standing still. I blink, and we are in the middle of February. I blink again, and the world outside is still covered in ice and deep, deep snow. 

The winter, thus far, has been educational. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Winter Cold and Flu Care, Naturally!

Temperatures are plummeting and winter has set in as I write. A flock of wild turkeys has stopped by on their daily morning forage under the bird feeders and a freezing rain has everyone wishing they were inside, safe from the bone-chilling winds. This is the time to have plenty of winter remedies on hand, to ward off flu and chill.


Caution: if you are on any medications please look online for “herb and drug interactions” or “herb and drug contraindications” before you ingest these plants!
 
Fire Cider
A friend passed this recipe along to me and he swears he hasn’t had a cold in four years. Take a few tablespoons of this remedy at the first sign of a cold;


(Please use only the finest organic ingredients)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
An Imbolc Idea

This winter has been a harsh one thus far, to say the least. Rather than resist it, the best tactic for coping might in fact be facing it head on. Provided that February 2 does not fall into dangerous windchill temps in your neck of the woods, I recommend a meditation by skiing. Cross-country, that is. I will never forget the Saturday afternoon back in high school that I cross-country skied to my best friend's house across a barren cornfield. The weather conditions were ideal. The sun was out and making the snow on the ground glisten. It was warm enough that I could eventually unbutton my long overcoat. I was listening to Pink Floyd's, "Dark Side of the Moon," on my walkman. If that dates me, I don't care. The experience was paradisiacal. 

 

Even if you don't own a pair of skis, there are usually inexpensive options for a daily rent at a supply shop. Or if you are a member of a nature center, such as the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, you may check out a pair for free with your membership. Find your ideal deserted woodsy setting– preferably something straight out of a Robert Frost poem, and get skiing. If you opt for music, your really can't go wrong with the afore-mentioned Pink Floyd. Otherwise, choose something instrumental and soothing that you can clear your mind to. Karen Drucker also has some lovely selections off of her "Songs of the Spirit" CD that could help focus your meditation to the Goddess. Besides clearing your mind and enlivening your soul, your body will get a great workout. If opting for no music, tune into the sounds of wildlife creatures, the swish swish of your skis gliding along at a steady pace, and the occasional soft plump of falling or melting snow. Breathe in deep and let the fresh, clean air open up your lungs. Let the gratitude of being healthy, outside, and able to still enjoy these things fill your heart.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Rufus, the shih tzu puppy, was so excited he could barely keep still. Even though he tried to stay calm, his tail seemed to have a mind of its own. It wagged furiously as he danced around and around Mama's legs.

“OK, little boy, settle down,” she said, as she read over again the piece of paper in her hand.

He didn't care what was written on it. All he cared about were those nine words Mama said when she unfolded the mail. “Oh! The Mid-Winter Pagan costume ball. Want to go?”

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Other Season of the Witch?

I'm currently getting into the Yule spirit by reading a new Llewellyn title. The book The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch is a collection of Christmas traditions that many of us may not be familiar with. Creatures such as elves, gnomes, and werewolves roam the wintry landscape and leap off the pages. Goddesses and witches also make appearances, which has helped me to look at the Christmas season in a new light.

Yes, this book focuses on historical Christmas traditions, but Raedisch posits that many of these traditions and tales have their origin in Europe's pre-Christian past. I'm inclined to agree.  This book really does explore the "old magic" of the season. For instance, there is an interesting tension between the feminine aspect of death and birth in many of the folk customs that are described. Much like the traditional Halloween, there is the juxtaposition of the crone witch with the young woman who tries her hand at fortunetelling for fertility, luck, and husband-seeking.

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  • Jeanine Byers
    Jeanine Byers says #
    Love the idea of a Christmas witch!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The plans of trees

 

The deciduous trees stand, bare and apparently lifeless through the winter months. The popular take on this, is that they are sleeping. It is a perspective which depends on paying no attention or thought to what the trees are really doing. Those bare branches are a misleading focus.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Courage

As the darkness approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about courage. What is courage? Personally, I think courage is so subjective – there is no one definition that would suit everyone. Yet I shall give it a go in any case.

The dictionary defines courage as: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. I would posit that courage is the quality of mind/spirit that enables a person to face difficulties, etc in spite of fear. It is just not true that the brave know no fear – I believe that they simply get on with it. There is no such thing as a fearless person, unless that person has not the mental capacity for it, having suffered physical brain or emotional trauma.

What causes fear? For the most part, fear is the unknown. As humans, we crave constancy, security. We’re not especially fond of change, at least in great quantities. We fear what we cannot see – many are afraid of the dark. Is this an instinctual fear, based on what could attack and eat us from the shadows? I had an experience a couple of weeks ago, in my own backyard, where I went to offer some food at my altar – a large dark shadow that was not usually there made me stop in my tracks. A bear, my first thought was. Then my brain worked through the processes of logic – there are no bears in Britain. I’m not in Canada anymore. What animal would be big enough to create this? A stag? Would he attack me in this, the rutting season? No, he couldn’t get through the hedge with his rack at this time of year… After going through these thought processes (which probably took less than a second) I simply stepped forward to investigate, and found it to be a large branch from the beech tree that came down in the high winds. I smiled at the brain’s way of dealing with it and made my offering, honouring the darkness and shadows as well.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Gaia's Winter Mantel

Often when I sit down to draw or paint, I don’t have a preconceived plan. I just want to start putting something down on the paper; maybe a few lines with a pencil, maybe just wild strokes of color.

This time, though I had something specific in mind. In fact, I’ve had it in mind for a while now. I’ve even made a few attempts in recent weeks, but each time there has been a disconnect between my head and my hand. I want to portray the Goddess in winter, but instead I keep filling my paper with the hot and bright colors of summer.

Living at the far western region of the Lake Superior basin, the season of cold comes early and stays late, like an unwelcome guest. I make that analogy with a hint of shame. I am a pagan priestess. I am supposed to have a relationship with Gaia in all of Her seasons. I should embrace each turning of the wheel for the aspects ushered in, but winter vexes me.

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  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Beautiful art and photography. Maybe the warm hued Goddess that keeps showing herself to you is the other side of winter, hearths,

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Samhain Approaching...

As I sit here, writing this, the rain taps at the window, the wind howling down the street, carrying with it the scent of winter and the first of the autumn leaves. The sky is fast moving and furious – low dark grey clouds set amidst a backdrop of pure white/grey.  The central heating has been turned on.  The apples are juicy on the trees.  The starlings are flocking together. Welcome, Autumn.

My favourite season – as you may have guessed. From bright, sunny days where the sun shows the last of its strength, to watery, wind-filled days like these, it is a season of change like no other.  Quick, altogether too quickly, it is over, at least the Fall is, when the leaves change and drop to the ground.  After that, it seems Winter is here – only allowing Autumn a brief time of grace to shine in her beauty before all is blanketed under the dreamy cold slumber of Winter.

It is third week of October – and the hectic days of summer leading to the Equinox have long passed.  I feel I can almost catch my breath – almost.  The main bulk of the harvest is done – both agriculturally and in a personal sense.  I have worked hard this year, and the rewards have been great.  There are always disappointments – from the tomatoes that didn’t do well to the vagaries of life.  But Autumn, with her beauty, captures our hearts and our minds, our attention, and causes us to stop, to listen and watch Her before She is gone.

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Thank you, and to you Lizann! x
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    another lovely post - thank you - and blessings to you in this wonderful season of change

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Being Pagan Cured My Winter Blues

I have lived in upstate New York my entire life. For the most part, I love it here. I love the changing seasons and the beauty of the rolling hills. What I don’t love so much is winter—probably not a good thing in an area where the first snow often falls at Halloween, and it isn’t unheard of for it to snow in the middle of April. Essentially, of the twelve months in a year, five of them are winter. That’s a long freaking time if you don’t like that particular season.

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  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    You're most welcome, Deborah. Yes, it's actually a variant of SAD, if you can believe it! http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seaso
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Thanks Janet! The summer blues, eh? Well, I do find the summer energy overwhelming sometimes, so I guess I can see how it would b
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    What a great post, Deborah! I don't have winter SAD (my husband does), but SUMMER SAD (if you can believe it). The symptoms are a

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Yule and the Winter Solstice

Yule and the Winter Solstice are two separate events for me, with Yule being celebrated around December 21-25 just to keep up with family that celebrates Christmas, and the solstice being celebrated when it actually occurs, which for 2012 (5:12am CST) and 2013 (11:11am CST) is December 21st where I live. I wrote an article already explaining why I try to get so exact with the date/time of the celebrations, if you’re interested.

On the Winding Path, I have a couple of different rituals that are done around the time of Yule, besides the main one, because this is such an important time of year. Although I live in a climate where it’s unusually mild for this time of year this time around, there have been years of great hardship from harsh weather here. It is in the balance between all of those cold and mild winters that I place my mind when thinking of the Winter Solstice because it represents the breaking of the grip of winter upon the land. In northern climates, this was more true because they hardly if ever saw the sun around this time. There are symbols from the times of our ancestors which have been carried through to today, even by the usurpers of our traditions, like the use of evergreens, or celebrating for twelve days. On the Winding Path, we don’t celebrate for twelve days, but evergreens do play an important role in ritual and just a decoration because it reminds us and signals to us the promise of the return of spring.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

As the land begins her journey to the stark hardness of winter, I find myself turning from the softness of worked Earth and rainwater and leaning into the hardness that is to come.

There is surprising comfort in that–in the security of that rigidity as well as the sense of permanence in our impermanent world.

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