Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.

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The Heart of Darkness

On the night of the Winter Solstice, the sun set at 4:37 pm.

                It had risen at 7:24 that morning, making for just over nine hours of daylight.

                It was a sunny day, but the shadows were so dark on the ground, and the sunset came so early, that it didn’t seem like a sunny day at all.

                Winter is most definitely here. In the weeks since the Solstice, the weather across the country has been stormy and bitterly cold. Right now it is pouring snow outside, and the rest of the week will be in a deep freeze.

                Even as we approach Imbolc, the festival of growing light and breaking ice, there is plenty of darkness.  There is more daylight every day, but the shadows are still long.  There is the hope of Spring on the horizon, but there are many weeks of cold and snow before we get there.

                The darkness is in us as well.  Samhain is long over, but the monsters and frights that chilled us then are still with us, and are still terrifying.

                There are the monsters of our own shadowlands, the fears and sorrows we refuse to acknowledge or admit to ourselves. There are the monsters and fears that live in plain sight—the gunman roaming the school or the church or the streets, children in cages, or coughing up teargas, or dying of dehydration and flu while in government custody, the mentally ill freezing to death on public streets while we walk past. There is the pain and suffering of those we love, and those we don’t even know. We look upon these horrors, they remain with us whether we close our eyes or leave them open.  They follow us into the light of reason, and they await us in the quiet moments when we rest or reflect. 

                There is no evading these shadows.

                We live in the balance between the hopes of what we wish to be, what we aspire to be, and the reality of who and what we truly are.  How often do we fail to live up to our own expectations, how often do we fail to live up to what our Gods and Guides have laid out for us? In the final dark weeks of the Winter, when the grip of the cold and harshness seems unbreakable, what strength, what wisdom, what resolve can be found in ourselves? How can we be more worthy of ourselves?

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Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.


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