Every year around this time is when I start to go a little stir-crazy. The below zero temperatures, constant snow and slush of New England tends to turn even the most extroverted into hermits. My focus tends to waver, a begin to feel more and more lethargic, and I know that it’s time for an awakening. Earlier in the winter I tend to focus on kindling the fire within me to carry me through the winter months, which I tend to refer to as Harvesting the Sun. By around February it is usually time to renew this energy and make room for the energy of the new sun into my life. Here are just a few of the things that I do:
Honoring Your Home
It’s often difficult to feel productive and lively when everything else around you feels stagnant. During the winter I also have a bad habit of doing what my partner lovingly refers to as “nesting”. Essentially surrounding myself with material objects that bring me joy (mainly books, blankets, sketchbooks and instruments). One of the first things I do for my rekindling ritual is to declutter.
This doesn’t mean that I throw everything away, I just reevaluate everything that I have accumulated around me and assess what is necessary and brings me happiness. This concept has recently become popular due to popular tv show Decluttering with Marie Kondo. While I am not in a financial space to just let go of everything that doesn’t make me happy, I am in a space to let go of the things that add to unnecessary clutter. To start with, I at least make sure that everything is back where it belongs.
Now it’s time for pre-spring cleaning! Usually we will get a sudden uncharacteristically warm day and I will take that opportunity to open up every window in the house and deep clean. Clean out your fridge and freezer of all of the excess stuff you bought each time a snow storm reared its ugly head. Pull back your stove and clean behind and inside it. Get every nook and cranny. I typically take this opportunity to use my floor and window washes during this time as well (recipe available exclusively on my Patreon).
Once the home is thoroughly cleaned physically, perform your favorite energetic cleansing as well. It is important that the windows (and ideally the door) are open for this as well (so pick a warm day!) I will typically incorporate the first steps of this into the sweeping and washing of my floors, focusing on sweeping away any unwanted energies and laying down a foundation of household happiness and success. When I wash the windows, I focus on energetically laying down my protections. Next, I stand in the central part of my home and I tug on the threads of magic that make up the protection of my home and test for any tears or loose ends before repairing them. Finally, I feed any of the servitor spirits and talismans around my house.
When your home is thoroughly cleansed, it’s time for my favorite part: wake it up! Not only do we tend to go dormant during the winter, but so do our houses. You have already started the process by letting out any stagnant air and letting fresh air in, the rest is ultimately up to you. I like to put on some music that feeds my soul and that I can move to. I will also light some incense if I haven’t already (usually some frankincense and myrrh). Finally, I will drum or dance (I use the term ‘dance’ here lightly). You don’t have to be amazing at it, just moving will stir up the energy in your home.
Honoring Your Hearth
Once my house if fully awake, I move onto the hearth. For those who work with or worship Brigid this is particularly powerful. Now I know that most people don’t tend to have traditional hearths in their homes anymore, but every home contains the spirit of one. What is the space in your home that people tend to gather? That one space the tends to feel warmer and cozier for the rest?
For my apartment the hearth is my kitchen, mainly my stove/oven. One of my favorite things to do is cook a large meal for friends and family and simply enjoy each other’s company. Typically, my hearth is fairly active throughout the winter as I tend to cook for the holidays and will honor it and leave offerings at that time. If you are unable to do this though, then a great way of honoring your hearth is to get the oven going. Bake or roast something and offer a bit to the house.
Another great way to do this is to build a working altar to the spirit of your house. I have a large working altar right in my kitchen that I refer to as my Hearth & Home altar. It is where I do most of my seasonal workings, house offerings and community spellwork. I like to work on a microcosm to macrocosm framework. The work that I do within my own bubble carries out into the greater macrocosm. I find that if this altar goes neglected then I begin to neglect myself as well. If it is in disarray, then I will have a hard time focusing and keeping myself organized. It’s an important reminder in clear view to keep up with self-care as well as the care of my home.
The final part of the Rekindling ritual comes down to you. You have cleansed and cleared your space. Honored your Hearth & Home. You have a space to emerge to and start fresh. Now you need to honor and cleanse the hearth and home of your spirit; your body. I like to start off with a cleansing bath (or in my sad case, a shower). Add herbs, milk, oats, whatever you like that is cleansing and nourishing to the water. Since I only have a shower, I will bundle up herbs and salts into a cheesecloth and tie it to my shower-head so that the water runs through it. While you are in the water visualize any unwanted tension or energies literally washing off of you and going down the drain. Ground and center.
Once you’re done physically cleaning and pampering yourself, set up your space for ritual. For this particular ritual I will surround myself in candle and light up my Hearth & Home altar. Settle down amongst the candles (carefully!) and close your eyes. Be present in your body and acknowledge anything that comes to mind. Allow yourself to sink deeply into it and find your inner hearth. From here, focus on rekindling the flame of your hearth. Give offerings to it. It’s really up to you what you do at this point, as only you will know what is needed to feed it.
Once you are done, emerge ready to take on the last of winter and repeat as necessary.