Mabon has passed and our days now contain more night than day. Although the last strains of summer’s melody can be heard and felt, we are sensing the call of autumn and of the winter beyond it. Now is the time of year when I consider what my Winter Work will be.
The dark season is a wonderful opportunity to spiral inward. The green world around us will appear to slip into death or sleep. The truth, of course, is that deep beneath the winter soil, the plant spirits are recovering: healing, resting, growing and rooting deep for their rise in springtime. When we follow the cycle of the inward spiral, we can take advantage of the cooler, longer nights in a similar fashion.
Winter Work is a particular course of study or area of focus for the dark season. It’s a way to root deep, learn, strengthen and grow so that we too emerge refreshed, rejuvenated and stronger in the spring time. The cold temperatures and darkness will drive us inside anyway – why not take this inwardly focused time to learn or transform?
Think about what you would like to learn or experience. Is there a path of study that has always interested you, but you haven’t had time for? Is there a skill set or practice that you once enjoyed but lost touch with?
Directions to Consider
Here are some directions to consider if nothing is coming to mind:
- Divination: Learn a system you have always wanted to explore.This can be a good daily practice. Carry your divination set with you and take moments of waiting or pause to memorize the system. Practice doing readings a few times a week. Alternatively, you can develop a divination system of your very own. Sigil and symbol systems can be made deeply personal. Start by making a list of prompts (i.e. Abundance, Empowerment, Endurance, Challenge, Divine Influence, Love, Meditation, Passion, Protection, etc) and expand or contract the list until it feels right. Create sigils or symbols for each prompt. These can be printed on card stock or drawn onto simple wooden discs from the craft store.
- Magickal Crafting: This is an almost bottomless pit of options.Learning to make your own magickal supplies is a lot of fun and can be a Winter Work for the entire family if you’d like to include the kids. Some magickal items you can learn to make: incense, tinctures, herbal baths/salts/bath bombs, potions, sachets, powders, candles, sacred jewelry (take a beading or wire-wrapping class), wands and staffs, ritual clothing or regular clothing items imbued with specific properties. The entire world of fiber arts from spinning to knitting to crochet to sewing presents ample opportunities for magick. Have you always wanted a particular set of festival or ritual attire? Learn to make them this winter.
- Ancestral Work: We are entering the season of death.Although the Veil is thinnest beginning at Samhain, the entire dark season falls into the realm of the Ancestors. This is a wonderful time to cultivate connections to our Ancestors of every kind. Healing the Ancestral line is good, needed Work. Our Ancestors survived an astonishing amount of trauma and it frequently echoes in our blood and memories.
- Ritual Work: Choose to adopt a formal practice over the dark season.Perform rituals for each full and dark moon, each High Holiday that passes. Becoming comfortable with and proficient at ritual is largely a matter of repetition, reflection and revision.
- Dream Magick: Spend the dark season tracking and interpreting your dreams.Use a dream journal and learn about different ways to enhance and influence your dreams.
- Mythological exploration: Learn about a pantheon, deity or culture that fascinates you.
Remember that what makes something magickal or spiritual is intent and energy. Your Winter Work can be an intersection of practical and spiritual. For example, this year my Winter Work will be developing a better work/life balance. This Work will see me focus on my meditation practice and will create more space for independent study, ritual work and Journeying. Although some parts of that Work will be practical (and some parts of Work always are), a good deal of it will be spiritual in nature as well.
Prepare for your Winter Work between now and Samhain. Contemplate what you would like to study or work on, begin gathering the information or resources you will need and plan space for your Work in your schedule. Then, after our New Year, dive in.
So, what do you want to learn or focus on this year? How do you like to pursue your Winter Work? Hit me up in the comments.