Winters are often tough, but this one has really been a challenge for many of us. Much of the US has dealt with long stretches of bitter cold and winter storms bringing snow and ice as far south as Texas. On the far western side of the country, there are droughts and winds instead. Outside the United States, the weather has also been extreme, although not always cold. It’s the beginning of March, and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like this winter is Never Going to End.
Of course, there are plenty of practical things that can help you keep going: exercise, rest, and of course, lots of chocolate. But if those aren’t working for you this year, I’ve got a few ideas for how to cope, using spirit, spells, and sharing—hopefully one or more of these approaches help you make it through until the spring comes.
When the temperature drops below zero AGAIN, or you’re slipping and sliding on your way to the car, there may be a temptation to curse the gods. Instead, why not use this long winter as inspiration to get in touch with one of the darker crone goddesses you may not usually commune with? Winter is the time of the hag—Hecate, for instance, or some of the other “hag” goddesses like Kali Ma, Cerridwen, or Morrigu (check out this fabulous blog post on connecting with Baba Yaga by Pagan author Gail Wood http://rowdygoddess.com/2014/02/25/celebrating-the-hag-baba-yaga-the-hag-of-winter ) so if you’re feeling rather haggard yourself, do some research or just reach out to the goddess in her crone form.
On the other hand, if you are longing for the warmth and sunlight, perhaps you can light a candle to one of the sun gods, like Apollo, who is also a god of healing and music (which can be very healing during the long dark months). Meditate on one whichever sun god resonates with you the most, and feel the gift of light and warmth filling you from head to toe. Do a ritual thanking Prometheus for his gift of fire that keeps us warm during these cold months.
Spellwork can help too. For instance, if you are feeling like you just can’t take any more, try doing this spell for “Endurance” from my Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook:
I will be bright and fierce
Like the flame that burns
In the candle hot
I will be strong and grounded
Like the tumbled stone
That once was earth
I will be flexible and resilient
Like the water that flows
Always to return
I will be the essence of potential
Like the seed that waits
And grows again when needed
I will endure
I will survive
I will triumph
And rise like the phoenix
At the dawn of another day
With the help of the gods
And my own determination
I will endure
And rise like the phoenix
You can also try my spells for Acceptance (to help you accept the weather you can’t change), Depression (if the never-ending winter has you down), or Peace and Quiet, if you just want to tune into the more positive aspects of this time of year.
I tend to hibernate during the winter—I’m less social, rarely leave the house (except for work and necessary errands), and don’t talk to people as much. This isn’t always a bad thing, and certainly fits with the general energy of this time of year. But if you’re feeling blue, sometimes the best thing you can do is get together with friends or family.
Blue Moon Circle has a tradition during the cold dark months of getting together for a few “girls’ nights in.” We don’t do anything magical; simply watch a fun video, share food, and enjoy each other’s company. But it is amazing how much these nights can recharge our batteries and make us feel better.
Of course, if you want to do something magical AND get together with your friends, you can always do the infamous Chocolate Ritual. Here is a link to one version: http://www.labyris.com/Uppity/chocritual.html
I told you chocolate helped!
And hang in there…spring is coming soon, no matter what it feels like at the moment.