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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Just Winter

It's just Winter now, and I took down all the Yule decorations this weekend—the tree, the ornaments, the pine garland on the mantle, the wreath, everything has been been taken down, put away, discarded. The boxes are back in a shadowy corner of the basement. Like Narnia, where it was “always Winter and never Christmas,” the trees are bare, snow is inches deep, the wind is icy, and now dark nights are even darker, there are no Christmas lights still lit to soften the darkness.

It's just Winter, and the bills we ran up during festive Sagittarius, have come due in austere, disciplined Capricorn. The holiday season has ebbed, and in its wake is a return to the small and cautious, to the frugal, to the tightening of belts, the tyranny of the budget, the austerity of a cleaner diet. It's just Winter, just a cold season with many weeks to Spring, still hibernating and quiet, too soon to plan Spring's garden or Summer's vacation.

It's just Winter and the weather is its own hurdle. During Faunalia, I left offerings of barley and ale in pouring sleet. At Saturnalia, I stood in 6 inches of new snow to cut cedar and holly to decorate my hearth. Yule itself was still but cold. Today's brilliant sunshine gleams on snow but cannot melt it. Even on a bright day like this, no birds are singing, though crows may perch on the bare trees and wrens may shiver under the bird-feeder. Tonight Orion the Hunter will come up mid-evening, and chase his quarry westward til dawn, unless the storm breaks early and comes rushing in from the North. It's the season when the gaps in our compassion really show, as the homeless freeze, as our charity evaporates.

It's just Winter and yes, the days are longer than they were a month ago, when we gathered to celebrate the Shining Light in the Brilliant Darkness, when we gathered to feast, sing, and make merry with those we loved, when we celebrated birth and rebirth, new beginning, when we rang in the year. There is more light, and the light lasts longer into the day. Slowly the Wheel turns towards Imbolc, and beyond. Slowly the planet moves inexorably towards the Waxing season, with all of those pleasures and challenges.


But right now it is Winter, and things are still at rest, in the dark quiet, in the stillness. This is the darkness of the tomb, but it is also the darkness of the womb. And we will not be in this darkness forever.

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Tagged in: winter winternights
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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