The Feminine Mysteries of Winter
I walked up the fog-laden path. I could hear sheep grazing nearby, but couldn’t see them through the thick wool of the clouds. I knew I was getting close because the air itself seemed to still. Then, out of the mists, arose the mound, an outcropping of stone associated with the most ancient Goddess of the Celtic Isles— The Cailleach. On this first visit to Ireland, I had expected to connect with many of the deities that populated the land of my ancestors. What I hadn’t anticipated was how clearly, and powerfully, this ancient goddess of the winter months would reach out to me.
The Cailleach is, arguably, the oldest deity of the Celtic pantheon. Known as the mother of all the other Gods and Goddesses, the Cailleach is associated with the wintertime and the deep roots of quietude and mystery that grow beneath the surface of this season. When I placed my hands on the stone of her hill in Ireland that day, I could feel her energy. It was clarifying as snow, potent as the winter wind, and wise as stone.
In cultures around the world, the wintertime was often associated with the most ancient feminine forces of the land. There is a reason why some of our most enduring holidays of mysticism occur during the cold months. Winter is a time when unseen energies steps forth out of the fog— when the above-ground world goes back to the roots and the hidden mysteries of spirit can bloom. Known as a time of divination, story telling, shamanic flights and visioning, winter is often connected to the deep, earthen magic of the feminine.
Each of us carry these feminine mysteries within us. During the winter, these mysteries rise to the surface. In my new video I show you how you can tap into the feminine magics of the winter months to create a season that holds truly visionary depths.
Winter was meant to be a celebration for the spirit, a time of healing in the deepest roots of our bodies and psyche, a well where we can replenish our soul’s wisdom.
If you’d like to create a holiday time that centers around this earthen magic, come join me for Holiday Magic & Medicine Making. In this cherished online course we explore the mysticism inherent to this season and learn how to concoct a cupboard full of holiday treats, libations and gifts.
And if you’re looking for a bit of magic to gift, check out our line of earth-steeped apothecary products. See which one of our brand-new essences are calling to you, or peruse the essence collections that accompany our most popular online classes.
How ever you celebrate this season, know that the Earth is holding you. The depths you most desire, desire you too. And the magic you wish to experience in your life is right here, growing beneath the snow like a winter bloom.
I love all seasons and although Autumn may be my favorite season, I love Winter and welcome in slow-down time and the deep introspection of myself, where I am at in my journey and where I am going. On Winter Solstice, I celebrate by having a fire in my chimenea with a lemony hot toddy in hand. I invite Grandfather Fire to join me and give thanks to him for the light and the flames. I usually have written down wishes for myself and others and/or goals I’d like to accomplish in the coming year on paper and give it to the fire. Sometimes I do a more in depth ritual than other times but always I have something like that. I’m usually solo but will welcome in family and friends to join me just as I do the back yard trees and critters. It is a very magical time of year and I love immersing in it! I took your Holiday Magic and Medicine Making class and am very excited to try everything I can and to incorporate it all making new traditions! Thank you so much Asia! Love and Blessings to you and yours!!
I loved reading about your ritual Bonita. It sounds so deeply cozy, meaningful and magical. And a lemony hot toddy…sign me up! Wishing you and yours a truly blessed Solstice season!
Hello, beautiful Asia! With each passing year winter becomes my favorite season more and more., especially now that I live surrounded by woods and mountains. My favorite winter ritual is not really a ritual at all but truly embodies the Wellspring that I am. 🙂 I like to just BE. I spent too many decades stressed out by all the doing-ness of the holiday season and now, fully in my crone years,I have let almost all of the doing go. I also experienced the power of the Cailleach on my first trip to Ireland a few years ago. Sitting in the Hag’s chair was something I’ll never forget!
Happy Wintering, my friend! XO, Barbara
I love this so much Barbara. This is why I need you wonderful Wellspring people in my life!! Winter is the *season* of being! You help to remind us all of this. I hope this winter is full of so much gentle beauty, slowness and snow angels for you up in your beautiful home. Oh, and I love knowing you perched in the Hag’s chair as well! I can feel the two of us connected through Her there. What an incredible place on this Earth.
My winter ritual to nourish the earth (and at the same time nourishing myself as almost-crone, born, bred and living in Northern Europe) is simply walk among the sleeping trees and plants in my woodland garden or nearby woods, and sing for them a simple lullaby. Sometimes I sing in Frisian (my native tongue) or in Gaelic or Swedish. It is deeply healing and soothing, for the earth and for me. The ancient birds of this land (the black birds, the robins and the ravens) often join me, ever so softly, ever so magical.
This is so deeply beautiful. Thank you for sharing this magical ritual with us. It felt like a lullaby for my soul to read.
My special tradition at the Winter Solstice is to walk a labyrinth or spiral made of cedar and pine boughs. One walks to the center in quiet contemplation and lights a candle and on the walk back out places their little light along the way. In the past this has been done in silence to quiet harp or guitar music. But also just in silence. This is my favorite ritual of the year…. Very magical ✨
How gorgeous Becky! Wow. I can feel the silent, evergreen scented magic from here. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Thank you for this. I’m trying to turn my negative feelings about this season (in Minnesota) into something positive.
Thanks for dropping in Cynthia <3 I know from my friends in Minnesota that there is a whole lot of winter to love up there, ha! I can imagine it takes some effort to maintain positive feelings. It's powerful work indeed to befriend a season that claims so much of the year's wheel!
Magical and beautifully articulated and presented. thanks
Thank you for reading Caroline. Sending you lots of gentle, snow-touched magic today. <3