Preparing For Winter – A Spiritual Alignment
As we move beyond Samhain and closer to winter, we feel the chill in the air sharpen. The wind seems more vigorous while the days shorten. I take this time to cleanse and organize.
For me this time of year is when I move inward and further define my path. I am not an Outdoor person when temps fall too low. I am much more content staying inside allowing the wind and cold to do its thing outside. So as I am drawn indoors physically. I am also drawn inward spiritually, domestically, and intellectually.
Before I am ready to settle in for the winter I find myself needing to do a few things. Since my Magickal practice is enveloped within my home and mundane life, I find that doing some mundane chores is essential in maintaining my spiritual and Magickal essence.
Here are a few key things I like to do each year between Samhain and Yule.
- Cleaning: Living and Work Spaces:
You’ve heard of spring cleaning, well I also try to do this in the fall. I use the autumn seasonal transition to organize and clean up my living spaces and work area. This year the task is more daunting for me because we are in the process of moving. The house we are moving into is an old house that being refurbished. We have a lot of work ahead of us, far more than usual. So I am feeling a little overwhelmed in the process.
Typically during this time of year I go through our clothes, cupboards, etc. and clean out anything that is worn out, unused, and the like. This project includes my kitchen pantry, attic, basement, my office, and bathrooms… the whole house really. I have one exception, I will not touch is my husband’s office. Nope! Not going there!
In all the other rooms, I make three piles:
& 1-toss pile.
Then I deep clean each room down to the mini blinds. I find this most helpful in keeping my home and life clutter free. When my living and work spaces are clean I am more able to focus, and deepen my thoughts. Oddly enough I create better in clean and uncluttered areas. I am not the typical creative personality I suppose. If there is too much mess or items in my way I cannot work. I cannot think, and my creativity is blocked.
To me my creative side is infused with my spiritual side. I cannot have one without the other. So it is essential for me to live and work in an environment that is clean and organized.
- Spiritual Cleansing:
With any spiritual practice I think cleansing, beyond general cleaning and organizing is important. So after I deep clean the rooms in our home, I then go through and smudge each room.
After smudging I then use a cleansing spray & spell to refresh and deepen the cleansing process. I prefer Dragon’s Blood as my burning smudge and I make a cleansing spray. I will give you the recipe and spell work at the end of this post.
It is important to cleanse all the corners, and areas of each room that are often over looked.
- Gathering & Drying of Herbs:
As the weather get colder and as my garden is laying itself to rest, I take this time, (before it is too cold) to harvest any final herbs and the few remaining vegetables from my garden. After I harvest, I take this time to dry what I can, including the last of my tomatoes. By this time I have already canned everything and what is left I either use fresh or I dry for later use.
Since I usually begin with the kitchen in my annual cleaning process, I have also emptied all of my old herbs from my kitchen cupboard. Once I have dried what remains, I replace my stock by replacing my stock with freshly dried herbs.
It is important to use tightly sealing jars for storing you herbs and spices. I like to use ones that are meaningful and easily identifiable. The photo you see here are some of my own herb jars. These are my favorite jars. They seal very tightly. They also have some helpful info on them for easy reference. The important thing to remember, is to store your herbs and spices in a cool dark cupboard. Light and heat will damage your herbs and make them age more quickly. Try to store them away from your oven, but where they can still be easily accessed.
From my garden to my vehicle, I like to take time to make sure things are ready for the cold. As for the garden I go through and make sure my perennial plants are well covered for the harsh winter. I like to use leaves and other natural materials to help make sure they can make it through the winter. In my area we often have cold temperatures with our snow fall to help insulate, I find covering them with leaves is an effective method. My Annuals that die off each season are removed from the beds and I layer the beds with newspaper, leaves and mulch. This will help feed the beds and generate compost for spring planting.
An important spiritual ritual I conduct for my garden is making sure that it is energetically at rest for the winter. I like to go through and feel the energy of my garden. When you do this enough you will notice the subtle plant and earth energies from spring to fall is very different. I do this is silently so I am certain to pick up on any subtle vibrations. This is a great time to do a garden meditation, and final blessing before it is too cold to do so.
As for my home I go through and make sure the windows are closed tight, I wash and place extra blankets in each room. I make sure the animals have extra warmth with bedding and blankets. Even the living room gets extra blankets for the couch. This year I think we need some extra pillows as well.
One other thing I do is take my car out to my mechanic for its usual winterizing checkup and oil change. I prefer to have my mechanic do this, but if you are savvy you could do this yourself. I certainly don’t want to get stuck on the road in the cold so this is one precaution I take each winter. When this is complete I do the same smudging and spiritual cleansing for my car as I did for my home. Lastly, I will conduct a safe travel spell and hang a small bunch of herbs from my mirror as part of the spell work.
- Soul Searching/Spiritual Sojourn –
I have very little free time or “down time” outside of running my business, teaching cooking classes, running The Magick Kitchen, maintaining our home, and my volunteer obligations. I love all the things I do, so I make sure I schedule my time accordingly. I am not one for using my down time for watching TV, especially the news. I find most shows and newscasts are stress inducing. I try hard to keep stress out of my life.
Instead of parking it in front of the TV when I have “down time”, I like to read. After all, Witchcraft is a path of literacy, and it is important that we educate ourselves. I spend a lot of time reading new books and re-reading my old favorites. When fall quickly turns into winter I spend more time inside, and reading is a perfect way to pass the time.
Many of the books I read are of a spiritual and educational nature. They are intended for personal and spiritual development. I read the thoughts, opinions, and ideals of other spiritual people and spiritual leaders. This is what keeps my mind flexible and open. Because I have little time to spend on reading, one book might take me a few weeks, and that’s okay. As long as I am working toward expanding my mind, I feel good.
Well that is a good summary of how I prepare for winter. I hope you enjoyed this little run through of my rituals. I also hope this has inspired you to create your own rituals for this time of year.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Please post your comments below and tell me how you prepare for winter.
Through persistence, I found the honest answer… I can have both! I realize that I could forge my own path using the skills and knowledge I gained, and the simplest of techniques.
I love food and everything that goes with it. I have spent more than 35 years in the kitchen, enjoying every minute. Okay… well, enjoying almost every minute of it.
In addition, I have disbursed nearly as many years studying Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. Combining these two interests has created a Magickal path where I combine food and spirituality. To my delight they play brilliantly together.
My love of whole healthy foods, and unique recipes has also lead me to help run a local teen cooking program, where I teach kids valuable life skills in the kitchen. In addition, I teach a variety of cooking classes for adults and covens on subjects ranging from making the time spent in the kitchen more enjoyable, to cooking together as a group, and recipe-spell creation.
It only made sense that I would begin writing and sharing my experience. From this, The Magick Kitchen was born. My journey with you is about developing a spiritual experience with food, far beyond the dull habit of consumption. We have a marvelous opportunity here to take a most mundane task and make it Magickal!
The Magick Kitchen is about connecting to Divinity through food and the ritual of preparing and sharing food. It is about developing a sacred balance between nourishment, ritual, and spirit. Food has the power to heal, sooth, and bring us together as friends, families, and community.
I am so glad you joined me! Sharing knowledge, experience, and personal perspective with you is an honor. Thank you!