Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Raechel Henderson, author of Sew Witchy.
I will admit it: winter is not my favorite season. Give me the sprouting new life of spring, or the bounty of autumn. Even the energy of Summer, with its heat and mosquitoes, is more welcome than the cold and snow and ice of winter. More than anything, though, I think my issue with winter is that it is a time for rest. It is a time for reflecting on what the year brought, and mulling over what lessons one learned. It is a slow season. And, as someone who is constantly working, constantly on the go, I find it hard to stop and just be.
And so, I cheat. I throw myself into the tasks of the season. I decorate the house with paper snowflakes and garlands made of dried cranberries and orange slices. I keep the kitchen oven busy with cookies and soups. There’s a small crock pot simmering all day long with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and rosemary to help keep the space cleansed, since the window will stay shut against the cold.
The long, cold stretch is interrupted by our winter solstice celebrations, which gives me an excuse to leave the comfort of blankets and hot chocolate. Every year we build a book tree using nearly all the books in our home. At the base we pile presents for the kids, at the top sit Santa Hulk and his elf helper Iron Man. It is silly, but we’ve been doing it for so long it has become tradition.
That shortest day ends with a bonfire, where we burn a log my partner has specially prepared, carved with runes to bring blessings and protection on our household. We pour out libations to our patron deities, write out our wishes for the coming year, and scry the coals looking for portents. It’s the most activity we’ll engage in over the winter months. Then, it’s back to Harry Potter marathons and cuddling with the kids whenever we’re not at work or school.
I will tackle sewing chores that I’ve let sit all year: making fabric twine while watching television or mending clothes while listening to podcasts. My hands are kept busy so my mind can relax. When the knees in the last pair of pants have been patched, I can turn to planning for the coming year.
This isn’t the kind of planning where I write out lists and charts and budgets. It is more of a dreaming, visualizing what the future will be as I flip through seed catalogs. And when I start to get too antsy, going over all the things I need to do, I remind myself that those are worries for when the wheel approaches spring. There are seeds that need a period of cold before they can germinate, I tell myself. “Be that seed. The change of seasons will tell you when it is time to awaken.”
It is a lesson I still struggle to learn. Fortunately, winter will always come back around to remind me.
Our thanks to Raechel for her guest post! For more from Raechel Henders, read her article, “By Glove and Cowl: Using Sewing Magick to Boost Our Words” and create the gloves and cowl to keep you not only warm but shielded and empowered this winter season.