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 WorkSpaces:
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 is 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 workspaces 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 overlooked.
- Gathering & Drying of Herbs:
As the weather gets 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 snowfall 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 “downtime” 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 downtime 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 “downtime”, 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.
Cleansing Lemon and Rosemary Room Spray & Spell Work
After smudging I then use this cleansing spray & spell to refresh and deepen the cleansing process.
- 4 oz Rosemary Water
- 10 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil
- 2 oz Vodka
- 1 Spray bottle
To make the rosemary water bring 2 cups of water to a simmer and add dry rosemary. Turn off the heat and steep for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
In your spray bottle all the ingredients. Shake before use.
Spray each room or your car to dissolve and drive away negative energy.
The imagery I keep in my head is at first murky dark clouds are welling up in the area where I am working. Then as I spray each corner, surface, and air - the clouds of negativity are banished and they disappear. As you spray chant or sing the following words.
Destructive energy, is sprayed away.
Unkind energy is gone today.
Negative energy, is sprayed away.
Harmful energy is held at bay.
Cleanse the cold, dark swelling -
Bring clarity to my dwelling.
Release and close.
Conduct this spell in your home, work area, and car whenever you feel the need to cleanse negativity from your life.
©2014, The Magick Kitchen
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.