Depths of winterRead Now
Yesterday was the 2021 Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. I like to follow the Solar Calendar - it just makes sense to me to mark my time by the cycles of nature. The longest day of the year (aka the Summer Solstice) marks the height of activity and growth, and the shortest day of the year, yesterday's Winter Solstice, marks the time where one year's productivity ends and the new one begins. Of course, this happens in the middle of winter so it's not like you'll switch from one phase of being to another on a dime, but noticing the shifts all around us in the earthly, natural realm is a way that our souls can come into our bodies and enjoy the ride. I ground into this life and this time by thinking of myself as a part of nature, and aligning to the seasons and the relationship of our Mother Earth with our Father Sun makes life richer and more full of a simple, undeniable level of meaning for me.
Of course I acknowledge the common Gregorian calendar, and I also like to pay attention to the lunar calendar. A Chinese friend of mine told me once how on their new year, her culture cleans the house and opens all windows and doors, even for just a moment, to allow the old year's energies to leave and the new one's to come in. I love that, and I do it, when I remember. Just a month or two ago, a Jewish friend shared how on their new year, apples and honey are eaten together to bring in sweetness and blessings for the coming times. I sure did eat my apples and honey on that day. Why not? It was delicious, and imbuing food with ritual intentions just makes it better, in my opinion.
When we observe sacred practices that have been repeated for centuries, we reignite patterns of energy that are already existent in the underlying layers of our reality. There's something to be said for repeating holy words that have been said a thousand times before, creating a new echo in the halls of infinity.
That said, I'm also a big fan of praying in my own language, and when I pray in another, I insist on knowing what every word means. I believe that the true power is our own intention, and if you don't know what you're saying, how can that work?
I also don't believe in superstition - spirit technology is one thing, shifting energies in the unseen world to have results in the visible, physical world, but hanging fear and hope on shaky, empty patterns of hollow belief is quite another.
At the end of the day however, if it works, it works. The placebo effect is a beautiful thing, and we are still largely unaware of the great power of the human mind and spirit.
At this moment, I'm writing from a sunny, chilly Los Angeles morning. I can hear a siren moving through the city and a dog barking. The leaves on the trees outside my window are only just now turning to yellow and brown, and every time I go outside I hear that lovely rustle when the wind moves through the branches, causing showers of crispy brown leaves to fall.
Sometimes at the solstice I've been buried in snow, enjoying my daily ritual of bringing in firewood and my nightly ritual of staring into wood stove flames, eating simple foods, going deep into solitude mode, and dreaming. This year, I'm in the middle of the city, enjoying a winter so mild it feels strange to even name it as such, being more social than usual (while still acknowledging and respecting the parameters set by our current pandemic situation,) and letting go of patterns that are ready to shed from my being and make space for new, larger, steadier, more grounded ways of being.
This year, I've been grounding more than ever back into the human world. I've spent the last decade far away from where most of the people are, living life as one big solo trip (accompanied by Lily the cat of course,) and meditating on mountain tops, praying in caves, singing in living waters and dreaming in sunshine and moonlight. Now, I'm feeling a call to bring back the lessons I've gathered and weave them into tools for the ones who didn't have the freedom to hit the road for years.
Funnily enough, up until the last month or two I wasn't remotely interested in such a possibility. The thought of walking through buildings of concrete and metal exhausted me, still repelled, I've since realized, because of the spirit wounds that dislodged me enough to leave in the first place.
But lately, I've wanted to go back in. It's seemed fun and interesting to me. And more than anything, the happiness I've found in my unique world has fueled me forward. I'm not running from anything - I love my life as it is and I know I can re-retreat at any time, disappear into a national forest, climb a mountain or vanish into a desert, and get myself back. I have gifts to bring to the ones who can't do that. And I'm excited to deliver them in the coming year, in different ways than I ever have before.
We'll see what happens!
Here is a simple but effective ritual for you to try, in order to consciously release the past year and start creating the new one. It was included in my December Newsletter (if you want to sign up for future ones, go here to get yourself on the list.) Feel free to try this on your own time, and if you do, come back and let me know how it goes.
December’s Year End Ritual
Drawing Supplies (Optional)
Sacred Symbol - a crystal, object, or image that has meaning to you (Optional)
Matches/Lighter and Heat Safe Container (Optional)
First, it is important when you do rituals to know how they actually work. The symbolism of focusing your mind and emotions on a specific outcome and using objects to represent that focus is the point here. In other words, the power is not in the ritual objects - it’s in YOU. This means that you can shift the ritual to work for you, substituting techniques or supplies to what makes you think the most clearly and feel the most deeply. Your thoughts direct the magic and your emotions give it power to move, create, and grow.
For this ritual, there are 2 phases.
Next, with gratitude and a peaceful inner spirit, get rid of the first page. Release the past year. You’ll still move forward with everything you’ve learned, but unburden yourself from the past weight. You can burn the paper (if so, make sure you do it safely!), or you can tear it up into little pieces, imagining with each tear that you are unbinding the energy of this year from your spirit so it can float away and be recycled into new experiences. You can trash, flush, bury, or burn the pieces. Do what feels right to you and what works given your situation. Just make sure that whatever you do feels like it is symbolically clearing those experiences from your spirit.
Finally, take another look at the paper manifesting your coming year. Fold it up and on the closed outside edges of the folded paper, write affirmations like “This or Better,” or “Angels and Guides please assist me,” or “I surrender to Divine Wisdom” - whatever makes you feel a sense of peace and certainty about what you just created. Feel free to invoke whatever helpful energies you believe in and work with in your sacred moments.
With gratitude and a peaceful inner focus, place the folded up paper somewhere special. You can put it in a journal, or on an altar, or in your wallet or bag - somewhere that it can be safe and be kept securely until you’re ready to revisit it.
Feel free to revisit it as often as you want to! At the very least, place it somewhere you’re sure you’ll remember (when in doubt, email the location to yourself so you can remember later) and take it back out next December, to see how the year unfolded with your intentions. At most, feel free to go back over it daily or weekly. I recommend trying to take a look and make necessary adjustments (by crossing things out and/or adding new things) at the major turning points of the year. Personally, I love to use the solstices and equinoxes for this work, but do whatever works with you.
You can’t do this wrong. Again, this is about YOUR thoughts directing the energy and YOUR emotions making it go. These instructions are just a guideline. Shift them as needed to think the most clearly and feel the deepest.
And have fun with it! Bring kids in if they’re around, they’re really good at this stuff :)
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Charis melina brown
Healer, Oracle, Starseed, & Muse. Forever dreamer with fast feet and busy hands. Introvert in the physical world (mostly) and extrovert online (mostly.) This blog is meant for geeking out and digging in to the unseen, but very important parts of life that are intense for those of us who see them, and invisible for others. As I always say, we don't choose the multidimensional life - it chooses us. But I wouldn't want it any other way.