The Descent of Winter

emma kathryn winter yule the house of twigs thot witchraft solstice

Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.   ~ Hugh Macmillan

Winter approaches.

I can sense it, can feel it’s breath as it pinches my nose and the fleshy lobe of my ears. My breath fogs the air, plumes of warmth in the still dark morning. The sky is clear and thousands of stars burn brightly in its dark depths. A moon, almost full, hangs in the sky, bright, almost brilliant against the backdrop of the dark sky. It still feels like the depth of night and as the street slumbers, it might as well be.

This is my favourite time.

Already folks have their Christmas decorations up, earlier than previous years as they seek to look past the shit show the year has been. I don’t blame them. At this hour of the morning, the garish lights are out and it’s only the moon, the stars, the garden and me.

The ivy is still thick and will remain so even through the coldest and darkest that winter might offer. It is so early that even the sparrows still sleep, the ivy quiet without the chirping and chattering. This will come soon. It always does. But the blackbird is up. I can hear his call echoing through the darkness, clear like a bell. A solo call that feels melancholic.

I stand in the centre of my garden and acknowledge the spirits that reside here. They are quieter now that winter approaches. Quieter, but still here. As it should be.

As an animist, I see spirit in the whole of the natural world and see our place within it, a part of it. As such, I believe we too should take our cues from the land and from nature. This is a time to rest, to take stock. To find solace within yourself. It is okay to say that you have to concentrate on yourself for a while. The strongest people need self care too, something that many people often overlook or downright ignore. Witches and occultists are some of the strongest people I know. The toxic positivity brigade will have you believe that we should be a source of love, light and encouragement for everyone else all of the time. Some will look down on you for charging for services rendered or for closing yourself off to people and their trauma. And why shouldn’t we? We have our own trauma to heal from too.

And so, in my garden, while the world still sleeps, I partake in some self care myself. Away from the glamour of the season, away from others and the grind of everyday life, the garden, reminds me that it is okay to slow down. The bare branches of the cherry and the linden, beautiful in the slowly brightening sky remind me that this can be beautiful. A different beauty to the bloom of spring, but beauty nonetheless.  A moment to be my truest self, simply me. Here I am not a mother, nor a daughter or a partner or a worker or any of the other roles I fill. I am.

I don’t know how long I stand here for. It could be minutes or hours. Time has no meaning here, other than the bright splash that begins to the east and the awakening of the sparrows. I give a nod to the spirits of this place before returning into the warmth of the house and I already feel a calmness that was not there before.

Winter approaches. The world slows and nature winds down. All is as it should be.

  • Author Posts
My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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