A Ceremony for Releasing Winter's Grasp
We are in our final week of Winter’s grasp, and in our last traipses through the landscape of the element of Earth this time round the cycle of the seasons.
Stones and bones. The wisdom of the Elder Crone and the Underworld. Foundations and structures. How we nourish ourselves and allow ourselves to be held. How we receive support. How we create safety within our bodies and our homes.
I find that the transition from Winter to Spring, from Earth to Air, is one of the most important ones to take great care around. It is a tender time. Like fledglings leaving the nest for the first time, we’re leaving the comfort of Winter’s care, and about to embark on an adventure unknown.
This transition can tug on so many emotions. Especially for us sensitive ones. Nostalgia is as real now as it is in the transition into Autumn. The equinoxes, both Spring and Fall, hold it all.
In both of these moments in the yearly cycle, we have a choice point. We sit with what has held us (or what we’ve built or grown), and we choose what to carry forth into the next season.
And what to leave behind.
It takes courage to step out into the element of Air after sitting in the cozy cave of Earth. We often have to relinquish comforts. Or whatever it is that is keeping us small and safe, but is preventing us from living in our fullness.
I always think of the courage of the sprout, pushing out of its seed coat. It must leave behind the protection and nourishment of this container in order to be seen, and realize its potential. (More on this next week at Spring Equinox!)
So as we sit here on the precipice, in this liminal zone of transition, it is a beautiful moment to devote time for reflection and ceremony.
Let’s honor Winter, as it has held us for the past 3 months, from the darkest point of Winter Solstice through today. Let’s thank Winter for all it's taught us, and let's slowly release what we're not carrying with us into the Spring.
Below is a ceremony outline, which you can pick and choose from, or follow completely. Always follow your heart and your intuition.
Releasing Winter’s Grasp:
A ceremony to reflect on the past 3 months.
What you’ll need: a journal and pen, a candle, a blanket
Create an intentional space for yourself - Turn off distractions, light a candle, call in a protective circle and any guides you wish to be present with you (plants, animals, ancestors, etc.)
Tune into your body and your breath. Ground yourself and invite your body to feel held by the Earth.
Reflect back on the past 3 months. You can either sit and meditate on it, or journal. Take note of major the events, and what themes were weaving through your life, your healing path, and your psyche. Below are a few questions to get you started.
Who were you then vs. today?
What were you struggling with? What were you thriving with?
What landscape did you traverse?
What or who held you these past few months?
What or who did you lean into for support and nourishment?
Where or how have you grown in strength and endurance?
What inner tools and resources did you resurrect on this underworld journey?
After reflection or journaling, offer gratitude to Winter’s teachings this year, however harsh. Give honor to yourself for living through these past few months. No matter if you recognize major change has happened, or if you feel like you’re stagnant in the same place, the alchemy of Winter has been moving through you. (Sometimes no movement is exactly what we need.)
Wrap a blanket around you and sit for a while, feeling into the cozy, protective, cave of Winter. Notice how it feels to you. Take it in.
Now feel, from the wisdom of your body, not your mind, what might need to be left behind, or shed, as you move into the Spring. It doesn’t have to make sense to your brain. It can be an image, a feeling, words, or just a knowing. When you have the sense of it in your body, slowly unwrap the blanket from your body and stand up into the air. Bring your arms out to your sides, and expand your chest with a deep inhale.
Take some moments here to just breath, track your body, and notice how you feel.
When you’re ready to close, thank Winter, Earth, and any guides you called in. Close the circle, and blow out the candle.