The days are increasingly shorter and the darkness seems to rise up out of the twilight air, faster than we can imagine.
A cold north wind blows down the hillside and swirls around tree roots and into each crevice of bark, as well as under door frames and through glass window panes. The stark branches, of quiet deciduous trees, stand as witness.
The land is covered in a blanket of snow and ice, while blue icicles hang from the corners of houses and barns. All of nature seems to be tucked up within itself.
The golden hues of autumn have given way to the monochromatic hues of winter. Heathered grey, soft black, haystack tan, weather white, green ash.
We pull our scarves closer around our faces and tuck our hands into furry mittens, yet somehow the cold seeps through and encourages us to hunker down indoors. We build all day fires, stoke up the thermostat and wrap ourselves in fleecy blankets.
Each morning, the sun rises and seems to slide along the horizon, keeping us in a state of perpetual wonder.
One by one the homes on the frozen avenues, place twinkling lights along eaves and in evergreen trees. The night, although cold, begins to feel a little less dark.
It is time to move merrily towards and through the Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year and the longest night. We prepare to dive further into the coldest months ahead and simultaneously celebrate the return of the Sun.
As we wrap our hands around warm mulled wine or a dark hot chocolate and raise the liquid to our lips, we seldom give thought to the origins of some of our most beloved traditions.
Throughout history, this time has held many different, yet potent celebrations all centering around fire and light.
Ancient peoples had an intimate knowledge of the skies as their survival depended on it. Ensuring that the sun would return was essential to their health and longevity. Large temples were built, standing stones marked the landscape, sacrifices were made and feasts were held.
All this long before Christianity and its festivals and celebrations became a dominant focus in the western world.
So how do we return to our roots? To our own rhythms of firelight and starry skies, and those places that our ancient and timeless bodies know?
Perhaps the answers are a little too simple: light a candle, plug in the fairy lights, bundle up and go moon gazing, write in a dream journal, go to bed a little early, knit by firelight, bake some Dark Winter's Night Cupcakes.....
Dark Winter's Night Cupcakes
Lark Fox is a Priestess, an herb wyfe, Seer, intuitive healer, writer and ceremonialist.
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