Cailleach and Winter

Had our first real snow today where we live. It has been fairly warm so far this winter so temps finally dropped enough to give us snow instead of rain. We had a small flurry back in November or December but it didn’t last long.

I mention the weather only because I have been trying to do more shadow work lately and one of the tasks from the book* I am using as a guide discusses meeting the spirits of the seasons at certain points. And being as it is winter, I did the journey to meet a spirit related to winter. Seeing as I have been working primarily in a Gaelic polytheistic arena for my path lately, I met the Gaelic goddess associated with winter, Cailleach.

I won’t go into too much detail about who Cailleach is as I don’t think I’ll do much actual work with her. She is a crone/hag goddess who is said to rule the land during winter before either transforming into Brigit or turning to stone for Brigit to take over for the summer half of the year. She is often seen as a creator and ancestral goddess. I found it interesting that her name either means “old woman” or “veiled one.” I have had a past life with a name that had similar meaning to veiled one, but I digress there.

I have never had an issue with the winter season, but I know quite a few do. It is honestly one of my favorites. My current life has quite a few pleasant childhood memories of winter. My birthday is this month too, so I often had snow on my birthday in the past. While I don’t often pay attention to the seasons when I get past life memories, I don’t have any negative memories of the winter. The only thing I don’t like about it now is when I have to drive in bad winter weather and worry about whether my car will make it or if another car is going to slip and run into me (new car this winter so I shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not my car will start from being too cold).

I enjoy the stillness of winter. Things slow down during this time, but there is still activity. The whiteness of the snow that can be blinding and bright even during the time of the year where it tends to be the darkest. There is a lot of harshness to the season but there is also gentleness in the light falls of snowflakes that are each so beautifully unique. There is something magical in a frozen landscape to me.

With sitting with Cailleach the other day, we mentioned this. Part of the idea behind the exercise in the book is to reconcile what issues you may have with a particular season. The other part is to deepen ones connection to the cycles of the seasons in general and what they often represent. But as I don’t particularly have a need to reconcile any dread for the season of winter, it was more decided that I do something to simply deepen my connection.

While I enjoy winter, I try to stay indoors quite often. Now and then I’ll contemplate putting on my boots and talking a walk outside in the snow (if there is any) or even when there isn’t, I will default to sitting around in the warm house snuggled in a blanket and a warm cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Cailleach has asked me to actually take the time to go outside a little more this winter whether that is just to stand out back as it snows or to go for an actually walk. Which I honestly think I would enjoy a lot, especially to come back to a warm house and warm tea.

Although, I may have to hold off on that until tomorrow as I have to finish getting my classes set up for this week. I have not been getting that done ahead of time like I should have been. But if I have time later today I will try. 😛

(*The book I am using is Penczak’s The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft.)

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