Wisdom of WinterMay 24, 2022
For most of us in contemporary culture the ‘down time’ of winter is the part of the seasonal cycle that we find hardest to drop into. We are used to the productivity of go, go, go and might attach ideas like laziness or 'waste-of-time' to the hibernation qualities the winter months call for. It is because of this that so many of us experience high cortisol levels and adrenaline so much of the time; our nervous systems are overloaded and jangling almost constantly. This impacts the quality of our sleep, our ability to focus and our hormonal balance. For women it will often have an impact on the menstrual cycle health too. If we are out of balance with the cycles of the moon in regard to our menstrual patterns we are most likely also not honouring the seasonal shifts. Some teachers have speculated that with the invention of the lightbulb our disassociation from the cycles of day and night and season began in ernest. Once we were able to ignore the natural call to sleeping earlier and longer as the colder weather crept in, we were able to ignore the call of our bodies own need for rest and ‘hibernation’ and so the disconnect established itself.
Winter is the time for gestation and root growth. It might seem like there is nothing happening in this ‘lazy’ time but what is going on beneath the surface is profoundly healing and will nourish and serve the new growth of spring. It is the foundation. Quiet days spent at home during this time of year with candle light, warm nourishing foods, and a focus on activites that are calming for the nervous system (no screens!) are all part of winter’s offering too our wellbeing and balance. It is in this calm that the ‘other worldly’ can become all the more present. As we hunker down into the womb of our homes (even if only for a cold rainy afternoon or a quiet solitary weekend), especially if we limi external stimuli, we open into the dream realms and psychic spaces.
In the Aboriginal wisdom indigenous to Sydney where I live this time of year correlates with what is described as ‘the silence of the night’, a time where men separate from women and children and each ‘does whatever they needed to do’. It is a quiet and private time of introspection and separation, before the warmer weather lifts us back into connection with one another and the wheel of the season's cycles around once again.
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