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Symbolism of Winter

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

We are about to embark on the darkest nights of the year. As the Wheel rotates further in our calendar, we leave the transformative energies of fall behind and enter the stillness of winter.

symbolism winter

My first ritual

The first ritual I probably (intentionally) created was around the Winter Solstice. I remember it vividly: it was so cold outside and all I wanted to do was stay indoors in the coziness of my home.

For years I kept an altar for myself for all of my spiritual things. Something intuition led me to do back then without having a name for it. Without having a teacher to show me. It just manifested from a deeper calling.

I would let my intuition lead me to the dried herbs I wanted to burn, to the candles I wanted to light, to the objects I wanted to place at my moon altar, to the intentions I desired to set.

I believe in times of darkness and coldness we crave ritual more than ever. The lighting of a candle and the burning of essence, it brings comfort and warmth to our hearts, soul and home.

We naturally spend more time at home. Possibly why we seek for ways to honor our space through ritual and through light during this hermiting season. It is a beautiful gesture to bring in more light to the heaviness of the dark and cold.


Winter is a time when life is dying:

The trees are bare from their leaves,

Animals go into hibernation,

Sunlight touches the ground less,

The days are shorter, the nights darker, The streets grow quieter.

What nature in essence is reflecting back to us is to pause, rest and take things slower. Regenerate your energies, save them for next spring when things begin to blossom again. Winter is a time for deep restoration, rest, darkness and stillness.

What we experience around the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas season is actually in reality very contra-intuitive to where nature and we are out physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually. Everything is interconnected. We are a reflection of nature. So, how can we slow down? Instead of speed things up and get lost in the busy season?

It's all cyclical

Everything in life fits into the cyclical rhythm of nature, as this is where we stem from. There is always a cycle to things, be it the seasons, menstrual cycle, even the seasons we experience in our own life. It begins with birth, life, death and rebirth. The full specturm.

When we look at the season of winter and where it is found in this Wheel of the cycle, the season of winter is the last season of the cycle, it is the time when everything is decaying and dying. However from this will result a rebirth, new life, creativity and fresh energies.

The season of winter represents the dark moon. This moon is entirely invisible in the sky, it is the symbol of death, introspection, and renewal. Winter also represents the menstrual phase: the time to go within and experience similarly to winter, a mini death: a cycle is complete. Many women who receive their first period describe this experience as a feeling that they were dying. Well, in a way, they were. As they step into menarche, their child self died, from then they come out rebirthed as a young woman.

How to honor winter

Honor this season, by:

✦ Allow your energies to turn within

✦ Nurture your home, as if it were a sacred space of restoration

✦ Keep out any electronics from your bedroom in order to create an oasis of recovery

✦ Say no to social engagements that do not feel aligned, without the guilt

✦ Spend your days in the comfort of your home, with people you nourish your soul

✦ Bring in natural lighting from candles and sit by candle sit during the long evenings

✦ Decorate a tree in nature with ribbons

✦ Bring mistletoes into your home

✦ Smudge your home every night for the 12 Sacred Nights

✦ Have symbols of the Dark Moon or Crone/Wise Woman archetype at your altar

✦ Rest, rest and rest some more.

Thank you for reading. May your hibernation into your home be one full of moments of deep contemplation and blessings.

In service,

Inés Kelly

About the writer

Inés Kelly - Lover of all things cycles: moon, menstrual, astrology, ritual.

Anything cyclical that allows ourselves to flow at our own pace and time is medicine to me.

This is why I created an online space for women to gather, dance, flow, be with the moon, one another and ourselves.

She guides women through Seasonal Journeys where they come together in ceremony to honor the transitions of the seasons, create ritual and set powerful intentions for themselves for the season ahead.

Further Resources you might be interested in:

- Article on the Symoblism of Fall


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