The Lessons of Winter

Winter is really here. In most parts of the United States the cold weather and snow has set in. But what does this season mean to us Pagans? We know about Yule and the rebirth of the Sun, but what about that period between Yule and Imbolc? I believe that every season and every Sabbat can teach us lessons if we only have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

This season is traditionally a time of rest and recovery for the world. A time, when in the natural world, most trees shed their leaves and many animals turn in to hibernate for the long winter. It was also a time of rest for mankind. When the toils of the the year were finished and in many villages the people gathered around the hearth to share stories and count together the blessings of the previous year.

But what place does any of this have in our modern world? A world that never seems to sleep much less take a breath. The answer for many is ‘I’ll rest when I am dead.’

For me this answer is far from being the correct one. The modern world’s way of doing things teaches impatience and greed. And it forces us to run at breakneck pace, only to get us to the grave quicker and with far more regrets.

And this is not the message that I wish to pass on to my children. As a Pagan parent one of my responsibilities is to instill the values taught by the Goddess and God. Those values that are inherent and visible in the world around us.

The lessons I have learned from winter and that I in turn pass on to my children are many. And if you join me in looking at the world around us then I can show you a few examples.

I teach my children to be as still and quiet as a winter pond. For if we are always busy then how can we hear the Gods when They whisper to us?

They learn to be patient as well. For as we look around at the Earth and the plants upon it, and watch them seem to die and wither away, hope could be easily lost. But we know that if we wait long enough then the Earth and the plants will bloom again. This is important because sometimes the Will of the Gods are as equally mysterious and take as a long time to make sense.

But the most important lesson is for them to remember the importance of Family. For in the loving embrace of Family they can truly feel the arms of the Gods around them as well. As I said earlier, Winter was a time that friends and family gathered together around the hearth to share stories. I believe that this was important for the cohesiveness of the family and the community. And it is something that, today, is missed and is desperately needed.

This month is also marks the passage from one calendar year to another, a traditional time to make resolutions. What will our resolutions be? Will you join me and resolve to pass on the lessons the world shows us, the Lessons of Winter?