Those who have been following my articles know I was prepping to move, right? Thus I did not plant a garden like I usually do, and I even removed perennials, pots, a large raised bed, and gave it all to friends!
Well…the pandemic hit, my husband’s hours were cut at work, and while we are making ends meet, it’s just not a great time to buy property for us.
I have no idea how long we will be here. I missed an entire year of gardening thanks to this. Don’t get me wrong, I planted zinnias, like always, and I have a couple of potted mums outside with a colorful selection of pumpkins, but this year with no garden left me feeling naked- and not in a good, witchy skyclad way!
However, as an earth-based Pagan, I still celebrate the seasons, and spend time in nature daily.
Since we are still here, it’s my job to get our little slice of these condominiums ready for winter.
While I’m not harvesting massive amounts of crops to feed the folk, nor am I butchering livestock for winter, as our ancestors would be busy doing right now, I still feel the connection to earth our ancestors who were earth based felt.
Winter is Coming!
It being between Sabbats, I thought preparing the earth for Winter would be a good topic to explore. Now, some will prepare for a winter on a soul basis, but this time, I’m sticking with mundane topics. What are some things we can do, as earth based people, to give to the earth to help prepare it for Winter. To compile a short list, I did a small amount of reading, and added things I found to what I already do, myself. These are things most of us can do on some small scale.
I will let the list speak for itself.
Saoirse’s List to Give Back to the Earth in Anticipation of Winter
- Leave the leaves- Overwhelmingly, conservation groups beg people NOT to rake their leaves. It could leave your neighbors scowling at your “unkempt yard”, and have them knocking on the door to demand you rake and bag leaves up, but before you decide to bow to the laws of modern conformity- hear me out. Many animals depend on leaf mold for winter habitat to survive. That means various critters will move in and pay no rent. Yes, I am asking you to harbor freeloaders! Turtles, toads, salamanders, and moth pupae overwinter is good leaf mold. The moth pupae will be dug up and eaten by hungry birds, thus supporting them too. Decomposed leaf mold makes for great compost material to enrich soil in springtime also. Many buy their own compost, but if you are making your own with what nature gives you, it can save money!
- Save the seeds- If you have plants you will want to plant again, this is the last chance to save your seeds. Another way to save money. Actually, one of my dear friends never busy seeds. She saves all her own and reuses them. She also buys organic fruits and veggies and plants their seeds! Smart!
- Plant seeds and bulbs- Now while you are saving seeds, know when to plant. Some species of flowers need to overwinter before they sprout. Some will emulate that process artificially with their own refrigerator, but if you think ahead, you can plant them in the ground before the ground freezes. Plant your tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and other bulbs in fall as well. It’s great to get out in the crisp air and plant!
- Leave some flowers on the stalks over winter, and prune in spring- I always let my roses go in winter and I cut them back in Spring. Wildflowers, too. I leave my lemon balm as well. Butterfly weed, ferns, and coral bells also should be left until spring, ad their foliage protects them in winter. Check online each kind of flower you have to see if it’s best to leave them until Spring.
- Add compost- If you don’t want to do this on Spring, fall is also a great time to compost.
- Add mulch- After composting your beds, add mulch for an added layer of protection. Use all those leaves you have not raked away to the landfills if you like!
- Pull weeds- So you are leaving some plants to cut down in Spring, and you are leaving leaves, but pull the last of the weeds from the root. Those don’t benefit anything, and getting it out of the way before Winter hits means you won’t have to do it come Springtime.
- Feed and water the birds- Many sites recommend not feeding various wildlife, as it would disrupt their body’s natural cycle of winter eating they have evolved. But birds need our help. Set out feeders, suet, and water for the little guys and they will bless you with their beauty all Winter long!
- Sponsor animals- So, you might be disappointed you won’t be feeding deer and raccoons this Winter, but you can still feed wildlife. Sponsor through your local zoo or wildlife rescue organization. Last year, I sponsored an animal through Appalachian Bear Rescue. You can even just send a donation to your local metro parks, and don’t forget to vote yes whenever they ask for funding.
- Adopt an animal- We were actually able to do that today. A little black floof of a kitten joined our household today, and his name is Ulfgar. That’s one less animal that might have ended up homeless in the cold Winter. He is purring in my lap as I write this, and chicken for my husband’s lunch tomorrow bakes in the warm oven. Our senior cat already licked his little head, and our dog is fascinated with him. Our three-year-old cat has not accepted him- YET, but she will come around. There is nothing cozier than a purring kitten in a warm house, is there?
As earth-based people, we experience the seasons very deeply, and our connection to the planet and all her creatures is one that reminds us we are all related, all connected, and all In this life together.
May your preparation for Winter be blessed as you spend it in Nature.
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.
She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.
Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!
On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.
She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.
Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].