I had a magical few moments the other night. Everything was just right and I found myself in that magical head space that is undefinable yet known to witches the world round. It was fairly late at night, 11 or so, and while the nearly full moon was cloaked in clouds its reflected light illuminated everything just the same. The wind was blowing wildly, as if often does on our Windy Hill, and the trees, now almost completely bare of their leaves, were creaking and groaning just enough to make their presence known. The leaves crunched beneath my feet and the very air tingled; when I closed my eyes it seemed everything shimmered and sparkled. It was chilly and the wind bitter cold but the atmosphere was so energetic it took my breath away. It wasn't the energy of growth, of new life as occurs during the springtime.
Rather, it was a deeper, more controlled and stronger energy. It is the energy of the wise old crone whose knowledge and experience, like the cold, does not tolerate foolishness. It is a time to look into oneself and see what has grown there over the summer and what is still in need of attention. It is the dead time of the plants and trees. Most of our critter neighbors have either moved on or buried themselves deep in the Earth Mother. Only the occasional cacophony from the coyotes breaks the relative silence. There are no birds moving or singing at night, no cricket song to serenade me as in the summertime. There's only the wind and sky and the creaking trees. The cold wind slapped my face like the hands of Hecate Herself. I don't know if I could ever live in a part of the world untouched by the chill of winter. I think I need the quiet, the stillness and the cold to turn my attention away from the greeness of the world and into myself and my home and family. Winter is not just the end of the growth cycle, it is a valuable part of it and without it life as we know it would not exist. This is the time to embrace the chill, cherish it, grok it and be the better for it.