Winter is the best time of year for a deep dive into yourself to enhance your spiritual growth objectives.You can harness the qualities of winter energy to nurture your spiritual and personal development, reinforce an ongoing transformation, or simply gain perspective on an aspect of your life.
Working with seasonal energy might sound a bit hokey at first. But think about it. Each winter you’ll find yourself surrounded by signs of nature turning inward and recoiling its energy in response to a shift to a dark, cold, quiet winter. For example, plants die back and go dormant while many animals such as bears and chipmunks hibernate.
Ancient Brumal Traditions
In abidance with the Kapha nature of winter, ancient and modern Auyerveda stress the importance of slow gentle physical movement (e.g., asanas and routines), slowing down in general, diet modification, and restoration among other practices (Women’s Health and Weis-Bohlen). Similarly, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) embraces rest, slowing down, consumption of warm foods, and meditation.
Many indigenous groups throughout time have described winter as spirit time, emphasizing deep inner reflection, spiritual growth, dream weaving, and journeying during this time. And, In the western world, Pagans are well-known for their winter solstice rituals, which many non-Pagans increasingly embrace today.
Seasonal adaptions and rituals may be less common nowadays. But, people still make New Year’s resolutions, slow down, and spend more time indoors. However, they don’t hibernate and some people brave the cold to engage enthusiastically in winter sports. Still, it’s relatively easy to see the ways natural forces affect modern people as well.
The point is it’s completely natural for people to slow down, turn inward and reflect in response to seasonal and energetic shifts. It’s nothing new. You too can take advance of the season’s energy to draw inward, contemplate, and reflect to deepen your spiritual growth.
7 Qualities of Winter Energy That Induce Spirituality
So, what are the special qualities of winter energy that support introspection and personal and spiritual growth? Put simply, this energy promotes the seven Rs:
- reintegration, and
In one form or another, all beings need these seven Rs for their well-being, growth, and evolution. Let’s look at this brumal process in more specific and illustrative terms.
The Big Chill of Dying Back, Release, and Hardening Off
In temperate, boreal, arctic, and some subtropical areas, winter’s cold temperatures and shortened daylight hours drastically reduce food sources and induce dormancy in plants and hibernation in animals. Nature’s cooling process and the resultant prolonged stage of inactivity imbue the season with a kind of somber and funereal energy.
Deciduous plants offer a reminder that winter is also a time to give way and let go of that which is no longer of service. The ritual of New Year’s resolutions is emblematic of winter’s influence over people.
With the release, there often comes sadness and grief. But, the associated dissolution and churning anguish are necessary to ultimately void your loss and create the space for something new. For this reason, this is the most auspicious time of the year to take stock and let go of burdens, clutter, bad feelings, and other obstacles that inhibit your personal and spiritual growth.
Of course, release can feel euphoric, but there is always a readjustment period when the change is metabolized by the living system, no matter how quick and inconspicuous.
Wintertime’s Prolonged Quietude and Solitude
As compared with other seasons, during winter fewer people are out and about walking, enjoying the park, dining outdoors, gardening, and what-have-you. Gone are the summer’s chirping birds and rustling leaves as well. And, fresh snowfall muffles what sound remains.
Because this time of year is quieter with fewer distractions, it’s easier to hear your own thoughts, stay internally focused, engage with yourself, and explore the big questions about meaning; life, death, and thereafter, etc.
Quiet, hazy cold days are also ideal for rest and deep restorative sleep. They provide you with the opportunity to heal whether from more self-reflection and self-care or with help from healing practitioners.
The Dark and Numinous Nature of Wintry Energy
Many believe the energy and ambiance of winter’s prolonged nights and classic gloomy overcast days facilitate access through the liminal boundaries between dreams, ordinary reality, and the afterlife. Not only does the energy encourage deep and expansive introspection, but it also allows you to gather and integrate a broader and more authentic version of your full holistic self and the world you’re an integral part of.
This makes winter an ideal time to turn your attention inward, deeply reflect, and cultivate a connection to the spirit realm. These particular qualities facilitate “slipping into the gap,” dreamwork, journeying, introspective journaling, exploratory mediation, and many other practices that access your subconscious and other realms.
Brumal Regeneration: the Source of Spring’s Rebirth
Finally, it’s winter’s restorative process that creates spring’s rebirth. Hence, the old adage ‘from death springs life.’ In this way, the dark cold season sows your future growth and creative energy for all of your much-desired spring and summer activities and projects. These are the fruits of the seven Rs: release, rest, restoration, readjustment, reintegration, and regeneration.
Therefore, one final activity of your inner foray is to use your enhanced wisdom to devise a plan or define even just a few steps you’ll follow so as to actualize the new vision you’ve designed for yourself.