Without the new growth and everyday sunshowers of springtime, it can sometimes be very easy to forget about the faerie spirits that help to keep Mother Earth functioning for us year-round. Even in the winter, earthly beings and elementals are hard at work, trying to take care of our home planet and give us a beautiful home. They take care of those plants that cannot deal with the harshness of the cold and help those that can to continue to grow. They ensure that everything still is alive with the buzzing energy of Spirit, even though much of the earth is laying dormant until the sun comes out to warm us again. This is why it is important to still give thanks to those beings, even if their work is less noticeable in the upcoming months. Remember to give thanks by whatever means you feel comfortable. Traditionally, Litha, or Midsummer, is reserved for more faerie energy, but the Winter time can be perfect for giving back to those beings that help us survive all year.
One way is to simply remember them. Sit outside one chilly morning (remember to dress appropriately–no need to sacrifice your health) and look around you. Observe the different animals you see and the difference in their actions from when you see them in Spring or Summer. Look at all the trees. Observe the beautiful colors of the leaves and even the glory of seeing the bare trees standing against an overcast sky. Take in the beauty of the cycle of life and remind yourself of how all things must come to an end–and that there is beauty, too, in death. Observe the clouds and the misty coldness of the air. Breathe it in and feel it fill you with the spirit of the season. Yule will be here soon. Feel the air getting crisper, almost clearer. Listen to the wind whip around the bare trees and play with the leaves as they fall to the ground. Now, open your heart and give thanks to all of those beings that are providing this scene to you. Give thanks to the Universe for allowing you to witness this beautiful cycle and for allowing you to understand the significance of beginnings and endings.
Other than simply acknowledging their existence, you can still set out bright and shiny things for the faerie folk. If you are baking cookies for Thanksgiving or Yuletime, set one or two aside out on a plate for them. Fill them with Love and Thanks. Then, either discard them or eat them after 24 hours. You can also crumble them up and spread them around your house or around particularly beautiful foliage of the season. Pouring some cider or wassail as an offering is another way to show your gratitude for all of the work being done by unseen forces. The important thing is to remember that even though it appears that life is slowing down, a lot is happening behind the scenes that we tend to forget about.
Have a blessed Winter!
How do you give thanks during the Winter? Do you have any traditions that are simply associated with the season (and not a specific religious holiday)? Please share!