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3 Ways to Greet Winter

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” 
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

As the sun sets and the longest night of the year begins,  take a quiet moment to greet the darkness not with trepidation but with acceptance and gratitude. Allow the early nighttime to envelop you in warm, dark arms, and permit yourself the space to rest, to conserve, to nourish and to prepare for growth. 

In Chinese medicine, winter is the season to root down and to store. The growth that comes with the springtime requires a lot of energy and focused attention. By resting and nourishing our bodies throughout the dark and cold winter months, we will have the energy to blossom in the spring.

During the time of the druids, the Winter Solstice was marked by celebration. Here are three ways to greet the winter gracefully and without fear of the dark or cold. 

  1. Light candles or a fire: As the sun sets, light a candle or a fire and turn down the electric lighting. Pull your favorite book off of the shelf or simply sit in silence, letting the warm light wash over you. 
  2. Permit yourself to rest: Tonight, put away the cell phone and computer and treat yourself to a nourishing ritual, like taking a ginger bath or a bubble bath with calming essential oils. Then, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Or, at least for 8 solid hours!
  3. Make an altar: It might feel nice to make an altar in honor of the Winter Solstice. This can be as simple as putting some winter greens in a vase and lighting a white candle. Let yourself sit for awhile in front of the altar, reflecting on the year and feeling the warmth that surrounds you. 
A simple Winter Solstice altar

Soak Away the Cold with a Ginger Bath

Even if you love the romance of wintry weather, winters in Maine have the tendency to chill you right to the bone! If you can’t seem to get warm lately, or if you have pain that is exacerbated by the cold and damp, why not try soaking in an herbal ginger bath?

Ayurvedic medicine, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing traditions, refers to ginger as vishwabhesaj, or the Universal Medicine.1 In Ayurveda as well as Chinese herbal medicine, ginger is considered to be warming in nature, good for digestion and have a positive effect on circulation. With this ginger bath recipe, you are advised to drink a cup of the ginger tea as well as add a few cups to your bath water – so you benefit from the external and internal benefits of the herb!

Happy soaking!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh ginger root (no need to peel)

3 cups of water

Instructions: Bring the 3 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped ginger root to a boil in a saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes (you should achieve a rich golden liquor). Remove from heat and strain ginger root from the tea. Set aside one cup to drink while drawing your bath. Add the remaining 2 cups of tea to your hot bath water. Soak for as long as you’d like! Repeat often.

1Ayurveda and Ginger; the Universal Medicine. http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/blog/ayurveda-ginger-%E2%80%9Cuniversal-medicine%E2%80%9D