Winter Druidry

At this time of year, I’m not out and about as much. The shorter days mean I don’t walk in the evenings as an act of connection. The odds of more challenging weather conditions mean that I am less likely to walk for purposes other than transport. I’m more likely to be ill and stiff – which will also keep me in. I can’t sit out, I don’t have a suitable space for that.

Some years I’ve been able to dig into other areas – community, creativity and service do not require me to get outside and engage. In recent years, lack of space has meant people can’t come to me. Almost anything I might do with anyone else requires a walk of about half an hour each way in the dark of an evening. At this point I’m doing better with being out at night. There have been some winters when weariness has kept me home, and isolated.

Living in a small space, I have no private garden space and nowhere a person might undertake solitary ritual. There are spaces where it’s possible to meditate. But on the whole, I don’t have a lot of options. I can read, study and think so the philosophical and intellectual aspects of Druidry remain totally feasible for me. Overall my experience has been that in the depths of winter, doing anything I can recognise as my own Druidry becomes difficult.

It makes me think of how much of what I do depends on my relationship with place. When I can be outside without that being too unpleasant, that makes a lot of odds. I can do wilder encounters with the elements, but I can’t sustain that when I’m ill and exhausted. What kind of spaces I can access depends so much on my ability to walk. Privacy really matters to me for some of the things I might do. In summer, the combination of undergrowth and drier ground makes it feasible to sit out and that opens up all kinds of smaller, private spaces for me. In winter, those don’t exist.

This in turn brings me to thoughts about what kind of access most of us have to the land. What green spaces are available to us? What kind of wildness can we meet? What room do we have to do that?

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

13 responses to “Winter Druidry

  • Wrycrow

    Winter is hard, it is simply as you say less easy to get outside and connect with the spirit of place. I try to do what I can at weekends, but otherwise it’s dark when I leave home, I work in an office through the light part of the day, and it’s dark when I get back home again.

    I try to think of winter as a time when the land is mostly asleep, when animals hide in their nests as much as possible, and see my increased time indoors as my own “nesting”. Time spent with books and thoughts and making plans for the year ahead.

  • Joe

    This is really interesting to me because I’m originally from Australia and now living in the UK. I am not yet used to these ridiculously dark afternoons. Nightfall by 4? What kind of crazyness is that? And that isn’t even taking into account the temperature. Going from somewhere that has an average of 25°C days to somewhere that has an average of 10-ish has been some adjustment. I’m still not sure I’m really in sync with it even though I’ve been here almost four years now. It’s not “my” land, it’s somewhere new I need to find how to connect with and I must admit IO find it tricky.

    • Nimue Brown

      I’ve lived here my whole life, and more years than not I do not know how to connect with midwinter and I feel disorientated by the short days. A work in progress for me. I have no idea how people cope closer to the arctic circle.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    That is where I am lucky to live out in my desert. I am mostly an indoor person at my age, but outside is the desert, and all the wild critters that I feed with my bird seed. But like many of the small critters, I live in my burrow much of the time.

  • christiandruidry

    I go into my inner grove at such times. Wandering the inner grove takes me to caves, beaches forests deserts, cliffs, glades, and grassy sunny fields. Let your mind take you to the places your body cannot go.

  • fiberninja

    I’ve been thinking these same kinds of thoughts. I am mobility challenged (bad knees) and it affects my ability to get out and about, so much of what I do is indoors. It’s comforting to now I am not the only one. I have a small space of my own at home and will be having the greenery come inside to me this year. I will decorate as though I am outside.

  • emberbear

    I used to love winter walking but bad knees (me too) keep my walks short now. This morning I walked down to the village post box to post Christmas cards. On the way I enjoyed the ivy on the bear trees and the winter berries. Now I will spend the rest of the day writing, reading and watching television later on. I am embracing winter and the chance it offers for deep relaxation. A lovely post, provoking deep thought. Thank you. I am sorry your health issues affect you so much. My daughter has hypermobility too and I know how challenging and painful it can be.

  • emberbear

    *bare trees! I think I was thinking about bears hibernating: sensible bears!

  • emberbear

    Glad to have been the unintentional cause of mirth!

  • tarotlenormandcards

    I have to force myself out for a walk nowadays, but if I cannot (fibromialgia:)) for some days in a row, I know, that there will soon come a time, when I will not be able to do so, and then things go downwards, depression , or how they call it euphemistically: Seasonal effective disorder… The whole problem for me too – is about space. How to create space. I feel often miserable because of the cold weather, and do not want to leave the house, but if I can persuade myself, after a walk or a hiking tour I can appreciate the warmth and the small space that is my home. The sharpness of opposites makes me aware of my body, of reality – maybe that is druidry for me in winter. But then I live in the countryside, so it is maybe easier for me. The other way I am trying to create space nowadays is taking up my neglected meditation practice. Forcing me out of the house does not matter what weather we have, and meditating make me feel free and help me to accept physical confinement These two activities help me to be in sync with winter, which is a resting time, a possibility for a richer inner life. Sometimes it is difficult to “enjoy” this resting time. I am observing winter’s pattern outside and in my aching body – so I am learning about it – maybe it is a druidic way to cope with this situation:).

  • eberis

    wintering the forest communities became a fun if nagging regard to people who actually have peace but the ecotopian villians are even more dangerous as not any emergency aid is readily available .

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