Musings from the Mountain – Winter

I felt it.

The sap rising in my bones

Just a trickle

But enough to make me turn on the radio

And bop to pop in my living room

So damn grateful for its return

And the aliveness that it brings.


The Celtic New Year begins with a descent into the darkness at Samhain (Halloween).  I am a child of summer, a May baby and I love the light so when the time comes to withdraw I can often be found clinging to the last vestiges of autumn sun before surrendering to winter.  Like a child who doesn’t want to come in from playing and go to bed on a summer’s day while it’s still bright outside.


If I resist the descent I will invariably get sick, my body’s way of saying ‘you’ve had your fun young lady, now get inside’.  She is wise my body.  Ironically once I retreat into the cosy warmth of the cave I have no desire to leave it until I feel the sap rise again in my bones come spring.


Since turning 40 over five years ago my descents into the darkness have become increasingly intense.  Winter is said to be under the guardianship of the Crone.  She is fierce the Crone and wise like the Elder Grandmother of a tribe and she strips all my bullshit bare.


This winter was the hardest so far and I had to reach out to be held by my sisters; my soul sisters and my blood sisters.  I was so held in love and as a result I had to bear witness to an old part of myself that felt I didn’t deserve love and who tried to keep it at arm’s length.  But the love kept coming and eventually I stopped resisting and made a choice to let this outpouring of love in.  Love was the light in the darkness of my inner winter, illuminating my way out of the cave.


As my inner winters have become progressively intense my logical brain can reason that this is preparation for my own crone phase in years to come.  But my heart knows something else.  My heart knows that I asked for this.  My heart knows that my prayer is to show up fully as me in the world.  And to do that, all that is not me must be stripped away and shed.  So each year I shed a bit more, show up a bit more, and then shed and show up all over again.


As women we have many opportunities to converse with the Crone.

  • Each month when we bleed we are offered an invitation to sit in the cave with the Crone and shed.
  • The season of winter provides another opportunity to get acquainted with the Crone and be a student of her wisdom.
  • And menopause, the rite of passage into embodying our own wisdom as women, becoming the Elder of our tribe so we can step into our Croneship.


A season within a season within a season, it is a miraculous and magical thing.


So this week as I felt the deliciously electric spring sap rise like sherbet fizz exploding in my bones, I was grateful, so damn grateful.  Because in the darkness of the cave there were times when I was afraid.  Afraid I wouldn’t make it back out the other side.  But I was held and loved by my sisters.  And here I am standing muddy and dirty and half naked out into the in the light, soaking it all back in.

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