winter public domainSeasons are a way of understanding the natural cycles and rhythms that we go through. Our soul seasons may be attuned to the seasonal rhythms, at least to some degree. They also run according to our unique inner rhythm, that is attuned to our essential nature and its deeper needs and cycles.

Soul seasons may be brief, a surge of new energy like a spark, that fires bright and then is gone, or may go on for months or even years, as can happen with grief or depression, Time spent in these places, from a soul perspective, can allow for a necessary (to the soul) distance from life in order to do the deeper soul work. From a soul perspective everything has its place.

In the soul season of winter, there can be a withdrawal from life, or hibernation, at least to some degree. If you look at a tree in winter, with its bared branches, you can get a sense that it has withdrawn its energy back to its centre, its core. There are less nutrients available in winter, less sunshine and so the vital energy is held at the core, where the nutrients can be best utilised to nourish life until spring.

So it is with our soul season of winter. For whatever reason, there may be less availability of resources from our environment and a greater need to find ways to get sustenance from our inner resources. There is a pulling back of our energy, at least to some degree, from the world. At such times, there can be a sense of detachment and disconnection from life’s outer workings and a greater need to be centred in our core self and draw energy up from our roots, through accessing our imagination, unconscious mind or deeper inner resources.

This is a time for the inner work, for reflection and introspection. From a soul perspective, this is a necessary part of the cycle, allowing time for reflection on past choices and experiences, considering ideas and values, inner journeying and visioning. Then, from the insights and wisdom gained, making any changes that are needed in order to give birth to new ideas, new energy or new projects in the spring.

As I see it, modern Western culture, for the most part, idealises the more extrovert expressions of success, achievement, activity, social engagement and ignores or diminishes the other side of life which is the need for reflection, quiet, being, perhaps journaling, or creating in some form, time spent alone or in nature for retreat or visioning.

When we don’t balance outer activity with inner time, which can take a multitude of forms, it is the soul that suffers, as we grows increasingly disconnected and out of tune with our real needs and rhythms. As I look around, I see this is an increasing problem which is impacting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing.

We can also become stuck in a soul season. Somehow the deeper work that needs to take place is not progressing, flowing or moving. Perhaps due to limiting beliefs or thinking, fixation on particular ideas, unwillingness to address certain issues or to move on, or a difficulty with accessing the skills and resources needed to navigate the life cycle or phase and bring completion. It’s a personal thing to know when we have spent too long in a place, where there is no longer growth or movement. To realise that we are not accessing the gifts and insights that are needed to make the return journey and so we need to dig deeper, or perhaps look in other places, to find the resources which are needed.

Some suggestions for navigating the soul season of winter are:-
* give expression to what is going on, to feelings, thoughts and ideas, through some type of creative or expressive work such as painting, writing, drawing or sculpture
* listen to music that inspires the imagination, soothes or assists with moving through emotions that may be emerging
* do some type of physical activity, especially something that deepens the breath and quickens the pulse.
* lighting a candle or many small candles around the room can encourage a feeling of sacredness, warmth and inspiration
* introduce new colours into your environment or wardrobe to change the mood and atmosphere
* read a book that inspires the imagination and offers new perspectives and ideas
* spend some time in nature, paying attention with all of your senses to the sights, sounds, smells and textures all around you.

These are some ideas to assist you to navigate the soul season of winter. At such times, it can also be helpful to develop additional skills and resources to help you as you move through this cycle. Attending an art or writing class, learning to play a musical instrument, or seeing a therapist or counsellor are a few ways you can do this.

Katherine Amber Murray