Into the dark

forest in winter

We’re very near the longest night of the year, and I’ve always found this to be the time best used for big change reflections.  I think that’s why people work for New Year’s Resolutions– it’s a *thing* because it’s a convenient date that follows this bit of deep introspection.

I know many would disagree- the whole winter is for introspection, Beth!  (I hear people chime knowingly).  And I don’t disagree.  But these few weeks before Solstice are a special time of clarity for me.  I find that answers come now– not through tarot, not through scrying, … just by working it through.

As it happens, I work things through in my head.  I’m not really a gut/heart/soles-of-the-feet kind of person… Intuition comes to me as a voice in my head, in this sort of weird someone-else-is-acting-in-my-head way.  It’s the unprocessed thinking that works for me … as if someone pops open a file cabinet in my head and grabs out a script that has all the right words magically ready to go.

I think that we get this bit of extra-deep intuitive time to give us those introspective months to get habits going.  Most people seem to think about change about now– change for the next Year… and pagans tend to be in an odd place around this, since so many of us consider the Years to change at other times (Wiccans and most neo-pagans who follow Celtic paganism consider November 1st to be the first day of the new year, for example).  There’s still something particularly fascinating about having the ‘fresh start’ of a new calendar year (as an aside, I have no idea how it works for those in the Southern Hemisphere, since calendar years don’t match up with their winter-introspective time, but I consider it an added perk for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).  There’s been a lot of research on habit formation, about how you need at least 30 days to form a daily habit (or break a bad one!).  There are a few things that I’ve been thinking about that I’d like to develop into new habits, and one of them only became clear to me today.

As a words-in-my-head person, you’d think I’d know exactly how powerful words can be.  Three years ago I refused to call one of the rooms in our house the “Junk Room” anymore– I renamed it the “Prosperity Room” (based on a little amateur feng shui modelling of my house), and thus it became difficult to just throw our stuff in their willy-nilly.  Don’t get me wrong- it didn’t get magically better overnight (oh, shoemaker’s elves, where are you when I need you?).  But it helped.

This year I’ve been struggling with how to keep my house.  In a previous post I shared my favourite blog post from a fellow pagan blogger, who urged everyone to consider the role of each room of the house.

I guess I just needed to let that percolate for a little while, because today, while developing a series of routines for myself, specifically designed to fit in time for ritual and meditation and energy work daily, I finally figured out that my big issue with getting housework done was that I’ve always called it ‘doing chores’.

My schedule literally had “Chores for Monday:  floors & stairs; laundry: wash dishcloths and tea towels”.  And all of my many, many lists have had that label.  Chores.

My mom called them Chores, extended family had farms and called everything they did around the farm and house Chores, and I just continued that.  But “doing chores” sounds awful.  Chores are a terrible, painful, time-killing activity that Adults Do (or Make their Kids Do) and it always sucks.

Finally, today I figured out what I should be calling this time.  I don’t do chores.  I don’t do housework.  I do housecare.

I know, it sounds ridiculous.  But it finally clicked for me, and this works.  I *want* to care for my house, to return the love and gift my house gives me and my family.  And keeping my house clean is caring for it- just like keeping my dog and family members clean and well fed… that’s care.

So here’s to a little bit of that fabulous extra deep introspection over the next few days.  And here’s to having those bright moments of intuition that help us find new ways to think/feel/be!*


*More on the thinking vs. feeling vs. being thing later.  🙂




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