I (Réaltán) suffer from seasonal depression (AKA Seasonal Affective Disorder). It makes keeping my energy up, both physically and magically, much harder in the late fall and winter, as my natural inclination is something like hibernation between Samhain and Imbolc, approximately. Part of this is probably due to my spring fae nature (about which I will no doubt have to make a post eventually), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything about it. I just am not sure how to.
Or, rather – was not sure. But then I had what seems to be an absolutely genius idea (though I’m no doubt reinventing the wheel): talk to an Evergreen spirit!
I have something of an affinity for plants, and I frequently use plants and herbs in my general craft, but I have not spoken to the spirits of plants much to do anything more than what they are prescribed for in herbalism, or associated with in magical symbolism. This is my first major relationship with a plant spirit, and so far I’ve done a handful of hedgecrossings (aka journeys, tranceworkings, astral travels) to go meet and talk with who I have identified as Black Spruce. In my talks with him, he has given me the following tidbits of advice, which I will share here in case anyone else can benefit from his wisdom as they deal with their own challenges, this dark half of the year.
- Slow your blood. Slow down, but not as far as deciduous trees – don’t completely fold inside yourself and hibernate. At the same time, however, don’t try to be as quick as you were in the spring. Now is not the time for rapid growth. Don’t force yourself to get everything done by trying to move at breakneck speeds – you will fail. So slow down a little. Decide what’s really important and focus on that. Don’t worry about things undone, just do whatever you have the energy and strength to do without overtaxing yourself. It will be enough.
- Wax your leaves. Insulate your energies from the cold of winter, and make sure to stay warm physically as well. Adjust your shields – keep out the wind of other people’s negative energy and the ice of their judgment. Other trees lose their leaves because they are thin, fragile, and easily damaged by frost. Not spruce needles! They are hard and waxy, durable and insulated, but they still let sunlight through, which is important!
- Take in as much light as you can. Light is important, whether it’s sunlight (bask in it each afternoon for a few moments), the light of your truth (remember to make time for self-care and things you enjoy), or the light of love (spend plenty of time with loved ones). Don’t let your shielding keep the warmth out.
- Take care of your roots. Make sure to ground, ground, ground – and center. Physically, keep your feet warm, your whole self warm and as comfortable as possible. Make sure to keep your legs and feet strong and in good health – wear shoes with good support, and make sure they’re waterproof! Personally, I need to work on my flexibility some, as my tight hamstrings contribute to my chronic shoulder pain, transferring tension up my spine.
- Stand tall. Winter might make you want to curl into a little ball, but it’s important to maintain good posture. Stay balanced. Also, stick up for yourself. It can be harder to live your truth and ignore naysayers when you’re already feeling a little down, but it’s a very important time to make sure you stay upright. If you begin to bend under the weight of pressure now, by springtime you will find it hard to grow straight again. Better to keep your balance now.
- Spruce is good medicine. Spruce tips are a good remedy for many winter ailments. The new growth tips are an excellent source of vitamin C, and a hot tea made from these tips can also ease many symptoms of upper respiratory infections like the common cold, including congestion, runny nose, and coughs. Winter is an important time to use whatever healing modalities you know, whether that means herbalism, reiki, or zero-blancing. Be your own remedy.
Hopefully these ideas will reach those who need to hear them. And I highly recommend seeking an Evergreen spirit to guide you if this sort of work sounds like a path you need to go down. I am very much enjoying my work with Black Spruce, and after I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she met a Balsam Fir and is now doing some very important work with him. His messages have been similar to Black Spruce’s – he also stressed the importance of slowing down, which is probably the most important message out of all of the above.