Happy Winter Solstice!
I thought I’d share with you this beautiful deck I got last year called ‘Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle’ by Jane Brideson. The Cailleach, also known as An Cailleach, An Cailleach Beara or Beira, is the Irish and Scottish Hag of Winter and Old Woman who shapes the land. She is responsible for storms and nasty weather, making mountains and preventing thaw. Her name means ‘veiled one’. She is associated with the cold, barren months of the year, while the goddess Brigid or Brìghde, is associated with the fertile, warm months.
Cailleach’s energy is strong this time of year, so let’s take heed of her wisdom.
This deck beautifully illustrates facets of the wise old Cailleach and I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me!
Below is a Solstice Star of 5 cards. Choose one card as your message of inspiration for this season…
You may wish to take a moment to ground and centre yourself first, and ask “What do I need to embrace this season?” or ask a question. Then Choose.
Once you’ve chosen a card, remember its number and then see below for the description! Descriptions in italic are from the author, Jane Brideson, followed by words and reflection questions by me.
Below are the descriptions of each card…
- Shapes the Land
the force of nature
raw, raging, unrestrained.
I am clarity, daring and grace,
bleak truth that sweeps away pretence.
I leave you naked in your skin.
first snowfall of the waning year,
white strands amongst the grey,
stark, slumbering nature.
Your surrender to winter and wisdom’s embrace.”
Feel the raw potentiality of this moment. The creative spirit never ends, it simply transforms. We all carry the power of the Cailleach, the ability to create and transform ourselves and the world around us. What primal urges within you are awakening? In what ways do you shape and impact the world around you? Open to new ways of using your creative energy- destroy the old and outworn, create new shapes of beauty in the world. If your creativity seems dormant, it may simply be in a stage of incubating new works. Trust the process. Your creative spirit is in motion.
2. The Veiled One:
black blanket of fertile sod.
My wrinkled hands,
hollowed out the hills.
Once my kiss made kings.
Later, aged face reviled,
body deemed intolerable,
I was hidden beneath the veil,
a mystery to unfold in time.
Now I stand before you.
Your final liberation
As you lift the veil.”
Deep power lies within the shadows, waiting to be recognised and brought into the light. Where there is pain there is power. What experiences have left you with pain waiting to be fully healed? What wisdom from the experience is ready to be fully uncovered? What parts of yourself have been relegated to the shadows that now wish to be seen? Begin the process of retrieving the gifts and power you lost in the past and integrate the dark beauty of your shadow. It is no longer time to hide or gloss over it, it is time to face the truth and empower yourself. You are ready to up-level yourself spiritually and claim your wholeness.
- Your roots, your ancestors, your heritage.
- Lessons learned, time to move on.
- Understanding and forgiving your former self.
- Time to leave behind your past, old patterns & beliefs.
You do not exist in a vacuum. You are part of a long line, a tree with roots deep upon this planet. Our ancestors made it possible for us to be here. They also might have left us some work to do. Do you acknowledge the ancestors, the gifts and wounds of your lineage? Sometimes we may carry things with us that may not be fully ours to carry. What can you release and let go of? What gifts do you carry that may have been passed down to you? How can you share those gifts with others and be a good ancestor for the coming generations? Your ancestors are cheering you on.
- Happiness, warmth and good health
- Good luck, success, a positive outcome
- A time to enjoy sunlit days, a holiday.
- Time for pleasure, fun and play.
The Winter Solstice celebrates the rebirth of the light. What lights you up inside? If things have been feeling heavy, dark or burdensome, this is a promise of your load lightening soon. Can you make a bit more time to play, take a vacation or treat yourself? Be optimistic, as there will be a cause for celebration and pleasure in the near future! Connect with the activities and people that make you laugh, that lighten your outlook and encourage fun! Invite the light in. Then shine it out for others to bask in!
- Family, chosen family or community.
- The mutual support, comfort and help of friends.
- Undertaking responsibility and assisting others.
- Time to celebrate and share with others.
The past couple of years have been an invitation to re-assess our communities, family and friends and how they align with our own values. We may have left a community behind, felt alone or like an outsider much of the time. We may have had to take some time by ourselves to understand who we truly are. The time has come now to gently open to and co-create supportive, nourishing community for yourself. Is there a hobby group, club or event you’d like to attend? Check it out! Which of your friends or loved ones have stuck with you through the tough times? Nourish that relationship. Be discerning, but be open to attracting others of like-mind, like-heart and like-soul.
I hope you continue to receive the inspiration, healing and grounding you need this season. May the Crone/Elder/Hag of Winter bless and protect you this Solstice and through the season.
If you are looking for a more detailed, personal reading, I am now booking Tarot Readings for January 2023! I would love to connect with you.
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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.