Stay Warm In The Cold

Now that winter is officially here, it is important to stay warm.  In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the temperatures may  dip between minus thirty to minus forty degrees celsius.  In this part of the world, We consider temperatures of minus ten to fifteen degrees celsius to be “mild” during the winter season.  Allow Me to share My strategies for staying warm in the cold.
Drinking hot tea is a wonderful way to maintain a warm body temperature. There are so  many varieties to choose from –  Peppermint, , Ginger, or Chamomile. My personal favorite is Green Tea. Alternatively,  consider hot coffee or hot chocolate. Make sure to have a hot breakfast – oatmeal is a great option.  During cold weather, your  body will require calories to maintain body warmth.  This is not a good time to skip meals.
 A cold winter morning requires  extra layers of clothing , along with  extra time to dress up. If You are driving, You will need to allow for extra time to reach a destination.  Make sure to cover any areas of exposed bare skin  with mitts and a scarf.
Your vehicle may require  extra time to warm up.  If hazardous road conditions exist, consider purchasing  winter tires for Your vehicle. Plan activities around road conditions.  If blizzard conditions are indicated, avoid driving. Postpone low priority  errands.
A discussion of winter conditions must include the mention of snow removal.  If You work outside, be sure to dress warmly. Take short breaks , going indoors to warm up. Insulation around doors and windows of Your home to keep warm, indoors. For increased  energy savings consider insulating the attic.
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I like to stock up on groceries in January. Homemade soup is My specialty. I  use My slow cooker for this, to preserve nutritional content.  If You enjoy baking this a great time to make use of Your oven. Cinnamon is one of My favourite spices to use.  Honey is another excellent natural  flavoring. During a cold snap I add both to My tea or coffee. A stack of cozy and warm quilts is essential. I keep five quilts on hand. Lighter blankets are useful too. Many people in Canada spend time skating and skiing.
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Winter is a fantastic time to catch up on reading. A stack of books that I haven’t had the time to read awaits. Make a list of projects You have  been meaning to tackle. Keep this list ready – when cold weather arrives, take advantage of the extra time available to complete these projects. Reading, sewing, home renovation, and blogging are on the top of My list. Listen to music, watch a favorite movie, or play a musical instrument. To celebrate the true spirit of winter, I like to  read books by the great  Russian writers. When the temperature drops, many people report feeling sleepy.  Sleep and the dream world are more accessible. This is a great time to consider meditation.  Take advantage of this by getting more rest. Indigenous cultures set  time aside in the winter for family, storytelling and bead work. Create Your own personal traditions for winter.
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The Winter Solstice

December 21st marks the shortest day of the year. The Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun. This results in less light, and cooler temperatures. It is also the longest night of the year.  After the Winter Solstice, daylight and sunshine will increase  day by day, week by week, and month by month, until finally, the summer solstice arrived. The word solstice originates from Latin and means “sun stands still”. There are two solstices annually. The seasons and solstices are reversed, in the Southern Hemisphere.

In ancient times, the celebration of Yule fell during this time. The Wicca Wheel of the Year designates  the solar year is ruled by two opposing forces. The Oak King rules the waxing year from December 21st until June 21st, as the daylight hours increase. The Holly King prevailed  from June 21st until December 21st, during the waning year, as daylight hours decrease.  Legend reveals during each Solstice, the Oak King and the Holly King  battle for the hand of the Goddess. Each King rules the land in during the His official season.

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It is no coincidence that evergreens and holly are symbols of the winter season. The Pagan cultures of Northern Europe observed a twelve day festival known as Yule. At the start of winter, livestock was slaughtered because food was scarce during the colder weather. In this way, a herd would not have to be fed and maintained over the winter. Many Christmas  traditions evolved from the Yule Celebration. The Christmas Tree, the Christmas Wreath, and the Yule Log are evidence  of this.  The celebration of Yule allowed people an opportunity to turn inward.  A theme of rebirth and renewal was emphasised with the return of the Sun. Divination and Dream Work became the focus of long and cold winter nights. Visiting with family was important for survival. Communities celebrated by gathering for meals.

Herbs for the Winter Solstice

In an era before pharmaceutical intervention,   a knowledge of herbs and spices was crucial to survival. The traditional Winter Solstice herbs held many medicinal properties. This would have been helpful as winter progressed. Many of herbs were typically prepared as an infusion, or a tea.  There is a return to the use of natural herbs and spices. The popularity of essential oils is wonderful to witness.

Remember to consult a doctor if You require medical attention. In this way, You will recieve a proper diagnosis for a condition. Your doctor may also suggest lab tests or x-rays. When working with herbs and essential oils I recommend using a reference book. The book I recommend is The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy. This book is a wonderful resource.

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The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy

The information in this book is extensive It includes  information and recipes for  health and healing, beauty and cosmetics,  as well as household cleaners. With the renewed interest of essential oils this is a perfect reference book.  I have personally  used this book for years – I highly recommend it,

The following herbs were used during Yule celebrations:

  • Holly
  • Cedar
  • Mistletoe
  • Juniper
  • Bay
  • Ash
  • Frankincense
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