My winters for the past ten years have been while living in southern California, my winters were not very different from my summers. Although, I’m born and raised from New York, and east coast winters are intense! However, this year I found my own spiritual journey that had lead me to the Pacific Northwest where I found immense happiness– as well as my first true experience of living through a Pacific Northwest winter.
In Greek Mythology, there was a goddess named Persephone. She was a child of Zeus, the king of the Gods and Demeter, the goddess of Earth and nature. Persephone was wooed by many gods, but Demeter, ever the over protective mother rejected all their advances and eventually hid her daughter away. It was shortly after this that Hades, the god of the underworld abducted Persephone and swept her away to his kingdom. As Demeter desperately searched for her beloved daughter, the world began to change. Life came to a standstill. The flowers fainted away and died. The grasses faded away. Trees bore no fruit and the temperature turned antarctic. As Demeter’s anguish grew, earth continued to die and rest in peace. Zeus intervened and summoned Hades return Persephone to her mother. Before he agreed, Hades tricked Persephone into eating four pomegranate seeds, which effectively forced her to spend one month each year in Hades for every seed she’d eaten. When Demeter and her daughter were together, the Earth flourished with radiant vegetation and bright color, but for four months each year, when Persephone returned to the underworld, the earth once again became an infertile realm of darkness. This is an origin story to explain winter.
There is something about this season of winter that almost forces you to begin a process of turning inward, of reflecting upon the events prior to this slowed kapha activity. Surely during this time, Demeter remembers happier times with her daughter.
This is a time of year when the world, and our own spirit, is renewed once more. It is a time of endings and new beginnings that fills our hearts with peace, joy, love and laughter. We are almost forced by Nature to spend more time with our beloved, with our friends and family, sharing our abundance with them.