“Now is the winter of our discontent”
~ William Shakespeare
As a season, winter isn’t everybody’s favourite and doesn’t have the best reputation in town.
With its dark, grey skies, endless nights and a general sense of hunkering down, not to mention freezing temperatures, we grumble and fuss once October has left us and we can no longer deny the oncoming season of cold. Most of us stumble and fumble our way through it longing for the first signs of spring. Others on the other hand, love the winter for its cosiness, its sitting by the fire-ness and generally staying indoor-ness, with piping hot chocolate and other warm wintry goodies. They patiently wait for spring, knowing that it will come when it is ready.
From nature’s perspective, it can appear as though the natural world isn’t having the best time of it either. If a Martian landed and took one look at a deciduous tree mid-November he would think it was curtains: the branches are bare, not a bud or flower in sight, no sign of life. And on the surface, it does look like the tree is dying. But this isn’t the case.
If we delve into the science-y bit, we discover that the reason the leaves have fallen off our deciduous tree is to conserve energy and moisture in its trunks and branches because if it didn’t, the tree would die. Essentially, it is entering into a period of rest and minimal activity but it is still very much alive and kicking, it just can’t be seen on the surface. So, the tree is doing anything but kicking the bucket, it’s looking after itself in order to not kick the bucket. Who knew?
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley.
At THR, I often see clients who are going through a metaphorical ‘winter’ cycle of their own. This is where they feel that nothing is happening, that they are stuck. They feel miserable and that there is no end in sight: the job just isn’t happening, the planned house move isn’t happening, after yet another disastrous date they’re still single etc. etc.
It is often at this point that a client will come for a Tarot reading in order to get to the bottom of what’s going on, and nine times out of ten what will come up is that, just like our tree, there is still plenty going on under the surface, it just isn’t visible yet, and there is a good reason for the quiet: perhaps their dream role is still in the process of being created, or their dream house is still being built, or Mr wonderful is stuck in traffic. Or, it is simply a case of timing and they need to go through this quiet phase first (winter) before things start moving again when the time is right (spring).
The key is that just because we can’t see anything happening doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening, and actually, it’s exactly what we need in that moment, so rather than fussing and fretting we need to learn to be all tree-like and zen, and embrace it. Before we know it we will be in the ‘spring’ cycle again and our toes will barely touch the ground. No cycle is better than another, and if you think about it, would you really want spring all the time? ALL THE TIME? Wouldn’t the frenetic pace of activity wear you out? Tenner says before the year was out you’d be yearning for the quiet of winter.
Ultimately, the secret is how we respond to these quiet periods, and the upshot is that we need to think like the cosy-hot-chocolate-drinkers-sitting-round-the-fire and learn to enjoy this period, knowing that yes, it is quiet, and perhaps the things we want to happen aren’t happening just yet, but a time of stillness is just as important in our lives as times of activity and we should enjoy it instead of railing against it. Spring will come soon enough.
So grab another marshmallow for your hot choccy, put your metaphorical feet up and simply relax and sink into it. Your time will come.
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