An Ancestral Practice for Winter Visioning

The most profound wisdom arrives in moments of stillness.
That’s why the dark days surrounding the winter solstice are such a rich time for visioning.
And it’s also why the holiday hubbub can feel so challenging.
This time of the year, it seems like every molecule within wants to slow down.
Because inside us is a deep ancestral tug, a pull like the gravity of the cold, reminding us of what we already know—
The way we access the insights we most need isn’t by doing at all…
…but by embracing being, like a pine opens to winter sunlight.
What if the one wisdom practice that is singing to us underneath this season’s glitter, is so simple we might miss it if the ancestors weren’t whispering in our ears?
What if that practice was a simple as… sitting?

I’ve always had my strongest insights—times when the path before me becomes illuminated like the spine of a winter mountain—while outside.
Not just outside, but sitting outside.
Normally I’m sitting after a good period of moving my body to shake out the excess stress, to-do lists, and tensions of the day. I’ve had time to walk away— literally and metaphorically— from everything that normally hounds me. And then I simply plop down onto the Earth to sit.
It’s always in moments like these that the encounters, revelations, and understandings I’ve been praying for simply stream in. It’s a benediction unlike anything else. And yet it’s so simple.
There is something in our animal body that instinctively knows—the answers will come when we can rest upon the Earth and allow the wisdom that lives there to seep through us like snow melt.
All our earth-connected ancestors practiced this.
In fact, the ancient Norse shamans even had a name for it—útiseta.

The ancient shamanism of the Norse tradition is called seiðr. Practitioners were often women and one of their key tools for receiving wisdom and insight was the practice of útiseta— literally “sitting out.”
During an útiseta the seiðr practitioner would sit in nature, often overnight, to commune with the living world and receive a divinatory answer to their questions. Practitioners would usually sit on a long barrow, over the graves of their ancestors, or on another local spot of power.
Though útiseta comes from the Norse tradition, this practice of “sitting out” in nature to receive wisdom is universal to the human story.
It’s innate, simple, and consistently miraculous—and it’ll help you reconnect with the depths that are calling you.

To practice útiseta this solstice season, all you need is a single solid stretch of an afternoon—an hour or even less—to tap into the mystical clarity of the season. Something about the cold distills this practice like gin.
So gather your warm coats and mittens, find a spot on a soft log or a stone overlooking the creek and simply… sit. Take your questions and be relieved of what you carry.
Sit out and have the ancestors come sit down beside you.
Because this time of the year is a power spot unto itself, here to help you reconnect with your own inner knowing.

If celebrating this season in connection with the earth’s rhythms and ancestral traditions is calling to you—check out my online class Holiday Magic & Medicine Making. The class is like gathering around a cheerfully bubbling cauldron of earthcraft and will help you create a holiday time that feels most in alignment with you (and the mystical undertow of the season).