When the nights are cold and longer than the days, a ritual can be helpful for many of us who have low moods as a result. As someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, looking forward to something after dark is maybe quite literally life-saving. I love cozying up in a blanket with a book, a hot cup of tea, and some candles creating a glowing ambiance, the soft scent of beeswax in the air. I may not be a fan of winter, but this routine brings me joy. And it is similar to the Danish practice called Hygge.
What is Hygge?
In recent years, Hygge has gained popularity in North America but it has been practiced by the Danes long before that. It is pronounced like hoo-ga and is derived from a Norwegian word meaning, “well-being.” There is not quite an equivalent word to it in English, the closest we can come with our language is something like “cozy,” or relating to “creature comforts.”
According to Meik Wiking in his book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.” In other words, Hygge is the art of relaxing.
And there is something to it. The Danes are some of the happiest people in the world, yet they endure the harshest winters. It is said they use Hygge to get through this time of year. The keys to Hygge are being warm, comfortable, and intimate. Low lighting is a hallmark of Hygge, such as candlelight or light that simulates it. If you have a fireplace, this is ideal!
Hygge as a Spiritual Practice
You may be asking: What does this have to do with witchcraft? Being able to connect with the cycles and seasons of nature is an important part of witchcraft and paganism. Bringing hope and warmth to the winter nights reminds me a lot of the practices utilized during the winter sabbats on the Wheel of the Year. To me, witchcraft is a way of life and can be infused into everything you do. So I will show you how I take the practice of Hygge and infuse winter magick into it.
The first step is connecting to your home and hearth as an altar. How can you make your whole home a sacred space? We often do this with cleansing practices to reset the energy and decorating in a way that brings us pleasure and joy. It’s about the little things that make you want to come home at the end of each day.
At the core of many pagan practices is animism, the idea that everything is as alive as you and I. Humans, animals, plants, and your home all have the same consciousness. In witchcraft, this is sometimes called “house spirits.” Whatever you call it, take the time to connect with it; introduce yourself, express your intentions, and ask it what it needs. Over time, you will notice the energy in your home shift!
There are few things you need to create a Hygge ambiance, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Anyone can achieve this with a few simple items!
Denmark holds the record for the highest candle consumption in Europe, so it’s fair to say candles are a staple of Hygge. These sales are almost entirely unscented candles as scented are considered artificial, and therefore not Hygge.
Candle magick is a common practice in witchcraft, so this is an easy way to combine Hygge and witchcraft for winter magick. Want to purify the energy of your home? Use white candles. In need of protection? Burn black candles. Trying to promote self-love? Light some pink candles. Want to create a peaceful environment? Try some blue candles.
After choosing the corresponding color to your intentions, you’ll want to make sure your candles have been cleansed, then charge and bless them by visualizing your intentions infusing your candles. If you want to go an extra step, you can even anoint the candle by dressing it with corresponding herbs and an Herbal Alchemy Oil and inscribe sigils into the wax.
During the snowy days of winter, there is nothing better than warming up your home with a hot oven by doing a bit of kitchen witchcraft and having a comforting meal to eat. Baking is a wonderful winter activity, but so is making soup. Having a hot soup on a winter’s day warms your whole body and makes you feel comforted.
Kitchen witchcraft is a whole practice, so this one is also easy to blend with Hygge. Similar to candle magick, you can visualize infusing health and harmony into the meal you are creating while stirring clockwise. Inscribe sigils into the dough before baking or stir a pentagram shape in the soup for protection. The longer and slower it is made, the more Hygge it is, and the more intentional you are about making it, the more magickal it is.
Speaking of comfort foods, let’s talk about comfort drinks! There is nothing more comforting than having a hot cup of tea (Tea Magick article). Drinking tea is a spiritual experience as much as it is Hygge. While you may prefer coffee, tea is mentioned for the convenience of having many caffeine-free options, preferable for relaxing during the evening.
Not only can drinking a cup of tea be meditative, but it also helps you connect to the four elements by reflecting on the process of making tea. You can add even more intention to this experience by mixing your own tea blends with corresponding herbs and flowers.
An essential part of feeling warm and cozy is snuggling under a thick blanket with a good book or while being in the presence of family or close friends. Nothing is better than sipping that hot cup of tea from under the blanket. It gives a feeling of safety and security which leads to the ability to fully relax.
Because blankets naturally invoke this feeling of protection from the outside world, a naturally witchy thing to add would be casting a protection and warmth charm on the blankets in your home so that your guests or family members feel safe and calm. Charming objects is very simple but goes a long way. To do this, all you have to do is hold the blanket in your hands and visualize it being infused with your intentions.
As mentioned earlier, anything natural is considered Hygge. Having plants inside can connect you to nature even if nature is covered by snow, reminding you of times when the outside was alive and green. Houseplants also have their own magickal properties. Here are some examples:
- Aloe Vera: Luck and abundance
- Boston Fern: Protection and luck
- Cactus: Home protection and spiritual boundaries
- Lucky Bamboo: Luck, good fortune, and prosperity
- Spider Plant: Energetic cleansing and purification
- Succulents: Love and abundance
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