Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mind medicine: Falling into winter

The leaves have begun to turn gold as they sway in the breeze. The ground is beginning to get just a little tougher. Rain has graced us, and for some of us, this has even caused a few power outages. Reflecting on the intensity of having to bundle up and go back to life indoors, I am wondering how we might make this process a little easier on ourselves. The pandemic has not been easy, and winter approaches our doorsteps. A life inside, however temporary, is a tough battle we have now all fought. In hopes to ease us into the winter, I asked my Tarot cards: “How do we fall into winter?” I’m interested in how we can use autumn as a time of welcoming for winter and preparation before we must hunker into our homes. This is the biggest difference from the pandemic — we have time to prepare!

Beginning our spread, I ask my cards on behalf of all Millsies, “How do we fall into winter?”

Firstly, we begin with the Knight of Pentacles, followed by the Knight of Wands and lastly the Three of Wands. Two Knights and two Wands. How very interesting. 

Our first card, The Knight of Pentacles, shows us the image of a traveling Aristaeus. This young man is the son of Apollo, who was given up by his mortal mother Kyrene to Mother Earth as an infant. Mother Earth cared for the young boy and kept him alive by feeding him nectar and ambrosia. Later, Aristaeus was taught by the Nymphs to cultivate, beginning with cheese, building beehives and making oil. He learned that the daily task is what builds a colony. Aristaeus took it upon himself to share this knowledge with others and began to travel. 

Throughout the land, he shared his wisdom and taught others to be patient and invest in as well as build their own colonies of bees and curdle milk into cheese. When Aristaeus matured into a fully grown man, the muses were fond of him for his deeds and taught him the art of healing as well as prophecy. Stronger in his wisdom, Aristaeus honored the daily task of sheep tending as a ritual. When trusted with a flock of his own, Aristaeus showed his reliability and compassion as he traveled with his herd. He healed cities from famine by healing their bee colonies. Additionally, he rid a city of plague. When murderers infiltrated a helpless town and ravaged the young women and food of the place, Aristaeus showed valor by killing the murderers who were relentless in their crimes and continued to spread the plague through their illicit actions.

Aristaeus gives us many lessons we can keep with us as we fall into winter. Allowing ourselves to believe that we are humble and reliable (just like Aristaeus) will give us the credibility to make our daily tasks sacred. As we prepare to hunker down into our homes and wrap our bodies with more layers of warmth, we must remember that the daily task of eating breakfast is a ritual of sacred nourishment. Through these tasks, we are cultivating not only compassion and healing for ourselves, but we are also cultivating the capacity to make it through the winter. 

Our next card leads us to our second Knight in our spread. The ever-adventurous Bellerophon sits atop Pegasus’ back, wielding the element of fire. Pegasus, who was once a wild beast with the ability to soar to new heights, has been tamed and harnessed by Bellerophon. Bellerophon is exiled from his own land when he murders his own brother. Traveling from land to land Bellerophon seeks out adventure and as he does so builds himself a reputation of strength and confidence. He was a mighty man who was confident enough not only to slay an enemy, but also his brother. When disobeying orders, Bellerophon began playing with his father’s bow one day and through his overconfidence in his skill level, he accidentally shot his brother. He was such a charmer that, when seeking sanctuary, he was enticed by none other than the king’s own wife. The jealous king gave Bellerophon the impossible task of killing a Chimaera to save his own life. A Chimaera, at the time, was believed to be an unbeatable beast. This beast was a hybrid of sorts, consisting of the body of a goat and the  head of a lion that also breathed fire. Did this stop our brave hero? Why, not at all. Bellerophon was guided by a seer to tame Pegasus. When he was able to harness Pegasus and use his talent to ride up and over the Chimaera, he was able to slay the beast. When his confidence rose high enough, he used Pegasus to go up further still, to the mountain of the Gods, believing he was, in his own right, a God. Zeus, however, knew better, and struck Pegasus in the tail, causing him to rear and knock Bellerophon off his back and down to earth.

This card represents the fire of challenge and adventure. This calling towards adventure, however, can sometimes lead us to become reckless and desperate for the sake of proving ourselves mighty. The card of Bellerophon serves as our warning that, though adventure can be enticing, we must ask ourselves if the challenge is for a greater good or reputation. Just because it seems exciting, it does not always mean it is worth doing. As we prepare to deal with cabin fever all over again, perhaps this card is an indication to prepare for our adventures ahead of time. What new challenges can you pursue during winter that are good for your self-confidence, but not reckless? Perhaps the novel you want to write, the garage you want to clean, or the exercise plans you’ve been wanting to incorporate into your lifestyle. Let us use Bellerophon as inspiration for our senses of adventure and also as a reminder that although things can get tough, we can remain humble.

This idea of conceiving new challenges for ourselves leads us to our last card. The Three of Wands gives us the image of a young Jason, who fulfilled the prophecy of the Oracle. Jason was the true successor to the crown, but when his father was removed the boy was left to be raised by a centaur named Chiron. According to the Oracle the true successor would return and fulfill his role as king. After a tumultuous journey, he finally arrived in Iolkos. This return to his birthplace was momentous for Jason. Notice that the journey was hard enough that one of Jason’s shoes was lost. Jason stands before the king Pelias, who now believes the prophecy and willingly offers Jason his own crown. Victorious in making his journey, Jason stands holding wands of fire, celebrating his arrival at his destination. Shortly after this victorious event, Jason is given some tough news. The Golden Fleece, which is a necessity for ruling Iolkos, is in Colchis. This fleece was originally given to Jason’s father and was now being guarded by a never-sleeping dragon in an entirely different town. Jason’s moment of victory disappears as he realizes that, to rule this kingdom, he must now begin another long and treacherous journey. 

As we arrive at our ideas of how to bunker down and challenge ourselves this winter, we must keep in mind that things may not go according to plan. The novel we want to write may look glorious in our notes, but the writing process might be a maddening journey. The workout plan, sacred in its daily release of endorphins, might become the challenge we do not feel we can rise to everyday. Jason reminds us to enjoy our victories while we have them, and to be prepared for the challenge to be tough. Let us be excited about the new workout plan, and the transformation it will bring us, but let us also set an alarm every day to remind us about diligence.

As you might remember, there are a total of two Knights in our spread. This tells us that there will be challenges in winter, but we are equipped to handle them. The appearance of two Wands in our spread tells us to remember our true selves. Fiery and victorious as well as grounded and humble, we must rely on what is within us to choose our path. 

Considering these cards, I decided that offering a reminder of victory seems to be the best gift for all of us. As we prepare our plans for winter and accept that these plans might change, I would like us all to remember that we can get through our challenges. Falling into winter does not mean never coming back out. The sun will come around again and we will be here to greet it, victorious in our pursuits. To begin with a small pursuit that offers great reward, I have provided a recipe for chocolate fudge.

This recipe is one of my favorite recipes for fudge because it encourages the use of treats such as marshmallows and peppermint. I like to use the same measurements but add my preferred treats like pretzels and candy. “Why fudge?” you might ask. Well, as we face our challenges, I want us to treat ourselves. We can share our space with those we love, celebrating our small victories together by sharing fudge and camaraderie at home. To me, chocolate is most symbolic of love. Stuff them in a tin and make a great gift for the holidays. 

Foolproof Holiday Fudge Recipe | Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

Foolproof Holiday Fudge

Credit to Sang An


Makes 24 two-inch pieces


  • Vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 3 cups semisweet or white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy


  • Step One

Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with two sheets of waxed or parchment paper in a criss cross manner (one lengthwise, one crosswise) so ends overhang sides of pan; coat evenly with cooking spray.

  • Step Two

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar, salt, butter, cream, and marshmallows, stirring, until butter and marshmallows are almost melted, 5 to 6 minutes.

  • Step Three

Bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chips and vanilla; stir until chips are melted. Pour mixture into a lined pan.

  • Step Four

Let fudge cool in the pan at room temperature for 3 hours. Use edges of paper to lift out fudge; place on cutting board and remove paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or cut fudge into bars. Sprinkle evenly with crushed candy.