Elizabeth Valera, M.Div., LPC, CT


As I prepare for an upcoming expressive arts group on the theme of Winter, I have been contemplating various archetypal representations of Winter.


As part of my ‘research’ I rewatched The Rise of the Guardians in which Jack Frost is depicted as a playful and mischievous sprite.  It’s such a great reminder about the power of fun and play to overcome fear.  Personally, the movie brought to my mind the excitement of those rare snow days growing up in the Atlanta area.


When I moved up to Boston for graduate school, I got a different taste of Winter. I suppose it was Old Man Winter, more dangerous and severe.  Preparations had to be made and thankfully a kind mentor helped me to find a real Winter coat.  Although it was much colder and the sun went down even earlier, the city was prepared for snow and ice—I simply had to learn to step over the big drifts to get onto the city bus.   On the other hand, while “snowpocalypse” here in Atlanta was laughable to those from colder climates, it was truly difficult and dangerous for those stuck in the ice and unable to get home.  Winter is a trickster, I think.


Of course, it is a warm Winter, right now. Which brings up concerns related to climate change and the loss of ecosystems that depend on cold temperatures. If we humans were to slow down and ‘hibernate’ even just for the Winter months would some of the planetary damage be reversed?


I am also interested in other depictions of Winter. For example, The Snow Queen, The Matchstick Girl, Yuki Onna and even Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth: so necessary for cooking throughout the year, but especially in the Winter.


Maybe I am most drawn to the Snow Queen. There is something that rings so true about those dangerous shards of mirror that can pierce our hearts and eyes causing a distorted and hopeless view of life, leaving us more susceptible to becoming frozen in the Snow Queen’s palace.


I know there are so many tales and archetypes related to Winter.


I’m curious, which figures inhabit your Winter landscape?


Photo Response Submission by Deb Herberger

Title: Crescent Moon Rising Over Bare Trees