In childhood, I felt that snow was magic simply because it was so beautiful. I love to watch it fall, and then everything looks different, beautiful and transformed. How could that not be magic?
You can see its effect in many movies. In “The Wizard of Oz” Glinda the Good Witch uses it to counteract the poisonous poppies of the Wicked Witch of the West. In “It’s a Wonderful Life”, snow fall which was eerily absent during his “you’ve never been born” scenes, returns when George takes back his wish. My personal favorite though is “Groundhog Day” in which weatherman Phil finally stops the endless nightmare of reliving the same day over and over by learning to live that day to its fullest potential. The audience knows he has won when after kissing Rita (having earned her admiration honestly instead of deceitfully), it begins to snow.
There is also Christmas Snow which somehow is supposed to make the holiday magical, but I always wondered why. At first the best I could come up with was when I read that while Native Americans might hunt in the snow, animals being easy to track, they rarely went on raids or made war then for the same reason. Tracks in the snow are easy to follow. Of course, if a snow storm or blizzard is brewing, a person risks their life going out at all. It wasn’t much but it would certainly back up the Christmas wish for “Peace on Earth” if snow was seen as a force to make war less palatable. Thereby the falling of snow could be seen as a sign of God’s own desire for humans to live in peace and to help each other. I liked that idea, but I still felt there was something more, something deeper and older yet to be learned from snow.
Then I dreamed a shaman summoned me back in time thousands of years and I realized what it was. I had read that in order to become aware of one’s spiritual self a person needs to enter into an altered state of consciousness. Meditation, fasting, chanting, staring into fire and drug or alcohol use are all ways to alter consciousness and for the most part they are all intentional. Epileptic seizures, disease and traumatic experience are some unintentional. But there is one way to alter consciousness that everybody does, that everybody needs to do, sleep.
Sleep is the most natural and unavoidable altered state that almost every living thing experiences. Even trees are said to “sleep” in winter when it snows. Bears, squirrels, and frogs hibernate, surely that is a truly altered state. Prehistoric humans, too, would have had to adapt by sleeping more in the winter, (as well as probably fasting and staring into the fire a lot.) And sleeping in the winter, in a home surrounded by ever deepening snow is unlike sleeping any other time. It gets so quiet. All of nature seems to be sleeping too. If ever there is a natural time for the collective subconscious to gather more spiritual energy and information for sharing with the astral traveler, it is when the deep snow traps so many earthly bodies (man, plant and animal) and their souls are free to wander.
If so, it is no coincidence that the civilizations that built Cahokia (in the midwest, U.S.) and Stonehenge (England) both built such amazing structures yet never developed written language. For they would have known that no knowledge can be lost that may not be found again, in the snow.