We live in a culture of polarities that encourages us to construct polarities in our lives: good vs. bad, what I like vs. what I dislike, warm vs. cold, comfortable vs. uncomfortable, relaxation vs. work, etc.
One polarity that arises this time of year is dreading the arrival of the cold, dark days of the year, and the yearning for a climate of perpetual warmth and light.
Eairth’s* seasons invite us into a deeper understanding
of these darker, colder days and offer us
a template for living a beautiful, whole life.
Winter Solstice marks the depth of darkness, the moment when Winter begins and at the same time, gives way to the growing light. On the longest night, the light is reborn—the circle of the seasons already gestating Spring.
This year, Winter Solstice occurs at 2:02 am PT on Monday, December 21st.
We can we learn to honor the cold and darkness
by living into Eairth’s seasonal rhythm
of light and dark.
Winter invites us to slow down and rest.
Animals and plants know how to do this. They hibernate, slow down, return to the earth, so that they will be ready for the call of growing light and fresh energy in the Spring. So, too, can we take more time to rest, to do less, to turn our attention inward and tend to our inner lives.
Winter teaches us that honoring the darkness includes honoring the darker places within us.
The darkness is often where we put difficult experiences and emotions—we tend to turn away from them and try to focus on the light instead… But all that is contained in the darkness yeans to be welcomed—even the feelings and thoughts we wish we did not have—because from these we can learn and grow.
The darkness invites us into more wholeness.
It is in the bright light of day that we see sharp distinctions, that we see and feel our separateness and perceive “otherness.” The darkness holds all things—like the primordial darkness of the universe or the mother’s womb. We can rest into a primal holding and interconnectedness in the darkness.
Winter invites us to surrender.
We can’t make Eairth change into Summer before it is time. We can light candles and keep our home and body warm, but the cold and dark are here. We can’t change that. So, can we let go of resistance to this and to the way our lives are unfolding? Can we surrender how we think life should be and be with life as it is? Even when life right now is so hemmed in by Covid? Especially now.
The darkness is also a time of dreaming for the year to come.
We can spend time journaling, crafting New Year’s intentions, and listening to dreams that visit us by night. Perhaps we will gain insight about our lives. Perhaps, as Thomas Berry suggests, Eairth can dream through us…
One of the biggest lessons of the seasons for me has been to align with Eairth’s circle of life.
The darkness comes and gives way to the light, the light goes and gives way to the darkness… One always leads into the next… This is a truth of Eairth, of life, of our inner lives as well.
Light and dark are not two poles,
one to be sought after and the other avoided.
Both are necessary for wholeness and both are always present. Can we honor both? Learn from both? Re-member both?
We gather to honor both at our annual Winter Solstice Celebration.
This year, due to Covid, we will meet on Zoom for a contemplative, Earth-centered, Celtic-inspired ritual to mark the turning of the year as the darkness gives way to the growing light. This participatory ritual will include calling in the Directions, chanting & singing, meditation, candle-lighting, and deep connection with this seasonal turning of the year. I hope you will join us. Read more.
If you can’t join us, but would like do mark the Winter Solstice in an intentional way, you can find some ideas for rituals from past blogs:
You might also find nourishment in joining the Thursday, December 17th Chant & Song for Community, Healing & Hope which will have a dark and light Solstice theme this week.
What polarities in you are calling
to be held, healed, wholed this Winter Solstice?
* Eairth = Earth and Air, a spelling for Earth I think I learned from Thomas Berry