As we move into the Winter Solstice on December 21st, 2021, I am feeling so grateful for the darkness.
Darkness, cover me like a blanket of night, oh cover me lightly.*
I feel the growing blanket of night that holds me, our home, the land, the forest in a cozy embrace. It’s dark outside, but the fire is glowing and there are pockets of light inside.
The darkness all around has the effect of focusing my attention. Especially in the 12-hour power outage last month, the flickering flame from the woodstove and candlelight, the beam of our headlamps made me focus on what was to hand as we were gathered in by the blanket of night.
Shadows gather around me, deepening darkness, whispering softly.
These days, we have to take our headlamps to walk the dogs after I finish work, but our animal bodies still find the path in the gathering shadows. I keep my headlamp off as long as I possibly can and wear a light-colored coat my parents can see as they follow me up the path.
The cedars whisper as I walk among them. The ferns speak in frond-talk. The alders sigh with their loss of leaves. And I sing to them, pray with them, or speak quietly… depending on what is called for.
And the path in the deepening darkness leads us home.
Holy Maker of Moonlight, singing through starlight, Keeper of all life.
Standing in the darkness, under the fullness of the moon, receiving the darkness, the moonlight, the starlight. This is what I was made for. To stand vigil, to hold the sacred without and within—for who can tell the difference in the dark… to live the aliveness of the living earth all around and within me.
Hidden Seed deep in the dark soil of the earth,
fertile ground, womb of the night, bring us new birth.
It is a time for waiting, hidden, claimed by the dark, claimed by the living earth. It is a time of slowing down, of resting in the womb of the night. Somehow, I seem to always need this invitation.
The ground has been prepared—by my heart and hands, by those of others, by the living earth herself. The fertile womb of darkness will bring new birth. It is my job to trust, to wait, to listen, to grow, to leave behind what has become too small and be welcomed into the growing light when it is time.
Winter Solstice falls on Tuesday, the 21st of December at 7:59 am PT. It marks the longest night of the year and the turning toward growing light.
I hope you enjoy these long nights and darkness’s cozy embrace so that you will be ready to grow into the light when you are called into the Spring.
If you would like to join in a Winter Solstice Gathering,
I’m leading A Quiet Winter Solstice via zoom from 7:00-8:00 on Solstice evening. It will be an evening celebrating the turning of the year. I will lead the group in song and sing a few pieces solo, weaving poetry and participatory ritual that invites us into the depth, stillness, and contemplative aspects of the season. Consider having a candle and matches available if you want to participate in the candle-lighting towards the end.
And if you need a last minute gift, my CD The Path, a collection of folk, medieval, and Celticky Christmas music, is available digitally and as a CD on bandcamp:
Happy Winter Solstice, however you celebrate!
* Italicized, centered text is from the song Darkness Cover Me by Sara Thomsen. Come sing it with me at the Winter Solstice gathering!