Sitting around a campfire at night?
The circle of light within a vast ocean of darkness?
Leaving the fire and how the darkness swallowed you up as you felt your way to your tent to drop into the darkness of sleep?
Our bodies were made for darkness just as much as they were made for light.
For the darkness that invites non-doing and rest, slowness and dreaming, waiting and hope.
For the darkness that allows our bodies to heal, to regenerate, and rebalance in sleep.
Before electricity, we lived with, in, and by the dictates of the dark. In addition to fire light, there were candles and grease lamps, but they weren’t abundant, so they were saved for necessary tasks.
In the winter, we slept earlier in the evening and later in the morning, in accordance with the sun’s light.
And outside of our homes, it was dark—no street lights, car headlights, lit-up buildings…
Now, unless you live away from other houses in the country, it’s hard to experience total darkness.
Have you seen those maps of the world showing the light at night? It’s called light pollution and has become a health hazard to our bodies and to the creatures we share this world with.
Sea turtle hatchlings can’t find their way out to sea by the light of the moon because the city lights confuse them. Lack of darkness interrupts the predator/prey relationship, and even frog and toad breeding cycles. Birds that hunt or migrate at night have a hard time following the moon or stars, and seasonal migrations may even get knocked off their regular patterns due to light pollution.
Light pollution has taken away the dark. It has taken away the night sky.
One Secret by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Not the brilliant stars
But the infinite dark
What I wish on
This time of deepening darkness that reaches its peak at the Winter Solstice is an invitation to allow the dark to affect us, but not hold us captive.
It is an invitation to adapt to the living earth like all other creatures.
It is an invitation to allow ourselves to slow down, to dream, to rest.
It is an invitation to let old patterns, polarities, and problems that aren’t serving us dissolve as fresh, new life is rewoven in the growing light.
Holiday parties break up the darkness, bringing us together to feast and share in the coming light.
But then let us return to the darkness. To the unraveling, the unwinding, the making ready for the new.
Let us connect with the living earth and her rhythms to wait and trust that the sun will return again.
And then let the light find its way, day by day, from the midst of the darkness, growing, shining, bringing new life.
This is the promise of Winter Solstice.
In 2022, Winter Solstice arrives at 1:47 pm PT
on Wednesday the 21st of December.
If you’d like to mark this time on your own, I have a few suggestions for rituals in past blogposts here:
If you would like to be in community, I will be guiding an outdoor, earth-based, family-friendly ritual at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in the courtyard from 7-8 pm on the 21st. Read more.
My winter dreaming is bringing changes…
Since we moved to Port Townsend, Washington in the summer of 2019, life has changed a lot!
My main focus, when I am not working, is tending the land (growing as much edible, medicinal, and native as possible) and tending my family (husband, dog, aging parents, myself). And I am still singing–how could I not?
Because of this, I have not sought to build a coaching practice, even though I do still see clients from time to time. And now, I need to simplify more, so I’m going to let this big website go. I plan to create a blog site, so you will still hear from me from time to time.
Happy Winter Dreaming and Winter Solstice! I wonder what you will dream into?