Winter Solstice: Walking Toward the Dawn

Today, December 21, here in the northern hemisphere, is the beginning of winter, when the sun is at its farthest southern point, making tonight the longest night of the year. Now, when cold and darkness abound, it is a time when we are invited to go within, to reflect and befriend our own darkness inside – the darkness of fear, loneliness, despair, not enough-ness, cold hearted-ness, and more. We are called upon to give all this darkness space and appreciation so that it may teach us whatever we need to learn – about our wounds, our capacities, and our resilience. In this way, we strengthen and prepare our souls to receive its own true light of love and wisdom. And, just as the light of each day now slowly slowly begins to increase, may we receive more and more love and wisdom from the light of others all around us.

In many cultures and traditions around the world, people gather to honor the winter solstice, and celebrate the coming of the light again. Helen and I invited friends over to our house on Sunday for an “almost-Solstice” party. In addition to good food, drink, and general merriment, we did a ritual of releasing whatever experiences, feelings, and attitudes from the past year that no longer serve us. Each of us wrote down of a paper whatever we wanted to let go of, then we went outside and cast those papers into a roaring bonfire. For me, it felt so good to just LET IT GO! Then we sang “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la.” img_2508

img_9723We also shared two blessing-poems. One was by Jan Richardson, called “Blessing for the Longest Night” Here is an excerpt:

All throughout these months
as the shadows have lengthened
this blessing has been gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for this night.

You will know the moment of its arriving
by the release of the breath you have held so long;
a losing of the clenching in your hands,
of the clutch around your heart;
a thinning of the darkness that had drawn itself around you. More