Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Winter Solstice

Serpent Mound illuminated through the efforts of the Friends of Serpent Mound

This has been a strange year, a year in which chaos and shadow and tragedy has been rising, as well as extraordinary bravery and new clarity.  A year of tremendous contrasts, and I think many of us are frightened now, and unsure of what to do.  Lately I have been feeling the need to make circles, to bring forth the "light" wherever it can be found, including inside me, that is inclusive, that reminds me of how sacred the world is, and how we, as human beings among so many incredible beings on our Mother Earth are all a part of each other.  And the Solstice is a Circle as well.

When language was young, when even the gods and goddesses had not yet entirely taken human form but still ran with the deer in the forest, or flew with the wings of crows, or were glimpsed the depths of a numinous pool, when World was still a conversation, and poems were spoken by both bards and by trees,  and our unimaginable ancestors danced and kept watch  through the long, cold, dark night....... even then, long before the writing of words, but perhaps not before the telling of tales,  this was a (w)holy day. 

The Sun was returning to the dark and sleeping world, bringing life-giving light and warmth.

Before ever there were Christmas lights, or candles, or even torches burning olive oil, fires were lit to welcome the Shining One returning from the depths of the underworld.  Stones aligned with the  Sun's journey made a pathway, and food and drink and gifts were given to the young god, just born,  to give him  strength for the new year and his long bright journey across the skylands. 

Perhaps  they  danced through the long cold night, and when they lit bonfires, they did so reverently and with love, knowing that they were  helping him on his way, keeping vigil for him.  Before ever he was called the Christ, or Osiris, or Lugh, he had other names, names lost to history that still whisper and sound sometimes sing again among the stones and circles of another time.   

 Planet Earth turns her face toward the glory of her star again,  She circles round, just as we do,  and we turn with her, every  creature held  within her fragile, azure skin.   May the Light bless you, and Shine in your life.

Winter Solstice, Willits Community (2012) Photo courtesy JJ Idarius & Ann Waters
  Happy Solstice!

I pledge allegiance
to the soil of Turtle Island,
and to the beings
who thereon dwell
one ecosystem in diversity
under the sun
With joyful
interpenetration for all.

Gary Snyder

Winter Solstice, Willits Community (2012) Photo courtesy JJ Idarius & Ann Waters

"To go in the dark with a light
is to know the light. 
To know the dark, go dark.
 Go without sight, and find
 that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
 and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings."

Wendell Berry

The sun shines along the passage floor into the inner chamber at Newgrange during the  Winter Solstice today. The passage tomb in Co. Meath was built over 5,000 years ago. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.
Winter Solstice inside Newgrange

When your eyes are tired
the world is  tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes to recognize its own.

There you can be sure you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb tonight.
The night will give you a horizon further than you can see.

You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness
and the sweet confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

David Whyte

Photo by NASA


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...
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Dana Lundin said...
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Unknown said...

This made a lot of difference for me today. I am so glad to see this posting, with its Rich poetry and thoughtfulness and of course the photos. I visit Newgrange One Summer so it was neat to see this photo tonight.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...