I’m really ready for Solstice this year. I’m ready for the darkness to be broken open by the light, I’m ready for the promise of life. I’m ripe for change.
Some of my mood has to do with the facts of living in the country: so many projects to get done on the land, less and less daylight to do them in. That also means more indoor time with a four year old climbing the walls. Its harder to drag myself outside to dance barefoot on the land with frost on the ground. At a time when I’m most called inward, creative alone time is almost impossible to find.
Tom Cowan, a visionary teacher combining core shamanism with Celtic traditions, is fond of reminding his students to reflect upon ancient traditions within the context of the lives that gave birth to them. The coming of Solstice was a time when my ancestors knew what members of their community (livestock as well as people) would likely survive the rest of winter. The coming of Solstice meant you were half way in the journey away from death to the place of new life.
Sitting up in the dark last night I realized I’m no longer afraid of letting myself go into the dark. I think being a parent can give you that kind of fearlessness. You know that all of who you are may not survive, but the really important parts, the parts that have to get up and care for you little ones will probably make it. Besides, every parent knows that fear of the dark eventually has to be overcome.
Once I relaxed, the wisdom of this darkness came quickly. Its so easy to think, as a parent, that we’re not doing anything special with our lives. Despite the fact that we’re raising the next generation, we’re also engaged in the most time honored spiritual endurance journey known to humankind. Showing up always results in growth that is truly transformative.
This time can remind us modern folk to give death, darkness, and the dead, their due. A homesteading blogger recently pointed out that in the old days, chickens foraged left over feed from other livestock or the nearby woods. Many were not expected to survive the winter, flocks would have to be big enough in the Fall so that losing half the population to cold and starvation wouldn’t mean an end to meat or eggs.
Like those flocks we were made to be hewn. We must be abundant enough with ourselves to guarantee there’s something left when spring finally finds us. When we dance, we really have to dance! Besides, we are not so fragile as we might think. We were all made to shine, lets remember that as darkness loosens its grip on the world.
Sunrise in finland 2006 by by Bristlebot
From Flickr, used under
a Creative Commons license