“Lucy light, Lucy light, the shortest day and the longest night”
– anonymous saying that celebrates St Lucia’s day, which coincided with the Winter Solstice under the old Julian calendar.
In the Northern Hemisphere we are approaching the Winter Solstice. This is the one day in the year where daylight is experienced for the shortest time. There is also the longest period of darkness within 24 hours.
In the twenty-first century, we live in a time where in the West, many of us are far removed from the cyclical nature of hunting, sowing, and gathering, and less aware of the need to observe those rituals which ensure our survival. Since it is possible to procure produce from all over the world via modern forms of transport, we may even take for granted that we will be provided for by some means even if our own crops fail. It is likely many of us do not experience the fear of starvation that our ancestors endured nor ritualistically offer up gratitude for the crops in the way that they did.
With the invention of electric lighting and all of the activities and planning that this season has to offer, it may even be possible to allow this particular turning of the wheel to go unmarked.
What does the process of observing the Winter Solstice have to offer us?
Mid-Winter is a time of deep freeze – or standstill.
Whilst everything is alive, nothing is growing. This is a time of retreat. A time of hibernation. Of withdrawing from creativity and focusing on rest, renewal, replenishment, and restoration.
In the coming weeks, there will be a time to reflect upon our growth in the year that we are leaving behind and give our attention to what we want to take forward into the new one – but this is not it.
There is a precise point in time where the light is neither receding nor returning. A moment of absolute quiescence. In this moment, there is infinite potential. When we observe the stillness of the frozen Earth at this point of standstill we are in a state of pure presence.
This gives us the opportunity to come into the right relationship with the Self. We neither project forwards into the future nor backwards into the past – we are simply present in the now – and that is where all the power lies.
At this very fertile point, before we begin celebrating and welcoming the return of the light, we can quietly appreciate the fertile darkness.
Darkness is a blessing. Without it there is no growth. The Shadow is the hiding place for those parts of us which we have hidden, banished, or become divorced from and if we become conscious just before the light begins to return, we can choose to take those parts with us into that light to be celebrated once again.
Set aside some time around Thursday 21st December for reflection.
Set the intention to celebrate the returning of the light in the hours/days to come. Think about developing your own Solstice ritual. You can consider sitting in quiet reflection or meditation, lighting candles or incense, setting a fire, practicing journaling, setting intentions and offering up gratitude.
Before you begin your Solstice ritual, however, take a moment to honour the Darkness.
Which aspects of Self have you been hiding or avoiding in order to fit in and be acceptable?
Which of your wants needs have you pushed away or ignored because they lacked humility or did not fit the expectations of the world around you?
Where are those forgotten and neglected parts of you that you would rather not see reflected in others?
Make an agreement to allow the returning light to shine on the whole of you – not just the comfortable and the acceptable – so that you can appreciate your own magnificent wholeness without abridgement.
When you welcome back the light – welcome your whole Self in it with acceptance and positive regard!
THE LIGHT WITHIN US SALUTES THE LIGHT WITHIN YOU!
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