Today’s New Moon, around 5:30pm in California, marks the end/start of a new cycle. In addition, this evening the sun reaches its furthest point from the earth’s Northern hemisphere, granting the shortest amount of daylight, the longest amount of darkness, and our entry in to winter. We know this as the Winter Solstice.
On the mystery path, we recognize Nature and inner nature as intrinsically connected. Inner nature I refer to here as soul. Outside, excess harvest has gone to rot, the rot turned under will cook and turn to nutrients and rich soil. Life energy wanes, appears still, happens mostly underground.
When the moon is dark, as in the past two days, deep tending of personal darkness happens naturally, rhythmically…Of course as we are human we resist this though! Which lends even more to that holiday feeling of restlessness and exhaust. Seek surrender, embodiment of emotions, of our up down waxes and wanes, soften unto you. With the apex of Night this evening, understand that we have walked hand in hand with our shadows, burrowed deep in the mire of our individual and collective unconscious, all week.
Last night was, literally, the Dark Night of the Soul.
Harried bones and souls seek solace right now, a soul-tired significant of the Sun’s long journey to the furthest axis of sky. Depending on your personal circadian cycle, maybe you do best in the dark! For some this becomes the most creative time of year. For others life energy wanes and increased rest is important. No matter what, the decrease of light has its effects.
Traditionally the Solstice was a time for the women to gather and ceremoniously mark the losses they experienced for the year. As the soul wanes, this is a traditional and normal aspect of the dark phase–acknowledgment of the areas where your inner self or soul is colored by its capacity to grow and integrate more wholly specifically because it has experienced pain. With loss comes the embodied experience of forgiveness, strength, compassion, hope. Ritual bathing, quiet honoring of the journey of this year and your own personal darkness, honoring of the power of death and dark as part of the sacred journey are all intrinsic to the Solstice. On the wisdom path we practice this dropping in and tending with every monthly aspect of the dark moon.
Take heart! Life is a continuum, a long spiral. The Winter Solstice, just as the moon in her new phase, marks the return of the light! Tonight we honor Hope, the return of life. In her darkest phase (the past two days) when life energy and light disappear, it is out of this momentum that the new spark of consciousness stirs. This most precious spark must be nurtured, held warm in hibernation now through the toil of the season of dark. Doing so is how the momentum for life will grow strong. Rest, tend quiet in an active way. The beingness of doing nothing, of activeness of waiting, yearning, and tending. The active embodiment of Hope.
My own embodiment of this path brought me in relation to a personal and ancestral archetype this year. Tending her has been difficult, painful, and deeply wholesome. She has helped me nurture Eros by bringing me to face my most fundamental wounds. This has helped me, most importantly, to understand that I judge and resist my own injured parts, and it is the judging and resistance that makes me most human. As always, wisdom begins here, with deep love, and gentle, unconditional acceptance for these hard, rigid judgy parts inside my own mind and heart. Unconditional love and acceptance for my own broken humanness. Right relations begin within.
To be in a harmonious way with these most shadowed, or disembodied parts of me that I seek to hate or judge, I made the top shelf of my alter an homage to my Ancestresses this week. These women, my grandmother on the side of my most familial wound specifically, became the living spirit of the dark goddess. Grammy is gone from this life, and in death I can recognize in an embodied way the wisdom of loss and how we grow and learn in perspective to this. This sort of dark tending makes the women’s work come alive for me in an incredibly sacred and day to day way.
Tending the sacred with personal sacraments like these extend into my daily life and all my relationships. This is what I mean by embodying and right relations.
Sleep now the dream of winter, hibernate as souls stir underground, in the void, and grow strong in their own essence by being held amid the winter still. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Love, accept, gentleness.
Rest well, honoring the rhythms of birth and growth and life and death and rest, until rebirth. Happy Solstice! Happy Sacred Return.
Valkyrie, at my alter. Norse Death Goddess; image by Susan Seddon Boulet