In Oregon the Breitenbush river is a color of steel-teal that exists no other place on the earth and this must be partly because of the non-negotiable trees. It is easy to be grounded and feel at one in your place in a place like this. It is easy to revere the miracle of dirt: seasons of evergreen, of winter’s death and dying on into spring’s plenty and rebirth. Steps in the same dance. Willamette!! Land of gushing fat waters and springs, land of special color of trees. You taught me long ago the way of tree breath. Fog drip drop drinking, drinking in-out rhythm of water-air. How it feels when the trees give gifts of this. Subtle pine touch. The gentle sweetness of pine breath on skin.
The new moon was Monday. I was coming down from the Mountain which makes me laugh to write it but no for real, North of the Bay California on up to the Olympics, for me it’s one long extended two decades now of retreating then coming down off various mountains. Learning to speak bioregion. Unlocking the practical wisdom of the earth’s cyclic codes. So yea retreating and returning at once, had to catch me a plane back to the east coast.
The dark moon phase, that VOID CHAOS SPACE of deepest dark, was this past weekend.
So this past weekend, as the daylight grew shorter and shorter towards the peak of our year’s longest night tonight!!–the moon fell to her darkest phase, hidden from the totality of the sunlight. Sunday we experienced not the longest night of the year, but the darkest.
I was sitting with poetry in the Hot Springs on retreat with my brother Paul and Sita his dear love. They are Creative Advisory members of the Free School and they held space for me at their home in mountainside to dip in to that depth of deep sweet, yummy darkness, inky blackslide into mountainside stone, inky slide into infinite space oh those healing waters of surrounding mountain chains. Deep in, to do my own cleanse before winter~tonight~begins.
The dark, winter, death, the depths, dying. The dark, yin, passive, rest, renewal. The dark, anima. Realm of the Feminine. What some Catholics or mystics call Sophia. Gateway to the Soul.
Dark moon of the month on the dark moon tide of the year. And into tonight, the longest night. The entryway to Winter. We move now North on the medicine wheel. At sunset tonight we tend this passing, and it is movement that will show itself if you get outside, or take time to soften and relax inside of you, too. Transitory, transition. IN Between Space.
I just adore that winter is North on the wheel because that is associated with forward direction. And Winter’s element is Earth, and mama Earth at this time teaches us about dormancy. So the true direction, our next right step together? North? The needed ingredient for rebirth.
Let rest be our forward, healing direction.
Sacred Rest. Sacred Rest and internal, deep reordering, metabolic stillness the thick softness of slumber to help us reset.
Winter Solstice is a time connected to the Divine Mother. It is when we revere our matrilineal lines, and all our ancestresses. The holy power of birth as Solstice is too the celebration of the Return of the Sun and darkness decreasing! How only from the dark the light comes. How this darkness initiation gives way to life, how this wisdom teaches of life’s changes, we celebrate the many small deaths, the space this creates, the room for new growth, ever onward in a long cyclic dance. How the wisdom of the feminine is the wisdom of this fluidity, is the wisdom of the necessity of every aspect in the continuum.
Demetra George reminds of the many names of the dark aspect associated with the feminine, and it’s a meaningful meditation for the year. The world around, stories and cultural, sacred, and religious traditions root us to an archetypal realm full of depth for our exploration. The dark feminine “is called Kali in India, Hekate and Persephone in Greece, Lilith in the Near East, Fresh-kigal in Sumeria, Morgana in Britian, and Hel in Scandinavia. Moira, the Fates, the Fureis, Medusa, Medea, Crice, Nemesis, Nyx, the Gorgons, the Sirens, the Black Madonna, Cerrwiden, Nepyths, Black Isis, Oya, Coatlicue, Mother Holle, Baba Yuga, the Black Dakini, the Terrible Mother, the Bad Fairy and the Wicked Witch are some of her other names(p 29).”
Knowing my own dark feminine has meant courage. Courage at night when I can’t sleep, in morning meditation time during struggles and prayers to keep my heart in the game anyhow, courage keeping my tongue in relationships that are hard. Courage to challenge the self-thoughts of judgement and shame, the particular scrutiny of perfection addiction, that specific internalization of misogyny that only women can know.
My dark feminine knows what it’s like to live in a culture that says her stories are dark. Are the dark reflection of society. Are demon and dark, satanic or occult. Are not allowed to connect me to my unique narrative and exploration, sexuality and emotions, sensuality and biology. Are used against me to keep me out of my own body, to marginalize being in my own skin.
The Dark Feminine Narrative and Stories, if we reembody them, or encourage each other to tap in and rewrite them as our own, we know what it’s like to live in a culture that calls this sin.
Embracing this kinda darkness requires the grit that only living with this kind of darkness could create! We were made for these times. Sing it from the hills.
So I left the Mountain. Left too the Oregon Coast where I was celebrating the wise women. These spiritual, soulful elders that have shown me how to walk my walk a day at a time laughing and reveling, courageously cackling, all the way. These elder wise women. Time on the Mountain only counts when you embody it day to day. But to do that the body needs time. This Time on the Medicine Wheel leads us in to dropping in and relaxing. Celebrate. Drop in and transition. Drop in to bed! Let the reset happen. Man or woman, how does the feminine as sacred exist in your life?
I send my roots down to the Earth as the circle of the year turns us North and Winter here is barren and life lives underground. I root to my roots, send thanks and honor, prayers and love to the lineage of strong females whose lives and hands and hearts midwifed lives and hands and hearts that midwifed lives and hands and hearts all the way down to mine in a million different ways, that I do the same that I do the same that I do the same,
my dark feminine soaks in this infinite wish, and sends love~
To all beings blessings and love, in the light spiritedness and whole soulfulness, in the body, in the heart, of unconditional love may all beings be blessed and
Happy Winter to All.
~ ~ ~
prayers and love to beth and paul h and ana and amy and kristina and jotto all of whom hit me up in the center of this reverie with poetry, prayers and love and prayers and love reader, to you~
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
In the middle of the night we think daring thoughts, unless mind-dulled and fraught from darktime bedtime haunts we have learned to numb. It was past 1 am at the Tavern and this place is basement punkrunk as HB or Long Beach ever was or could hope to be. Randolph was on the drums and when it was over in the fifty degree December balm and mist of the wshhhhhhhing Atlantic sea I said to him, remember me? Yes, Kevin’s girl, that one summer, 6th street. He said I see you around all the time which speaks to time in this timeless beach town, where I haven’t lived since 2011.
Kevin of course is gone now, and Konan getting finally clean on his own beach in Florida on the phone with me in HB. Muller calling every day from prison north county LA. Ghosts ghosts ghosts that haunt. I could see the pier in the distance, or where the pier would light and speak throb neon and dance if it were summertime but from where tonight, dark, it is a prism of black in the blackest part of a night that bends in on itself and its desperate reaching towards day. Because opposite the light is the dark that we need, that we so need, for it’s necessary tempts draw us ceaselessly to the light. For the dark, without which we see nothing for there’d be nothing to see.
And that is Solstice. Sun far away in the southern sky, shadows dark and long, always attached to our feet. Never outrun, but dissipating, dissolving as delusion does with the light, with each and every day.
In the morning before Walsh came I sat on the floor of my old room and went through journals as far back as fourth grade. One opened onto my lap as if my soul sparked its life just for me. A paper fell out with handwritten benedictions from an old girlfriend, and the front of the moleskin were her well wishes. The last time I saw her she was taking the hand of the man I had just spent six years of my life with…They are married now with a child. I haven’t once back to that town…the farm where we lived potluck dinners with hippie friends, vegetable gardens tall as our heads, winters around woodstove fires, falls with guitar artists and pines, cornfield bonfires and late night river bath naked swims. A man that haunted me with my own voice because poltergeist art works like that. I sat on the floor of my old room and cried the hot cry that only comes with memories and smiles.
Solstice, this is Solstice, too. Greif, unnamed, the dense cleanse of our year. It happens, has happened this week to us, each and every one. Or are you so fraught you’re too numb?
Walsh drove us to Snow Hill to see the Runoff play. She has finally left Chestertown. An era passed. These boys from there, where I for so long have not been able to go. There is always a return, for the darkness, its job is to take us back. And so we dance, we dance in the dark, it is what life’s taught us to do. How I’ve danced…The one time, at Howards….the one time, at Ben’s farm…the one time, at Truslow, that once at Andy’s, that other time at Andy’s, all those times at Andy’s, or out at Sam’s, on Anngar, at the River, at the Prince….How well I know these men, these brothers of mine, Sam who a million different nights under the same roof we’ve slept, the meals fed the laughter shared, to know a place you know its trees, its limbs, its outlands and limits, the places you run to hide, mouth of spit from its sky of rain and rivers of wash that run in creeks and tides and streams…how I know you, home, how I know you boys, how I know me…
They played I Know You Rider second to last and how I danced. I thought of these three weeks back home, of my family, friends, my heart and soul, my mom and dad. Sure as I knew the muscles of my own two arms, my own feet, it all came back to me as it always does…Of ourselves we never really leave. All of who I am based on who I was, and based on this: all of who yet I am still to be.
And this, this is Solstice. The most itty spark, visible only, ever, in the darkest point of dark. That newborn, barely there seed.
Enter winter, welcome. Sacred wisdom, welcome. Blessings. Time of renewal, rejuvenation, in restful yearn towards what still, of course, is yet to come. What has come to past which grows us on. Towards what will certainly be.
There are one million different things to tell you about. My father’s camouflaged pajama pants, the pink-flush color my cousin Pat’s face turns when he is happy and his eyes are lit by music and alcohol. The cut of my cousin Collin’s jaw, a primary angle that only models and men in the second and third year of their twenties maintain.
There are others, countless. The softness of my grandmother’s skin. It is so tender it feels moist as the dew of a new day against the back of my hand. Branches bare against the wide, nude sky, how much this east coast nakedness winds my spirit so full that its toils of life become nothingness and spring backwards on itself, on the knowingness of life all over again. The back roads, between Erika’s house and Deb’s, where once I grew up, where a million leafless breaths whisper ghosts names and bare to life seeds that will bloom once more come spring.
Justin’s eyes glowed in the street steam of St. Michaels, plates of shucked Choptank oysters a dollar a pop flowing beyond the heaps of his two hands. Walsh danced at Cross Street for the first time, the Baltimore undercurrent alive in the cement, in the rain mist, in the thirty degrees coldness of our hands. My cousin Erin, my uncle Tim.
Eddie who gave me Emerson leather-bound, Erika who called having visited with him this morning, alive together, timeless, how Psyche speaks.
It is the full moon of December and what this means is a flash light, a round spotlight in to the darkest round dark of who you are. I was awake for near three hours last night, the Solstice–or longest night of the year–approaches this weekend. And I, first night of my personal moon last night, come to me as the moon herself reflects back the light of the sun.
At the darkest point of the year we humans reflect likewise, too: the darkest depths of our unconscious or psyche draw near. The moon illumines these parts for us right now. This is a time when anxiety and tensions, even without the hustle of the season, are up, are closest to our surface. A time when it is uncomfortable to be still.
There is great peace in this knowing. There is great medicine in surrender to this simple, natural, and cyclical fact.
Embrace your fears, embrace what tensions stir just below. All is as it should….
These are the truths of your soul, where you still are meant to grow. Let go of resistance and just be who and where you are at. Give thanks, be gentle with your self, rest, rest, rest. Give thanks, give thanks, burn candles and and remember your light, which shines ever on, deep within.