Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the return of the light. The eve of winter, the most sacred time of year. Making today the shortest, darkest day of the year.
This time of year when nature goes still… we are pushed into hustle and bustle. Yet, at the very same time our very being is craving a stillness, a settling down. The world swells and swirls in the “hurry and scurry.” It can be delightful, but at the same time all of this artificial lighting can rob us of the celebration of the dark and the awe of witnessing the birth of light.
Pre-Thomas Edison, there was a greater acceptance of the natural ways of winter when this time of year invited in a settling down. Tribes, communities, families gathered to stoke the fires and join in circles, to share a mug of mead, a story, a song, a bit of light in hopes of finding laughter, levity, and perhaps a ray of enlightenment in the darker hours of life.
The bitter winter winds call us into ourselves to find refuge, to hibernate and cultivate stillness, cuddle up and contemplate. These dark hours are optimal for dreamers to weave new imaginings and conceive new inspirations.
A few years back I visited the Hill of Tara in Newgrange, Ireland. This temple that pre-dates Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza was designed so that the morning sunrise on the Winter solstice would directly illuminate its interior- a beautiful symbol of how we might leave our hearts open this season and let in the light. These ancient cultures understood the sacred celebration of the birth of light.
The Jewish faith celebrates the gift of light, originally called “the Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah, with each lighting of the candles on the Menorah. Commemorates the mysterious appearance of eight days’ supply of oil when all they had was enough for a single day.
The Catholic faith welcomes the by lighting the four advent candles that sit in a wreath, symbolizing the eternal nature of God. Each candle representing hope, love, joy, and peace. Holding a space in our hearts for the birth of the infant Jesus who brought a new light into the world at Christmastime.
At this time of great darkness, we crave the light. And yet it is also an invitation to just be still and honor the darkness. Crawl into our caves and interior spaces, and cultivate a conversation a holy communion to inspire and ignite our own internal flame. To shed some light on what it is we are ready to conceptualize and deliver to the world. This conversation can only happen in stillness.
Today is the day for stillness so that we can wake to a greater knowing of ourSelves.
This is the perfect day the world whispers:
“Within you dwells a light that cannot fail.
Wake up. Awaken to your own Divine Spark.
Waken and rise and light the world on fire.
You are the sun, the sacred, the soul who knows it’s worth.
You are the song we’ve been waiting to hear.
And you will be given all the words and all the melodies if you but invest in a little stillness.”