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The Fertile Darkness of Winter Solstice

I love the potency of Winter Solstice. I love the deep calm of the dark nights and sluggish light of the day. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the UK where it would be dark by 4pm when I came out of school in the winter. So, sluggish daylight is familiar and cozy to this human.

But I also just love the spiritual purity of the dark. The reverence for the light of most major religions has always been a bit of a mystery to me and doesn’t touch and inspire me as I think it does other people.

I usually go to the Dances of Universal Peace each month and one year, during Summer Solstice all of the dances were about celebrating the light and the following Winter Solstice all the dances were are about celebrating the return of the light. I told the leader than I wanted to lead the next Summer Solstice and celebrate the return of the dark! I understand that the dark has negative connotations for people but for me it represents the warm, dark womb of gestation, or the vast universe in which galaxies are born, die, and re-constitute.

There needs to be a space in which form can emerge. A seed generally cannot sprout in the light but needs the rich nutrients of the dark compost. And the rich environment of compost cannot be created without a period of decay.

So, I love this time when the decay and rot of the Fall is pulled earthward and the mysteries of decay happen under a blanket of snow. Just like gestation, it happens outside of the human gaze and for the most part, outside of our intellectual understanding. When we are pregnant, we honor the prerogatives of life when we listen to the urge to rest, sleep, eat bananas, or avoid smells we find abhorrent. We don’t question why we need that afternoon nap or drive a different route to work to avoid exhaust fumes, we just do it. And, in honoring our body’s wisdom, we honor the pre-existing space in which life can emerge.

For me, Winter Solstice has the same beauty. It is a time when nothing appears to be happening on the surface. It is not about seeds rooting and sprouting.

It is about honoring the dictates of decay and death that creates a fecund void in which life can emerge. It is about listening to, and honoring, the call of the deep without needing to know why or what will result from it. It is the deepest form of trust – trust of our instincts with no other rudder. It is like that moment when you succumb to love regardless of the rational mind and conventional mores.

Winter Solstice 2020 is particularly potent because Jupiter and Saturn are moving into air signs for the first time in 200 years and the last time they met in an air sign was in 1405 at the beginning of the Renaissance. It is the first day of the Age of Aquarius that we’ve been singing about for so long. Talk about creating fertile soil!

This evening, I’ll be sitting around a fire with my loved ones. It will be a time to honor what has decayed and rotted away, for listening to the call of the wild, and affirming our commitment to honoring the dictates of the dance of life emerging through us and with us. What seeds and dreams we plant and sprout will come later.

For now, our role is to honor the source of all life, the context for the primordial – the Great Mystery.

With blessing of the dark,