Winter Solstice is here and we approach the longest night of the year this eve, darkness seeping into our very bones. The cycles of nature are hardwired in us and speak to a time when our very lives depended on the movement of the seasons and animals and the eternal cycles of birth, death and rebirth as reflected in the natural world. Every single sunset and every single sunrise is a unique experience of magic that we can bear witness to if we choose to look. The Wheel of the Year is in essence a celebration of this, constantly evolving as seasons come and go, marking the passage of time and of our lives.
The darkest solstice night ends always with hope for those who survived her darkness and the bitter chill of the Wintertime. Our long night of the soul calls for nothing less than total release and unequivocal surrender to the path of our own life, even in the face of the promised land, its seductive distractions and the delusions we all too easily attach to them. This is ever the requisite test of our high magic. The reward for the courage it takes to truly let go (and it is never easy little loves) is the blessed surge of personal sovereignty, an uninhibited freedom in which all possibilities are back on the table. Yes, as if by magic. Having undone the ties that may have bound us to time in the dark woods and thrown them into the flames, the blindfold is also removed and clarity of vision returns unfettered.
In ancient times our ancestors celebrated this astronomical phenomenon with ritual. The MidWinter festival known by so many different names was the last celebration before the coldest months ahead. Gods and goddesses alike were petitioned for blessings, for protection through the deep dark Winter, for survival. Livestock were slaughtered and offerings were made as they feasted, dancing around huge bonfires. In Roman times this festival was Saturnalia, in Norse and Pagan mythology it is the Yuletide. This evening will will be doing the same in Wollombi, holding fast to the traditions of this sacred night.
In modern life, these observations can sometimes be overlooked and we keep unnatural time, trapped by an unrelenting schedule that dictates our lives yet can hamper our alignment with the world we live in. All too easily we become disconnected from the movement of the seasons, the tides, the celestial bodies. We become poorer for it as we struggle against the cold and the dark and the silent call of their body to slow and to rest.
Much like the dark moon, we are called to quiet reflection and can often feel the pull to retreat. Some find this experience of darkness a depressing phenomenon as the heave energy settles over them like a fog. Take your cue from nature, who knows without question that the sun always rises and spring returns ripe with promise and hope and new life. Use your Winter to incubate, to marinate in the shadows and listen to the secrets they whisper only to you. This too is a cauldron space, an opportunity to evaluate and let go, to wonder and to plan for what is to come. Once the wheel turns, we can begin to plant seeds that may take months to break through. This does not mean they do not live or they are not working towards their eventual bloom. Follow the tides of nature and drink in her patience and wisdom. Warm yourself by your hearth. Share time and love and feast with likeminded souls. Dream your path to come.
The mid year solstice is marked by the Cancer ingress, as the sun departs the lightning landscape of Gemini. When the sun moves into Cancer, our attention turns to home. While we are incubating our sweetest dreams for our life, we are drawn even deeper into hibernation. Cancer is the natural home of the moon and speaks to nurturing, mothering energy. This is the time to make sure that your home is a reflection of the self you are crafting, not the one you may leave smouldering in the ashes of the longest night’s bonfire. It is here that you will do your best work, host your nearest and dearest, rest and restore your good self.
Wrap your abode about you like a security blanket as the next turn of the wheel unfolds and the seeds you have planted are germinating beneath frozen ground. Leave the folly of doubt and your lack of faith to the fire to burn away. Give your well conserved energy to the nourishment and nurturing of your good self as you too begin your journey to the light. This is crucial work and there is no hurry. Take your sweet time. There are plenty of long nights still to come.
It is essential that we regularly tap in and reconnect to Mama Nature as she shifts, aligning the changes in our lives to hers. These tender turning points at each creak of the great wheel are our personification of the natural cycle: life, death and rebirth, grief at our loss tempered by new joys, something so precious sacrificed so an even greater good may be our gain.
The new page is blank and the last chapter is closed. It is time to start scribing the next. That which you have called in is hailing to you still. What it is you are seeking remains on the hunt for you too so do not discourage your focus. Plant it into this new life you now craft and let it be watered by the soft rain that falls from the night sky. This is the good work of a lifesmith. Marinate in stillness by Winter’s fire as your brave new world takes shape in the flames.
© Kerrie Basha, 2017