Blessings to all my wonderful friends,
This letter brings my heartfelt wishes for a truly joyous holiday season and an abundant New Year. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the time of the longest night: December 21st (it is, of course, the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere). The Winter Solstice is universally honored with lights the world over. People burned oil lamps, candles and bonfires, and now, electric light bulbs are strung around our homes. My mother used to tell me as a child that these lights reassured us that longer days would be coming.
The sky watchers of ancient times who were keepers of the calendar noted that the Solstices and Equinoxes represented significant shifts in the Earth’s energy. In all cultures these celestial phenomena were celebrated in some way. For the Winter Solstice, creating light with bonfires, torches or candles was a way to feel reassured in a time where there was so much darkness. People knew that winter would be hard and so they found this way to feel hope in the period of dark.
Many Native American cultures hibernated during the harshest winter months—sleeping most of the time cocooned in blankets, or when awake, they carved wood and ivory images, keeping warm with fire and food while telling each other stories and sharing their dreams. Perhaps the greatest wisdom was gained through this time of turning within.
In our culture, there is so much emphasis on the light that we have gotten away from understanding the balance of opposites and often we fear the dark. However, the wise elders found darkness to be simply the other side of light. As my personal work has gone deeper, I have been more willing to explore the great wisdom inherent in this truth. Consider the following aspects of darkness: the image of Yin with its center of white within the black, the shadow side of our psyche, the release of our consciousness into dreaming, and the immanent creative power of the void.
Please take some time for your selves to go within, especially after all the guests are gone and the holiday is over. Many of us feel a kind of let down, even a bit of depression, not only because ‘the party’s over’ but also because of the long hours with less sun. But you will find powerful insight, creative images and new vision when you close your eyes and enter the darkness to honor the wisdom you find there.
May you find peace, love and joy in your hearts.