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Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice arrives on Monday, December 21, 2015. Most people recognize this date as the official first day of Winter. Others mark it as the return of the growing light, those longer days that makes Spring possible in only three short months.
But the Winter Solstice is more than the first day of winter and the promise of spring; it also offers us an invitation to cultivate deep contemplation regarding a whole new cycle of death, birth, fruition, decay, death, and rebirth. However you have marked this day in the past, may you find a meaningful, even ceremonial way of welcoming the Winter Solstice this season and the greater perspective it brings regarding the eternal round of life and death here on Planet Earth.
The Spark that Cannot be Extinguished
For those of us attuned to Earth and her seasonal rhythms, it is often on or around the Winter Solstice that we feel our greatest gratitude for the chiaroscuro patterns of darkness and light we experience on Earth. As we reach the nadir of light, peoples all over the world feel compelled to celebrate the rebirth of light in a variety of sacred ways. Numerous religious and secular festivals occur at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, because it is in our DNA to mark our total dependence upon the day/night pattern of life on Earth our Sun provides. It is at this time of year especially, as the days grow colder, that we need to know that all will be well again, that the shorter days will yield to the longer, that winter will do its healing work regarding all the losses we must suffer, and that Spring will come again, no matter the losses we endure. To mark the sacredness of our bond with Earth and Sun and the seasons they dance into being, our ceremonies honour the Winter Solstice as the rebirth of all possibility, all life. These ceremonies develop in us an eternal perspective so that our daily, often petty human concerns are part of a vast cosmos of change and sameness.
Participating in the Great Round
So, as we light our candles, we are honouring that spark that cannot be extinguished, that dot of light in the middle of the dark half of the Yin Yang symbol. Balance, our Sages have always told us, is at the heart of harmony and of wisdom both, and these are the qualities we feel called to exemplify. At the Winter Solstice, honouring the Sun as our Planet’s face is at its furthest point away from this vital source of light rekindles that spark of Hope for another Spring and Summer and Fall, a rekindling that has been practiced by human beings for millennia.
Human activities often reach a crescendo at this time of year. Our malls and parties and artificially lit homes make it easy for us to ignore or forget altogether Earth’s sacred relationship with the Sun, and our forgetfulness often leaves us feeling empty and forlorn. Honouring this miraculous relationship by setting aside time for quiet in which we light our candles and feel our own inner spark reignite is a vitally important act linking us not only to our ancestors, but to all those who will come after us. Doing so gives a deeper, broader meaning to our lives. Each moment of consciousness regarding the patterns of Light and Dark, Life and Death, strengthens our ability to see life not as “getting and spending” but as the beauty that comes from the eternal pattern of death, life, fruition, decay, death . . . and rebirth.
May we all accept the invitation to rekindle our personal Sacred Spark this Winter Solstice, and may we carry our Spark into all life’s dark corners wherever we may go.
Until next week
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-533-9277
Jane is a Learning Coach specializing in neutralizing cultural age, gender, and race constructs to support learners of every age. To engage her coaching services, please contact Jane by phone (802) 533-9277 or email, email@example.com. Be sure to put Coaching Query in the subject line.