Reflecting on winter solstice, a prayer of sorts, with notes

Let this solstice resonate inside of you. See what will pass away, what dry piles of brush will be cleared, and in a few weeks, what green will poke up through the black earth after you’ve accepted some death in your life. Let this short, dark day, and those few that surround it be a space for reflection and quiet, where the mystery and wonder of life can make a home in you, without our forcing or naming or calling forth just yet. The tendrils of fresh unknown will make friends with you and cultivate divine forests of wisdom and joy if you let them be, if you let them have their own space for creation and naming inside of you.

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Though our calendar’s new year begins on January 1st, tomorrow the days begin to expand again. The Earth turns a corner so to speak and though it is only minutes at first, how vital those minutes feel! How full of potential and everything that can grow and thrive do those few minutes feel. Here is grace, here is the birth and the dawning of all the incredible things we have to be grateful for. Here is my new year. Each day that lies before us now is a seed that will root, push a nubile green sprout from the earth, revel in sunlight, grow, and then feed what comes next. What a rich wealth of days we have before us!

The days before solstice are a dead zone so to speak. They are the time between death and birth when all things are possible, when the form has not yet emerged from darkness, and when seeds of intention can be planted. Tonight, before I go to sleep I will not only make a list of intentions for the new moon a few days past, but for this year.

The solstice is a moment in our calendar not created by humans for religious or political purposes. These two days remind us of the cyclical nature of our relationship with the sun, and for some modern people reminds them that we have relationship with the sun at all. Starting today there is a great opening as our days get longer and longer by minutes and hours, like a person arching their back in an articulated yawn. It is followed by a great closing, like the planet taking a deep breath and letting it out, and all gets still and quiet before the next opening breath is taken. The seasons we experience, the effulgent green of summer, the warm drying richness of fall, the exuberant rushing hunger of spring, the quiet, inward, peaceful passing of winter. We reach out, we pull in, we grow, we recede, we take, make, create, we give back. We love, we die, we strive, we fail.

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Today I rose to the quiet pitter of rain on the roof of a cabin in Mendocino, showered, ate, shared coffee with other travelers in the old red farm house, gardened and pulled weeds for an hour or two and then got on the road, back through wine country to the other part of my life. But as I drove I thought about why solstice feels special to me this year. I always celebrate or at least take note of solstice, often with a sweat-lodge ceremony in San Diego up to a week and a half later, yet in the spirit of that day. But in the darkness that accompanies the solstice I know that I am all too ready this year for the new beginnings. I am ready for the slow days of becoming, of change, and of righteous toil! Yes! Then I am ready for all of the energy that comes with the sun. I am so energized by long days, so productive, so full of power and life that my indomitable spirit takes me aback sometimes, but this year I am ready for it. I have no shortage of passion or projects and I am ready to plant and sow. I’m ready!

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