This Day, Winter Solstice
This day is Winter Solstice. It’s the longest period we have in the year’s cycle to be with the feminine. She is seen as the dark Yin, the dark Mother, the deep shadow of ourselves, the quiet and introspective dreamer. The feminine is creation: out of chaos comes creation, then order. This year, Her moon will be reflecting fully the masculine light of the sun which brings an interesting balance of light to be shed upon the depths our soul. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it?
The outer world reflects the inner world of a person. I reflect on the chaos that is growing in my bedroom and kitchen. The chaos of gratitude, really! The floor is covered in wrapping paper, gifts, half-written cards, fabric and the kitchen counters are chaotically covered in half decorated cookies and soup. It’s a smorgasbord of chaotic creative energy. The feminine is at work. Rightly so! I can be at peace with this feeling of “busy-ness” during the Holidays (Holy Days) because the dark feminine is being expressed in my outer world. It’s my chaos, my creative juice, my creations that give me such joy, each year in fact, at this very same time!
I visited a small Catholic Church in Tepoztlán, Mexico, on December 12th. It was darker then, the time when the moon just completed its waning phase. I lit a candle for the Virgin de Guadalupe, the great Mother of Mexico, and the great Mother of the World. That was the beginning of chaos rising in me; chaos and the feminine are kin to each other. The Mexican people, so lovely in their devotion to her, holding their lit candles, singing all day and night, pilgrimaging to the ancient grounds of Her beginning as the ancient Nahuatl goddess, Cuatleque. Ten million people visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City on this day. They ride the moving sidewalk to quickly pass Her image as it was portrayed on the day of her discovery by an old farmer named Juan Diego in 1531. They pay homage to the blessed Virgin, the Holy Mother, the Great Feminine of the Dark, the bringer of Creation and Chaos, as the Indigenous have since the beginning of time.
This started it all for me, the Virgin’s Blessed Day, the frantic need to give those I love something to show my gratitude for their lives, for life itself arose in me on that night. So, last night I sat at dinner with guests unable to keep my mind on the conversation; someone asked me, “What’s going on with you?” And I just simply retorted, “I’m distracted.” Distracted because my daughter’s gift isn’t ready, tonight’s the Solstice ritual and celebration, a bonfire and light, light, light needs to be hung for the return of the sun; guests are coming, chicken soup needs to be made and luminaries are to be put all around the eventually decorated fire pavilion. I usually don’t write about these details, what goes into getting ready for a community event launch or, better yet, “get grounded”, but, here it is...Chaos! Creation! The Goddess! The Feminine doing her last minute work!
With a breath or two I take advantage of this deep long night to delve into the darkest corners of this soul, to reach in and pull out an introspective longing that might be used to inform my days ahead. And, with a breath or two, I discover that in the chaos is a certain beauty found no other time of year. The running around to find little special gifts, baking Solstice cookies that take an extraordinary amount of work to elaborately decorate, entertaining people I love who come to visit and enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of hot cocoa, is all part of Her, the Great Goddess who resides in the depths of our souls. There’s an excitement that the light, Father Sun, our cultural Savior Jesus Christ, returns to bring us life (for without sun there is no life) and for without darkness there is no fertility. The masculine shows up in the chaos of creation to create a little bit of order out of the whole shebang!
Gift giving and sending holiday cards is an act of love that keeps life going! I don’t have to do this, but I have to do it! It’s how I honor the dark feminine depths within and its the gift back to the Sun as it rises once again in the morning. That awesome gift of life that we so tentatively wait for, pray for and sacrifice for, for life to return again, year after year after year.
The Huichol people pray to Father Sun every morning at dawn, as do many people of many cultures. Because life is so precious. When darkness overtakes the day, extra prayers and ceremony are necessary to insure his return. Pagan, yes. But real! Tonight we will do the same.
Return of the Sun is also Return of the Son, our baby Jesus, Christ born of Bethlehem. He’s not missing from this ritual. To me, he’s one and the same. Blasphemy, I’m sure to some, but inclusive and whole and real and completely natural to me. This Son brings heart, compassion, life and forgiveness smiting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Turn the other cheek” and the Immaculate Heart is the true Christ energy. More of that, please. Return of the Son and Sun Father means that the light shines down brightly on our deeds. How do we live a good life? Time in mother’s womb, the darkness night of the year can reveal the answers to that question.
Let’s consider what we value on this longest night of the year. Let’s consider what makes a good life, a life worth living, and bring that out of the darkness and into the new day of the rising sun/son, the guide of our actions. This may sound a little preachy but as a Mara ákame I know that the natural world is an expression of the inner world we live with. To be in tune with this, is to be living a real, integral and very practical life from heart.