Winter Solstice the longest night
Today is Winter Solstice the longest night. Astronomically winter beings today. Today the ancients of old lit fires to ward off the the dark of night in preparation for the renewal of year with the returning light of the sun. Yet today we do not know the darkness. In a world of 24-hour light we’ve forgotten to nurture the darkness, to cultivate it. As modern humans we’ve forgotten what the world unlit looks like. We no longer sense or see the magic of the night. We’ve come to learn to fear what lies within the dark. Stop and think about this and watch the following time lapsed video from NASA and the International Space Station.
Darkness gives birth to light. Why do we fear what the darkness brings? Is it because we no longer can tolerate the stillness in our souls, the quiet peace that nature brings with her cycles. With constant light, we go, go, go. We no longer stop to hear the stillness within in nature, or ourselves. When was the last time you sat in the stillness within in you, without reaching for your phone, checking your computer, or changing the TV channel? When was the last time you were still, within the moment listening for the quite un-muted sound of nature in her glory?
Do you remember what a deep fresh snowfall sounds like? It muffles the sound of modern society, just as darkness does. Have you ever just laid in a fresh snowfall in darkness watching the stars? Nature will show you her secrets when you stop to watch and listen with your heart, body, and mind. Yet in and around our large cities we no longer have true darkness, only light attempting to ward off the night. For the city and suburban dwellers out there, have you ever seen the night sky so dark, the stars themselves dazzle in their magnificence? Stop and think about the last time you truly saw the night sky, then read this article from NASA on the fading Milky Way.
What are we missing by avoiding the darkness of the night? Are we missing the opportunity to renew ourselves, to let got of the past and embrace the future, to change our perspectives and open our minds to opportunity and growth? We may never know, for we have become greedy for the artificial light and eschew the renewal the darkness the solstice brings. We have turned away from the constant of the seasonal cycles, which have been with us since we first walked upright.
Today is the shortest day and longest night. Rejoice in the fact that tomorrow the sun begins its transit back to us as it has for millennia. Today is a time for contemplation, for renewal. It is your opportunity to close the door on the past, and embrace change. The peace of this holiday season lies within each of us, as long as we’re willing to stop, and see the world as nature nature intended. Take this day to reconnect with nature, your loved ones, but most of all yourself. Meditate, pray or commune with the Divine within you and around you, for it is everywhere and it is in everyone – we’ve just forgotten its there. I hope the darkness of this night brings new light to guide you on your journey for the next year.
I leave you with a poem my uncle Dick Bronson wrote for the 1999 Winter Solstice Celebration.
Brothers, Sisters, Singing
Brothers, sisters, singing
Gardens peaceful, forest wild
Celebrate the winter’s Child!
Now the time of glowing stars!
Joyful hands and joyful hearts!
Cheer the Yule, as it burns!
For once again the Sun returns!
Through the wind and dark of night
Celebrate the coming light
Suns glad rays, through fear… cold burns
Life, through death, the Wheel now turns
Gather round the Yule
Celebrate Life’s mystery
Brothers, sisters, singing