I’ve had mixed feelings about Winter Solstice.
It’s cold and dark and my body is not a fan of either. I’m usually running around, trying to get all of the things done before traveling to see family.
And it’s also the time of year when I’d be getting ready for the annual Yule ritual with Starhawk. Sometimes I’d have a role, sometimes not. But the spiral dance is the moment when I’d remember not everything is dark and cold.
I would look into so many shining eyes and remember that light is returning in the northern hemisphere.
But this year is different.
Light is Returning on Winter Solstice
A lot of my work in 2020 has focused on cycles. Cycles of beginning and ending, and sometimes just the work of turning around and around without stopping. And there’s also been sharp stops in the middle of a cycle. Feeling dizzy after so much movement and then none.
Emotional vertigo is real. Spiritual syncope. Loneliness in moments I never thought to prepare for: a real worry that the parts of life I love might not return for a long time.
The song we would often sing during the Winter Solstice spiral arrives in my mind. And it cycles over and over again. Sometimes the whole song, sometimes only part.
LIGHT IS RETURNING
© Charlie Murphy
Light is returning,
Even though this is the darkest hour:
No one can hold back the dawn.
Let’s keep it burning,
Let’s keep the light of hope alive:
Make safe our journey through the storm.
One planet is turning,
Circles on her path around the sun:
Earth Mother is calling her children home.
My body remembers hands and singing until my throat was so dry it cracked again and again. And I would laugh and someone else would laugh. And the song of hope would burn in my veins.
Even Though This is the Darkest Hour
In such a hard year on so many levels, I can feel the dawn coming. It’s sitting on the horizon with promises of something better. Something safer. I can taste it on these dry, thirsty lips.
What is coming will not be perfect. I have already seen the cracks. I have already felt the hesitation to get TOO hopeful. But I bend in that direction anyway. I bend toward the possibility that the dawn will return.
And with it will come the promise of never taking anything for granted again.
I have learned that again and again. I have learned that I assumed I would always have what I had. That I would know consistency and safety. That I would be able to handle everything because I had faced it before.
I never imagined this. I never prepared.
But as the year closes, I know I can face anything. Even in the hours when I thought I could not handle it (and did not want to handle it), I did. The cycle continued. The dawn came.
I kept going.
This Winter Solstice is more visceral. It is not an idea of coming light, but a push into whatever happens next. The colors in the skies may be beautiful, and still I don’t know what they will brighten into clear view.
But the dawn is coming. It is already on its way.
And my hope burns from within, it relies on no one else and nothing else, not even the change of the calendar.
It was always here, the deep glow, the internal resolve.
The match that moves swiftly across the rough year.
And lights the way home.