The Solstice — Darkness and Light and Your Energy

bonfire solstice

A solstice fire warms the night…

The Solstice is a powerful time. In winter it spells a moving inward, while the Summer Solstice is expansive, reaching out and up.

Whichever Solstice you are experiencing today, the key ingredients are the same: Light and dark. Dark and light.

They are two sides of a coin, at once profound and as familiar as our everyday clothes. Light is always just on the other side of darkness, and darkness is always on the other side of light.

But what if you didn’t know that?

Thousands of years ago, before these rhythms were familiar, the experience of the days shortening and the light seeming to withdraw from the earth must have been terrifying. Would it come back?

Imagine what it would have felt like, having no idea that what you were experiencing was part of a cycle and that the sun and the light would return.  Those increasingly darker nights must have been confusing and frightening.

Cycles of Light and Darkness and Energy

Even now, many feel the effects of the longer nights and shortened days. You might feel depressed, lethargic, and generally being less productive and energetic.  It can be a challenging time of year, and it is no accident that so many festivals and celebrations are in play now.  For generations, they have helped people get through this time.  What helps you through?

Here are three things that I find useful and energizing to remember during dark times:

  • The light will return.  This is one phase of a cycle and you can count on its changing.
  • There are many things that the dark has to teach.  This can be a time of rich inwardness.  Embracing the dark brings you gifts untold.
  • Remember that there are lights you can ignite whenever you choose to.  Appreciate yourself with nurturing messages and see the glow that follows. It illuminates your path forward.

And now, as we round out the month of December here in the northern hemisphere, I am reminded that the light is returning even as I write this.  Yet, there are still dark nights ahead.

So, finding time to celebrate these perpetual contrasts and, right now, welcome the light we can create, is what this holiday time is about in northern climes, no matter what your specific tradition may be.

You can see this celebration of light in the Menorah, the lights on the Christmas Tree, the Winter Solstice bonfire, and the many other traditional evocations of brightness and warmth at this darkest time of year.

And remember, the darkness holds treasures, too

I leave you with this favorite poem, along with my best wishes for this winter holiday time. It’s called “To Know the Dark.”

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light,
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.

Wendell Berry

How is your energy affected by the dark and the light? How do you explore the dark and bring light into your life? I’d love to hear.

Let’s explore time together…

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