Our 12.21 Solstice Gathering was wonder-full. The longest night is now past, but can we embrace and bless the darkness? And let it bless us? As Rumi said, “Both light and shadow are the dance of Love.”
In our ceremony, I excerpted from Rumi’s “Shadow and Light Source Both:"
How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water? Don't try to
put out fire by throwing on more fire! Don't
wash a wound with blood. No matter how fast
you run, your shadow keeps up.
But that shadow has been serving you.
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
You must have shadow and light source both.
The line “Darkness is your candle” struck me so powerfully. What if darkness we have been too scared to face is the very thing that leads us to the light? Darkness is our candle.
I also read the classic “To Know the Dark” by Wendell Berry
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
In my search for Solstice readings, I found this poem that I love, love, love.
"In Celebration of the Winter Solstice"
by Stephanie Noble
Do not be afraid of the darkness.Dark is the rich fertile earththat cradles the seed, nourishing growth.Dark is the soft night that cradles us to rest.Only in darknesscan stars shine across the vastness of space.Only in darknessis the moon's dance so clear.There is mystery woven in the dark quiet hours.There is magic in the darkness.
Do not be afraid.We are born of this magic.
It fills our dreamsthat root, unravel and reweave themselvesin the shelter of the deep dark night.The dark has its own hue,its own resonance, its own breath.It fills our soul,not with despair, but with promise.Dark is the gestation of our deep and knowing self.Dark is the cave where we rest and renew our soul.We are born of the darkness,and each night we returnto the deep moist womb of our beginnings.
Do not be afraid of the darkness,for in the depth of that very darknesscomes a first glimpse of our own light,the pure inner light of love and knowing.As it glows and grows, the darkness recedes.As we shed our light, we shed our fear,and revel in the wonder of all that is revealed.
A time of richness.
A time of joy.
We had a magical night, celebrating darkness and light. Most solstice ceremonies include a release ritual. I love me a good burning bowl/fire circle, but I wanted to do something different. Hello, Flash Paper! Whoosh! Super fun.
An evening of meditation (and Spritz cookies, Glogg, and egg nog), along with a memorable release ritual ... how does it get any better than this? As we welcome back the light, here’s one more from Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet and mystic, whose works have remained timeless:
The Light streams towards you from all things,All people, all possible permutations of good, evil, thought, passion.The lamps are different,but the Light is the same.One matter, one energy, one Light, one Light-mind,Endlessly emanating all things.One turning and burning diamond,One, one, one.Ground yourself, strip yourself down,To blind loving silence.Stay there, until you seeYou are gazing at the LightWith its own ageless eyes.
Our lamps are different, but the Light is the same.
Peace and blessings on us all, now and always,
The light you seek is in your own lantern.