As the Sun Returns, So Too Do We Return from Darkness
by Gemini Star Child
The wind shrieks over the plain, unstopped by the leafless trees. Branches brittle and dry rattle uncomfortably and evergreens emit a low moaning. Ragged clouds scud across the sky, gray upon gray upon gray. Snow blankets the ground and its blowing crystals sting the face. Ice crusts the water, and fire lies secretly hidden in the spark of life entombed within the seeds.
Hoary cold grips my bones as I clutch my cloak closer about my shoulders. It is the time of Winter Solstice. How did I get here? What path has brought me to this place? At Mabon I passed through the door from the light time to the dark time of the year. I gathered and harvested, and feasted in plenty. Then I bade farewell to sunshine and summer’s gay dancing. Closed the windows, stacked the wood. Brought out the comforter and the sweaters.
Samhain’s night deep underground, I faced the veil between the worlds, and the veil was thin. So thin. So easy to slip through to the other side. I heard them, the dead, in circle with me. They spoke their truth, from a perspective beyond the scope of this world. They invited me to look from their perspective and to face my own truth from their eyes. In that space, what mattered the harvest just gathered? What mattered the material things accumulated? What mattered the friends and enemies, the burdens and benefits, the cares of the world above?
They invited me to choose on which side of the veil I would stand that night. I chose to stay on this side of the veil. I would need that harvest to sustain me. But to emerge from the underworld meant dumping the baggage with which I had entered it. For I realized I could not truly be open to renewal so long as I clung to the baggage of the past. It was not the baggage that was holding me back, it was the clinging.
So here I am on this bleak winter’s day. I am empty and therefore finally able to receive. I have brought nothing here to this Solstice. Like the fallow earth, I lay down and await the awakening of life. Patience. Silence. Darkness rushes in. I am transported into the void. The void is another dimension, beyond the veil of the living or the veil of the dead. And there in the nothingness, I find fullness. The stars twinkle from their nuclear fires. Nebulae sing in eternal choruses. Galaxies dance in swirls of delight. Comets and meteors dash on their courses. Huge gas clouds hang in radiant energy, giving birth to suns that will light the universe. The void is so empty its fullness overwhelms me.
Only by becoming myself totally empty could I be so richly filled. Like a bare twig I lay in the snow. I do not bring light into this place nor do I call for light to renew my hope. I have been to the void. I know the light is eternal and it will come when it comes. For now, I embrace the darkness and it is enough.
Well it was that I cast this circle as a barrier and a rampart against the other world. I look out at that world from my safe sanctuary here between the worlds. I see the mad frenzy of consumerism, consuming the very souls of those who pursue it. Materialism unrestrained, whipped into frantic urgency by commercial greed. The very opposite of the path I have just now trod. “Where are the hands there, open to receive the gifts of Winter Solstice? Where are the hearts there, open to receive the eternal light?” I turn away.
The night will pass, and so will winter. Candlemas is coming, when I shall dedicate myself anew to the Goddess. I shall appreciate that act of devotion and that festival of light all the more for having emptied myself, embraced the darkness, and travelled the void. For I choose not to be the casual bystander to my own fate; but to enter it, live it, be it, create it — and to emerge ever renewed. May the blessings of Winter Solstice carry you to new Life!