19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Seventeen

Waking Up

Breathe deeply. The time is almost here. We stayed out in the sun’s full light and knew that the days would shorten and the time for quiet and rest would be ticking down to the day that soon will be.

We’ve waited through the first harvest, as wheat and grain were cut and the grain lord nourished and filed our bellies. We’ve waited through the second harvest and the last of the root and sacrifice of the animal gave promise that we would survive the increasing darkness ahead.

We called to the ancestors and stood at death’s gate seeking the way and offering up plates of food and drink to those beloveds long past. The veils parted and their gossamer form billowed out in the chill of purposeful winds. And, the cry of the banshee cut sharp and strong like shards of ice.

We settled in deeply to hearth and friends and family. Each providing a warmth of their own and each demanding its own space of sacrifice and offering. We turned within, contemplative and reflecting on a light that we sought as external source. And, still the darkness came, minute by minute, day by day.

Soon we will stand in the night, long and cold hoping for light that will grow minute by minute, day by day. Soon we will wake up and the morning’s sun will illuminate the darkness and the gift of the Solstice will fill our hearts…

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness-Day Sixteen


Today’s Post is an offering of astrology and seeking the gifts of the New Moon as we approach the Solstice. Click here for the post…

The Dawn Rises on Middle Ground

Enjoy!

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness-Day Fifteen

Just Breathe…

The Light Within the Shadow-Part Three

Read Part One here..
Read Part Two here..

Now, is an excellent time to begin a practice of meditation and reflection. Meditation can take many forms, not just the traditional pattern of sitting quietly in contemplation. Any time we spend in reflecting on our inner nature can become an act of meditation. Be sure to breathe deeply into these moments….

In meditation, I allow my breath to slow and deepen into the darkness and move along the paths of my own creation that I have tended to in the previous months in preparation for this time of going within. These paths are often mired with the thorns and treacherous roots of inertness, illusory thoughts and judgments that I have used as the trappings of who I am in the world. My Shadow has nurtured each and knows the weakness and strength of each because in this space of darkness what is revealed is often seen more clearly in its true form than in the blinding light. When I finally relax and surrender into the wisdom of my Shadow the first striking of the match of greater light is drawn across the rough surface of my resistance, and the resistance is transformed into the tiny sparks that ignite the part of myself that is receptive and waiting.

In accord with the energy of the Solstice, I allow the weakening resistance of my Holly King to be replaced with a renewed sense of purpose and the strength of my Oak King. My Shadow self is resistant to being brought forward, knowing that bits of it will be released in sacrifice and other parts will be transformed so that its darker nature can work co-creatively with the strength of my light self. I call to the Oak King that he may bless and enliven both aspects of myself as we move forward into the new year in anticipation of what can be seeded at the Spring Equinox; and accepting the knowledge that his wisdom will be transformed as the Shadow begins to strengthen its work at the Summer Solstice and the rising once again of the Holly King.

At those points when the darkness seems pervasive and overwhelming and the light is barely visible I am reminded that without the necessary shade to prevent the seedling from drying and withering from an overabundance of the light’s unfiltered rays, the beauty of new growth and radiant and healthy flower will not come to fruition.

May the blessings of the growing Light and the wisdom of the Dark create the quickened space for a prosperous, enlightened and informed Yuletide season.

Breathing Into the Shadow…

During the day…

1. Spend sometime outside today;
2. Focus on the light of the day and how this energy fills you;
3. Close your eyes, now and focus on the darkend light behind closed lids;
4. Make note of how this light remains brilliant and bright in the day, despite your closed  lids and the appearance of shadow cloaking it. 

This is the light that remains within you shining brightly, despite the cloaked shadow you provide to it. Take several deep breaths, each deepening your experience of the past few days. Breathe deeper still and relax into the power of who you truly are… 

Tomorrow’s Post: The New Moon of Sagittarius and Solstice Arrows

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness-Day Fourteen

Image: Val Trulinger

The Light in the Shadow-Part Two

The Battle Begins

Read Part One here…

The time of the Solstices allows for a deeper awareness and exploration of what impact we have in this world and how we may use the information we learn about ourselves to move in appropriate and fulfilling ways. It is the time of disequilibrium to bring about the eventual balance that is actualized at the Equinoxes. Neither of these energies are about everything being measured and being exactly the same amount of something on each pan of the scale. Rather, they are the states of balance that are dynamic in nature, moving and flowing one to the other and arriving at an informed state of equilibrium at some point of the process. It is again about the process of polarities and the allowance of a void or lesser amount of one thing, so that it may be filled and quickened by its opposite. There is also the component of sacrifice within these thoughts in that we must willingly acknowledge that something must be given up to make room for that which would be drawn in.

This is the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings, as each gives way to the other and also resists the relinquishing to the other of its power. One holds the promise of the growing Light and the other the refuge of the increasing Darkness. And, although they are one in the same, in order that the cycles may continue and a newly formed energy can be birthed into being, one must relinquish a parcel of its power to be subsumed into the other; temporary imbalance as brothers become enemies and in the final act, become allies in the process of transformation. The Light of the Oak King birthed from the darkening and lessening of the Holly King.

We call forth to the return of the Light-filled Oak King and celebrate the waxing of the Light half of the year. But, in order for that light to shine in its fullest way, we must also embrace and celebrate the remaining vestiges of the darkness of the Holly King. The darkness of the months that persist of winter’s cold. The darkness that becomes the expanding shadow as the sun shines increasingly longer and brighter around us. And, the darkness that we can retreat into to find those hidden sparks that yearn to be nurtured and brought to the full light of day.

As the weather remains or becomes even colder, the natural inclination is to seek out the warmth and coziness of home. And, so I retreat into the welcoming warmth of my home and settle in ready to study, meditate and reveal more of myself to myself. I embrace the early evening darkness as a cloak that I step into so I can more fully appreciate the sun’s light of day. I move within both physically, settling into home and family and spiritually as I dig deeper into the recesses of my own nature. I seek out and call to the inner spark within and stand ready to embrace also the Shadow of my nature as it rises to the surface, revealed by that light.

More contemplative work and the afterglow of the Holly and Oak…

Sitting quietly, think on these questions…

1. How will you charge ahead in the battle for light?
2. What piece of yourself will you claim as victory?
3. What have you allowed to be slain on the field?
4. Where is your place of retreat and solitude that provides a respite from your battles?

Review the story of the Oak and Holly Kings here..
19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Three

Tomorrow we will just breathe into the darkness as we light the way…

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness-Day Thirteen

Image: Ellen Vaman

The Light Within the Shadow of the Solstice
The Work of Self
This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Post

For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice is one of welcoming the return of the Light of renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter  will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.

Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening. This is the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot (that I’ve shared in earlier posts) and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.

In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept; although the semantics may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may also have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.

This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self). There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to be quickened and primed in alignment with the increasing state of light?

Beginning steps and contemplative work..

Sitting quietly:

  1.  Think on all of those traits/qualities that you feel comfortable in displaying as who you are. How do each of these traits/qualities make you feel? Smile with each thing called up; this adds a kinesthetic quality for neural memory. Breathe into the ease of this gift of light.
  2. Now, take  deep breath and think on those traits/qualities that you hide from others. Those that make you feel dis-ease with yourself. What is your visceral reaction/ response to each that presents? Make note of how your body tenses and the kinesthetic energy that is patterned by this discomfort. Breathe into the difficulty of this acknowledgement of the shadow or hidden aspect of yourself. 
  3. Envision the co-mingling of these traits. The balanced expression of each in being lit or shadowed by the other. How is each modified? How do your feelings strengthen or soften from what is birthed anew?

In all likelihood, this exercise will feel like an inner battle with yourself. The you that wishes only to reveal to the world what you perceive as light and the you that knows a shadow is cast from that light. 

Tomorrow we will dig deeper into that battle and what can be conquered and what survives..

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness-Day Twelve


A Point of Clarity (in the Storm)

Today’s post is a journey through a snowstorm. Find a quiet setting where you will not be disturbed and allow this pathworking to move through you…

A Point of Clarity

Please note that you will be redirected to my site on Bandcamp. Not enough memory on this page..

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19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Eleven

We Are Waiting!

Breathe in the night knowing that there is a Light soon to be birthed in the darkness and we stand as co-creators; the Hermit soon to emerge from the slumber of unknowing….

Move slowly and
Speak not a word
And we may catch
A glimpse of HIM yet.

The night is dark
But I have seen the
Icy thread of HER cloak.

Crystal blue eyes and
Hair black as the midnight sky
Grace a face of pale beauty
Poised on a body that is tall and lithe.

She has etched the night sky with
Fingers long and fair painting starlight and
Holding the breath of new dawn
In HER hands’ cupped embrace.

SHE has embraced the world
In the longest of nights.
HER Promise held deep within.

The forest is hushed and white with snow
Ice crystals glisten round and all of life.

Patiently holds strong in stillness
And pause with anticipation of
Newly born hope and renewal.

We watch and wait in silence
The cold penetrating and deep
In its reminder that we are vibrant, alive, aware.

It is for us that this night returns as the
Wheel comes to rest in imbalance.

It is our yearning that calls us from our
Warmth and comfort to offer up
Adoration and honor to the Light that
Sustains and answers with flame.

We watch and we wait in silence.

The time is almost near
and our hearts beat in excitement,
attuned to the cycles that are eternal.
Stillness hangs heavy.

Softly, softly…
Crimson lips gently part and
SHE breathes an exhale of gentle release
As sun light stretches from its inner sleep.

The fiery fingers of new child’s grasp
Reaching out to experience, explore
and warm all within its reach.

The returning Light of the Solstice
Cries out anew, its sounds inaudible
To all but those who have silently
Waited in the darkness.

The Mother of Winter’s long cold night
Has called forth Her Child as the world
Awakens to the Promise of Sun King’s return.

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