Its that time of year, when bright lights, greenery and gifts signal the Winter Solstice. We religious Pagans get a pass on having to go to endless Christmas festivities this year, and may be at home for Solstice, with only our closest people, for the first time in ages.
I could write a bright and happy Solstice post, full of baking and decorating ideas (and have), but that is not why I write this blog, and you can find that elsewhere, and from less experienced sources.
I have been working with the Crone recently, now that my body is signalling I am entering Her time. What she has begun to teach me is that we are our darkness as well as our light, and both give us strength. I don’t have to please everyone any more. I don’t have to have a life that makes sense to anyone but myself. And I don’t have to care what people think of me.
The Crone asks me what I know in my bones, what I know through experience, what I can teach by example.
What has all that to do with Solstice?
Solstice is the time when the sun is at it’s lowest, when the nights are longest. It is the darkest night of winter, the coldest season of the year. The only outdoor plants which are green are those which are green year round. The only food harvested in the cold places now comes with a sacrifice attached.
This year, 2020, is a Crone’s year. It’s the year where the hard truths are made obvious – including that economic unfairness is bad for everyone, that our bodies are more important that our wallets, and that being responsible to one another is better for everyone. It is the year when the Gods of disease and decay have made their cull. It is a year we can learn the wisdom of accepting loss and reviewing our lives, to rebuild better.
And here, right before the winter Solstice, the rebirth of the sun, the festival of hope and light amid dark and cold, we are beginning to get vaccines. Like the soon to be expanding daylight it will start gradually. The increases in heat and light will not be evident at first, just like the first few months of vaccines will make almost no difference in our daily lives. The rising angle of the sun will gradually shorten our shadows and bring heat and new growth. Eventually it will be the time to plant seeds.
So the Solstice magic I am recommending is to plan that planting. What seeds have you collected from the past year? What do you want to plant again in this newly fertilized ground, amid the compost of our former lives? It is not yet time to plant those seeds, the soil won’t be warm enough for months, but we can prepare to be conscious about it.
This will be an unusually quiet December holiday, and I’m here for it.
What am I planning? What embrionic light is being born through me this year?
Consciously, I could say I don’t know, but there are signs, and I am letting them walk in to the peripheral vision of my soul. I have begun writing short stories. I have begun another book. I have been writing songs. I have been selling my creative work. I have been yearning for something I already have, and am afraid is temporary – time to write, to create, to sing and record, to love consciously and with my full attention, to let go of worrying what others think and remembering what I am sovereign over. I am warm and safe and the only people I see are those who I really value.
So here at last is my suggested Solstice magic –
Take a conscious rest. Lay down with a cat on your lap. Moodle. Breathe in and out. Today I lay on my back in my office and put my legs up a wall, a yoga posture called Viparita Karani The blood in your legs comes down and refreshes your brain. It is a particularly good pose for Crones, who need ways to reduce stress and signal to our bodies that all is well.
While in this pose, I walked myself through the sensations in my body, a yoga nidra technique. Without moving, I moved progressively through my body – each finger each toe, each eyebrow, and the places we don’t discuss in polite company, and differentiated sensations in each and every part of my body – the light and the dark. Make friends with your body as it is. Let it be.
Clear off your altar completely, so it is completely blank, for the Solstice. Enjoy the emptiness, the still point between letting go and going on, the space between exhale and inhale. Enjoy the clear, unmarked silence of freshly fallen snow. Wait until you have a desire to have something specific on your altar before putting anything back, and be slow and conscious about it. Try to do the same with your life.