Posts Tagged ‘winter solstice’

“All who need comfort are welcome here…”

I have a sister tree, for over twenty years she has peered in at me as I sit at the desk in my office. Today she is providing a resting place for what appears to be a rather well-fed crow. I play “Jack’s Crows” by John Gorka while I study the crow, a symbol of change and transformation, and a fellow moon and sun worshiper. It seems to be calmly gazing back at me.

On the longest night and shortest day of the year, the winter solstice marks the official beginning of winter, although here in the north country of Maine, winter settled in weeks ago. And while I’ve never welcomed winter, the solstice represents a sweet sense of possibility and connection to me. I am imagining my Celtic ancestors celebrating the festival of “Alban Arthuan” which translates as “light of winter.” Each year on this day they would gather around a central fire and light a log from the previous year’s solstice celebration in order to conquer the darkness and request blessings for the coming year.

Tonight, I’ll keep company with the darkness for a bit before I light my own small fire to banish the dark. I’ll acknowledge these cold winter days and even more frigid nights as reminders to slow down, turn inward, and allow what is currently a mystery to incubate. A bit later today I’ll create a winter solstice soul collage, a mini vision board for the coming year and then I’ll bundle up and take a winter walk along the river. But for the next few moments, I’m going to commune with the crow outside my window. I’ve loved crows since I was a little girl who begged her mother to tell her once again about the pet crow that her great, great grandmother shared her home with. The devoted bird would proudly present her with shiny objects on an almost daily basis that it had scavenged and sometimes stolen from neighbors. When she died, the family legend held that crows gathered around the house cawing mournfully. Remarkably, when her daughter died just a short distance away from where I was staying in Connecticut, it was the clamor of a murder of crows that woke me up just before I received the call that she’d passed. Strange, I know, but absolutely true, I promise you.

The crow outside my window flew off and then returned during the short time that I’ve been writing this post. It’s been sweet company. What simple gifts – this day, that crow, the warmth of my house, the scent of sandalwood, the music playing in the background, and the promise of one more minute of sunlight each and every day until the summer solstice.

Following are a few resources for if you choose to mark the occasion:

Celebrate the Winter Solstice 20/20 courtesy of Plenty.

Solstice Ideas For Kids

Winter Solstice Journaling Prompts

Meditation for Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice Yoga

May you bask in the inner light that is contained within you always…

Many blessings,

Tammie Fowles

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I attended a beautiful winter solstice event last night in Windham. There was poetry, prayer, meditation, dancing and beautiful music. The winter solstice has become a sacred reminder to me of the importance of honoring both the cycles of nature as well as those that occur in our own lives such as sleeping and waking, working and resting, embracing and letting go. And then there is the miracle that occurs each and every morning – the dawning of the light following the deep darkness of night.
The solstice above all else symbolizes this to me – the promise that light will always follow darkness. If we are patient and open we will discover that so much can be illuminated by the darkess, and great wisdom comes forth in the silence…

Winter poem

“No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,
what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.
Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.
All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.
All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
Silence and winter
has led me to that

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

By David Whyte

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