Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Moving into the Dark
A friend just asked me “What tools in your spiritual arsenal do you use to embrace the transformation of light into dark during this time of the year? Are there habits, or traditions you use to transition yourself from the active growth of the summer and into the more introspective place of Winter?"
As I thought about this question, I considered my childhood: autumn brought relief from the heat of Chicago Summer. I went back to school, which I sometimes enjoyed and sometimes hated, mostly depending on the teacher. I spent more time reading, which I loved! Winter with its dirty snow and ice wasn't so pretty in Chicago, but when we went to visit family in Wisconsin, it was often beautiful beyond measure. My cousins lived in small towns and on farmland. We made snowmen, and went ice skating. I also loved the warmth of homemade comforters in an unheated second floor bedroom at my Grandmother's house. These days I seldom see my cousins, though I still sleep in an unheated room.
Both Summer and Winter are softer here in the Northwest, though the Summer days linger longer and the Winter is darker. As Autumn approaches, I begin to feed the birds and the squirrels (though the squirrels don't seem to need feeding as much).
I give thanks for the harvest home, even though it mostly isn't my own handiwork. I begin to read more and write more. My writing group is more active and mostly everyone is at every meeting. This is a change from sparse attendance in the Summer.
Thanksgiving is on the cusp of late Fall into Winter, and I do give thanks for all the bounty I have received. I celebrate the Solstices and Equinoxes with prayer and ceremony. I pray with my pipe more often, and longer and more often sit in meditation. It is a time for introspection and rejuvenation. And certainly Christmas and Winter Solstice is a time for joy!
Already the air is softer and cooler. It is beginning. Rejoice.