12/21/16: Solstice

So today, the solstice. Which doesn’t mean much until you are above the 45th parallel surrounded by snow. When you spend as much time outside as the people in this town do, who you are syncs with what happens out the four walls of your home. Women link to the moon. Our energy swells and recedes with the light. We feel the wet potential of spring, the manic solaria of summer, the slow shedding of fall, the freeze of winter. Today, we feel those shadows inside ourselves as the north pole tilts away from the sun like a dancer pulling her body back from her own arm.

As humans, I think we all have shadow. We all tilt from the sun. We all have the parts of ourselves that hurt others and in turn hurt us too. We have thoughts, desires, considerations that shame and guilt us. Yet it’s not the corners themselves that are bad, it’s when we choose to act from them or act without consideration of our shadow. It’s when we think that somehow we have lit up our whole being, that we have no more mystery within us, that we find ourselves in trouble.

As I grow, I’m trying to be a shadow shiner. An investigator. A Nancy Drew of the soul. Yet this time of year, it feels less like poking my headlamp into those dark places and more like letting my eyes adjust to the dark. Instead of illuminating one-by-one the animals in this midnight forest of mine I’m letting them be gray movements behind my shoulders. If I’m quiet enough, some of them feed from my hand. With others, I only feel the intensity of their eyes watching me. Some I can only guess are there, hiding in my branches. They’ll come to me some other time when I am more ready to see them.

Our dark teaches us lessons about our light. It is comfortable to stay in this gray mid-morning place between the darkness and the light but it is not brave. That dancer pulls her body back into line. The earth tilts again just as we became comfortable with letting light fade away. Finally we strike a match and light a fire in the middle of our forest, knowing that while our shadows will become blacker in the periphery, we have warmth and glow to share with our others.

A few days ago, I draw the panther card. It says,

“Black Panther medicine allows human beings to face their fears and dark behaviors, exploring those internal shadowy aspects of being. Embrace the unknown and flow with the mystery that is unfolding in your life. In the stillness of the void, find the will to avoid foolish interruptions, going deeper into your own self-discovery and healing.”

Maybe that could be a solstice meditation, if you were looking for one.