A tiny musing on Solstice which is celebrated today and tomorrow throughout the world in many different and gorgeous ways. Now many of us are taught that Winter Solstice celebrates the return of the light and yes, this is true. But/and Winter Solstice is also the longest night of the year in many places, the night of deepest and most complete darkness.
In cold countries where at this time of the year sunlight is already at a much cherished premium, think about and feel into what this period of longest night is like. Longest night to feast, to make love, to look at stars and moon, to sleep and dream deeply. Longest night of liminal space and liminal time. And then the rising of the sun, returning of the light and how good and glorious those warming rays feel against face, shoulder, and skin.
But of course the sun does not return in full force on Winter Solstice or the days following. The ground in many places is still frozen hard and solid and will not begin to thaw for many months yet. Snow still lies in thick icing blankets on the ground and tree branches and roof tops, or here where I live and it is not so very cold, the skies continue on in their leaden gray state and the buds and blossoms for the most part stay hidden and curled up tight while the deer roam about nosing in the dirt for still-tender-from-autumn-acorns.
All of this is to say that we celebrate not so much or not simply a return on Winter Solstice but rather a nascent re-emergence paired with great endurance – for the sun teaches us endurance as it grows and waxes and strengthens throughout these bitter months and into its springtime adolescence and its summer time maturity. That endurance: new beginning followed by long periods of growth and strengthening is really what arcs across and through the land – a reminder, a returning if you will, we see painted in solar shine across the sky.