Embracing the Dark ~ Winter Solstice
An integral part of WIL²D is intentionally connecting back to the natural world. One of the best ways we can do that is by tuning into the distinct energy each season brings. Today is the darkest day of the year. In past years, I have joined in with the chorus of complaints around the light abandoning us and how difficult the dark makes life. I have resisted this dark season with its accompanying cold. I have voiced the desire to live somewhere else where the sun would shine year-round. No winter. Flip flops every day. And yet, is that resistance to natural rhythms of the seasons wise? I reserve the right to change my mind. These past years of living on this land at No Harm Farm and continuing my love affair with growing things, I have been immersed in observing nature at work. She (Mother Nature) has evolved my wishful thinking of chasing light and warmth elsewhere. I see things in a new way. I have changed my mind and now I embrace the dark.
The garden has been put to bed. The seeds within the soil are very much alive and this time of rest and dark and cold is a necessary stage for life, for growth, for abundance. Winter Solstice invites deep quiet out there in the gardens and the food forest. All the growing things are covered with a blanket of leaves and sometimes snow, dormant for now but not forever. Much has died away. The decay becomes the perfect compost to feed the seeds that shall eventually burst forth. I have heard this season called "the fertile void..." and that seems very apt. Nature insists on stopping the hive of activity that is normal in other seasons. This very necessary resting time must occur so that when the light and warmth return, growth can and will explode forth. I love this. A necessary time of rest. A permission slip to slow down, sit by a fire, get to bed early... Embracing rather than resisting.
We are so blessed to have a group of women here at WIL²D who love to engage with these ancient seasonal rememberings. Our ancestors knew to stop and celebrate the darkest day. Taking inspiration from their wisdom, this morning I walked in the woods next to a stream with the snow falling everywhere, with some dear ones who want to remember these ancient ways of being.
We considered what needs to “die away” in our own lives, to decay and become compost to fertilize the new growth that is coming our way when the light returns... We considered what needs to be cleansed. And then we considered what seeds are lying dormant within our hearts, making themselves ready in this fertile void, for the returning light and warmth which will signal their time to explode forth with life. Without the rest and compost, they cannot complete what they are here to do.
Embracing the dark that the Solstice brings is healthy, abundant living. Slow down. Find quiet. Go inward. Be still. Sleep deeply… This year we have the added “slow down” that is COVID. We not only serve ourselves by a quieter kind of living, but we also serve the collective. It is an invitation on every level to embrace the dark.
Honoring the Solstice is a beautiful way to give yourself a permission slip from Mother Nature Herself to nurture yourSelf. We offer some ideas below to easily do that from right where you are, with what you have:
*Go for a walk in nature without headphones and breathe in the cool and the darker day.
*Write down in your journal what needs to die away in your life to make room for the dormant seeds in your heart - your heartfelt longings... This is a season to dream, so do some dreaming in your journal. "When the soul wants to experience something, she throws out an image before her and steps into it..."
*Bring some evergreen branches that have blown down inside to mark the winter season. Perhaps place them in a jar or vase. Use them to create a winter “Remembering Place” and use the space as a permission slip to allow yourself to sleep if you are tired, slow down if you are overwhelmed, stay in your jammies for an extra cup of tea. Follow the light and go to bed early to store up energy for Spring. This "Remembering Place" reminds us that we are not separate from Nature – we see the plant and animal world slowing down and resting. Why would it not apply to ourselves?
*What can you do during this “fertile void” that will help you to embrace the dark as a way of recharging yourSelf... Find your own ways to be still and hear from your inner Knowing place. There is no right or wrong here.
*Celebrate that tomorrow the light begins to return with each day becoming light a little bit longer...
Since beginning WIL²D and living on this food forest, little by little, I have begun mirroring nature rather than culture. I am slowing down with the season. Going to bed early. Gazing at fires or candlelight with a great book or movie or journal or a cup of homegrown tea. I practice yoga by the fire. Getting out in nature every day. It works for me. I come away from winter not wishing to escape but feeling rested, quiet, and grateful for the extra reading, writing, and snoozing time… This works for us at WIL²D. Following the wisdom and rhythm of nature is medicine for the body and soul. It regenerates us for what is to come as the light returns to our days... And Winter Solstice ushers in this beautiful time of EMBRACING THE DARK to rest. Happy Solstice from WIL²D!
Oh and also here is a playlist of what we are listening to on this longest night...
And, one more thing... stay tuned for more info to come on Intention Setting - looking forward to 2021 in WIL²D Community : Save the Date ~ Saturday, Jan. 2/2021!