Winter Solstice – the Return of the Light
As the light begins to return on the Winter Solstice, I wanted to share my favorite things about the darkest days of the year. I know! Some of you are in the Southern Hemisphere. You are celebrating the first day of Summer. Some of you up North, are affected by the dark, especially when there is no snow to reflect the light. I sleep more for sure, but I like the dark. Some say I’m a bat!!
To send appreciation for the work of the dark, I’d like to celebrate with you just for a moment by way of 2 poems and a song (really a chant) sung at a Solstice Celebration I recently attended.
The Winter Solstice • Celebrate the Return of the light • Appreciate the importance of the Dark
The Shortest Day
And so the shortest day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of that snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing to drive the dark away.
They lit candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreens;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake,
They shouted, reveling!
Through all the frosty ages, you can hear them
Echoing behind us.
All the long echoes sing the same delight this shortest day.
As promise wakens in the sleeping land,
They carol, feast, give thanks, and dearly love their friends.
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now.
This year and every year: Welcome, Yule!
–Susan Day Cooper
A poem I wrote to Celebrate the Dark when the moon was full and the snow was on the ground for the Winter Solstice.
The Moon Full of itself
In the crisp, silent pre-dawn of the Winter Solstice
The Soul source for the snow sparkle
Tho’ I feel like an intruder, unnoticed, I take my seat.
Quieting my familiar early morning chatter
Breathing in the cold brilliance of that light
I intent on meaning in these dark days
Aware that my embrace of winter’s gifts is fragile
Nothing’s there to disturb the sweetness of the moment
As I sit and watch that magnificent orb descend
The growing light in the East greedy to grab the stage
Intrudes upon my reverence
My mind churns, my impatience returns
Daybreak and something must be done
A disquiet overtakes me sending me to face the day
Every day is a gift to be earned both in quiet solitude and full attention
The dark and the light dance and beckon me to join
I claim my part in the celebration of these dark days, as witness not intruder.
~ Janet Savage, December 2008
Listen to this beautiful harmony as we celebrated the Winter Solstice in a lovely country church far up North in Vermont.
Sending you warm light to guide you into 2018.