Tonight is the eve of the Dec 2017 New Moon, the wind howls outside my home on the island of Gozo in the Mediterranean sea. I sit here doing research... trying to track something that makes relevance of several myths of Goddesses and Gods that predate our current traditions of Winter Solstice and Christmas, I believe the stories must source from some original source of wisdom and truth, but the search is circuitous and confusing.
What I once thought was a simple, timeless story of awakening, has grown complex in the long hours of darkness that proceed this nearing Solstice. I am faced with the daunting question of what gives true meaning or relevance to tradition and ritual in a world that has grown increasingly complex. With the stroke of my finger tips across my key board, I am exploring the ages, searching through time, and discovering a complex riddle of intertwined belief systems.
I find my self reaching for something fundamental, that I can grasp as my own integrated knowing, and offer it back to you as a gift, a seed, a ripe fruit, to feed our collective hope, remembrance and ultimately our return to love.
The wind continues to howl. My attention is brought back to my last month living in Scotland near Roslin Glen and the experiences I had there, communing with nature and the elemental world. As well as introduction to ancient alchemical systems of thought and exploring self understanding. I am sitting with the profound, awareness that many of the things I thought to be true, are my own misconstrued hopes, in a world so mixed up and reversed, that one has to have a strong will and courage to look beyond the fabricated confusions so readily believed, and retaught as truth these days.
My path is a commitment to observation of beauty and tracking stories, Stories that might offer us some guidance on how to navigate these times we are living in.
I am finding that the stories and story lines most of us base reality on are ancient myths that are so cross pollinated and rewound into themselves so tight, that discerning even personal truth is a complex task. I must continually return my attention to the primary details, the archetypes that speak to me and the signs left for us by others that have journeyed a similar path. Eventually I come to the conclusion that ones relationship with the sacred and profane reality of our human journey is a very personal one. There is no secret formula, no all knowing sect or religion or cult to follow. There is no one God, or Goddess, rather what is left is a pantheon of belief that has survived thru the ages in each retelling.
and so it is…that this special time of year the Winter Solstice is really no different, we must all come to our own relationship with these cycles of nature and time.
But if I were to start somewhere, why not at the beginning. What is fundamental to the story are primary elements. For me the root Goddess is Gaia or Mother Earth, and in this writing I will refer to her as the "World Womb"… there are other Sacred Feminine Archtypes with similar stories that have have kept the stories alive, Isis, Mother Mary, as they too ultimately carry Gaias codes.
The root God or Father element is the Sun, the life giving force that nourishes the planet with light. But also the one who has other faces, the one who gestates, is born and dies to be reborn through the World Womb.
I see this aspect as Spirit or Essence. We all have these two aspects in us and must traverse this path in the awakening of our great alignment with self understanding. In the context of this writing, the Sun is one who journeys with Gaia, through cycles of time. So there is time, and there is movement in relationship with all the celestial bodies in the dance of universal life…..these are the fundamental realities…..the Goddess and Gods are archetypes to the fundamental interplay of celestial reality.
From my current understanding this "Fundamental reality" I am referring too is represented by the "Tree of Life" an ancient belief system that represents the souls journey as well as the story of all creation. "Essentially, the Tree of Life is an image of the whole universe, or at least of planet earth, which embodies the notion that all life is related to each other and that all that lives is holy. Every animal, human or plant is a leaf on this tree."
In many world cultures, The Sacred Yew tree is the living embodiment of the Tree of Life, and contains, wisdom giving doorways to longevity, self renewal, and knowledge. While exploring Roslin Glen I was introduced to several of these trees. And experience their mystery and beauty first hand. Some Yew trees can live to 1000 years or more. The ones I met are around 500 or more years in age. They have beautiful needles similar to fir and a bright red berry that is the only non poisonous part of the tree. The Yew was the first Christmas Tree, with its evergreen branches and red berries.
These ancient tree ancient beings can impart wisdom and perspective. They are also very poisonous, (Except for the red part of the fruit) and so they have a connection with the initiatory death rites and are guides into the unseen realms. They can be seen as guides and record keepers of the bigger picture.
At Solstice we sit in the dark and listen, we allow the long hours before the rebirth of the Suns return path to be a a gestation field for what is to come. In this internal space of in-between, we have time to create and dream and cultivate deeper insight, all tools needed as we progress on our life path, and cycle with nature through life.
During Samhain at the Celtic New year the Masculine/Solar/Spirit aspect is said, to take on the form of the Stag King or the Horned God, who transports souls to the otherworld/underworld, he is a messenger and seer. At Solstice he is also represented as the unborn Christ Child and so is the internal traveler, he is the one who navigates the inner world of the womb, or the world womb. On the Solstice the energies shift with the Suns return and metaphorically the Goddess gives birth to this solar aspect..…his energy builds in strength, but still remains in the unseen realms, as gate keeper, and guide.
then again at Beltane he becomes the lover of the Goddess and he takes on another form of that of the Green Man, and the fertility of the land returns, his old self as Horned Messenger is released, and the green growing world flourishes, in the light of the Suns love for the Earth.
"The God of Beltane expresses a joyous desire, he is Lord of the waxing earth and sun; vibrant spirit of the wildwood whose green blood fires our hearts. He is the moist fingers of outstretched leaves and His vibrant growth is the tender hand that moves upon the body of the Goddess. He is the warm kiss of sunlight, the heat of passion and the dance of life."
Until Samhain in the autumn when again he dies to be reborn as the horned one , the one "whom gestates" and helps others pass through the gates to the unseen.…. so to me this could also represent, a conception of the soul, of the world spirit and the cycles of death before renewal. There is a consistent love dance between, the internal lovers, and light and dark, male and female, seen and unseen, mirroring, contrasting, creating and destroying, to be reborn. The circle continues and evolves and consciousness cultivates. This is another fundamental element, long celebrated in many cultures.
The longest nights the shorts days, are a Spiraling into depth, transformation, new beginnings, a personal and collective reset.
Gestating our prayers in the stillness, for our hopes and dreams in the coming year. The "Yule King," Horned God, and Christ Child are all metaphors for the aspect of spirit that are in the depth of the "world womb" Goddess/Gaia. This ultimately is a very nourishing and profound time for...
Potentizing our intentions for what we want to let go of, and what we will be calling in for the New Year and coming points on the Wheel as we move into Spring, Summer and Autumn. For me it is a time to reset, re-balance, and harmonize my intentions. A time to call in abundance, sovereignty, creative solutions, systems renewal, resilience, community, health, vitality, right relationship. It's a time of preparing the birthing field and rewriting the stories that no longer serve us.
As we honor this process in our own lives, we can take a moment to sit in the womb like darkness and hummmmmm with the Earth, we can take stock of where we have been and where we are headed. We can find new resilience in the subtle return to honoring these ancient cycles of time and as we dance with the mythos of Lord and Lady.
Many pre - Historic sites and ancient Temples around the world are aligned to the Sunrise of the Solstices and Equinoxes, this kind of attune-ment mirrors to us a deep knowing in our beings, of a time when earths peoples, honored these cycles with such a since of deep importance that they dedicated immense resources and focus, to mark these dates.
Perhaps we are only beginning to remember what they once knew?
These sites like the Sacred Yew Tree are something fundamental we can all connect too, for reflections and deeper meaning at this time of year.
The art of ritual and reflection at this time of year is important for balancing our relationship to the natural world and to our own inner male/ female aspects , righting our relationship with nature and with each other as community.
With this New Moon...
we have the opportunity to gently open the internal portal towards the approaching Solstice on the 21st (this coming Thursday). What is gestating to birth though you in the coming year? Where is the Stag King leading you? What dark territory have you traversed in your own internal "world womb", to be at the point that you are now at?
Even in the stillness of winter can you feel the deep love of the mother as she hold us and nourishes us thru all these cycles? Can you feel the love of these 2 aspects, Goddess and God with-in your being, and hold them both as united. Dancing, laughing undulating thru the cycles, of time, and space.
“love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés,
On the this Solstice
1) In the evening before the Solstice, turn out all the lights and light a fire or candle and just sit with the flame, giving thanks for all that has transpired, and all that is longing to be reborn, embrace this light. Make a commitment to begin again.
2) Rise early to greet the sun, on the morning of the Solstice, go out onto the land and make an offering to the Sun and to the Earth, give thanks for another day of living.
Love and Blessings ~ Shelley Sage Heart