Longest Night, Darkest Night – Ruminations on Winter Solstice

It’s raining here. I’m telling people that I’m pretending we’re in England (it helps that both of my partners are Brits). It’s grey and wet and occasionally even foggy.
Not winter weather by any stretch of the imagination (in spite of a long-gone skiff of snow for Winter Solstice), but it’s still really freaking dark most of the time, and the lack of snow means that street lamps and moonlight aren’t getting a reflective boost from the white stuff that’s (not) on the ground.
It’s really not helping my SAD-affected brain much, I don’t mind telling you.
Consequently, I find myself reflecting more on “dark night of the soul” this MidWinter than in years past.
 
Winter Solstice touches on a lot of things, even when you don’t have a wedding anniversary and a multi-faith extended family thrown into the mix. The beginning of the real Long Dark, the time of killing cold (this year’s weird-ass weather notwithstanding), and the months-long slog to get from here to Spring Equinox (or even Imbolg, when we’ll actually see that the days are for-real getting longer again). The technical beginning of the lengthening days (although see above on that front) and the celebratory stuff that comes with that[1]. The chance to honour the darkness as pro/creative space, the origin of al things. A time for reflection and meditation – whether we’re talking about Root Time, or candle-light vigils, or even just the more secular considerations that come up around the dark end of the year as the calendar is about to turn over. It’s all sorts of things.
But it’s also a period of stress (E.G.: getting together with Family of Origin – or not being invited to do so, for that matter – is a thing that us Queerdos, in particular, have to deal with in a lot of cases) and, frequently, loneliness, and even the gathering of chosen families – where we get to be our Whole Selves with people who really do love us – can still involve big emotional crashes in the lulls between get-togethers. I’ve been feeling it a lot this year – in spite of numerous Good Things going on… but:
I woke up this morning feeling lighter. Still exhausted, still sore, still slightly ambivalent about Weird Christmas[2], but feeling so much more hopeful than I have in ages. I don’t actually know what’s causing this. I mean, yes, it might be the subtle energies of marginally longer days starting to happen. It might be all of this planetary love stuff going on, but I suspect it has more to do with getting “I Love You”s in the mail (and the house), plus catching myself out on one of my (old, stupid) patterns while actually having an idea of what the outcome will be if I let it go (again, in this situation – all that “healing happens in spirals” stuff is so irritatingly true, I can’t even tell you).
 
Yesterday, I dropped in at my wife’s workshop for a visit and, upon learning that I’d spent much of my own work-day ruminating about The Things, she said “I don’t want you to just go home and fret”. I told her “Sometimes I learn things when I do that”.
I know I have a bad habit of fretting about the precarious What Ifs of life, and occasionally fail to enjoy the beauty and the wonder and the joy of things because I’m troubled by the things that could destroy them. It’s not a good thing to do, and it makes my life sadder, to be sure, and it’s frustrating (when I catch myself at it) to know that I’m doing it to myself.
Even still, it’s also important to take that time, dig down into the dark twisty hidden parts of your own brain, and see what you can haul into the light.
We’re in Root Time now, have been (technically)for a while, so maybe it’s no surprise that I’ve been gnawing on the roots of my own fears, trying to find where they begin, trying to figure out (again, always again) how to put them to rest.
Regarding my particular set of “dark night of the soul” revelations, I’m flinging myself into Miss Sugar’s “New Year, New You” online course (again) to see if I can use magic to push the odds in my favour when it comes to dealing with my personal deamons.
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although I kind of wonder if that big celebration of light and heat and merriment, with its accompanying high-calorie feasting, isn’t a way to kick off the dark-and-cold time where we’ll be mostly eating root veggies and huddling around the fire, and give us some momentum (and extra fat AKA insulation and reserves) to help get us through the worst of it.
 
[2] Christmas isn’t my Holy Day. I haven’t ID’d as Christian for something like 20 years at this point, and the whole Bethlehem Story stopped resonating with me, even as a form of annual nostalgia, at some point in my early-mid 20s. So the 25th of December qua Christmas is basically an extension of Winter Solstice Festivities (e.g.: Mothers’ Night, the Norse celebration of ancestor-women that, iirc, falls on the first full moon after Winter Solstice – handily the 25th of December this year) combined with the usual families, feasting, and generalized washailing that goes on between the 20th of December and the 5th (or so) of January. But this year – possibly due to the combination of Zero Snow, double-digit (above freezing) temperatures, and my (multi-faith) relatives doing Xmas in Calgary this year – I feel pretty much nothing-what-so-ever about the actual 25th of December. Which doesn’t mean I’m not cooking a duck and watching movies with my metamours, it just means that it feels really weird to feel NOTHING about this particular date.

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One response to “Longest Night, Darkest Night – Ruminations on Winter Solstice

  1. Pingback: Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests | Urban Meliad

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