Friday, December 21, 2018

Brigit Anna McNeill on the Meaning of Winter Solstice Time

In marking this year's winter solstice I share a beautiful and insightful reflection by Brigit Anna McNeill. The artwork that accompanies this post is by Anders Røkkum.

We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animals are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves is continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back and chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning and reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards, as nearly all creatures are doing, is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact, winter is so kind. Yes, she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey, if held with care, is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, and face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing and light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire and light to our hearth.

Related Off-site Link:
Winter Solstice 2018 Coincides With Both a Full Moon and Meteor Shower – Trevor Nace (Forbes, December 18, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Winter's Return
Celebrating the Coming of the Sun and the Son
A Winter Reflection
Reclaiming the "Hour of God"
Winter Beauty
Our Quiet Time
Winter . . Within and Beyond
Christmastide Approaches

Image: Anders Røkkum.


Stacy Olson said...

What does the paragraph mean or interpret. "This modern culture teaches avoidance ...' meaning modern culture should be followed or not? These things should or should not be avoided while we rest in winter?

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi, Stacy! . . . I think Brigit is saying that at the time of the winter solstice and Christmas, our modern Western culture lures and encourages us to NOT go inwards and do the important internal work of the soul. "Alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism" are all ways that this culture attempts to keep us at the level of surface things at this particular time of year. And yet the time of winter invites us inwards.