The print of Margaret Wilson I purchased arrived this week complete with an Authenticity Certificate and special framing instructions for displaying and preserving this beautiful piece of timeless art.
Looking at her, I see the chain around her waist and I see the strength in her body...she is not thin and waif-like, she is strong and sturdy. I see the whitecaps of waves crashing behind her. I see the darkness in the clouds overhead, and yet she seems to be illuminated in light.
Remembering her story I wonder, "How can I be as strong as she was?"
It is inside me somewhere, I just have to dig deep.
December 21, we celebrate the darkest day of the year, Winter Solstice. Not sure if that is the best way to describe it...but it is the day with the longest night, the most hours of darkness before the days begin to get longer again. It is a time of family and celebration and darkness and light, happiness and sadness. It is the end of the year and a time to look back as well as a time to look forward to what is to come.
It can be overwhelming and the sadness can be a lonely place to be within the darkness.
But, the sadness and grief over things lost or things from the past that can no longer be represent times in our lives when there was great joy and happiness. Celebrating these moments that we were blessed to have rather than being paralyzed by the sadness of what has been lost is a different way of approaching these feelings. Not easy but perhaps something to try...just for a moment or two, to explore with curiosity and see what might happen.
Standing outside under a dark star-filled
winter sky you can look up and see the billions of sparkling pinpoints of light scattered across the belly of the skygoddess Nuit.
These little sparkling pinpoints of light are you. They are me. They are all that we ever were, who we are now and who we will become. They are our ancestors and our descendants.
They are stardust...like us.
During Winter Solstice a few years ago, when I had only had my harp for a year, I heard the song of Nuit. It was filled with sadness and longing for her beloved. She shared with me how to write and play her song. She shared with me how to write and play the songs of everyone and within 6 months I had an entire CD recorded.
Our sadness may be filled with longing. Our sadness may be filled with sparkling pinpoints of light. Our sadness may be filled with the memories of what was ours in the past...but we are sad because we had those things. We were blessed with those connections and those people and to be in that place and time. And just like her song, there is beauty to be found within the longing...it just might feel a bit messy right now.
These long winter nights and being in the darkness also remind me of the goddess Nephthys, sister to Isis and goddess of the dark moon. Her birth was a lonely time....for eons of time she had been cradled in the soft warmth of her mother's womb with her sister and three brothers. When the time came for her mother to give birth to her children, one by one they emerged into the light day by day until only Nephthys and her sister remained. They clung to each other and loved each other and brushed each other's hair. They held each other like it was their last embrace and then Isis was born. Nephthys was alone, in the darkness, cradled in the stillness of her mother's womb.
Perhaps it is from this dark womb that we are born into our strength for we have withstood all the hardship and made it through to see the light of a new day. Perhaps this is where we are born into our strength...through that tunnel of darkness. Our birth, our becoming, our shining moment. Maybe we are in this darkness to BE that shining thing of wonder and beauty, even if we are feeling messy and unkempt and disheveled. It is perfection, now.
Transition is hard work. Working the magic elixir of alchemy in your life is exhausting. We know the end is near...we can feel it in our bones. We can feel what is no longer serving us leaving our bodies through our sweat and our tears...sweat and tears filled with salt, purifying us from the inside out. Feeling like we are becoming that pillar of salt...that pillar of strength purified by the sting of salt our wounds. Knowing that it is a process of shedding and coming to light. Wondering if the snake understands the process of shedding her faded, worn-out, now-useless skin....
The end only means that there is a beginning...
I thought that I was going to be able to wrap up all of my random thoughts into something that made sense and flowed together magically like the way clouds roll across the sky and make pretty shapes that we can imagine to be elephants or trains or angels. Or the way the wind moves across the water and makes tiny ripples and waves that race each other to the shore. Or the way the limbs of the trees can sway in the breeze or sit in stillness and still sprinkle the ground with leaves in pretty kaleidoscopes of color.
But this is all I have in this moment....the clouds and the waters and the elephants and pretty leaves are all jumbled up like a jigsaw puzzle waiting for a Higher Understanding to swoop in and put it all together and bring order to the chaos.
This Winter Solstice I invite you to let your thoughts wander in the darkest reaches of your heart and soul and to let it out ... to cry through your pen on paper or through the tap-tap-tapping of your fingertips across the keyboard...
They may wander in the darkness looking as if they have lost their way when in reality they are a part of the bigger picture of Life...that Big Bang Theory where order comes from chaos because it is already there. Just because you don't know how to fully explain that Big Bang Theory doesn't mean that you don't grasp the concept of it somewhere deep inside and it is that knowing that matters.
And just like Nuit and Nephthys and my ancestor Margaret and the stories woven throughout the empty spaces between stars, there you will find yourself...reborn and filled with light.
If you want someone to hear your words, to see the beautiful mess of stars and empty spaces and scattered splashes of color that you express, please feel free to share them with me for safe keeping in the comments below.
You do that for me each week... and for that I am eternally grateful
Sending you so much love...