The Light that Binds

On the Winter Solstice I participated in a dawn Yule Ritual that celebrated the magical transmutation of dark to light.  As the sun rose glittering like a ruby over the eastern horizon, I felt like dancing.  My very soul quickening with the rising orb: here comes the sun and I say, it’s all right.

solstice-dawnIn that moment, I grasped the idea that regardless of our spiritual affiliation, we are all joined in our human reverence for this most basic and yet awesome of miracles: the returning of the light.  For despite our science and electricity, the winter’s darkness still reveals the truth that there is much we do not know.  Our sacred stories, our feasts, our gifts and lighting of candles, are at heart about rejoicing in that simple promise, the promise that the light does return — that there is balance, however fleeting it may appear from the perspective of the human realm.

As my garden work has propelled me deeper and deeper into Nature’s embrace, I am noticing more and more moments like Solstice dawn.  Those times when I am not searching for meaning, but rather, experiencing meaning.

I notice it in the sound of a hummingbird’s wings flitting among the zinnias.  I find it in the carefully hidden egg sac of the garden spider.  The peaceful sigh of the old, dead tree releasing to the earth whispers it as a salamander skitters over lingering roots.  The roaring rush of great wind swoops it through the willow oaks and me.  All of these moments awakening in me a certainty that the divine is not some distant presence, but a power within – within me, within the birds, within the spiders and the trees and the salamanders and the wind.

I’m wondering what this world could be like if our stories spoke of this, spoke the truth that the sacred is immanent.  How could we waste energy arguing over whether global warming is real if our stories spoke of the sacredness of the springs that give us water, of the divinity of the air we breathe?  We would already have taken the steps necessary to insure clean water and air for our children’s grandchildren.  Further, how could war exist if our children were raised, as suggested by the greeting “Namaste,” to bow to the divine in each other; to understand that their stories are inexorably woven with those of every other being on this earth?

I am a huge proponent of moving beyond tolerance.  Tolerance is accepting others as different.  Love is realizing others are the same.  So in this, I seek not a single religious unity.  This goes beyond religion, beyond Christianity, Judaism, Witchcraft, Hinduism, Islam, Catholicism, Secularism or any of the other isms.  I am speaking rather of the mysterious tie that binds — that ancient, primal, human awe that after the darkest, longest night, the sun returns.  Overstanding that the sacred is immanent is a path we can take that will deliver us through tolerance to love.

sacred-treeSo in this season of story telling, I will weave for my children a tale that includes Saint Lucy’s candle and the nine-branched Menorah, the rebirth of the Horned King and the birth of the baby Jesus, the enlightenment of the Buddha and the blessings of Ganesha, Lord of Beginnings.  And I will tell them too the story of the tree that brightens our home each December, how it connects us to the world’s sacred groves and how its sparkling lights represent the creative, sparking fire within the earth and its creatures, including them.

I encourage you to wrap yourself in the season’s cloak of mystery and spin out your stories by a blazing fire.  And by all means, feel free to change the endings.  I, for one, having witnessed the returning light, am certain it is more than possible for us to end with “and they lived in liberty, balance, love and peace ever after.”

© Jennifer S. and, 2012.


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