This year the Winter Solstice is full of events. The Sun enters Capricorn with the full moon in Gemini. A lunar eclipse occurs, with the earths shadow moving across the full moon. The outer events reflecting the opportunity for new inner reorientation and new beginnings, both collectively and individual. A window of opportunity to bring new awareness to inner structures and assess the alignment between the emotional body and life purpose. A time to assess cycles and patterns, of reoriented, redesigned and realigned. This is the winter working deep into the roots, buried in the dark, beneath the conceptual mind and habituated thought forms.
The ground of the soul is dark...
What is this darkness?
What is its name?
Call it an aptitude for sensitivity which will make you whole. Call it your potential for Vulnerability. Meister Eckhart
Yes, no matter how deeply I go down into myself my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence. Mainer Maria Rilke
Much of space is dark. Much of the birth of the cosmos itself was done in the dark - the sun has not always existed. The seed under the ground is growing in the dark no less than the fetus in the mother's womb. All mystery is about the dark. All darkness is about mystery. Matthew Fox
The above quotes come from a Solstice Gathering I attended. The event centered around singing. A friend declined to join me due to her fear of being subjected to a Christmas Carol sing-a-long event. Jennifer Berezan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbIdElS0yJQ&NR=1) was one of the host. The experience evoked a clear vision of how far we have evolved in the last two decades. These women sang about the journey into the dark, the anguish, the pain, and the suffering, preceding the rebirth; the cracking open and returning to the essential light of your own being. (While on youtube, you might check the same event with Joanna Macy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BehKRxUTrc&feature=related)
We live buried alive in many trances. Up until recently, no one talked publicly about the inner darkness. Historically, each person had to navigate this alone, without support, without understanding, without guidance. Joseph Campbell, in the Power of Myth, was one of the first to talk about this essential darkness each human must travel through to come into union with ones' essential self.
Gaia, the earth, if she had an ego, might also be contemplating self-destruction if she over-identified with winter as all of whom she is. Often, people spend their lives attached to others, negatively merging with them to avoid the solo journey into the dark underworld.
Saturn, the Karmic Lord of Lessons, and Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld, are who comes to initiate us into the dark journey. When we have the skills to navigate the dark journey, we pass through the transit with more ease. If we do not have the skills, we become lost in the darkness. When this occurs, the darkness begins to feed upon itself because there is no objective perspective. We become over-identified with the journey and loose our sense of self in the darkness.
This causes us to mistake the passage for who we are. If this mistaken identity persist for a prolong time, this creates neurological patterns in the brain and body. These patterns replay in familiar patterns and dramas, and sometimes through many life times.
We always live with the gift of consciousness to liberate us from these patterns, but one must activate and cultivate the gift into an active muscle. This muscle actually has a site in the brain. When activated the neurology of the anterior cingulate gyrus grows new neurological synapses within the brain. When this occurs, the individual gains objective awareness of thought and emotional patterns. This capacity enhances the skill for more effective self-regulation. We need this neurological muscle to not become lost in the dark passage. One of the means to develop this muscle is through a meditation practice.
Dark passages will always have cycles in our lives, just as the winter comes and goes. This is how we evolve. Something must die to create the space for new birth to occur. When consciousness is not possessed by frozen, defended ego states, this dark passage does not create anguish and suffering. When an objective ,conscious, awareness attends to this dark passage a holding space is created, an inquiring mind, an inward movement, a quieting silence, sitting with no anticipation or hope, but with curious awareness, tending to, and observing what slowly begins to unfold into the dark stillness.
I have always been fond of the inscription written on Kazenzakis', the author of Zorba the Greek, tombstone.
The inscription clearly indicates he knew and lived this journey.
I have no fear
I have no hope
I am free
The darkness is the passage and does not need to become a state. Taking the time to be with the stillness and death of winter, knowing it as a passage. Befriending the aspect of you lost in the darkness, befriending the fear of the darkness. Light a candle to acknowledge this part of you journeying through the dark passage.
One of the ancient solstice rituals from Russia involves two candles. A person would sit in a dark room with two candles and two mirrors positioned so one mirror reflects the candle into the other mirror. The viewer seeks the seventh reflection of the self and sits within consciousness within the seventh image. This is a metaphorical ritual of moving through the trance levels we become lost in.
Close your eyes, breath and release a deep sigh seven times.
Allow each inhale to come slow, deep and easy.
Relax and continue breathing deeply and gentle as allow yourself to surrender and float down into your inner world.
Acknowledging the outer world is entering the time of the greatest darkness...
...the dark space of the empty space between stars and planets
...the darkness of the depth of the sea
... the dark foreign space of the womb
Allowing your awareness to gently rest into the still darkness.
Breathing into each layer of trust and surrender.
Reaching the quiet space of pure awareness that has no stimulus.
Rest here with your breath~
Look back at the previous cycle of learning since the winter solstice of 2009.
We have internal teachers and external teachers that stimulate and activate us to grow and learn.
When we actively pursue our learning and soften into our vulnerability, sometimes the external teachers are not so harsh.
External teachers may be events, experiences, or people. What and who is activating you the most? This is your external teacher. When the defense system is very rigid, sometimes the potential learning occurs with collisions. Notice what teachers have come this past year and what lessons and awareness of you been working through.
To be proactive in your learning this next cycle; consider what lessons you would like to actualize in your internal world? Write them down. Be specific. Buy a red candle, light it every day, sit with yourself, listening in the stillness. What do I want to learn this year? How would I like to grow this year? How will I support myself in this new growth for the coming cycle? Take the time to write some goals and activities that will support you this coming cycle.
If you are confused and lost with some of your darkness, use the worksheets in my book, Journey Into Wholeness, chapter 7,8, and 9, to help orient and distill the learning from the dark.
Many Blessings ~