Winter Solstice. The dark time of the year. The nadir of the Sun. Belly of the Dark Goddess.
We are deepening into the Heart of the Darkness… which is why this time of year is so challenging. Even my hormones are impacted from less light. I feeeeeel melancholic, slightly depressed as a response. Nature is beckoning me into the deep. Pulling me down and into myself, into my bed, into my sleep.
How does the Darkness serve?” I whisper, watching the sun set over the canyon walls…
The Ancients honored these feelings by creating altars to them, seeing melancholia as a visitation by a god to be communed with. Invited in. Listened to. Initiated by. Learned from. And… loved.
Shadowed cloisters in muted colors. Sculptures of Persephone. Saturn.
Nowadays people drug these messengers. Or manically pursue happiness to escape. Anything but feel the darkness closing in. Or, if they do, completely identify with their depression and lose themselves in it.
And in that moment of the question, I feel an explosion of pain in my heart… (my heart has been aching for days) and I am instantly ripped back through the wretched experiences of my life…
How does the Darkness serve? In wildly agonizing and painfully exquisite ways.
So much pathos in suffering! The Pieta. So much brilliance. Our greatest art has been fashioned from it, intoning our universal wounds. Our wisdom comes from it.
In all the great world myths, suffering is an inevitable part of the initiation. It exists in every human’s life. And still, we avoid entering in…
…the violence in my childhood home, runaway at 15, pregnancy and birth at 16, drugs, jail, alone and sick in New York, cast out of the community pregnant with my son, more births & the challenges with motherhood, my struggle with rage, the loss of my authentic creative self which had never really been born, divorce, madness… all came tumbling through at once and cracked me open in a torrent of tears.
I do not minimize suffering. I hold it with great, great love and care. Its agony is so great it carries people to the edge…. and some go over. It is not to be taken lightly.
And… I treasure it. For the Jewel lies in the Darkness.
Weeping I watch the shadow force the light out on the ridge. The definition of that shadow darkening the landscape sweeps over me as the darkness has over my life. I feel the presence of my own definition… the force of my character shaped out of these depth encounters with agonizing suffering.
Each one’s Jewel is unique unto their life and wounds. Extracting it is the Art.
“Here, when the danger to his will is greatest, Art approaches as a saving sorceress, expert at healing. She alone knows how to turn these nauseous thoughts about the horror or absurdity of existence into notions with which one can live.” – Nietzsche
The Darkness inevitably chooses us… let us turn and choose to dance with it.
“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”