The Light Within the Shadow of the Solstice
The Work of Self
This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Post
For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice is one of welcoming the return of the Light of renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.
Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening. This is the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot (that I’ve shared in earlier posts) and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.
In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept; although the semantics may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may also have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.
This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self). There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to be quickened and primed in alignment with the increasing state of light?
Beginning steps and contemplative work..
- Think on all of those traits/qualities that you feel comfortable in displaying as who you are. How do each of these traits/qualities make you feel? Smile with each thing called up; this adds a kinesthetic quality for neural memory. Breathe into the ease of this gift of light.
- Now, take deep breath and think on those traits/qualities that you hide from others. Those that make you feel dis-ease with yourself. What is your visceral reaction/ response to each that presents? Make note of how your body tenses and the kinesthetic energy that is patterned by this discomfort. Breathe into the difficulty of this acknowledgement of the shadow or hidden aspect of yourself.
- Envision the co-mingling of these traits. The balanced expression of each in being lit or shadowed by the other. How is each modified? How do your feelings strengthen or soften from what is birthed anew?
In all likelihood, this exercise will feel like an inner battle with yourself. The you that wishes only to reveal to the world what you perceive as light and the you that knows a shadow is cast from that light.
Tomorrow we will dig deeper into that battle and what can be conquered and what survives..