Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Solstice (or, light first piercing the dark)

    Happy Winter Solstice! Yesterday marked the time of year when the tides finally turned--when darkness, after months of gaining progressively more hold over the light (ever since the Fall Equinox), finally reached it's breaking point and began loosening it's grip.  And, so, although it remains dark outside most of the time, the light force is now progressively building, bit by bit. . . Can you feel it? How wonderful, and apropos, that we are about to begin our holiday celebrations of Christmas and the New Year at such a poignant time. 

    Despite it being the beginning of "winter" yesterday, it was unseasonably warm.  And so, rather than gripe about global warming (don't get me started), I decided to do a little bit of hiking out at a branch of the Patapsco State Park.  (I did a ton of hiking there over the fall but not so much since Thanksgiving or so, due to the chillier weather. . . and maybe a little laziness.) While I was hiking, I also decided to call Sarah, a new friend of mine that I met my first astrology retreat last month, to catch up a bit and discuss the changes in season and the stars.  (Such a blessing to have a new friend with whom to ponder such things!)

    As I was hiking, Sarah and I reflected together how, from both of our perspectives--hers in Boston, mine in Baltimore--the sun felt so far away, even weak.  And yet, here it was, such a warm day--strange! Ah, the paradoxes of a Winter Solstice.  I mused about how the beginning of winter seemed such a fascinating time for me. . . On one hand, we are celebrating the return of the light.   But, on the other hand, we are "shoring ourselves up" or "hunkering down"--preparing, in other words, for a long period of indoor living, while the weather outside blows and gusts with icy fury.  What a strange paradox, that the return of light and the beginning of the most introspective period of the year would be simultaneous.  How unexpected.  And yet this happens every year. . . I am only noticing, just now, as I have developed an increasing interest in the rhythms and cycles of nature and stars over the last couple of years. 

     Today I read something that explained this paradox for me in a way that I could digest.  In a description for an upcoming local astrology meetup, I read the following:
"We are in the energy of earth sign Capricorn from the Winter Solstice until January 20th. All the visions we created during Sagittarius (November 22-December 21st) now need to be firmly planted. A Capricorn mantra is “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”. Capricorn is about building foundations. During winter dormant seeds lie underground, they begin to germinate in early February and to sprout at the Spring Equinox. We prepare for an introspective time of self examination to root out anything that will impede the manifestation of our vision."
Of course, that makes sense. . . and it parallels what Sarah and I were discussing yesterday, which is the nature of how the Sun (the principle of unconditional warmth and confidence) might manifest in the more conservative, even somewhat pessimistic, sign of Capricorn.  Capricorn is all about mastery, and mastery is a two phase process (which continually alternates): Phase 1--Learn a skill really, really well, and spend a lot of private time reviewing and perfecting and Phase 2--Demonstrate your skills to the world, where you can get objective feedback on how you've done.  So, maybe, this winter period, this gradual increase of light while being shut away inside, is a reminder that the light shines first in introspection and in our minds.  And this makes sense, because light has so much to do with being conscious and aware.  The process of en-lightenment begins inside; it is worked and refined in the winter months, and it is only in the spring that the warm coaxes the light outwards into nature, and the warmth of nature likewise coaxes us out of our plans and inhibitions and into freshly expressed, spontaneous action--Yes! . . . but first, the winter.

     And so, with the Winter Solstice, we mark a new beginning of the solar cycle--but not one in which we will be off and running.  We must prepare ourselves first.  Luckily, starting tomorrow, we will have another cyclical energy come into play, another new beginning, which will, I believe aid us in our preparations--that is, a new moon.  I found it fascinating to think yesterday, while celebrating the Winter Solstice (and pondering the implications therein), that we in a Balsamic (waning, and nearly diminished) moon phase, and so simultaneously a time of endings as well as beginnings.  Balsamic moon periods, e.g. the period of the last few days before the new moon, is all about reflection, winding things up and releasing those karmic/behavioral patterns which no longer serve you.  It is a nice of, one could even say, self-forgetting.

    But tomorrow, just before 9 am, we will herald the new moon, and that is a different matter.  The new moon is a time of new beginnings and ambitions, of a freshly discovered egoic impulse first emerging from spirit out into the world.  Now, mind you, it is still winter (as I have just discussed), and it is a new moon in Capricorn (so the new beginning might be related to work, introspection or self-improvement), but still!--it is a cause for celebration, as is any new cycle.  And celebrate we will, with the presents, and food, and music and merriment. 

    Perhaps I am a little over excited.  I do sense that I am "spilling out of myself" a bit tonight as I write this, and I can only hope that I express myself coherently enough that others will gain something from reading this--as opposed to just shaking their heads at my over-enthusiasm.  I could blame my excitement on the season, on the start of these new cycles, on the combined impact of the current moon + Mercury in Sagittarius along with the stationing (and so never-so-powerful) Jupiter.  It seems rather un-Capricornian of me to bubble over this way with excitement, and so Jupiter and Sagittarius (eternally optimistic!) may, in fact, have something to do with it.

    But there is another reason.  I am excited about this new moon because it is my new moon.  (Okay, maybe it hasn't technically been named for me, but bear with me here.)  There is a new personal astrological cycle that begins for me with this new moon, a cycle that happens only once every 27 years, in which the progressed (e.g., evolving) moon in my chart conjuncts (joins/combines with) my natal (in-born and ever-present) Sun.  In other words, this a my own personal new moon, in a way.  A fresh beginning, an emerging from a period of inner processing, of shedding skin and discarding false hopes.  I do not know what awaits me.  And I know that, in Capricornian fashion, I will need to introspect, clarify and work hard--e.g., I am not "out of the woods".  But still, there is a light.  I can see it faintly growing, illuminating the recesses of my mind that have wallowed in the dark for too long.  I herald the light, and celebrating this new beginning.

    Happy holidays!--and, as always, Namaste: "The light in me bows to the light in you."


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More poems, as a reflection of my process (which has been, and continues to be, about going deeper)

A lot of developments have continued in my life over the past few weeks, and at some point, I will write more directly about my experience--I promise! But, for now, I will simply offer more of the personal writing that has moved through me in the last two weeks, as it is a direct (if symbolic) expression of the energetic processes that I have been working with .  I will let the poems speak for themselves. 

Thank you for listening, and Namaste :-):


Your job is to stay:
stay, when the walls seem to come crashing down,
while others seem to laugh and spit at your ideals.
stay, while anxiety gnaws at you from the inside,
while it calls you nasty names and threatens not only your competence, but your sanity.
 Stay, and know that you will not disintegrate,
you will not crumble into a thousand little pieces,
and the vultures will not come and feast on your bones.
(Even though they loudly threaten and beat their wings.)

This horrid reality that has become your worst and closest friend,
It is only a movie that plays in your mind, over and over,
taking a rare break on a holiday, then promptly resuming.
There are other movies, too, of course, that one can watch,
many that are far more enjoyable: fantasies, romances, mind-bending thrillers;
they play at the peak times of rapture, or when others are around and demand a happier tale.
but the default, it seems, is this slow, monotonous horror movie,
in which the seams are always slowly ripping and life is slowly spilling it's contents,
its wretched guts, out for everyone to see and mock.

It's a gruesome picture, terrifying—so absolutely numbing and thoroughly convincing.
Your brain cannot make sense of the pieces and put them back together.
Your heart cannot find the courage to put itself on display again.
Your spirit has lost hope, feels defeated:
Why, this movie again? Why, after all this time, after all that has been gained?
Why, why? What can I do to rise above this?

Who knows the answer?

I know only this:
Do not try and rise.
Do not give yourself false hope. (It will not work.)
Only, wait. Stay.
Move behind the projector--
yes, there.
See, not so scary.
See, the wheels are turning, but it is only the wheels of imagination, and of karma.
We will not try and change the picture,
we will not try and force it to a halt.
We will only sit, and wait. Stay.

There. There it is, the silence behind the noise.
The animator behind the movie,
There. (The wizard of Oz is not so great and terrible.)
Have you slowed with me?
Can you feel the wheels slowly coming to a halt?
Yes, stay here, now.

Here, where there is only ocean, and sun, and a warm breeze caressing your cheek.
Here, where there is space, infinite space,
and a deep feather bed on which to rest.
And, when you are ready, you will rise, slowly.
And, when you rise, the world will great you, warmly.
No more monsters, no more lies,
for your mind is calm, and your heart is open, and your spirit has found its home.


So, perhaps I have not been listening.
I will begin now.
Tell me your story;
I long to hear it.
I long to know what you know,
the way you know it, and why.
I long to see with your eyes,
hear with your ears--
to be still, and feel your silence.
For if you are not heard,
my friend, then I am alone,
My completeness rests in you.

You, who are the dearest part of me;
You, who are complete, in and of yourself;
You, who are perfectly whole, and so beautiful;
So, very, deepful beautiful;
I long to see you.

You, who feel broken, and bruised,
and battered, and alone;
You, who long to hide and to never come out,
not ever;
You, who wrap yourself in a sheath of
silence and wait until everyone leaves,
then curse their names and collapse into
you, who feel despicable;
come forth.
Show yourself.

I will not shine the light too bright;
I will not look at you and freeze in horror;
I will not banish you;
I will not run away.

I will only stay, and be there with you.
That is all.
That is all.
And if you choose to speak, I will listen.
And if you turn away, I will wait.
And if you go within, I will follow.
Never pushing, but always there.

For I am awareness, and I am love.
And I cannot just turn away.
I made a covenant to you long ago,
a covenant which I must keep.
I made a promise to never leave you,
to never abandon you,
to never force you,
to never coerce you or
shape you into a false mold.

I made a convenant, which I must keep.
And so, I am here.
And I will wait for you.
Wait for you to dissolve,
wait for you to reform,
wait and watch as you emerge in all your brilliance
(you sweet and beautiful butterfly).

You are utterly unique and priceless.
You are the one to whom I turn,
the one who gives me life,
and I am the one who is all that you need,
no more and no less.


I am listening.
I am listening to whirr of the computer motor.
I am listening to the sound of my fingers as they tap, tap, tap on the keys,
to the sound of the cars as they zoom through the puddles outside.

I am listening.
I am listening to the noise of my own inner critic--
There it is. . . Now, silence. . .
I am listening as my cat bathes himself in the hallway.

I am listening for inspiration.
I know it is here somewhere,
for I always find it.
It begins as a swell in my chest that rises through my heart and brain.
It takes over my writing, for it knows far better than me what to say.
I will let it speak. I will listen.

What is this thing, this inspiration?
Is it part of me?
Is it a force that possesses me, when I allow it to take over?
(That sounds sinister!)
Is it a knowing?
Yes, that feels right. That feels true.
It is a knowing—but not a knowing in the head.
It is a knowing like the knowing of the sun, and the rain,
and wind on my back, and the earth beneath my feet.
It is the knowing of things that go beyond me,
that are within me, that support me.

I am listening, and I am feeling as my breath
becomes deeper and steadier,
until it aligns with the pulse at the core of the earth,
until it stills all thought and reveals the superficiality of all other things.
I am so deep now; I am in the core,
where the pulse of the earth and the pulse of my heart are one.

Can you meet me there?
Can you meet me in the space that lies in the kernel of all things?
Yes, there. . . there. . . there. . .
You know the way;
just trust and listen.