winter solstice: courting the dark

“death requires a kind of courting in much the same way you’d court a new love”
martin shaw

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we are in the journey into the great dark time. the shortest day is, this year, also the new moon. double blackness. what are we to make of this? i stand in the middle of the last frenzied shopping for xmas, bright lights and even brighter music glaring out at, as if to defy this time of the year. there is something about lights in the darkness that lifts the heart. i feel the relief and joy of it.

but i am forgetting one thing, in this wonderland of distraction and beautiful noise… this is also the time of short days closing in on us. of brief foray into dulled daylight between the long chilled night. the dark beckons us with a finger only of bone. she stands at the edge of the dancing, twinkling lights on your tree. she leans into the greyest of shadows. a shrouded, indistinct shape but very recognisable. we can ignore her and actively pull our focus round to the jolly sparkles of light and joyful noise. very easy to do in our culture of distraction and fear of her. in our learnt ignorance, we think we can continue to cheat her her due. but all of us have only finite time. all of us.

we can try to blank her out but we know her deep in our own bones, in the very marrow of them. she will always be with us and we cannot avoid her… not indefinitely. or we can nod our head towards her. a minute bow of acknowledgement. we can glance at her shape from the corner of our eyes – you don’t want to see her full on till you have to. we can woo her. make small offerings in an attempt to please her. small for we are as tiny as she is vast.

spring has a recklessness in her dance with death but winter shows the bare bones of her (and us), tree branches in the iced wind. deepest winter is for moments of quiet to punctuate the din of humanity. a candle in the darkness. a song sung to the sliver of a waning moon. five minutes in the pitch black. quiet contemplation. a splash of your drink of choice onto the frozen earth. a raise of you glass in her direction – a toast to the velveted one. a name for her you make up and whisper into the darkness when you wake up in the early hours, not knowing why.

it’s not about denying ourselves the festivities of the season, rather a small shuffle towards the remembrance of the dark. a minute a day if that’s all we have. we will all find our final night one day, all the offers in the world will not buy us out of that one. but if we’re not doing this to cheat death then why bother? what do we get from this? crazily, although we are in no position to demand anything from one so powerful, there are gifts…

the reward of glorious food after you’ve taken the time to prepare the tasty winter stew. food for your soul. sustenance your soul is silently crying out to you for. the space to initiate. to grow your being into something magnificent – don’t all seeds start their journey in the dark? creative ideas for you to cultivate and eventually bring into the light to grow. the reminder that your human life is so very short, so do as much of what matters as possible. the knowledge that it’s all borrowed till we go, so what are you going to do with that? the knowing of your own self, ah, yes, all of it. the darkness is generous with us indeed.

lastly, if you have nodded to the Great Grey Lady then you won’t live a life when, at that last moment, when she raps on your door with her staff, you hide under the bed because you realise that you are full of regret. and when she asks of you that final, very last time, to look her full in the face and leave with her, you go without resentfulness. you already know her.

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6 thoughts on “winter solstice: courting the dark

  1. Aurora J Stone December 19, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    Exquisite. Tears roll down my cheeks and blur the words as I type here. Haunting. Lovely. Holy. Many thanks for these amazing words. x

    • ninamgeorge December 19, 2014 / 4:53 pm

      Oh thank you aurora j. Thank you. Now we’re both weepy! Xx

  2. Diana Moon December 20, 2014 / 10:05 am

    Thanks for expressing this so well. Have a Happy Solstice, Nina x

  3. lornasmithers December 22, 2014 / 3:10 pm

    Some powerful thoughts here, particularly in the last paragraph. Yes- those lines in ‘A Branch from the Lightning Tree’ stood out to me too.

    • ninamgeorge December 22, 2014 / 3:21 pm

      Thank you lorna… you see why it’s hard to explain?!

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