It is at the darkest point
that we can begin to sense the light...
It is at this time when the darkest and longest night is upon us that I had chosen to pause for a moment and feel into the deeply symbolic meaning of the Winter Solstice and share my insight with all of you...but, alas, although I pine to be more aware of the wisdom intrinsic to the lunar and solar calendars, I often find that 'life' encroaches into the mindful awareness required to tune into oneself and the world around us...this is why I ended up doing the thinking (rather than the feeling) in the car on my way to picking up one of the children from whichever sporting activity they were doing; so much for mindful awareness!!! To my defence I should add that often it is during those activities that do not require my brain to engage that I come up with some powerful insights.
As I was driving I suddenly realised the similarity between descending into the darkest part of the year and the healing journey so many of us are bravely undertaking. It is often at the darkest part of the journey, when we are met by our demons, that we can sense a turning point and begin to hope for the light to come back. At this stage and for a while thereafter there appear to be no real change in the actual amount of light that reaches us, but one cannot help but noticing that perhaps it is easier to stay with the discomfort of a strong negative emotion, or that instead of paralysis and hopelessness a deep sadness has appeared, or that it is easier not to believe the voices which have kept repeating inside our heads that we are not good enough and that we will never amount to much.
Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero shared by world mythologies, points out that there is only one hero and one adventure (what he called the "monomyth") no matter in how many guises he or she may appear across cultures and time. The hero is the human being who dares descend into the darkest depth of the unconscious -to the very source of all creative power- and there confronts the monsters thrown up by the fright-stricken infant psyche. As the hero pursues the journey, the phantoms and dragons all vanish or lose power and at times even become allies (this reminds me of "Where the Wild Things are"). Along the way the hero requires immense courage; but the reward, the treasure the hero has been seeking at the journey's end is connection to his/her own essential human nature, healed and full of vitality, strength and joy: the same joy that circumstances took away from us. My Winter Solstice wishes for you all is this:
May you live your myth till the light shines bright through the depth of darkness to show you the direction home to the healed Self.
Each carries within himself the all,
therefore it may be sought and discovered within.