Higher Living Reflections

Solstice Lament and Hope

A thought from Joseph Campbell:

Mythology begins where madness starts. A person who is truly gripped by a calling, by a dedication, by a belief, by a zeal, will sacrifice his security, will sacrifice even his life, will sacrifice personal relationships, will sacrifice prestige, and will think nothing of personal development; he will give himself entirely to his myth. Christ gives you the clue when he says, “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. – “Personal Myth” in Pathways to Bliss

Happy Solstice! Mother Earth reaches her tipping point at 9:28 MST today—December 21, 2017—and in short order will begin her re-tilt.

Imagine observing Earth from a very distant stellar point through cosmic lenses and interpreting her motion.  One might say she wobbles as she turns on her axis, but that wouldn’t consider the pace of her time to tilt—six months—in relation to her rotation—24 hours—a rate of about 180 to 1. Rather than wobble then, Mother Earth rocks, slowly, rhythmically.

Envision that the next time you’re on your rocking chair, keeping pace with Mother Earth, one tilt every 180 seconds, like she gently rocks…steady, slow, soothing, lolling you into serenity. That’s a good energetic metaphor to focus on while wending your way through this frantically paced, helter-skelter, 24/7 world we’ve created.

I am one who can go into a dark funk in the period between Samhain (Halloween) and Yule. In modern psychoanalysis lingo, it’s called SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder—which is sort of an eponym given it appropriately names itself. It’s the reason I count the days to Solstice.

Perhaps SAD results from declining sunlight, hence, a physiological basis. But perhaps there’s another reason for it: Resistance, the refusal to accept the natural order of things. Light equates to life and darkening equates to dying.

Dying and death are essential aspects of the natural order. That’s the stark reality. Life feeds on life, which means a life at some point must give itself up so anther might live. That, though, flies in the face of modern orthodoxy, the era of eternal youth and everlasting earthly life. It’s the reason some desperately and artificially cling to life despite the reality of their dying, besides, it being good business for Big Pharma and its corporate kin.

I recall a Buddhist tract about a lush blooming garden being potential rot and decaying plants and leaves being the sustenance for next spring’s garden. I like that. The cycle of life. At this time of year, it offers hope that in about six and a half weeks at Imbolc (Groundhog Day), life will be stirring underground and the tulips I planted a week ago will begin to poke their snouts through softening soil, moistened by melting spring snows.

Cultures across the northern hemisphere have celebrated the Solstice in ritualistic fashion for ages. Zoroastrians celebrated it as the birth of Mithras, their prophet. The Romans called it Saturnalia in honor of their grandfather god—Cronos, Father Time, in Greek myth—and festively celebrated for 12 days by lighting candles, coming together with loved ones, and exchanging gifts. Sound familiar?

In the Norse, Teutonic, and Celtic traditions, holly and fir adorned homes and Jul, the god of the Wild Hunt, was honored. Hence, the season of Yule and the yule log.

We call it Christmas because in 350 CE, Pope Julius I peremptorily declared December 25th to be the birth of Jesus, despite the Bible implying he was born in the spring with “shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8, KJV).  But, like so much, Christmas has lost its spiritual undertones with Capitalism ascending as our global religion and Black Friday replacing Christmas as the most sacred day of the season.

Ah, my lament. But then, my lament is my hope…that our modern cultural can find its way back to the spiritual side, whether it means celebrating, Mithras, Saturn, Jul, Jesus, Father Frost or Mother Gaia. Hope, it’s said, springs eternal, but spring is six to thirteen weeks away. Nonetheless, the seeds of hope—spring—like my recently planted tulip bulbs are lying dormant in the frosted earth.

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