The south point is the base of the circle. In the northern hemisphere it is closest to the equator, but here in the southern hemisphere it’s closest to the South Pole. We think of it as the ground, in which things are planted and where seeds sprout and arise. It’s also a place of compost, death, dark – letting the old fall away and waiting. To see what will be born.

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Every south point will be different, even if you’re also in the southern hemisphere. You might have the ocean, a mountain, an orchard, a local park or a bush walk in your south. In my original Circle of Eight there was a beautiful small waterfall into a rounded pool – it was one of my favourite places, in that Circle. Here there’s a rocky point jutting out over a valley – well, that describes a lot of places in the Blue Mountains – this one is the south-most point of the plateau land around here. It’s a place to go with a book or a friend or a journal, and catch up. As well as catching up with my friend, book or journal I also feel I catch up on peace and arrive at an internal state of stillness, perched up there on a rock and watching the shadows rise and fall over the valley folds below.

There are bellbirds at this south point, their piercing tones ringing out through the bush, and last time I went I saw (and heard) a lyrebird, not far away from the track, singing and dancing. It wasn’t exactly a good view, obscured by the trees and rocks between me and it, but I caught glimpses of it, as it danced about. I’m holding the South, at the moment, over the Solstice and New Year’s and the rest of the world, it seems, having Christmas. I think it’s always a contemplative position, but perhaps even more so at this time of the year. I felt like an anchor at the Summer Solstice, holding the base point, down at the roots while everything else soared above me. 

Although one way of looking at it is that this southern hemisphere south is the equivalent of the northern hemisphere north, in another way, it’s not at all. To me, the north in the northern hemisphere feels searing and cold, ice rather than earth, clarity of bones and teeth rather than mulch. I’m not sure if that’s culture, myth, geography, weather or what. The winters are much colder in Europe than they are in Australia, so that winter solstice point seems fiercer, sere. And in other places – California, Hawaii, Bali – I don’t know.

This south, in the Blue Mountains, holds the richness of the valleys, the folded slopes of eucalypts with their almost-blue haze, the patterns of clouds passing over them and the contemplation of nature. It also represents the beginning of the cycle, from this place I’ll be headed up, into the busier parts of the year and the Circle, starting again. What am I letting fall away, this time? How will I prepare myself for this next turn around the wheel? What am I hoping to plant? I can’t help thinking I want to plant some of this peace and belonging, for the New Year and also for this turn around the Circle. At this point – almost underneath things - I have an image of a spider, getting ready to spin a web. And I want it fan-like, radiating outwards from this point, stretching shimmering threads into all the other points, all the possibilities of this cycle, while maintaining this as a base-point. 

There’s something about returning to the senses for me, this soft air on my skin, these bird calls echoing through the air, the scents of rock-and-bush under sunlight, solid rock under me and the sweep of trees and slopes below me; when I look up the drama of the skies to fill my eyes. We’ve had picnics on this rock before, or shared some chocolate, so there’s memory of tastes here, too and I want to plant these things, the sensual world and my immersement within it.

I’ve been busy all year, often frantically busy – way busier than I was comfortable with, so that I almost forgot how to have a day off, I had to force myself back to them, one day off a week, a couple of months ago and for the first few it felt so strange and uncomfortable, that I hardly knew how to be that way any longer. But the South says to me that time not working is valuable, is essential, and that emptying a day, or emptying the mind for a few hours is part of the rich fertiliser that aids new growth, in its own time. I’m glad I’ve got a whole month to think about it, to drift and see what arises, but it is clarifying, here in the fresh air wafted up from the valley, and it is simplifying, and returning me to base of who I am and how I am part of the world.