There is a Divine Discord that exists within each one of us. I know this to be true because I see it all around me, consumerism is the easiest place to spot the divine discontent.
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Though we've moved beyond the longest night, the winter prevails upon us a time for darkness and reflection.
Since mid-November, when the air filled with the scent of wood smoke and the days were growing ever shorter, the darkness has been heavy on me. I worked hard to celebrate the light's return at Solstice and made many children smile from homemade gifts and books, which was delightful for me...
Winter in Britain – it’s dark and it’s wet. Not very cold, compared to what I grew up with in Canada, but the damp just seaps into your bones. It’s a different kind of winter, one that I still sometimes have trouble getting to grips with.
The darkness is the first thing that my body has difficulty coping with. If it’s dark outside, my body wants to sleep. I’m very much a daytime person. Here in the UK, at a latitude of 52.0594° N (where I grew up it was 45.9500° N) it gets dark a lot earlier than what I’m used to, and it’s not light outside much before 8.30 or 9am in the darkest part of the year. Hibernation mode kicks in. I struggle to get out of bed even though I’ve had a great sleep if it’s still dim out. Come summer, and it’s light at 3.30am, I can get out and greet the sunrise no problem.
The darkness has a real thick, heavy quality to it sometimes, with overcast skies and damp air all around you, sounds hushed in the shadows. Like a blanket, it can completely cover you and, if you like your head above the covers, can seem stifling. I’ve had to learn to work with the darkness, to enjoy it, to see its beauty.
The still centre.
Outside, in the dark, the air is finally still. Like rich swathes of fabric, the darkness hangs around me, enfolding me, wrapping me in its exquisite embrace. I sit, breathing in the night air, the smell of cedar and dew wet grass filling me with pure awen. The last of the crickets are singing in the remnant of summer’s growth, owls hooting softly in the distance and underneath the beech tree near Caia’s grave I let the songs of the night wash over me in waves of indigo and black.
The quiet is shattered by the call of a stag just on the other side of the hedge. Calling to the does, he is in full rut, looking for the ladies in the shelter of the night. He is maybe four feet away, and his bark and rumbles excite me with the power that he is emanating in following his soul’s truth. I can hear the slight shuffle of leaves and grass beneath his hooves as he paces up the track and then back down towards the nature reserve and farmer’s fields.
Autumn is my favorite season. As the Autumnal Equinox/Mabon/Alban Elfed approaches, I’m thinking of how this season has always carried a sense of magic and spirit… of descent into the sacred secrets of time… a place of reckoning, with a wise power that can see you as you go, while all the foliate cover falls away… a place where truth can’t hide. Truth is powerful and healing and terrible and cleansing and undeniable, and this is the cathartic season where you feast on it, and it feasts on you.
As the darkness approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about courage. What is courage? Personally, I think courage is so subjective – there is no one definition that would suit everyone. Yet I shall give it a go in any case.
The dictionary defines courage as: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. I would posit that courage is the quality of mind/spirit that enables a person to face difficulties, etc in spite of fear. It is just not true that the brave know no fear – I believe that they simply get on with it. There is no such thing as a fearless person, unless that person has not the mental capacity for it, having suffered physical brain or emotional trauma....