On Wednesday, 21 December, at 10:44 GMT, the Winter Solstice comes to the Northern Hemisphere. It is the shortest day of the year, but this only means that the world is now turning towards the morning. It only gets lighter from here.
This may seem overly optimistic, but it is true. The biggest problem with this kind of faith is that when we are at the lowest point we also are changing the least. Light will return, yes, but slowly at first.
What is even less obvious at this time of darkness is that the dark is exactly what we make of it.
All of the cultures who have settled the temperate zones where light changes through the year have a tradition during the darkness. The roots of all faith seem to start in darkness for all people.
They also rely on the wisdom of elders who have seem the simple passage of time and have come to rely on it. The sun moves in the sky and the light increases. We know this because it happened before. It is written, so it must be so.
Such a faith in the written word rarely seems justified to those who survive by their wits – starting with the young bu naturally extended to many of those in real pain. Words only go so far towards explaining anything, after all, since there is so much in the world which is felt.
They are sometimes known as the “chakras” or parts of the body which can feel or know or otherwise relate to the world. Much starts deep in the guts, a place where a full belly goes a long way. Things which rise up the heart are more difficult, and those which rise to the mind rarer still. That which goes beyond takes years of faith, dedication, and effort.
This is why the written word, or the accumulated wisdom of the past, is so important. Much of what is important to the mind and beyond is bigger than what one lifetime can accomplish.
Genetics has taught us one thing through all of this. Where there is indeed change in the physical being it comes slowly. IT takes more than one lifetime, for sure. There is only one critical difference between the humans who lived thousands of years ago and we humans here today. It is not in our meat and bones, as we are practically the same animals as we were. The only real difference is everything that has been written down since.
The accumulated learning of the world is all that has given us a different life – one where light and warmth come to us regardless of the time of year. The processes for delivering these great riches and so much more is a matter of convention, really a matter of faith, in this odd thing we might call “money”.
Everything important which makes this world what it is was devised long ago, put into practice, and written down. Everything we are comes from what we were. Physically, we are the same, but our life is very different.
This anchor in the past is what makes progress possible. It may seem paradoxical to think that all hope for the future comes from the past, but it is not. History has always been about progress in many ways – through technology, economic systems, philosophy, and faith. No matter how hard we might look back, those who came before us are always looking forward to us.
We will always regard ourselves- past, present, and future – because we are indeed the same.
No matter how dark it seems today we must know that the world is turning towards the morning. The progress may be slow and it may seem terribly irregular. The same sun which brings all life to this planet also powers terrible storms which move air and water around violently at times, yet always ultimately bringing the other essential ingredients of life.
On this, the shortest day, we have all pause in the darkness. We light one candle as we always have and wish goodwill towards everyone else. We do this because this time of year life is hard enough and we all need a little help.
It is the season for light. It is the season for sharing. It is the season for all of the chakras, deep and high both. It is a time to understand change the most even as change is at its lowest ebb.
This is a time for faith more than anything. Faith in all that we have been, all that we will become, all the love that we might have today.
Blessings of the Solstice to everyone.