Winter stories

The darkest night, oh how rich and comforting your gifts

Like the darkest depth of the earth it contains our sorrows and joys

Care taking all potential

It keeps it, churns it and later

We emerge as new towards the light

We stretch into the sun seeking transformation

~RawNatureSpirit~

Hope rises

The promise of spring lies deep within the earth we walk on

With every hour and every day the light grows brighter into being

The silence and nakedness of it all is loud with life stirring deep in the darkness

Like spring life blooms, like winter it dies

yet we know so it should be with hope

In between

If you listen with your ear to the warm belly flowers kick and a song rises from a distant flock of birds bringing new life to the next cycle

And so it goes year after year, life after life, death after death and amidst it all is us part human part nature in a dance of eternity swaying in the wind and washing in the rain in compete surrender to it all

And what a joy it is to be, to wake and rise, to fall and die over and over like a never ending beautiful dance of everything there is. As above so is below, as within so is in nature. The perfect harmony of light and darkness, the perfect end of the beginning

The season evokes hope in me like nothing else. Bitter winds slapping me into here and now, reminding me who I am and where I am. Fresh bite of freezing temperatures penetrates my skin and I feel instantly renewed. The pure white scenery of the land is otherworldly yet it is right here in front of me and I am so grateful to be a part of it all, belonging…

The season inspires me like no other. In its nakedness so much is revealed and a space is created. When the light seemingly goes out on outside and the Moon is on its throne, the fire within me grows stronger. I love the darkness and its protection. I love snow and its tender nurture for the earth’s peaceful sleep. I love all life and regeneration that goes on underneath earthly layers. I love the freedom winter brings to the spirit that enjoys the spaciousness and a blank canvas to be used.

Beautiful architecture of stripped down trees reveals the essence of being, just as it is, with no embellishments or cover ups. It’s beautifully vulnerable yet their strengths lies within its roots. Just like for all of us when we dig deeper we find gold. Deep within the darkness we find connection, we cultivate networks and comradeship to our spirit and all that’s around us. Either a tree form or a human form we are the same in life, made of the same material and that is comforting to know.

Yule is near and the first promise of light carries hope that all will bloom again. My heart grows with excitement and content knowing the wheel is about to turn once more.

Many seasonal blessings!

Transformation after a dark night of the soul

image

My experience has always been that transformation, upgrade, growth comes after a period of darkness of the soul. The darker and deeper the drop the more profound the transformation. It is, however, not easy to realise or get to the other side and comes with practice. There are often steps to follow.

The first one is awareness of light and dark within you, a true connection to both energies within your psyche. Both need to be known intimately, accepted, befriended and experienced. I frequently say that the best awareness comes from repeat lived experience and real life examples. Think of yourself in your ‘dark’ cloak. What does that look and feel like? Is there a clear image of yourself, in what voice and language that side speaks, what does it usually do, what its preferred or default way of behaving. Get to know it, notice, befriend and learn from it. The same goes for your light side of the psyche. What are you like when you are wearing your ‘light’ cloak. What’s the vibration and presentation of that energy within you? When you know both and can easily identify, recognise and connect with both you can navigate both your transformation and your dark nights better.

Another step in the process is to fully stay in the process and yes, natural reaction is to try to get out of it, change it, do something when we are in a dark place. It feels uncomfortable and painful. We resist, reject and want to strip ourselves of all that it brings with it, but even though it is natural to want to do that what if we allowed it to be? After all it is within us, it is part of us and it is there for a reason in any given moment.

Darkness and pain can also be comforting and safe to some of us and it is familiar to a point we get lost and settled into it. To me it feels like a dark cave where no one can find me. It can be soothing and reassuring. If it is so for you recognise it, explore your relationship and history with pain and dark places in general. Is there more to it?

Another opportunity when ‘in darkness’ is your unconscious will be showing itself through dreams more vividly. For me I begin to have profound, vivid, dark and nightmarish dreams. I always find those fascinating and even when unpleasant I find they keep my energies going. It is like stirring a caldron, a process of ‘cooking’ taking place in my unconscious. I get very involved with its content and open up to messages. This part of the process is valuable as much can be extracted from the dreams when in a state of darkness.

I find at this point in my practice that I know when darkness comes there will be light post-pain, post-anxiety and depression. One might say I learnt to keep the faith. In simple terms the only way is up. What’s needed here is trust and again it is another difficult point where we either give up (on ourselves) or manage to override our dark state somehow for the fear of never being able to come out. Never is a strong word, it deletes all possibility for change and it is an illusion. We all know that nothing ever stays the same and change touches absolutely everything. I strongly believe in the ‘Phoenix rising from the ashes’ transformation.

To reach the light we must be patient with the darkness. Not only we need to be with in it, allow feelings to do their thing in their own time, be graceful, soft amidst anger and desperation, be kind to yourself and your darkness. Needs that come up when you are in a dark place will be your usual needs, but amplified a lot and we need to meet those needs. Give yourself what you need in those moments through really listening to the voice of your pain and despair.

Light comes in gradually. First you begin to notice coming back into life through small things, wanting to connect again. You will feel your isolation state stretching into a need to relate. It is like a process of remembering your ‘whole’ self, the way you had been before going into darkness. You remember belonging to a group, family, your usual dynamic. You begin to want to get involved again in small ways, your voice will start coming back, healthy, balanced one. You begin to feel different, lighter, more grounded and less scared. Darkness has done its thing. It’s been and gone and by allowing it to be we allowed ourselves to feel what needed to be felt, worked through and acknowledged whatever that is for you.

I recently have gone through such period of darkness and all of the above was true for me again and when one morning I saw a big beautiful butterfly land on a bench next to me I knew the light was near. Transformation followed slowly with big insights, a strong desire for change and implementing things in a different way, adjusting behaviour and interactions. I also remained strongly aware of my needs, which through being amplified in the dark showed up more clearly in life. Through my voice returning I was able to communicate them to others more effectively. What followed was a sense of renewal, rebirth and upgrade into new ways.

Darkness is a great teacher. It not only puts things in perspective, it brings us literally back to life, more fully engaged in the present. I also find there’s a serene period of contemplation and a silent observation that accompanies the process of coming back to light. That is always very pleasant and incredibly needed.

We all potentially seek light and all leads to it whatever we go through in life and the most profound ‘come backs’ are through deep darkness.

Transforming with the cycles of nature

sun

Following the cycles of nature and changing seasons of the year have brought me much awareness of myself, the world around me and how everything can be observed, healed and transformed when one is prepared to ‘stop and stare’ and become one with what is happening at any given moment.

Celebrating festivals of the year has always been at the centre of my nature-based spiritual path. It provided such strong and firm foundation for placing me within the universe and making me feel as one with everyone and everything. It brought me peace. It is the most grounding thing I have ever done. It keeps me in constant observation and analysis of what is essential and what is non-essential, what needs healing and what needs to die. Its focus is always on the balance of things and with the changing temperatures, leaves on trees and colours of the sky one becomes aware of what is out of balance within. It is so clear and so touchingly beautiful when the feeling of yourself as one with nature transforms into an understanding of the deepest psychical workings within myself.

Yesterday, as I was reading a book on Druidry (something I am currently studying) I was struck with something that clicked within. There was a clear moment of something pure, clear and light coming through me. I often get this sensation when something grounds in my awareness and resonates with my soul. This year has been a challenge in every aspect and my seasonal patterns have been reaffirmed to me again, e.g. spring is not a good time for me, filled with emotional pain and rejection, whereas with the coming of autumn all is good again. It is just one example. The biggest pattern that I identified and solidified in my awareness this year is just how much the LIGHT has been missing. I wrote about ‘My light is in the shadow’ HERE.

Well, while reading about Druid philosophy and their strong ties with the Sun and light as opposed to the Moon and darkness, which had been mentioned in several sources I have come across, I realised why Druidry is now presenting itself to me as a chosen path to follow. I need to walk towards the Sun, from within outwards. I am now ready to be in the Light. I am also on a quest to find a Patron God, a masculine deity, which can guide me. I have so far only been working with the feminine deities, although recently I began experiencing for the first time the influence of the male God. On my witchcraft path I have worked and revelled in the darkness, which I strongly resonate with, perhaps, combining it with the lighter brighter Druid Sun workings might bring balance to my practice in an even more profound way. Therefore, my plan is, which I feel a lot of excitement about is to consciously implement and integrate what I have learnt over this year and walk into the next cycle, post Yule and starting with my favourite Imbolc in 2017 focusing on introducing my psyche to the Light and the Sun, learning to love and find joy in it instead of hiding away. One way will be focusing on all those festivals I felt less resonance with previously (it is understandable), like Beltain and Summer Solstice, e.g. and being the ‘summer’. This is truly conscious transformational experience that I now seek for myself and can’t wait to see what transpires. It will be an experiment to see if more balance is actually needed, as it might not be the case at all, which means something else will come forward and allow me to see what is needed. The first step is always becoming aware and the second decide to walk towards something that calls.

When death comes…

ed7e0a769897fb5c77e486fad09b1152

One comes to realise that we are all but a temporary expression on an eternal canvas of the universe. This time last year she came in black clothing with a sombre expression on her unmerciless face and with a single gesture of her bony hand she froze us all in despair and sorrow.

When death comes in the final hour, when all stops in frozen time, when breathing comes to an end and there is no life left within a chest, it feels final… Is it? Is it really? We cling on to the indescribable feeling within, confused, lost. Is it really that the loved on will never again feel the warmth of life, tenderness of touch and laughter of a human beating heart? Is it really the end?

We are bound to a period of moaning when death comes. We are to revisit again and again that space in the chest that grips all senses and throws us off our feet. We are to make sense of it in our own time, in our own way and at a pace we can allow ourselves. Is it final? Yes, it is, but once a hope of virgin new light begins to creep in once again in time passing we can feel that beating heart of theirs within ours and we feel comforted once again. They live within us for eternity.