Today on the salon we are turning inwards again, to find space within which holds room for magic and mystery. And we are turning towards the writings of Rumi, Rilke and O’Donohue to help take us there.
As the winter solstice approaches, let’s give ourselves over to the magic and mystery of this time of year. I hope this salon is a comfort and a guide too.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere the days are short and the nights are long, but we are soon approaching the turning. Soon, the nights will shorten and the days will lengthen and the tide of the year will swing once again.
This cyclical turning of time was an integral part of the ancient celtic calendar. Marking the passage of time and the movement of the planets offered a clock based on the seasons. It gave markers for when it was time to rest, plant, tend, harvest and return to rest again. At eight points in the year, particular crossings or thresholds were celebrated, the Winter Solstice being an important one of them.
The was a celebration to both honour the dark and welcome the light. It was a time of pause, magic and mysticism- nowhere more evident in some of the architecture of the time, when the solstice winter light was magically tunnelled down passage tombs such as Newgrange, to illuminate an inner chamber within the tomb.
Christmas too has long been associated with magic. Santa, flying reindeer, presents left under trees are modern day embodiments of these ancient practices of honouring this time of year- a time of giving thanks, of joy, of hope and yes, magic. And yet, for many Christmas is a hard time, the financial pressures of an overly commercialised festival, the missing of loved ones and absent friends, or even the deeper struggles to find a home in the wider place in the world, can all be amplified at this time of year.
Switching on the global news headlines does not seem to help either- one would not be alone in giving oneself over to cynicism. Hope then, in these days of uncertainty and fear becomes even more powerful and more urgent.
But what does it mean to cultivate hope?
One of the origins of hope is pause. To sit still in the fullness of our lives and give ourselves back to the magic of joy, generosity and to the dream of better days to come- for to be hopeful is to have belief in the possibilities of the future, as individuals and as a collective.
The word solstice itself comes from the Latin, meaning, Sol (sun) + Sistere (to stand still). And so, this reflective planner and these simple rituals are designed to help us do just that- to take some pause, to stand still for a few hours, to re-claim our dreams and in doing so cultivate our hope. They will help us to tune into our inner voice, power and wisdom at a time when we need it the most. This is my gift to you, as a way of supporting you to tune into the possibilities of magic and in doing so welcome the light into the inner chambers of your precious heart.
Today I’m exploring poetry and the body, sharing poems from Kerrie Hardie, Sharon Olds, and once again Mary Oliver- poems which were like lifelines for me during times in my life when I, and my body, needed them the most.
Would love to hear what poems you have turned to? What poems have been your life-raft? What do these poems spark for you?
December can be such a whirl – the noise of busyness, the demands of the season.
So, how about treating yourself to 15 minutes of poetry and stories of poems.
Over the course of the month I will be sharing 10 poetry salons with the invitation to pull up a chair, listen in, and tune into the space and deep questions which the poems may open up inside of you. I really hope you enjoy – it has been such a pleasure to put these together of you. Please feel free to share with others who you think could dose with a dose of poetry at the moment too!
I want to write things that enter into people’s hearts and pump blood in the opposite direction.
I want to write pages that you’ll read backwards just to experience a new way of looking at things.
I want to write stories that take you to the inside of loss and out again, via waterfalls and sometimes rainbows.
I want to write in ways that make politicians get down off their high horses and take note of the sacred ground beneath them.
I want to write so that I can feel the rivers and the mountains inside me and the hollowed out spine of my love.
I want to write about the places I still long to go but may never reach.
I want to write rage into hope, and hope into action, and action into change, and change into the singular understanding that when I breathe out, you breathe in.