At the risk of scrambling my holidays as well as my eggs, I have a few thoughts this New Year's Day about the solstice.
For most of my life, the solstice barely registered on my radar. Especially the winter solstice, eclipsed as it always was by the crazy Christmas season. I knew that Christmas was really an excuse for Christians to continue the ancient solstice rituals, but I didn't have any sense of the meaning of the solstice itself.
Maybe it was my getting to know some practicing pagans, or maybe it was the lyrics to a particularly wonderful Nields song, but a few years ago I came to a spiritual understanding of the meaning of winter solstice. I was at a low point, very lonely and wondering whether I would ever find a partner with whom I could share my life. It seemed hopeless. I stood in my kitchen, in the dark, and looked out at the garden. I thought, "Damn. It's so dark, so early. I hate winter. I hate my life. I hate the cold and the rain and the dark."
And then I thought, "But this is as dark as it gets."
Six months and one day later, I met Atomic, the love of my life. And it has never been that dark again.
The winter solstice holds that promise for us every year. It tells us that there is a limit to suffering, and reminds us that our darkest point is also a turning point, the moment at which we begin to turn toward the sun. I'm putting my faith in that promise.