Solstice Season Illuminates Mystery of Life
By C. Austin
A growing shadow is creeping across the face of humanity--a
darkness unconfined by season, undeterred by reason. While it is
simple to view the turmoil and bloodshed that envelopes our world as
the byproduct of ignorance or politics that exist "out there,"
it is not. Like caring, chaos begins at home.
We flee the darkness, we turn off the television, we dissolve into
daylight. Our attention shifts to items more prosaic, less stressful.
Thomas Aquinas wrote "the reality of things is their light."
Reality is defined by those things of which we choose to take notice,
that we "illuminate." society worships bright Apollonian
ideals--knowledge, supremacy, technology. Some willfully ignore
the gathering darkness, instead finding justification in the
apparently brilliant moral righteousness of their actions. Just as
mortification results from enduring darkness, so barren desert results
from the unending radiance of a light-polluted world.
The leaves of the great Tree of Life stretch heavenward toward light,
energy and divinity while the root sinks deeply seeking nourishment,
stability and mystery. Cut off from the root and its nourishment,
intellect withers and looses its foundation. Rampant campaigns of
ungrounded intellect allow spirit to run riot, balance is not
possible. Below, deprived of light and orderly energy, the root turns
on itself, unleashing decay and putrefaction on a world already under
assault by untended intellect.
Too many cleave to the belief that light can drive out darkness, that
divine sanction should hold darkness at bay. At winter Solstice, the
bright Oak King, ruler of the waxing year slays the dark Holly King,
ruler of the waning vegetative year. The Oak King, the sun deity, is
born again, light returns to the world. But the story does not end
there. At summer Solstice, the Holly King rightfully slays the Oak
King as the fertile year begins to wane and return to ground.
The Oak and Holly Kings are brothers, twins, each what the other is
not, but forever a part of one another. They represent light and
mystery, one reaching, one descending. Together they embody the
potential of life - the light that exists in the darkness and the
darkness that must exist in the light. Mystery feeds intellect,
intellect illuminates mystery - neither can exist without the other.
Do not turn away from the world, listen to the cries from the
shadow. Let your tears soften the darkness with compassion. Compassion
finds its home in mystery. Bring that compassion, that fundamental
grounding, to the world of light. Act meaningfully in everything you
do--be present during your day, not automatic, unconscious,
accepting and ignoring.
In Nature’s arms, we are slowly turning toward the winter solstice on
December 21 at 4:43 AM PST. In that moment the light will be born
again to our world, let us always honour the darkness that brings it
forth. Wishing you peace in this holiday season.