The fullness and then the emptiness of Winter

This Winter solstice morning took us up Dragon Hill at the back of the house to watch the sun rise and eat our red-icing coated biscuits my friend Nicki had baked for us.  We were able to preview the effects of the twinkling rising sun before we met her in person,  by the mirror- flashing windows of Dundee across the river, shining in exaltation. 

We sang our song,  the old circle round tune –

”The sun is born again today,  we greet the sun’s first morning rays,  we sing and celebrate the light,  the sun’s born in the longest night…’

Filled with golden,  munching on our biscuits,  I reflected on how many times we’d completed this ritual:  At the beach in Findhorn with the music sounding out of the car stereo,  at the back of our house in Ceres, on the doorstep in Forres,  up the Hill of Tarvit in the snow, up Green Hill in Fife with masses of friends.  And that first Winter Solstice with a baby 12 cycles ago, trudging up the hill with Arin at 6 months on my back and followed by my faithful white cat Freja.    How Arin’s coming along had made me so accutely aware of the creative forces of the body and the truth of the natural. I knew I had to turn all my attention to make a life more in tune to serve my children and to serve the healing of my own soul.

I remembered how I had been studying my MA in Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee,  obsessive with the idea of art being about healing and restoring wholeness. I was making films and installations about bringing nature and humans back together.  And then the pregnancy came along – a natural art piece on the duration of the course.   I had just come out of hospital from a life saving liver operation – my life saved by a surgeon Dr Wood at Ninewell’s hospital on my father’s birthday.  I guess this was the marking that I would be living a different kind of life – and 5 weeks later, Arin’s spirit  came along with full enthusiasm to speed me along.  Our daughter Tsen followed 21 months after Arin’s birth.

I guess I’m mentioning this,  to in some way stress the importance that motherhood has had for me in bringing me into a life more connected to soul.  It is the act of caring for others before the self,  tending for their well-being and specialness and the greater good which opens soul.  I’m not saying that we all need to have children to feel this way,  but for me it has been the push I needed to change my lifestyle and educate my will.  It is equally  the act of opening to nature,  the planet that we share and tending for that together which brings soul consciousness into being and brings the medicine wheel to life.

At Winter solstice the sun symbolically died and then was reborn,   as it did every year before.  Threading back through the years,  I traced the same scent of hope,  wonder and excitement for what would come into the new.  This year, it was with  a bolt of gratitude in the golden light,  that I had never quite experienced before.  I guess it was the amount of blessings I had experienced in the past year,  which I knew were powered by the accumulation of the practice of working with the medicine wheel with myself and others, and also by my dad who had been helping me from the other side for the past 13 months!   I guess it was also an appreciation that I really did feel happy in my skin this year and maybe an anticipation of 2012 and its glories to come. 

We returned to the car to find its exhaust hanging off and scraping on the ground.  A quick calling on resources to get the children to school and then a very blessed mend of the car by my local garage.  I like to see my car as telling me how I’m doing.  I knew I did feel exhausted.  The past weeks had been magnificent,  but I had been aware I was running a marathon and didn’t quite know why.  I would deal with my own exhaustion later!

So,  I remember this Solstice,  and the run to it the most twinkling and holy of months.  We had a tree from the 1st December and had had lots of seasonal times baking mince pies,  wrapping presents,  reading stories and filling the house with fairy lights.  I had been holding lots of deep and successful Shamanic sessions for people,  which were richer than ever,  due to the depossession work I had been trained in last Summer by Betsy Bergstrom,  and the wealth of spiritual guides and angels I had reconnected with through this work.  I’d also been working with the antlered creatures,  so found this time of year a Shaman’s paradise.  I was able to embrace Santa as a Shaman in flight,  bringing his/ her spiritual gifts to the world.  I just wanted to keep showering the blessings.

And now it’s boxing day.  My children have been away to their granny and grandpas with their dad since Christmas eve.  I have been tending to my own exhaustion and enjoying solitude with my cat Isis.  I have spent two days reading Creations Heartbeat,  a book about the reindeer by Linda S Leonard,  which my Shamanic friend Imelda Almqvist recommended to me.

I say enjoying… the reindeer are renowned for their ability to guide humans through the dark nights of the soul.  From fullness and twinkling and the almost tangible potential of glory and wonder to come which I felt at the new Winter sun, I have had two full days of embracing and then barking at emptiness.  Nature has been wondrous all around me,  I feel soul easily.  Yet,  there is a part of my soul that feels ripped out and I have been feverishly looking to connect myself with someone or something to fill its place.  The dark night has penetrated my soul.

The aching which the emptiness of Winter can expose.  The staring into the wounds which the lack of distraction of company and movement can bring on!  I feel myself like a clinging child who wants to curl into someone else’s shape and be carried around and looked after.  And yet,  there’s a part of me that is thoroughly satisfied with my isolation and knows anybody here would spoil it and I wouldn’t get to the source of something. 

The emptiness of Winter brings the soul’s true longng to life so we know where to direct the vision for the months ahead.  These are the teachings of the medicine wheel and nature.   The emptiness of Winter exposes the wounds which need to be healed to allow more wholeness to come through in the world of soul flowing.  It is only by exposing the wounds and healing them that I can than direct my vision and be sure that what I desire is true and soul-driven and not driven by my ego that wants to control someone or something.

The reindeer tribes live a life so arduous and challenging, moving with the weather and the harshest of conditions,  and yet the reindeer keep them on track as to what is real and what is guided.  The reindeer are living a life half here,  half with spirit.  they traverse the worlds as a Shaman does.  The life of spiritual plenty they provide for the tribe with their close connecton must be so wondrous.   

As I read about them,  eyes half filled with tears,  I was aware that this emptiness in me was somehow created by my divorce from the natural world,  my separation from the guides in physical form.  Yet,  as I stepped out to walk the path to the beach later and then sang to the seals at dusk,  I knew how happy and connected I really felt.  It was in reach all the time.

But there was no tribe around to sing with me.  No soul-mate to understand me and sing the harmony….  Ah,  but how easy to feel what is missing and hold onto it like a should,  instead of baring the wound and letting it be healed by facing it.  I have no idea what this emptiness is really – the soul mate and the tribe are illusions which fill a gap in my imagination,  which truly only the true part of myself can fill.  Sacred tribe and sacred relationship are created by resonance,  not by filling holes!  In my awareness, I know I  have sad storylines I could keep on living and pulling people into if I’m not brave enough to expose the truth.  It’s exciting really.  What on earth is my wounded soul bearing?  How can I best heal it in the wonder of these reindeer guided nights of dark Winter?

Tonight I will sleep with the queery  on the emptiness of Winter under my pillow.  I will ask my dreams to show me what this emptiness really  is that I am so scared of embracing.  Tomorrow is my last day of isolation before I move into the world again.

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