Delight in the Darkness

Dec 21st, 2015 | By | Category: Articles

By Mabh Savage

jhp56587dc4a566aI see many memes on my social media feed at this time of year, mostly along the lines of ‘The days will be getting longer soon’, ‘Praise the return of the light’ and ‘The Oak king will triumph’. The Winter Solstice is, for many, the end of the dive into darkness; the start of the steady climb toward lighter nights and spring time.

I don’t like this.

I don’t like the idea that we spend all winter waiting for the light, and all summer dreading the dark. It feels like missing the point. More importantly, it feels like missing the moment; not enjoying the time we have.

I like sitting at my desk and suddenly realising it’s dark outside, when at this time last week, it was still light, or dusky at the most.

I like feeling the magical breath of twilight and being able to share this with my son as we walk back from school.

I like shopping trips where all the Christmas lights are twinkling and joyous. Yes, the lights hark back to candles and fires lit to ward off the dark, but without the darkness, this festival of colour and brightness would never have evolved.

I love dark, velvet nights lit only by the moon and stars, breath puffing out in frosty clouds that glow blue in the moonlight. And I love that I can enjoy these nights while it is still early enough to get a good night’s sleep.

I love ritual at dusk where everyone can join in, because no one has to worry about getting to bed for an early start in the morning.

I love being able to embrace the liminal points in the day so easily; dawn and dusk become within easy reach, and the magic of change, transformation and hanging in the balance are a power-force that is accessible every day.

And I love the dark. I love the light fading to black, no lights on in the house, no shadows, only the absence of light. I love the mystery it holds, the way imagination fills it with both fear and wonder. Yet I also love the way I can navigate my home and hearth in the dark without trip or bump. I know this place, and the darkness reminds me of that bond with my sacred space.

Spring is rebirth and love; Summer is life and joy; Autumn is aging and foraging; Winter is death but also celebration. Relaxing and unwinding. Drawing in what is important and letting go of that which is not.

Life is about balance, and though part of me yearns for the green shoots of spring, I would never sacrifice winter for its return. We must live through winter, but we needn’t simply survive. We can thrive. We can embrace the darkness, enjoy the warm cosiness the cold encourages, and love the holly just as much as the oak.

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