It’s almost December 21st—Winter Solstice—the longest night of the year.
Oh, how I love this night.
But it wasn’t always so. For the longest time, darkness unnerved me, and I made sure to stay as far in the light as possible. Then, in 1996, I met an extraordinary woman and poet who showed me the exquisite abundance of fertile ground darkness offered.
Her name was Maureen Seaton, and I fell so deeply in love with her that my love made me trust the map of darkness she led me through without hesitation. And what I saw there stunned me. I saw the richest, most beautiful feelings. I saw unconditional faith. I saw authenticity and fearlessness. I saw the infinite possibility of truth. I saw the joy of darkness.
I felt the peace of darkness.
It was like I had entered a new country that I never wanted to leave—the country of darkness—the gorgeous, non-judgmental, soul-reviving, intuition-honoring, heart-opening country of darkness.
I suddenly trusted myself to “go without sight” (thank you, Wendell Berry) in such a profound way that the only language I could speak was poetry.
Now, every twelve months, Winter Solstice invites me to reintroduce myself to the wonder of darkness. To see in the dark using only the eyes of my heart. To navigate difficult terrain with only poetry as my guide.
I had my very first Winter Solstice ritual with Maureen in 1996. She led me into the longest night with such wisdom and holiness I was forever changed. Maureen passed this summer. On December 21st, I will sit with my arms wide open in gratitude for the sacred space of night she gave me. That she continues to give me.
Poetry heals. Love wins.
This Winter Solstice may the darkness open something true and extraordinary in you.
To Know the Dark To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
― Wendell Berry