Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Night

Christmas night was dark and beautiful. There was a crystal glow around the moon. As I focused my camera and zoomed on it, I held my breath ~ exhaling slowly as I snapped the shot.

Involuntarily, a smile grew across my lips. I spoke quietly to the silvery glow. "You are beautiful tonight, Lady. Thank You for Your beautiful show."

I stood outside in the dark. Inside, family and friends ate, talked and laughed. My sense of contentment overwhelmed any other thought. I walked farther into the darkness, watching the show as clouds scudded across the moon then released Her. Stars winked through the wisps of cloud.

Gratitude washed over me ~ and continues to wash over me as I remember the moment. "Thank You, Lady, for family, friends and love. Thank You for memory and choice. Thank You for all who have passed through my life. Bring blessings to each."

For what are you grateful during this holiday season? Do you take moments to look at the night sky? What feeling does the night bring you?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December's Capricorn New Moon

Accompanying the Winter Solstice this year is the Capricorn New Moon. As ever, Capricorn is about deep reflection and introspection fitting perfectly into the winter cycle of hibernation and allowing time to ponder what newness and shape may be coming into one's future.

In this reflective stage ~ and the 'letting go' phase of the New Moon ~ I consider the brand new year approaching as a time to take action, to deepen my connection with my higher self and with the Ineffable One. I choose an empowered and authentic life.

Moving forward from this New Moon, stepping into the New Year, is perfect timing for releasing the past ~ all of the past, whether I deemed it good, bad or indifferent. I choose to spend this time grounding and centering myself to establish my deep, heartfelt next step with honor, integrity, boldness and courage. I disengage from any false beliefs and self-limitations as I ride the wave of transformation into my next twelve month cycle via the current cultural calendar, awake, aware, conscious, grounded.

This New Moon lights my way to embracing my Shadow, loving both my Light and my Dark. I continue on the path to wholeness and balance, redefining my beliefs along the way. I do not get what I want; I get what I believe. I get what I call forth from the Darkness of the New Moon into the Light of the coming year and next Full Moon.

What do you believe? What does this New Moon say to you? How do you empower yourself? What do you call forth into the New Year?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Waking from The Darkest Night

Let This Darkness Be a Belltower
Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 by Rainer Maria Rilke

Quiet friend who has come so far, 
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

The Winter Solstice showers us with the shortest day, the return of the Light, and one more vital event: the longest, darkest night.

Through much of my life I've been instructed, either explicitly or implicitly, to dodge or deny the dark. I, ever the contrarian, chose instead to embrace it. Reflecting on it now, I know that wasn't always the case. That change happened one long, dark night when I was six. 

Akin to this year, the Winter Solstice was accompanied by a New Moon. I'd always been a light sleeper; many noises roused me from sleep. Generally, I rolled over and returned to the Land of Nod. This particular night was different. Something brought me to the stage of full wakefulness. The room was completely dark, with that palpable darkness that brings with it a fear of the unknown. The door to my closet was open and I sensed movement within it. I heard a rustling coming from it.

My younger self knew enough to call for protection ~ I sent a prayer for my guardian angel. Almost immediately, a tall shadowy being sat on the foot of my bed and began rocking it gently back and forth, softly telling me a lyric tale. Soon, I fell asleep again.

The shadowy figure returned whenever the need arose. Because of that, and the tales I heard, Darkness became my ally rather than something to fear. I learned an ally works with you and was content to have Darkness in that role.  When I was older, in college and beyond, friends commented  on my familiarity and comfortability with Darkness.

How do you feel about Darkness? Do you turn on lights every time you enter a room in the evening or night? Why or why not? How does the darkest and longest night affect you?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

Winter Solstice ~ the shortest day and longest night of the year. Many ancient civilizations created monuments aligned with the sun rising on the Winter Solstice morn. One of the most famous is Stonehenge in the England. Also, Newgrange in Ireland and Chichen Itza in Mexico. The oldest known is the Goseck Circle in Germany, circa 4900 BCE.

The one in the picture is the temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt. The massive stone walls rise to look like hands holding the sun in the sky. Quite an incredible feat to create!

Winter Solstice is one of the markers of the rhythm of the seasons. Although in our modern culture, we label it the beginning of winter, its alternate name is Midwinter. Celebrations filled with rejoicing in the return of the sun marked it as a central seasonal feast.

I love Winter Solstice, Midwinter. My very being recognizes the rhythm it marks. Despite all the modern ways to mark time, I feel the shift within as readily as I see the days afterward begin to lengthen. For many years, I marked this time with a week-long retreat, my personal time of hibernation, to reset my internal clock and prepare for the coming new year.

Do you feel the shift from darkening days to the beginnings of more light? What do you do to mark the Winter Solstice? How do you honor the shifting season?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Time of Waiting

Nearly Winter Solstice. The time fields rest, wild creatures hibernate, darkness reigns. Considering all that, patience should be readily accessible ~~ hah!

It's also nearly Christmas. The time when everyone, from the very young to the very old, is focused on giving and getting. Stores are looking to increase their bottom lines which are so necessary to their existence. Everyone is wrapped up in wrapping up their gift purchases. Within this cultural context, patience is nowhere near.

Individually, we have the opportunity to pause, to reflect, to be mindful of what we are doing and why the season is significant. I'm not referring only to the birth of the Christ ~ the "reason for the season" to many people. I'm referring to the deeper and broader reason.

Let's turn back the clock ~~
Before, and even after, the beginning of the Christian Era, winter was the darkest, longest time of year. Yes, longest. Even though we now know 24 hours is 24 hours, time seemed different then. Think about it. If we didn't have artificial lighting, winter nights would seem interminably long. Candles and oil lamps only hold back the deepest dark. They don't dispel it as electricity does.
So the darkest time ~ the Winter Solstice ~ became a time to celebrate, to acknowledge one's kinship with others, to cajole the gods and goddesses to return the light and the food sources. Light became personified, Someone as well as something to honor and re-call. Ceremonies, celebrations and rituals for this time abound in the mythologies from around the world.

Winter is the natural time to hibernate, to rest, to take stock of what is most important in life. It's the time of year all of nature waits, expectantly, for the return of the Light.

How do you cultivate patience? What does winter signify to you? How do you balance gift giving and waiting? celebration and ceremony?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Be Yourself

Today, my Teabag Tarot showed up with this gem: be yourself. I chuckled.

"Wow," I thought, "that's one tough thing to do."

The past few weeks have been rough. No particular reason ~ everything on the outside is going well: work, family, finances, even the weather. Yet ~~ yet ~~ I had no motivation to write my blog posts. I'd been doing so well ~ and recently found my brain more void than fruitful. Every time I attempted to write, I'd reach a spot where the words stopped flowing. Or I'd fall asleep. Or I couldn't stop looking at something useless and trivial online.

It wasn't that words weren't there. It was that I couldn't quite access them. As though I was reaching through a fog toward an unseen and unknown spot.

That's who I was in that moment. My belief in myself, in my ability to draw words onto paper, remained in tact. The surface itself was shifting following the direction of the wind. I settled in. I allowed my deepest center to hibernate, to find rest and ease, to settle into the rhythm of the coming winter.

Allowing the space for that to happen isn't easy. I want more to happen; I want to move, to create, to feel the lightness of what's within me bubbling out. Recently, though, it's less a bubbling and more a slow drip.

As the Winter Solstice approaches, I feel that inner compass turning toward the stronger sun. I'm thrilled to feel the pull.

What do you do when your creativity rests? What does it mean for you to "be yourself"? How do you let go of the "shoulds"? What do you feel when you do?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gemini Full Moon

©2014 ML Monroe

As darkness fell on the night of the full moon, the sky overhead abounded with clouds. Pulling up to the library, I thought, "Here's a month I'll miss getting pictures of the full moon!" I stepped out of my car and walked across the drive to the entry. As I glanced to the east, my breath caught. The moon was a picturesque haunting vision with wisps of dark clouds scudding over her surface. I pulled out my camera and snapped a couple dozen shots. No touch-up needed to show Her amazing beauty.

This Gemini Full Moon is expansive and empowering ~ an abeyance from the intensity that has swirled through life in recent months. Attitude is vital to the capacity to move forward; gratitude and avidity top the list.

In December 1999, a Hopi Elder spoke words that reveal the power of our attitude ~ and this moon:
"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
Banish the word 'struggle' from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration."
What will you do in this moment between breaths? How will you release the word 'struggle'? What attitude/s will you choose to have as you move forward toward Solstice and the New Year?