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Honoring the Dark, Welcoming the Light: A Winter Solstice Tale

Serene winter landscape at twilight, symbolizing the stillness and introspection of the winter solstice.
Embrace the stillness of winter solstice – a time for reflection, introspection, and the rebirth of light in the heart of darkness.

Deep calls to Deep. 


There is something very sacred about holding the space for someone who is experiencing deep suffering.  In our universe right now, at this very moment… we are all suffering on some level.  Global wars, political division, climate change, gun violence…. The list goes on and on.  None of us can escape the myriad of ways we are all being effected by the devastation of the world we live in.  Yet there is also deep personal suffering that we are experiencing- hatred, financial burdens, sickness that is emotional, mental and physical, broken relationships, addictions, unspeakable atrocities that defy explanation.


Deep calls to Deep. 


What are we to do with the suffering that is so palpable everywhere we turn? What is available to us as we seek to make sense of this pervasive darkness?


We are being invited to honor the sacredness of the darkness that is the winter of our lives.


I attended a winter solstice program where we honored the rhythm of “The Sun Stands Still.” We stopped to pause and recognize the day where it is the great stillness before the sun’s strength builds and the days again grow longer.  With my fellow co-workers, we sat in the darkness together- meditated, read poems, wrote messages of hope on our candles, and gathered together to warm our hearts and souls in community with each other and creation.


Deep calls to Deep.


We spoke words of both travail and hope.  We listened to each other as we reflected on the shortest “light” day of the year and the reminder that the darkness itself is the spiritual cradle into which the sun is reborn.  Darkness affects us greatly as human beings.  Even as children, for many of us, our first fear is that of the dark.  Everything in us seems to fight the invitation to surrender to the darkness of winter and allow it to cradle us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.


Deep calls to Deep.


I was pondering the word SACRED as I sat in the stillness of the dark winter solstice.  It is a word that calls forth the meaning of the phrase…. Deep calls to Deep.  It describes wonder, awe, a hallowed blessedness, being revered or consecrated, a mystery that is holy but not religious.  Darkness and suffering in many cultures is said to be just that- a deep invitation into the place of our most sacred wounding.  In my own life, the times of deepest grief have been the most sacred places of being set free and liberated into the light of my innermost being.  My stillborn grandson and my dying husband forced my life journey into a darkness I could have never imagined. Death, the great non-negotiator, is the deepest darkness we will ever face as it seems to eclipse all the light that lives within us.


Deep calls to Deep.


The paradox of the winter solstice is that darkness and light must co-exist in order for us to survive as a species.  There is great equanimity in nature- a balancing act that is beyond our scope of reason.  We cannot live without the necessary rest we find as we sleep and rejuvenate in the darkness and we can not live without the sun's light and energy nourishing and fueling our bodies.  They are co-dependent and intricately intertwined for our well-being and survival. 


And so, as nature so beautifully teaches and models for us- we too are invited in the winter and summer solstice to allow for both the light and dark to co-exist within us.  Not competing with each other as to win or dominate over the other but to allow the paradox of both to teach and set us free.   


Deep calls to Deep.


Where is the sacredness of the darkness of winter inviting you to be set free?  What new transformations await you as you enter more deeply into the universal and personal suffering that is our common bond as fellow humans?  What is being asked of you during this season of rest and restoration as the darkness covers most of your days?  What is the invitation that your soul is inviting you to explore in these cold, winter moments of darkened stillness?



I read this quote by Jim Palmer, Founder of the Center for Non-Religious Spirituality - “ Perhaps today you will be compelled to be still and investigate the parts of yourself you have been hiding in the darkness, and offer them the light of your acknowledgment and acceptance.  The shadow is the greatest teacher for how to come to light.  Let the sun of your resistance stand still for you to explore the root cause of your own suffering, to take on the personal work necessary to heal a deep wound or repair your relationship with yourself.  Consider creating a small ceremony or symbolic act to accompany your new intention and resolve.  Light a candle each day to honor the process of your own rebirth.”


Deep calls to Deep.


Wendell Berry’s poem, To Know the Dark reads…


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 travelled by dark feet

And dark wings.


Deep calls to Deep. Go deeper, fellow so-journers, and be set free to bloom and sing within the darkness.

About the author:

Bev Gorman, Registered Nurse, Health/Relationship/Enneagram Coach / Co-active Coach
Bev: Merging the worlds of healthcare and the Enneagram for holistic personal growth.

Bev, a dedicated Registered Nurse and Certified Health Coach, dives deep into the realm of personality dynamics as a Riso-Hudson Certified Enneagram Teacher, accredited by the Enneagram Institute. Beyond her clinical and coaching expertise, she is a professional member of the International Enneagram Association. With a passion for holistic wellness and understanding the human psyche, Bev combines her diverse skills to offer a unique perspective on health, self-awareness, and personal growth.

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1 Comment

Freda Marie Brown
Freda Marie Brown
Dec 22, 2023

Thank you Bev. Beautifully said. Joy and Peace to you and yours this Christmas Season!

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