Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Solstice Wonder: Snow Falling

“They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could 
the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we 
ever recover from the wonder of it?”
~ Jeanette Winterson, The Passion

The world we live in is a vibrant kaleidoscope of magic and science, for science is magic that has been placed in boxes; a deconstruction of wonder. It is this place of wonder my spirituality has found me, breaking down those walls of distinction to simply be moved by the beauty of… everything. There are days when I feel like I see the whole world for what it is for perhaps the first time.
Winter is coming to the land that I live on, to the city that I live in. In America, Solstice marks the beginning of our coldest days, which for those of us in the Northeast, usually means snow. It’s an excuse to snuggle down with loved ones and nest in blankets in the shelter of our homes. It’s a reason to pull into ourselves and reflect on what we have gratitude for, and what is important to us.
I also find snow to be quite beautiful.
There is breathtaking wonder in falling snowflakes, in the filigree of crystalline symmetry, as the little frozen worlds slide in to meet each other and catch on edges; each snowflake a delicate crystal. How amazing it is that they fall into each other, hugging and holding on to create something solid and larger than itself. Under a blanket of white, the sleeping earth becomes encased in diamonds of ice.
The sunbeams fall on snow, momentarily blinding our vision and we must reach into other senses. The dancing light flits across the surface of earth, refracting and sharpening in the cold chill of breath. And we smell winter, freezing against our mucus membranes. And we taste winter in the icy cold within our lungs. And every bare particle of flesh feels itself retracting against the frosted air. That is what it means to be alive in snow-drenched winter time. When the sun shines it’s brilliance we forget the cold, if just for a moment, and bask like lizards in the reflective gaze.
On Solstice night, we sit through the longest dark of the year. We’ve watched the days get shorter and we’ve been turning our porch lights on before making dinner. We’ve stood in bursts of sunshine and soaked up the solar vitamins in preparation. Winter may just be beginning, but with its start comes the promise of lengthening days. The air is cold but the sun is warm, a hope that shines through the intruding chill.
            Yet even as I anxiously await the first flurry of snowfall, I see the pattern of the worlds and know that as the darkness retreats, snowmelt will warm with the early spring breezes. It will sink into and feed the ground below us which, in turn, will nourish seedlings so that they might flourish in our gardens. Then plants and flowers will grow in warmer sunlight, to nourish our hearts and bodies.
            All this is wonder, beheld in the beauty of a single snowflake.
            On the longest night, we greet this turning. We greet this movement forward, into a new spring, a breath of freshness in an age-old pattern. What appears to be a never ending circle when viewed from above, is an ever-winding spiral, a journey circling around and moving upward with each turn when seen sideways. It’s a pattern we know, which is how I know that on winter nights, when the moonlight is strong, the fallen snow will shimmer with the reflection of the sky above us. The earth we trod will be awash with fields of glittering stars.
            That starlight lives within us, a spark of ancestral matter. And it is this gift I reflect on most. All the light I need lives within me. All the hope I need is in me. Every day, I hold fast to this truth and let it illuminate my darkness, and hope that someday, others will see their own source-light, too.

            “Your first parent was a star.”
             ~ Jeanette Winterson, Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles

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