Archive for December 21st, 2009

The darkest time into light…

Posted on December 21, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Health, Musings, Philosophy, Science, Spirituality |

As Solstice day celebrations begin across the planet, I’m reminded that the Solstice is one traditional celebration we all have in common. Although often associated with pagan, or indigenous, or naturist religions, from a scientific standpoint December Solstice is simply the shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere) or the longest (in the southern).

Having said that, the Winter Solstice, in my region, seems to generate a lot of emotional content, as well as religious activity. This year, the solstice occurs today, Monday, December 21st (it can vary, according to which day the North Pole tilts most away from the earth), and Celtic, Druid, and Pagan ceremonies have already commenced. The best-known religious celebration in my region, Christmas Day, takes parts of its rituals from ancient earth celebrations, including the choice of the late December date.

I am engaged in spiritual as well as scientific, cultural, and philosophical inquiry. Although not religious, I respect rituals which connect us to that which we experience as source. I often attend meetings at a non-denominational spiritual center, and one such meeting gave me the idea for this post at this time. On Sunday, the message at the center was about “Twelve Qualities” and “Twelve Gifts”. I think the number “twelve” was meant to coincide with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas“. As I child, I wondered what the “twelve days” were all about. As far as I could tell, there was only one! It seems that in many religious traditions there have been twelve consecutive days of ceremony, lasting into the new year, often ending on December 6th.

I decided to adapt several traditions to my own liking (as I am wont to do) and have used the “Twelve Qualities” and “Twelve Gifts” to launch my own seasonal meditation, with Day One, today, the Solstice day, and ending with the Gregorian Calendar New Year’s Day, January 1st.

Day One: The Quality of Intuition; the Gift of A still, small voice.

The phrase “still, small voice”, also translated as “voice of sheer silence”, is attributed to the original (“Old” or “Hebrew”) testament book of KINGS: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:9-12).

I first became consciously aware of this phrase when I was singing in a chorus rehearsing Mendelssohn’s Elijah. It’s a very powerful choral work, with a lot of chaos and mayhem, and right after the phrase above comes “And in that still voice, onward came the Lord.” That quote was always a tremendous thing for me. In the “still, small voice”, NOT “in a lot of shouting and thumping” (of which a great deal goes on in this piece) but in the “voice of sheer silence” came the Lord. This is also reminiscent of eastern meditation practices, in which one must quiet the mind to receive the gifts of intuition. I see both the “voice” and the “Lord” in the bible quote to be symbolic of our connection with all that is. If we’ll just stop for a New York minute and listen, many of the answers we seek will come naturally to us!

This insight, or mediation, or whatever I may choose to call it has been very helpful to me lately. It’s hard to believe that this is my first post in December, and that the year is waning. Right after I completed two large work projects, I somehow acquired a condition that set the room spinning when I opened my eyes, and made me feel unpleasantly when I looked at or typed on a computer screen. I am better than I was, and I have taken these events as a call to slow down, and listen to “the still small voice”. I am hoping to listen, or read, more of your voices too, as the days go on. I have poked my nose into your blogs and tweets from time to time, but just haven’t spent much time writing at the computer (you know, because of the spinny thing), until now. What a strange and interesting experience it’s been, as if the world is moving faster than I want or am able to. I’m working on “synching” again, and I’m having good luck with that. It seems this time of year requires a slowing down of activity; a time of reflection, and a feeling of relief as the days start to get longer again and contain more light.

Here’s to the Still Time!

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