As planet Earth spins on its orbit and our northern lands point away from the sun, we experience longer nights and shorter days. We can see that the sun is a little lower in the sky each day, bringing longer shadows and weaker daylight. The trees have shed the last of their leaves and returned their sap to their roots, storing it safely underground until it is needed to fuel next spring’s growth. Seeds have fallen; many animals and insects are hibernating or seeking shelter. Nature is slowing down and resting for the winter.
These few weeks between Samhain-Halloween and the Winter Solstice are the dive into the dark. We live in a dark-averse society where lights are on day and night, the stars are barely visible to most people, and the business of life continues unabated. Yet nature shows us that the dark is something to be welcomed, as a necessary balance to the light and as the source of new life. The daffodil bulbs are already pushing out new roots under the earth and many animals are gestating their young. The winter enables life to grow quietly, unseen, until it is strong enough to emerge into the light of spring.
We forget that we are part of nature and that we can benefit from tuning in to this natural cycle of light and dark. Life needs balance, and we cannot live in the light all the time. This can be a time of creativity, a time to start to dream new ideas and projects. It can be an invitation to enjoy being cosy around the fire, lighting a candle and spending some time ‘being’ rather than doing. Let’s make the most of the gathering dark, for in just a few weeks it will be the Winter Solstice, when the wheel of the year will turn again and the light will start to return.