Today, December 21, is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice is when we experience the shortest period of daylight. I like to remind myself that it means each day afterwards we'll have a little more light than the day before. However, it's also important to honor the darkness, which is part of the normal rhythm of life.
This year is special because Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer to each other today than they have been since the Middle Ages (since the year 1226 to be exact). Across the U.S., if you gaze into the southwestern horizon at the right time (early tonight), the two gas giants will look like neighboring points of light, weather permitting. Such a close conjunction won't happen again until March 15, 2080.
Winter is a great time to turn inward, spend time in silence, and nourish your inner light. Today, I invite you to join me in a moment of silence - whether it's two hours or 5 minutes, the duration doesn't matter as much as the intention.
In my moment of silence today, I will honor and grieve the lives that were lost this year to COVID19 (over 300,000 in the U.S., and more than 1.6 million people worldwide). I'll also recognize that which I personally lost or missed out on this year, and acknowledge all of the wonderful things and people I have in my life.
I'll leave you today with two things:
1) This Zen saying which brings me a sense of peace even in the chaos, "Each and every place is complete truth."
2) This poem from Rilke, "Darkness"
You darkness from whom I am born --
I love you more than all the fires
that block out the night;
for the fire limits the world
to the circle it lights up
and excludes all the rest.
But the darkness holds everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
peoples and nations - just as they are.
It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.
I believe in the darkness.