La Loba's Winter Solstice
I’ve been expecting you, because I know you’ve been listening. Listening for quiet mystery, dialing down, down, down below the head, the neck, and even the chest. Down, down, down below your feet and into the ground, down even further still to a womb, where the drum can be heard, loud as ever. A pulse, a rhythm where all things that have died have come to be honored, to live as prayer, and finally-to dance, but that dance is of springtime, a story for the equinox. Today we arrive in the belly.
We watched the leaves go, they’ve come and gone with purpose, embarking from their posts with honor, arriving to the earth in death, turning to the color of rich soil, carrying that same honor all the way into the ground, all the way down to that sound, can you hear the heartbeat?
We’ve seen the animals prepare- yes, the animals knew too, what you know now, that feeling inside your bellies. They gathered family and food, will and fortitude, and then they went away, left, flew, treaded, trotted, and burrowed to their resting spot. If you tilted your ear toward the prairie that knows no city, you might find little noise, perhaps only the sound of a deer stepping softly over snow. Only the lightest on their feet will stir, as if they’re tip toeing through the house at midnight, honoring the quiet, and listening for that heartbeat, beneath the frozen ground.
Following the light of the full moon into the north La Loba the she wolf gathers bones for the altar- bear bones, leaf skeletons, deer antlers. Wise like a grandmother, swift and confident as a crone, and as energetic as a maiden- she is both wolf and woman, silvery moon light and dirt. She is warm and endearing, she is cunning and facetious, a trickster, a witch, a mother a creator- collecting bones. Cultivating all the magic she knows, even, and especially, during this deep quiet.
Then she will bring the bones back into her cave by candlelight and stitch them together with her song. She honors the work they’ve done in this world. She enchants them with the unconditional love of spirit by paying homage to what it means to truly honor what has died, embarking on the final rite of passage by trusting the process of decay and all new life that comes after it. She knows of blooming springs and lush summers, but for now she trusts the mystery in this creaking cold and quiet. She smiles, she dances, knees clicking like her collection of bones, and then she sings magic into their names by fire light, for weeks and weeks, until the light returns as it always does.
Thank you for reading. If my child or my grandchildren asked me what winter solstice was all about, I'd tell them this story. If they asked more questions, I'd tell them the northern hemisphere has been tilting itself ever so slightly away from the sun each day since the fall equinox, making today the longest period of darkness we'll know all year. Today marks the day that the northern hemisphere begins to find its way back toward the sun. And why does any of that hold significance for people, other than the fact that our sleep cycles are searching for some kind of equilibrium?
The way the light leaves as cold comes, sweeping quiet across our once lush home, reminds us there is a time and place for life, brimming and multiplying beneath the sun, just like there's a time for all to slow down, for a deep quiet to accompany the darkness. The seasons will come and go, we can be certain of it. And just as we exist in relationship to the seasons and our planet, we can be sure that all life eventually meets death, like many flowers and the leaves who left their posts in the fall, or the animals who will have slipped away before spring. In slowing down when its dark we hold immense gratitude for the sun and its return. In meeting life and movement during the summer we remember a time when slowing down, wrapping ourselves in blankets, and drinking warm tea was necessary rest. Just like honoring death as a rite of passage illuminates what it means to live fully.
The winter solstice welcomes us to remember where we've come from, and where we're going. It provides us with the comfort of knowing that we're intimately connected with the cycles of nature, time, and space- forces we can depend on for executing balance with intelligent grace. We're met with the understanding that a circle is a perfect technology.