Winter Solstice – Beauty in the Darkness

Winter Solstice - Beauty in the Darkness 1

Milioni di Orvs ~ “Millions of Orbs”
© photo by Shannon Taggart, Sardinia 2015

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
~ Albert Camus ~

The small mediumship circle that I sit with recently had some development with the two trumpets that are a regular part of the sitting. We always align them with specific positions where they rest on the floor, in a way that shows a particular point on them faces direct North. This is to associate them with the glass dome that rests on a table in the center of the circle, and which holds 5 “Herkimer Diamond” quartz crystals, four of which are aligned in a North/South/East/West configuration, while the larger, center crystal is aligned with North/South. Although the trumpets have slightly moved before in the quirky ways that Spirit likes to do, they have remained stationary for many months. And lo! After the lights came on at the end of our last sitting, we were startled to see that the trumpets had not only moved several inches away from their positions, but each had rotated a perfect 45 degrees so that they were now precisely facing East. Perceived more closely, their movement actually outlines a small and gentle spiral. We have mused about this action for several weeks now, wondering if this was some kind of message. My ponderings led me to a long-forgotten reminiscence, which then led to this writing … so perhaps this was our Spirit Team’s intention all along. Or at least part of it, for another message always there is that Spirit moves in mysterious ways

I found myself immersed in one of my most cherished memories of childhood Christmases—that of my grandmother playing and singing “Star of The East” on the timeworn upright piano in her parlor. I was likely no more than five years old. The fragrant scotch pine in the corner was alight with large, old-fashioned bulbs, and wrapped in many narrow garlands of silver tinsel that was made from actual tin. It was also encircled by strings of popcorn and cranberries some of my cousins had made for it. Resting peacefully on top of the piano was a tiny cardboard village of houses and a church with snow-capped roofs, illuminated by tiny lights inside.

A medium herself—albeit a timid, reluctant one—my Grandma was completely untrained and couldn’t read music, yet somehow just knew how to play the piano with great accomplishment. She never had a voice lesson in her life either, but still sang with complete abandon to the spirit of the song. I had never seen or heard this side of her before, and became completely entranced by Spirit as she sang.

This shortbut enchanting video of a Mennonite family singing it at their kitchen table comes close to capturing the sense of Spirit moving through voices raised in song.

Star of the East, Oh Bethlehem’s star,
Guiding us on to Heaven afar!
Sorrow and grief and lull’d by thy light,
Thou hope of each mortal, in death’s lonely night!Fearless and tranquil, we look up to Thee!
Knowing thou beam’st thro’ eternity!
Help us to follow where Thou still dost guide,
Pilgrims of Earth so wide.Star of the East, un-dim’d by each cloud,
What tho’ the storms of grief gather loud?
Faithful and pure thy rays beam to save,
Still bright o’er the cradle, and bright o’er the grave!
Smiles of a Saviour are mirror’d in Thee!
Glimpses of Heav’n in thy light we see!
Guide us still onward to that blessed shore,
After earth’s toil is o’er!Star of the East, thou hope of the soul,
While round us here the dark billows roll,
Lead us from sin to glory afar,
Thou star of the East, thou sweet Bethlehem’s star.Oh star that leads to God above!
Whose rays are peace and joy and love!
Watch o’er us still till life hath ceased,
Beam on, bright star, sweet Bethlehem star!

~ Lyricist George Cooper, 1890. Music Amanda Kennedy, 1883. ~

There has been an unprecedented amount of fear on this planet for quite some time, especially this past year. This hymn soothes us with the promise that the storms of grief cannot dim the promise of the Star of the East, and that we can rest assured that our fears will fade and our hearts return to the true tranquility that is the birthright of each and every person on this planet.

Purposely focusing our consciousness into an increasing mindless circling of fearful thinking will intensify the mindlessness and the fear, a downward spiraling that takes us further and further away from the light of pure, unafraid consciousness. This descent into mental darkness is not only unnecessary, it is a denial of the Light, which is All There Is. “Darkness” is but a misperception caused by certain beliefs that become the veils we place or allow to be placed over our spiritual vision. Because we think we cannot see anymore, we decide that we are “lost.”

And because we have also decided that we are powerless—another belief of misperception—we allow ourselves to be pulled further into the mindless darkness until we hit a kind of bottom, where we black out in some psychospiritual way. “Psychospiritual” means inwardly and privately experienced, but not necessarily outwardly, physically observable. The misperception, a “mis-seeing” has often been referred to as “sin”—a word whose roots mean “missing the target.” Not just missing the bull’s-eye, but missing the entire target altogether. Of course, how could we aim our intentions of good, for a life of well-being, if we cannot see because of the veils we have allowed to fall over our spiritual eyes? The center of the target is none other than our Self, and is our direct awareness of Self-Divinity. Not being able to connect with the center of our self-intention also increases the sensations of helplessness and hopelessness. The joy of being Centered seems lost forever. We then begin to tell this story of darkness over and over until it becomes etched into our brain, like the grooves of a vinyl record, or the magnetic impressions on a computer disc, and our story of everlasting life has now been turned into one that includes the belief in an inevitable darkness and death.

Ancient people drew a correlation between this inner, psychospiritual descent into darkness and their outer material experience of our planet’s seeming withdrawal from the light, culminating in the winter’s solstice. They also noticed that this shortest day of the year—the “bottom”—did not go on forever but then began to become illuminated once again by the Sun’s return. The Sun had never actually abandoned them; it had been there all the time. But because of their seemingly stationary position on a seemingly unmoving Earth, it only appeared as if the Light had deserted them. They had mistakenly placed the evidence of their physical experience over the evidence of their spiritual understanding, forgetting that the Light is always there, always available. The joy of living had become the worry of uncertainty and the fear of death. All along, there was beauty in the darkness.

Certain wise souls amongst these ancient people saw how quickly we can forget about the Light by our increasingly paying attention to, or focusing on, the contrasting play of light as it differentiates our world of forms, which we label as “shadows” and “darkness.” When it seems like a situation becomes “less light” most people somehow quickly forgot that this doesn’t mean the light is going away. It wasn’t so long ago when people even became anxious when watching the sun leave them over the western horizon. Indeed, in some cultures, it is still said that a person “goes West” when they transition and relocate via the darkest shadow known as “death.”

The ancient wise ones redirected everyone’s attention by pointing outward and up, toward the horizon that was also always there before them. And lo! There appeared a Star in the East, which had been rising all that time right behind them, but they had been too focused on watching the sun apparently abandoning them in the West. This star was also referred to as “the Christ within us”—or in other words, The Forever-Risen Light, or “the nonexistence of darkness.”

As with all spiritual words that attempt to articulate non-verbal spiritual truths, the word “Christ” is complex and meant to convey a particular emotional energy that vibrates at a certain level. It is vibration that conveys information to us not only through our physical senses which interpret and manifest form, but also through our spiritual senses which manifest that which is beyond form—but not separated from—the fullness of our individual experience of Life.

“Christ” is a Greek word that means “The Anointed One.” Anointing is a symbolic physical act of placing a little oil on someone’s forehead, where the seat of consciousness was sometimes believed to reside. The Greeks knew all about oil, especially that pressed from olives. The olives had to be crushed in a labor-intensive procedure, and even then, the result was still a bitter liquid, clouded by unwanted substances and contaminates, which then had to be filtered out through even more rigorous labor. Who wouldn’t be clouded by such bitterness after getting crushed by something seemingly more powerful than us, and against our will? Who wouldn’t most likely resist allowing that higher power to continue to mess around with us, filtering our lives through ever-more refining life circumstances? Surrender my bitterness? No way! Everyone knows, or should know, that life is nothing but a bitter bowl of olives.

The good news that the wise ones might want to convey about anointing is that we don’t have to go through a life-crushing process in order to find relief. The pure oil—sweet, clear, and never bitter—has already been prepared. In fact, it was always pure to begin with. No matter how often we forget this, if we can find a way to remember it, which is letting ourselves be touched or anointed by the purest of thoughts and feelings, the living of life will become sweet once again.

Material, earthly life often distracts us from the light and sweetness of our spiritual existence. The sun, the moon, and the stars are there to help us remember this. Let us set our intention to remember to look outward and upward at least twice a day—once in the morning and again at night. Know that even as we appear to be falling asleep, we are also waking up. The afterlife is not something that is going to happen—it is happening now. When we can live more and more in the mindful awareness that our story is one of never-ending awakening, we will become anointed by the ecstasy of our own spirit, enjoined with The Cosmos, never to be separated unless that is what we might want. And if that should be the case, may we rest in the knowing that there will always be kind and watchful Helpers in Spirit, awaiting for us to give them a sign that we are ready to wake up at any time.

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