“Hello, darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again.” The Sound of Silence Simon & Garfunkel 1964-65
This is the darkest part of the year, and the holidays are just humankind’s feeble way of defying it, of laughing in the face of death.Everywhere on this planet during winter, whenever it may be (in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are switched around), for thousands of years, there has been some sort of acknowledgement and/or celebration of the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. An article in Patheos Pagan inspired me to write this blog. When I first got into Wicca, I was so dark-minded that my teacher said it seemed like I wanted to start out with the Crone phase of the Goddess. But I was only 28 then, and it was not yet time. I had yet to go through the Mother phase, which I did at age 35. When you’re having a baby, you’ve got to let at least a little light in. I don’t know of any Goth babies, do you? My daughter is all sunshine and rainbows to me. But at 36, she has acquired a dark side. I don’t know whether it’s from me, or whether she acquired it on her own, just from living in the world we live in.
As I matured, I learned to strike a balance between light and dark. The article I read urged us to spend some time with our shadows. The only problem is that I think my shadow is a Christian. Ugh! A “black Catholic”, as Quazizoid, a former friend, liked to call them. This, I believe, is the Catholicism of the Inquisition, and some of the other more fascistic totalitarian forms of Christianity. Balance is not static; it is never static. You cannot just strike a balance point and let it be; it is dynamic, and answer every little tug in one direction with a tug in the other direction. It requires constant vigilance, like the film, The Constant Gardener. When I was first getting published, our editor had us each write a holiday story. Mine was very dark. It was titled Yule Yelps or The Fattigman Files. It took place in a small town in rural Minnesota, where Heathenism had taken over, and one by one people were becoming werewolves, or wargs, which is what the Scandinavians called werewolves. It also had the Wild Hunt in it, which is a parade of the dead.I wrote a dark story because to me the holidays are a very dark time of year. I usually lack the resources to get people the gifts they would like, and often disappointed by what people give me. I’m never disappointed by what my daughter gives me though. She seems to have this gift for giving. It’s often a memento of some place she’s been during the year. Or it’s a gift card for Amazon.
So this year I’m going to embrace the darkness in my soul. It won’t be a sign of depression, just going inward and exploring the depths of myself. The sign over the door to the ancient Oracle at Delphi said “Know Thyself,” and that’s just what I’m going to do.