Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.

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Tender Light

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

We’re all just walking each other home.

-Ram Dass

                The Winter Solstice is as close to a global festival as we have. For millennia, people all over the world, in radically different environments, have gathered to mark the longest night, and the miracle of the first light of dawn when that night passes. This hunger for light comes up again and again—in legends of miraculous lamps fueled by spirit and faith, of a humble child that brings hope into a time of suffering and oppression, in our longing for renewal and comfort in our darkest times.

                The holiday season offers us many reasons to celebrate, but for so many of us the last few weeks of year—naturally a time for introspection and repose—are weighed down with stress, obligation, grief, and disappointment. We don’t need to dwell on all of these—the clichés about the expense, unsupportive family, and harrowing travel abound. What can we do, those of us for whom the winter holidays bring as much pain as pleasure?

                Strategies for mitigating the damage abound, but the thing that helps me the most is to remember that in all the different celebrations, is a desire to stop and be filled with wonder.  Whether we celebrate the alignment of heavenly bodies, our Ancestors, or the human connections that give our earthly life meaning, this is a time made for compassion, compassion for the vulnerable selves that face the dark months of cold and hunger. And compassion for the growing light itself.

                Because that new light is not just the waxing year, or even the Sacred Child: that light is the renewal we experience in ourselves. No matter how old, or cynical, or how beaten down by grief or suffering we may be, the renewed light of the Winter Solstice reminds us of the tender light that is born in the darkest spaces. And this light, like the Child of Promise, needs tenderness, needs protection from the harsh winds of the world, needs to be nurtured with love and patience. This is a gift for all of us, but only if we can gently hold that potential with care.  As we look to the growing light, we can also hold ourselves and each other with that same abiding tenderness. And perhaps this is ultimately what brings us rebirth, that we must actively care for that tender, new spark that is awakening.  In the dark of the year, we are all children trying to find our way home.

Last modified on
Tagged in: Winter Solstice
Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.

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