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Blessed Dark and Glorious Light

In my Reclaiming Witch Tradition we have just marked the Solstice, Summer in the Northern Hemisphere where I live, and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It is now the time when the North turns back toward the sacred dark, and the South toward the sacred light. This cycle in the Earth's annual journey around the Sun gives each hemisphere an opportunity to revel in long days and short nights - a chance to play in the Sun, and see clearly what world work needs to be done by the bright light of day. It gives each hemisphere an opportunity to reflect in long nights and short days - a chance to slow down and "cozy in" and mend and repair and heal. 

Last December shortly after the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, I came across a poem by one of my favorite Reclaiming Witch poets/writers, Gerri Ravyn Stanfield, called “bold dark hymn” that made me begin to rethink my own use of the language of “light” and “dark.”  It made me begin to examine my own use of image and metaphor through the perspective of what has been going on in my country, The USA, as we continue to struggle with the legacy of slavery and the continued violence of racism.  This link will take you to the poem on her blog  

This week, soon after the Summer Solstice I finished reading "Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community" edited by Crystal Blanton, Taylor Ellwood and Brandy Williams  As a white person often blind to my own prejudices, unconscious stereotyping, and white privilege, I appreciated the wisdom of this book.  It begins with a section featuring the voices of Pagans of color sharing their experiences of racism in various Pagan communities, then moves to the second section briefly exploring racism in Pagan history and mythology, and ends with the third section giving advice to white allies, from both people of color and other white allies (to paraphrase the Introduction). 

As the Wheel of the Year continues to turn, blessings on all folk willing to work to change the blatant and subtle forms of racism in all spiritual and religious traditions.  Blessings on all folk willing to work to change the blatant and subtle systemic and institutional racism in the country in which I live.  

May indeed the arc of the moral universe spiral toward racial justice on our planet.

So blessings on us all this Solstice Season, whether we are moving toward the blessed dark or moving toward the glorious light.

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Lizann Bassham was both an active Reclaiming Witch and an Ordained Christian Minister in the United Church of Christ. She served as Campus Pastor at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley working with a multi-faith student community. She was a columnist for SageWoman magazine, a novelist, playwright, and musician. Once, quite by accident, she won a salsa dance contest in East L.A. Lizann died on May 27, 2018.


  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 28 June 2015

    This is very timely, Lizann. How safe we've been all our lives, just by being born White!

    Whenever we ask for morphine in an ER to ease my wife's terrible pain, or tell a policeman at the scene of an accident that we can't answer all his questions right now because we need to accompany our family member in the ambulance, they always help us. When identical requests are made by the lovely Mexican lady who cleans our apartment and is a Certified Caregiver, they suspect her of being a drug addict - or they throw her in the back of the cop car for talking back to an officer. People of color have had to put up with this all their lives! What are we complaining about, I sometimes wonder.

    Gerri Stanfield's poem is wonderful.

  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Monday, 06 July 2015

    Hi Ted - Yes, the disparity in treatment is crazy - may those of us who now have the privilege, leverage that privilege toward change!

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