THESE LONG NIGHTS OF DARKNESS
We humans are a people of Light and of Darkness.
The Dark of night and the Light of the day. From Genesis: “The earth was a formless void and Darkness covered the face of the deep….God called the Light Day, and the Darkness God called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day…And God saw that it was good”
We are lucky here in New Mexico that the air is clear and we can see the stars, planets and the moon on most nights. We can wonder at this amazing universe, the infinite space that is out there… It is fun to try and find the constellations – which remind us of our world which has been around for more than 4.5 billion years by some reckoning. After all, our ancestors talked about and observed the same constellations as we do today.
In many ancient and modern beliefs, darkness is part of a ritual of self-discovery. Darkness is a place of looking inward, developing self-knowledge, finding answers without the distractions of the day. The Native American Vision Quest. Jonah in the belly of the whale. In the Rig Veda, Night personified and viewed as a comforting and welcoming presence. The Prophet Daniel’s night vision. Jacob wrestling with the Angel.
People have always known the blessings of Darkness. The Celts celebrate Samhain as the time of the descent into Darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge. With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season.
For farmers, winter is a time to repair vehicles and equipment to get ready for planting in the spring. When I had horses it was a time to oil the saddles and other tack. Gardeners clean tools, prune trees, and dream and plan for next summer’s garden. And in the chilly weather, we cook and bake without worrying about over-heating the house.
We need Darkness to sleep peacefully and long, in order to preserve our health, both mental and physical.
And so I encourage you when it gets dark in the evening or when you wake up in the morning and it is still dark, to look out at the sky and give thanks for the Darkness. Immerse yourself in the Darkness and find peace and comfort there. And possibly a Revelation.
Thanks be to God.
Mary Stuart for the COGS Retreat Team
January 11, 2021