The days are getting much shorter here in Ireland, and yesterday saw a lot of wind and rain as the first winter storm – “Abigail” – passed over the country, removing the last of the leaves that were still on the trees. It is no surprise really, since Wednesday was the feast of Saint Martin, the traditional date for the start of winter. That day was once marked with great feasting, as it was the day before the forty day period of preparation for Christmas began. The forty days were a period of slowing down, of reflection and simplification of activity and intake. It seems that our ancestors saw this time as one of rest, letting go, slowing down and getting back to our roots. Nature seems to feel the same way. Maybe we should take a lesson from them and not pay much attention to the advertisements which tell us to speed up, do more, buy more and achieve more:
You may be so influenced by the modern demand to make progress at all costs that you may not appreciate the value in backsliding. Yet, to regress in a certain way is to return to origins, to step back from the battle line of existence, to remember the gods and spirits and elements of nature, including your own pristine nature, the person you were at the beginning. You return to the womb of imagination. You are always being born, always dying to the day to find the restorative waters of night.
The darkness is natural, one of the life processes. It’s a time of waiting and trusting. You have to sit with these things and in due time let them be revealed for what they are. In your dark night you may have a sensation you could call “oceanic” – being in the sea, at sea, or immersed in the waters of the womb. The night sea journey takes you back to your primordial self, not the heroic self that burns out and falls to judgment, but to your original self, yourself as a sea of possibility, your greater and deeper being.
Thomas Moore, Dark Night of the Soul
photo Emőke Dénes