Darkness, Without the Champagne

It’s that time of the year many of us have been dreading. It’s still dark and in many places, cold. And no holiday parties. The joy and warmth of Yule is over. I come home from work at 6:30 and it has already been dark for an hour and a half and I feel ready for bed. As a child, I didn’t like January: back to school and a long way to go until our next break. And yet, as an adult, I’ve learned that it has its own special beauty and significance. Once I took the Yule decorations down this past weekend, I actually felt refreshed, in a minimalist sort of way. Pared down. Simplified.

Simplicity has been quite a trend in the last 10 years, no doubt a response to the fact that complexity has reached a bit of a tipping point in most of our lives. We are seemingly at our limit in terms of our ability to handle more choices, more tasks, more expectations, more connectivity, more information, more entertainment options, more things vying for our attention. All this comes to us in the face of less time, fewer job opportunities, less money (more debt) and greater stress. The stress on our systems is legendary. So it is a constant struggle to stay balanced and grounded, but still spiritual in these times of complexity and hardship.

January (in the Northern Hemisphere, July in the Southern), teaches us about simplicity, rest and renewal. The trees are often bare, the nights are still long, the shopping is over the silent cold is still with us. We are still turned inwards, but without the extroverted indulgences of the holidays. And so it is a perfect time for renewal.

As Candlemas (Imbolc) approaches, remember the image of the candle. It burns as a simple sentinel to the return of the sun, and as a reminder to keep our inner spiritual flame alive. The colors of Candlemas are the same as Valentine’s Day: Red and White. Burn a red candle as a reminder of the heat of summer, and of the passion of your spiritual practice, whatever that may be. Burn a white candle for renewal and purification. And keep it simple.

And hang on. For most of us, within the week, we should feel the days lengthening, if we haven’t already. And we may actually feel Spring knocking on the door.

Bright Blessings of Winter,

Lord Peregrine