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Now it is time to honour a great mystery: of the seeded darkness and of the beauty of light reborn.
At this time of year, the sun which has warmed and lighted us through the turning seasons seems to stand still for several days.
This is the time of greatest darkness, but also the time of greatest hope: the time when we have the opportunity to be the most fertile in the depths of our soul.
In darkness is seeded the new.
And in the still depths, we know that the inner sun will rise again in our hearts. The Young One, the Mabon, Christ, Mithras, Horus, Arthur, Taliesin, will be reborn.

The ancients knew this solstice time as the end and beginning of the year, and waited in their stone circles and forest groves for the first light of the newborn sun, the promise of the new year to come. They recognized at this time the power of patience and the wisdom of the world beneath the turning stars, the lessons woven by countless seasons into bone and sinew and sense; they gazed with wonder on the pale Sun and the cold Earth as they awaited the sun’s rebirth*.

And as we too open to this moment, we can sense ourselves before a hill that rises up from the Earth like the belly of a Goddess, her outline just discernible against the night sky.

And we can ask ourselves:

 “How can I stand between the Known and the Not Known? On this Threshold of a New Year?”

Imagine the time has arrived – for you and for all humanity. The ending of a cycle.

The close of an era as we come to an awareness of all that we have done to this Earth that we love – that is our home.

And we know the cycle is ending, and we know we cannot know the future.

But we live in hope, and we know the wheel turns, and we trust in the power of the harvest – and in its goodness.

And you sense yourself walking up that hill in the darkness before dawn.

And you are taking all of your life with you, summed up, brought with you to the summit.

For you – at this time – to unfold the wrapped gift you have been carrying: the sum-total of all that you have learned on Earth, and perhaps through all your lives: those lifetimes in Africa, India, Europe, The Americas, wherever you have been – all that you have learnt, opening to you now at this harvest time of all our lives, of all humanity. This time of now.

And you reach the summit of the hill with the promise of dawn in the sky above you and before you.

And you kneel upon the ground to reverence the Earth, bending forward to feel the Earth with the palms of your hands, touching the ground with your brow.

And then seated upon the Earth you become aware that there are others who have gathered here too. One by one they arrive from every direction, to be standing and to be seated here. On the side of this hill awaiting the dawn.

And there are those who arrive who are not of the world that we know. There are the ancestors: the weathered faces of those who have gone before us, who stand as witnesses to the legacy of humankind that encompasses such beauty and such sorrow.

And there are beings present here whose nature is so mysterious we may never know their origins. They are creatures of wind and fire, of the rushing stream, of tree and flower, of rock and hillside. They are creatures of the Sidhe: the wild folk, the faery folk, the elemental powers of Mother Earth in their myriad forms of strength and consciousness and beauty. Here, present, on this Midwinter’s Eve.

And you pause in the stillness of this moment. All of your being, all of your awareness held in this moment.

And you can feel the Earth turning, turning towards the sun as a lover turns towards the beloved, and the first ray of sunlight appears over the horizon and strikes straight into your heart. Flooding it with light and warmth.

Gradually you feel that light and warmth spreading over your face, your body, as the sun rises before you.

The light and warmth flows into you, encouraging every seed in your soul to break open to the light. You feel filled with strength, filled with hope, filled with love and clarity.

You kneel down and touch the earth again with the palms of your hands, sensing your love for the Earth. And you ask for a blessing on the land, a blessing on your life, a blessing on all life.

You lift up your hands and hold them to your heart…

And then you make your way down the hillside until you find yourself aware once again of being here in this place. Fully present. Here and now.

May the long time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.

*With thanks to John Michael Greer of the AODA for this paragraph!