Reblog: The Winter Solstice – No Birth, No Death

This is a reblog from my site, Druidheart, at SageWoman’s channel on Witches and Pagans. To read the whole post, click HERE.

With the Winter Solstice approaching, and in the cold dark months of the year, we have an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the deeper parts of our existence, those shadowy elements that seem to fade away so easily in the heat of the midday sun, those thoughts that require darkness and the teaching that it can bring. Thoughts such as life and death, darkness and light and the cyclical nature of existence are all excellent themes to meditate on at this time of year, with a natural introspective element to this season allowing us to perhaps go further, deeper than we could or would in the warmer, more outwardly focusing half of the year.

This season, with the increasing darkness and the lack of light here in the UK brings more sharply into focus thoughts of death and dying. It is often said in Western Paganism that the Sun God dies at Samhain and is reborn at Yule, when the days begin to lengthen and the light in our lives is increased. However, lately my thoughts have abandoned the concept of death, as well as birth, into a more Zen-like “No Birth, No Death” frame of mind.

Having meditated on this for a couple of months now, and seeing it reflected in nature around me, as a Druid this is how I internalise the teachings. For me, nature is the greatest teacher. I look to no other authority other than nature. It is the core of my religion, the core of my being. Having looked deeply into the nature of death and dying, of birth and living the concept of no death, no birth makes a lot more sense to me right now. Let me explain…

To read the full post, click HERE.

8 thoughts on “Reblog: The Winter Solstice – No Birth, No Death

  1. This is what I believe. It has caused me to want a green burial ever so much. I would actually prefer being exposed to the elements but that’s probaly not going to happen. I love how you articulate the nature of death and dying, birth and living as a change in manifestation. I’m happy to read this, affirming my own beliefs. It gives me comfort knowing others support my views. I would love to buried at my farm, next to my horses and dogs and cats. It it’s so annoying that in the Iocation I live in you need special permits which I totally understand but also a licensed funeral director and an exspensive cost. It’s sad that unless you can afford having a funeral director coming to your burial, the least amount of financial burden is with an environmentally unfriendly cremation. I would rather be compost than ashes for that reason. I picture a baby oak, taken from a hiking trail that’s endangered of being tromped upon by heavy hiking boots being placed lovingly on my final resting spot to be given a chance to manifest in its own right. My family knows, please call the local back hoe man to dig a place and try. I am very far from any green cemeteries. I also don’t want to be handled by strangers nor go to a funeral home. I just want to be left alone, with people that loved me.

    Back to your very wonderful thoughtful article, I have recently lost my dad and sister and I do see them still here and LOVED how you wrote of the loss of their form and their manifestation into a different form and how they are still here and always will be. And the cycical nature of life and death.
    Hi Dad, Hi Sis. And mom and grandparents. I love you! Hi beloved animal friends. I love you too. And, you ancestors to come, I send you love. And as we breath and eat each other’s atoms I send you love and were right on again’ MAY WE BE PEACEk
    Thank you Jo Anna. Much comfort was given.

    • Hi HM,

      I’m so pleased that my words touched you, and that you were able to find a shared perspective with me on these thoughts of life, death and dying. I too would like to be buried in my own backyard, however we have a green burial ground about 15 miles away, so I feel that I should support that, even though it’s not in “my patch”, so to speak. x

  2. Hi Joanna, would you please remove the K and add the word you in the last sentence before the word were. Thank you. If you can’t its okay. I was really touched emotionally by this. I dreamt of my dad last night. Trying to set up a dinner date. Talking to him about his returning home and getting the plumber to come un drain his house that I just drained. He still lives everywhere. My husband recently subscribed to XM radio and I downloaded an app so I could listen on my iPad and I,picked the folk channel and the first song that,was playing was my dads favorite which we played often while he was dying’. Thank you for your most excellent post again. You are truly gifted with how you articulate.

  3. Very wise words. The challenge to those traditions that revere/worship/deify the light and fear/dismiss/demonise the dark is to accept that without the balance, without the experience of the darkness, without having known its embrace then there can be no real appreciation of the light in its time and in its turn. When I was working at the large Boston, MA church as Worship Administrator it was decided that the staff should take turns doing meditations before staff meetings. I wanted to get it over with so I did mine on the Winter Solstice. And I talked about the very thing. Everyone of my colleagues, clergy included, came up to me and commented how much they appreciated what I said. I was surprised. But, most had not thought of the value of the dark, not as a perceived spiritual evil, but as real spiritual good.

    Your words about not death – not birth resonate, but I have a slightly different understanding of how all that works. And there is the reality that the hard deaths are those where there is no finality – temporally, metaphysically, ritually — thinking here where relationships end, friendships end, partnerships end — when one or both parties go on living in their current manifestations pretending the other no longer exists. So there are deaths, but they exist in the full context of ongoing life and lives. Even when there is release it is of a different quality and magnitude. Winter ponderings.

    I cherish and value the opportunities winter affords me to sink deep into my self and soul. To turn inward in the candlelight and to wander and wonder. The way into and out of the solstice experience as its most profound is a journey, to be prepared for and to emerge from with reverence and respect.

    • Hi Aurora – thanks for commenting. I’m not so sure that there are even deaths in relationships, for we are all existing, all manifesting together on this earth. We can try to ignore the other person, but we are all a part of each other, no matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise. In Zen, Thich Nhat Hanh calls this Inter-Being, and I shall be writing a post about it soon, as it correlates to my practice and vision of Druidry beautifully. Big love. xoxo

      • Maybe it just feels like that at times, but perhaps not.

        My first husband whom I never saw after we divorced did not feel like he was ‘gone’ until he died seven years later. I do feel the ‘part of each other’ with friends who are no longer actively a part of my life. Am sure this causes problems for those who do not deal with with endings/closure/dramatic shifts in the presentness/presence of the other person in whatever sort of relationship. Look forward to this upcoming post. How is Thich Nhat Hanh doing by the way? As always good words,Jo. Many thanks. xox

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