The longest night is upon us. For three short days, we have watched the watery sun rise and set in the same place on the horizon, barely skimming the treetops at its highest point, filmed over by hazy clouds. This morning, it was impossible to tell just when the sun had risen, and indeed even though it has been up for half an hour, it’s just as dark as before, with heavy overcast skies letting in only a small amount of light. I lit a candle in my lantern dedicated to Brighid just as the sun rose somewhere behind the clouds, and in Her name I lit my solstice flame. The candle’s flame burns very low, just barely alight as it struggles amidst a pool of wax and an insufficient wick. There is the tiniest amount of light at the tip, with a small blue aura beneath. I look at it even as I type these words, and its struggle portends much to come.
It has been a difficult year for many. Across the Western world, we have been rocked by unprecedented political change. There is not much hope for the future. Political leaders do not have the common good in mind, and greed runs riot. Things have not changed for the better. Across the globe, war, strife and unrest rage, with millions of innocent beings suffering. And there is still more darkness to come.
But even so, we can still take hope that the seasons change, the sun’s light will return. My candle is guttering now, in a valiant effort to stay alight. I have tried to help it, tipping out excess wax, but the wick and wax balance is not favourable. Just as in today’s political, economical and social climate, things do not look in our favour. But still we struggle on. We are a light in the darkness, no matter how small.
Somewhere, behind the clouds, the low sun is rising. We are the sun, we are the earth. We are the wind and the rain. We are the wild beasts and the tame. We are our neighbours and our enemies. We are our deeds. We are our poetry. We are our ancestors. The flame might go out in the physical, but it still shines in our hearts and minds. Where does a flame go when it dies? A flame is always there, simply needing the right conditions to manifest. So too with all of life. We all depend on conditions, yet we all have the flame within, waiting to manifest. The spark of awen, the spark of inspiration. To share this inspiration is at the heart of all that I do, in the hopes that my words inspire others not to give up hope, to remember their connection to each other, to all of nature. The flame that burns within our hearts and minds can never be extinguished. Instead, it kindles a new flame in the hearts and minds of others, and we tend that flame with all that we have, for our future ancestors.
The wick is barely glowing now in my lantern on the windowsill. But the flame of Brighid burns brightly in my heart. Though there is a long darkness ahead of me tonight, and a long darkness for many to come, there is still a light that shines. Even the smallest light shines in the deepest darkness.
And so, I will tend to my flame today. Today, I am a flamekeeper of Brighid. And should that flame go out, I will simply light another, and another, and I shall persist.
Blessings of the winter solstice to you all.
(Originally published today on my blog, Druid Heart, on SageWoman’s channel at Witches and Pagans.)
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I love how you relate Brighid’s flame to what is going on in the world today. Also, I love how there is a hint of Dharma here- with the right conditions….
Thanks, Valla. Solstice blessings to you. x
Thanks Joanna for your words as always. We have a new grandson as of last Fri….what will be the legacy left to him of all the darkness throughout the world today? And yet he is a small scrap of life, full of potential….and other sometimes smelly things😄. To hold such a small scrap of innocent life is to glimpse and take hold of hope itself. The wheel will turn and light and hope will grow….to light your candle in the dark is to demonstrate intentional courage. In our ritual at home this evening, we lit our candles and dispelled the dark….
Blessings, John /I\
Blessings to you, John, and to you new grandson! x
This is lovely and timely, thank you, and Solstice Blessings, from a sister flametender for Brighid. ❤
You’re most welcome, Erin. Blessings to you. x
Lovely words – I very much agree with them.
On another note I had a book bought for my birthday called The Awen Alone 😉
Solstice Blessings, Joanna.
I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for your kind words and support. xoxo
Thank you for sharing your wisdom! Love the way you express yourself in words – it is like poetry!
Thank you so much, Andrea – that’s very kind! Awen blessings. x