Black Madonna of Częstochowa, Poland. Photographer unknown.
Today, I had an epiphany. And, like many epiphanies, a million little pieces fell into place, connecting ideas or thoughts or insights that were incomplete separately. Also in the spirit of epiphanies, the conclusion is nothing I could have anticipated…yet, it opens deeper doors into an area I have been studying with my Guides…the area of The Sacred Feminine.
The epiphany began through a post on Facebook which addressed the lunar masculine. I had never considered the masculine aspect of the moon until that moment…and it struck me that, in order to truly understand all that is happening both within and without, it’s important to look at the balance, or imbalance, of the masculine and feminine in each situation. When I did this…took a step back to look at the big picture of this Winter Solstice and Christmas, a pattern emerged which surprised me.
In an earlier post, I discussed the basic traits of the Sacred Masculine and the Sacred Feminine. Here is a quick, updated summary:
||holding space with boundaries
In terms of the yearly cycle, Winter Solstice (either in June or December), is the most feminine time of the year as it is the darkest, slowest, coldest, sometimes dampest, and most contracted day within the 365 days. Nature, leading up to this time of year, is dying away…all that has served its purpose and has completed, ends. Roots grow deeply…sap drops…leaves fall, save evergreens…very little life or color exists once winter comes at Solstice.
My natural desire during this time is to cozy up at home, bake, listen to or create music, sew or do crafts, read books, dream lazily, and spend time with fewer people…my core support group…those I call family. It’s a time when my inclination is to conserve energy…even to hibernate…to nourish the self and go within…to feel emotions…some of which have been hidden for some time…to reflect on where I’ve been, who I am, who I’ve been, and where I’m going. It’s a time I crave emotional intimacy, gentle ambiance, and wonder. It’s a time of creation and collaboration…it’s a time of love.
When I was younger, Winter Solstice came in June…during my break from school. I indulged in my freedom from responsibilities and obligations by lying around the fire with my kitties, reading books, hanging out with my friends, baking new recipes with my sister, and occasionally traveling with my family and other families. It was a restful, rejuvenating time…exactly what I needed. Then, as the trees started budding and the earth sprang to life again, it was time for school to start…and I was ready.
December, then, was the beginning of Summer, hosting the longest daylight day of the year…lots of heat…dryness…outwardly focused energy…lots of activity. We had parties we hosted and attended, musical programs we created and performed, and plenty of shopping and gift giving. I always felt energized and happy and accomplished. My mom, however, often commented that something was missing…that the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season just wasn’t what it should be…she just didn’t know what it was.
When we moved “home” to the Northern Hemisphere my family struggled to adjust in a myriad of ways. Twenty years later, I still smack into adjustments…odd adjustments such as noticing that water goes down the drain in a different direction, or that sometimes when I’m driving I have to pull over because I suddenly can’t remember which side I’m supposed to be on…or the dissonance of Christmas with Winter Solstice.
In the Northern Hemisphere, rarely is society in harmony with nature…in fact, much of it seems to go against nature…creating harshness and dissonances…and inner violence. Only a few subcultures notice and honor the waxing and waning of the moon with rituals…only a few cultures recognize the sacredness of the rhythm of a woman’s cycle, yet the work-force wouldn’t support taking time off each month to honor this rhythm…only a few cultures celebrate and honor the changing of the seasons with rituals recognizing the wisdom of Gaia…very few people understand that what nourishes the body in each season depends on what grows during that season…or that there are only two times in the year when detoxing and cleansing supports wellness. Instead, people just push through their schedules, only taking breaks when the school schedule allows it, or when they can get time off approved from work based on business fluctuations, or when illness requires it.
So, I suppose it’s not surprising that in the Northern Hemisphere most people seem to forget that Winter is supposed to last for three months…that Christmas is not at the peak of Winter…that it isn’t necessarily “the most wonderful time of year,” unless one particularly revels in darkness and cold. Winter, like Summer, is an extreme…which means something is out of balance. And in the Northern Hemisphere, the extreme means the feminine is strongest…meaning that the masculine is weakest. And, because the Northern Hemisphere tends to value masculine significantly more than the feminine, there is a reaction and a push-back.
For example, lights are put up everywhere in order to push the darkness back; stores are open late to encourage people to stay out of their homes and spend money to acquire things; a multitude of parties are planned and hosted, and concerts and events fill the calender…once again, expending energy and encouraging an outward focus; the trend of buying and giving of gifts causes masses of people to panic because they feel a lack and an urge to fill that lack by pursuing and desiring. There is very little time to simply be…to dream…to go within…to experience the darkness…the vastness…the void of creation…to fully connect with the Sacred Feminine in her pure essence.
While this pattern worked well for me as a child, the constant outward focus and energy and lights, I also was experiencing the height of the Sacred Masculine in the Summer Solstice…the other extreme, and the least feminine time of year. This is also why my mother felt an emptiness. She was used to a more emotional center around Christmas…experiencing the Sacred Feminine…because she grew up in the Northern Hemisphere, in the snow and cold and dark.
While none of these societal habits and expressions around Christmas is explicitly “bad” (although the extreme marketing and commercialism does feel violating to me), it’s important to recognize that they are energetically masculine…at a potentially heightened feminine time. It’s also important to recognize that if I’m living in the Northern Hemisphere and experiencing Winter Solstice and Christmas, the more fervently I throw myself into these masculine activities and mindsets, the more exhausted and out of balance I will feel.
To find balance in this extreme time is to yield and surrender to the flow of Winter Solstice…the darkness…the void…the emptiness. It’s a cycle…just like everything else in the natural world of this dimension. It won’t last forever…it’s a fleeting moment of movement and change, and if I don’t slow down enough to feel and notice my inner pulsing, I’ll miss the opportunity for a profound blessing…allowing the masculine to die within…just as it does in nature.
Once I let go of the masculine, I can feel the fullness of the Sacred Feminine in Her purest essence…just for a short period of time…4-5 days. As I explore that feminine part of my essence, I learn new ways to express her clearly, subtly, powerfully, collaboratively in my daily life. I discover the softer expressions and celebrations She offers me at this time, resulting in altering self-expression, personal rhythms, family patterns, traditions, and expectations so that there is more harmony with both nature and the quiet invitations from within.
Then, as Christmas morning awakens, the Sacred Masculine is birthed within anew…transforming the inner feminine in the process…yielding a greater, deeper, and more evolved masculine potential…beginning the slow ascent to balance.
And so it is.