Into the Dark of the Dark

The Earth has turned it’s face from the Sun, and the Moon has turned its face from us.  It is a rare convergence, the dark of the Year coinciding with the dark of the Moon, but in the Northern Hemisphere this is our experience as the Winter Solstice aligns with the New Moon.   The darkest night, made all the darker with no Moon to shine.

The dark of course, has two faces.  In the closing lines of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, Dylan Thomas writes of himself as a young boy saying his prayers at the end of Christmas Day, “I said some words to the close and holy darkness.”   This may be my favorite line from the entire story.  It is such a moving sentiment.  So often I have loved the holy embrace of the dark, that mysterious void in which one feels intimately connected to the Divine Source, in which magick is conceived. But there is the other face of the dark, the free fall into the abyss, in which there is no embrace and all hope seems lost.

Some people live with chronic physical pain.  Some live with chronic emotional pain.  Some live with both.   My heart goes out to them all. While I count myself fortunate that I live with only the chronic emotional pain, it is still a hard truth.  My daily universe is punctuated with multiple black holes of hurt.

So it is another interesting convergence that in this season of dark speaking unto dark, I have experienced another deep wound. There are those moments that one feels utterly betrayed by the Universe, that just the simple desire to be loved is denied one. Those moments when not only the light of the Sun and the light of the Moon are gone, but even the star shine has been torn from the sky. Those moments when the void is devoid of mystery, and there is no heart in the darkness.  

Too many times in my life I have been brought to identify with the poignant message of  the song “For Vincent”, by Don McLean.  Paraphrasing its central line, “This world was never meant for one as gentle as you.” As gently as I seek to touch others, too often I have been roughly handled.  So many dark nights.

Though, bringing to mind words from my invocation of the Sacred Directions that I’ve shared before, North, the direction whose energy we are now immersed in, is the direction that challenges us – and through that challenge instills Faith:
~ Faith that the light will return after the dark.
~ Faith that warmth will return after the cold.
~ Faith that life will return after death.

One of the great mysteries of the cyclic nature of the phases of the Moon, of the seasons of the Year, of the flow of the Universe, is the simultaneity of endings and beginnings.  The moment that one cycle ends is the same moment that another cycle begins. The solstice is at once the point in our orbit that we face the furthest away from the light and the point at which we turn back to the light. The dark of the moon is the cusp between its waning and its waxing.

The interesting thing is that the physical cycle cannot be disrupted. The light simply will not return until the lowest point and utter darkness has been reached.  In some cases, the same may be said for the emotional cycle.  As has been said, “The only way past the pain is through the pain”.   So, if one finds oneself being sucked into the abyss of a black hole, sometimes, rather than finessing one’s way out of it, the best thing to do is plunge in, and allow it to shred you apart.  Eckhart Tolle said it best:

Suffering drives you deeper. The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego–but not until you suffer consciously…. Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego….

As long as you resist suffering, it is a slow process because the resistance creates more ego to burn up. When you accept suffering, however, there is an acceleration of that process which is brought about by the fact that you suffer consciously…. In the midst of conscious suffering there is already the transmutation. The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.

Marilynne Robinson, in her novel “Gilead” explored this another way:  “To be blessed is to be broken, and to be broken is to be blessed.”

In this moment of the nadir of the Sun and the hiding of the Moon, in which we all are plunged into the dark of the dark, for some it is an encounter with the close and holy darkness, for some it is an encounter with the heartless abyss.  In either case, we are blessed with the opportunity to do some work at the deepest of levels, enabling us to bring renewed life into the new cycle.

Which ever darkness one is facing, as always, let us be gentle with experience of others, for, as Bob Dylan wrote, “You’ll never know the hurt I suffered, nor the pain I rise above, and I’ll never know the same about you.”


55 thoughts on “Into the Dark of the Dark

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart felt vulnerability. You inspire. You help me know I’m not alone and suggest what strength can be found in the most gentle of souls. Blessings to you.

  2. Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
    A beautiful, somber, poetic contemplation on the paradox of Winter Solstice. For me, personally, I have always loved Winter Solstice because of its paradox. Hugs to you, Cnawan and to anyone else struggling with this darkest night of the year, when even the Moon won’t show its face.

  3. I identify with you completely with the emotional pain, Laura, and have immersed myself completely into that abyss this entire weekend. Oh, not pretty! Cheers (ha) and thanks for sharing and connecting.

  4. Pingback: Into the Dark of the Dark | radupopescublog

  5. Reblogged this on Divine Timing and commented:
    Thank you Cnawan for this message on this Winter Solstice/New Moon! At a time of year where the consumerism-driven-realm seeks to bring us out of our selves more than ever, while the urge to “go within” calls with persistent clarity, remind yourself that it is in divine timing to honor your depth and shadows. Get off your cell, and tune into cell-f. Ha! Cells calling, they want you to vibrate to your own melody again.

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful view on the darkest of days. I lived in Alaska for a time, so I understand the real dark and long days.
    The van Gogh song is one of my all time favorites. The line you spoke of makes tears come to my eyes each time I hear it. I don’t know if I am to gentle for this world, but a great majority of the time I feel I don’t get the World, I don’t belong here. I suffer from Fibromyalgia and am basically pretty much homebound right now. Although I don’t suffer so much emotionally, I have, so I know this suffering as well. I guess I am just getting a taste of both kinds! Yeah me.

    Good Solstice to you! Blessed be.

    • Rene, thank you so much for sharing your experience here. Warmest blessings to you. May the New Year bring you healing and vitality. I desire this greatly for you. Blessed Solstice!

  7. Your entire Invocation (which I’ve read for the first time now) is full of power, but I especially love this simple and strong vision of Faith. Tomorrow the day will be a minute or so longer and my faith will be just a little stronger, and my pain will be what it is, for as long as it needs to be. Thanks for another wonderful post, and Season’s Blessings!

    • Sunshine, thank you for sharing your light; the day already seems longer and brighter! Healing for you this year – may it be so.

  8. Pingback: Laura Bruno – Into The Dark Of The Dark – 22 December 2014 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  9. Thank you for your insightful post, and reminder of the hope that is present in this season of darkness. Yesterday morning, while standing quietly by a river, absorbing the energy of the water and the woodlands, it wasn’t difficult to hear nature’s message. Rest, be gentle to yourself and others, reflect, use your energy wisely, and grow stronger for the year ahead. Peace and good cheer, to you.

  10. This is the most beautiful post, Cnawan. I wish you much joy in the new year, praying for your freedom from emotional pain. Such a beautiful writer you are. Thank you for the gift of your pen.

  11. I have read several of your posts and I find them really calming which is something I need in my life right now I have been struggling to fight melanoma for the last too year and I really need to have beauty in my life to push the blackness of the cancer away even for just a little while

    • Thank you. Very gratifying to know that my posts help bring some peace to you. May your new year bring you healing and renewed health. Warm blessings to you!

    • Thank you so much, Christine! The metaphor of the refiner’s fire, as you would say, meshes so exquisitely with Eckhart Tolle’s words.

      Always nice to hear from you. I trust that your holidays are bright!

  12. Hey there! I wanted to stop by and see what’s up with you and I read this and it left me speechless. Beautiful vanerability in the dark time I hope and pray for you peace that flows like a river! Night!

  13. “You’ll never know the hurt I suffered, nor the pain I rise above, and I’ll never know the same about you.” Such true words. And yet are we not all attracted to the bright honesty of your words, flocking round you in tender recognition like gentle moths each fleeing our own solitary bruised vulnerability? In sharing you heal and the night grows a little less dark. With thanks….

    • Thank you for your openness, aleya. The miracle for me is that, when I feel someone resonate with the depth of my hurt, that resonance does not cause me to sink into it deeper, but lifts me out of the pain ~ sharing the wound of being human helps heal the wound. So thank you so much for helping with my healing. I hope it works that way for you too. Warm blessings on your New Year…

      • that is beautifully stated. 🙂 thank you again and i wish you all the best for 2015, i know it is going to be a very powerful year. we’ve done a lot of preparing in 2014!

  14. Inspiring writing Cnawan … Thank you …the glorious moon and the poetry of Dylan Thomas continues to bring light and I love , ” to be blessed is to be broken , to be broken is to be blessed ” …. the mystery of the Divine …. Xxx

  15. Though I’m a bit late seeing this, I have to say, I love it. It is so tenderly written…so personal. Thank you so much for sharing it.
    I can relate to so much of it.
    Wow. **misty eyes*
    The Eckhart Tolle quote resonates and so does “The only way out is through” …and through again, and through again and again and again…sigh. warmth and blessings

    • Thank you. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to revisit my own writing. Reading it now, wow, I think I may have had some divine help on this one, as the ideas really came together. And it is such a blessing when the light, or a friend, does return.

      • 🙂 the divine is always at work when one is expressing from an honest, vulnerable space. Of all the writing I read, the best pieces seem to spring from this kind of sharing…particularly sharing the things that one would much rather keep hidden in favor of sharing sweet cotton candy and unicorns ( no offense to cotton candy and unicorns, of course). Way to keep it real!

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