The moon was in its fullness last night. I saw it rise above the trees in the Northeast at dusk. It was beautiful. After a full moon has peaked, the light begins to recede. This happens 13 times a year. What is most notable about today is that we are at the very end of autumn. The Winter Solstice is on Tuesday and for the next few days, the deep darkness is all around us.
This time is significant. The seasonal darkness provides the perfect opportunity for us to face our own darkness. At the time of the equinox in September, the autumn darkness began to increase. On a deep subconscious level, this is universal. It stirs up the potency of the shadow and our karmic issues. This is why we dress up in scary costumes on Halloween. It is one way to make the darkness seem less scary. In truth, we are meant to enter the darkness. There are degrees of wisdom and healing that can only be found in the darkness. (Consider the darkness of the womb during gestation.)
We are living in a realm of paradox and polarity. Again and again, in the traditions that I study, I am reminded that as bright as I may shine, I equally possess the opposite polarity. With yoga and spiritual practice, I work daily to be radiant and to shine my light, love, and healing to the world. To do this with integrity, I have come to embrace my darkness, my shadow, and my karma.
In the shamanic traditions, one of the earliest lessons is to face your death. This symbolizes the requirement of a luminary to face the deepest darkness in order to dissipate the fear and the power that the darkness holds over them.
I did my best, of course, I am a dedicated student. But there is no training like real life. No teacher like trauma, grief, anger, broken heartedness and illness. Everyone has their own mix of darkness, shadow and karma. Nature, a teacher in her own right, reminds us, as the night increases from the autumn equinox to the winter solstice, that we must face our own darkness.
Once faced, with a sincere recognition, we can begin the embrace. We must learn to navigate with fluidity between the joy and the pain, the love and the hate, the health and the illness, the wisdom and the ignorance, the fear and the faith, the kindness and the cruelty.
When we live our lives in illusion of our darkness, our shadow, and our karma, the mind creates alternative realities. The mind is a powerful protector and this is especially true for anyone who has experienced trauma. The mind (and the ego) contrives alternative realities where everyone else is wrong or evil. The mind works hard to show the villainy of the other so that you do not have to face the uncomfortable truths about yourself.
We did not come to this life as souls to be safe or to escape our truth. We came here to be the heroes of our own story. We came to face our darkness. We were not “sent” to earth to suffer in innumerable ways again and again. We are just repeating the lessons that we are slow to learn. Our souls are uniquely qualified to neutralize the polarity and thus achieve our life purpose.
What is so extraordinary about the energy of these times is that we are being given an enhanced push to learn, grow, heal and transform. Now really is the time to do the work.
It may not be easy or pretty. However, if you are willing to gather the courage to forge ahe