Seasonal Salon

A Personal Ritual for Winter Solstice

On my back porch, I gather my thoughts which are vying for attention and needy. Fallen leaves crinkle sound in the excitable breeze. I come to the Goddess tonight with desire and despair, praying for resolution of the deep ambivalence I feel. I quiet myself and focus on Her.

At present, the Goddess is dying grasses and barren trees--bark to the wind. She is pecan shells broken on the ground, left behind by squirrels performing instincts to survive. She is changing weather, like the moods of a person unable to self-regulate. I see her in my herb bed, covered in a blanket of fallen foliage that protect. Flowers are releasing their seeds upon the Earth and although there is understanding that they will grow again in a new season, there is a sense of defeat.

Gaia does what She needs to do, searching for equanimity. She is unpredictable and whimsical—bullied by the forces of climate change, preparing for a winter of healing or balancing or maybe fierce resistance.

I want to feel my feelings wholly. I light a beautiful candle gift from a loving friend and find myself hesitant to feel the pain from all that is happening in my life, in the United States and in this world of ours. But I believe it is one of the reasons we are here—to feel deeply all that there is to feel. Hence I take a centering breath and allow my sadness, frustration, despair, and fear rise to be experienced.

I think of the losses of this year, of friends who have transitioned to the other side of the veil. Even though I believe all life comes from the dark, I am so sad at their departure from this world.

Awareness is a double edge sword right now, allowing me to understand how much fear I live in all the time. I think of the “if only”, the path not taken, the truths unspoken for most of my life. I’m sad about our politics and am overwhelmed with doubt that change can really be accomplished. I feel with the children being separated from their families at the border. My sadness is like a ball of old knotted twine in the back my emotional hope chest. It loiters, like Grandmother’s moth balls. With old behaviors that no longer serve, I do what I can to avoid it.

I invoke the memory of being harshly trained to be a good girl, good daughter, good sister, with the end goal of being some man’s good wife. The hand me down coping skills that I have employed repeatedly seem as close as skin. I am profoundly challenged to release them and be laid bare. Are there any authentic responses available to me not born of emotional survival?

As I allow myself to breathe and sense, I become aware of a lump in my throat. I want so badly to swallow it down, a habit I have enacted my entire life with food. Life is messy and painful right now.

I light another candle that was given me at Imbolc this year for times like this. I breathe and center again. And yet, I have so much for which to be beholden. I find unforeseen freedom at Friday night meetings of fellow travelers who don’t judge and have the same experiences. I am calmed to have empathetic family and friends, and a lover who loves me. I hear the music of the season filled with Spirit and Love, regardless of the myths being celebrated. I am thankful for the emotional resources I have and a growing ability to take care of myself first and set clear boundaries, even though it mostly feels selfish and wrong in the practice. I experience The Goddess’ loving presence in my life in all ways. I am warmed at the thought of my circles of sisters on this spiritual path. In most ways, all is well. I am graced with wisdom from years of existing and experiencing.

Goddess, please take my sadness and fear for your own use. I have no ability to manage it away. I know you will feast on it to the highest good and walk beside me as I learn how to be something other than my upbringing. I am running out of time Goddess. I need your loving ways to guide me and re-parent me now. So mote it be and blessed be the Winter Goddess.

And all shall be well. May the spirit of the Winter Holy Days touch everyone with peace and love. May those who suffer with losses and family estrangement find a way through this holiday time to Spring. May those who want to work with our truths and barriers to health through the Deep. May the Goddess of Winter bless us all.

Sally Jeaux is an ordained Priestess of the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess. She also identifies as a Therapist, a Ritualist, a feminist and follower of The Wheel. As a seeker, she loves to learn about spiritual practices and study The Goddess and Her ways. Sally uses her creative energy to write liturgy, craft altars and make spiritually based art. Sally lives a blessed life, working the mysteries, with her delicious partner Boye in Austin, Texas.

Category: Winter Solstice 2018