What Must We Lose to the Night?

Winter Solstice—

The longest night and shortest day of the year, when the powers of light and warmth seem weakest, and we are immersed in the dark. But in the ancient Goddess traditions, darkness was not something fearful. White, the color of bone, of snow, was the color of death. Black, the color of fertile soil, was connected to the darkness of the womb, to gestation, fertility, possibility and Mystery. 

Mythically, tonight the Great Mother labors to birth the sun and the New Year out of the womb of All Possibility.

Which of the myriad potentials will come to light?  What kind of year will it be?  What child will be born from that womb?

That part depends on us.  We are the midwives.  We must use our human hands to shape history, our human minds to choose what qualities we need and want to bring to birth, our human will to make the choice.

A Ritual for Release & Birthing

Tonight, light a candle. Hold up your hands to its light, and consider, what have you done with them this past year?  What have you built, nurtured, cared for, created?  What choices have you made?


If there are choices, or misfortunes, you wish to release, whisper them into the flame and let them go.  Here’s a chant:

“The longest night,

The wheel is turning,

What must you lose to the night?”

And you can name something:

“Fear is lost to the night…

Fear is lost to the night.”

(Or whatever it is you want to release.)

Then hold your hands to the light again. 

What do you want to bring in, to birth for yourself this year, and for your community?  What will you commit to care for and nurture, as a parent cares for an infant?

Call it forth, from the flame, imagine it a star spiraling in a bright galaxy in the womb cauldron of space.  Chant:

“The longest night,

The wheel is turning,

What is born from the night?

_____________ is born from the night…

_____________ is born from the night.”

Hold that star in your hands, and let it shine.  For a song, you can’t do better than that old civil rights song and spiritual:

“This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine…

This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine,

This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

Call to the Collective

Collectively, what do we need from this year? For many years, our community has been working to strengthen the power of truth—and indeed this year has been one of many revelations being brought to light. Now, we need that truth to mean something, to be believed and lead to appropriate action. We need justice—not punishment or vengeance, but restorative justice that heals the wounds of wrongdoing and repairs the fabric of community.

So when you feel your own light shining strongly, send a ray of it out to the heart of the world. Feel our rays connecting, fusing at the center, forming a radiant star of justice. See it shine over the nation—picture it lighting the torch in the hands of the statue of liberty!

“The longest night,

The wheel is turning,

Justice is born from the night!

Justice is born from the night!”

(Okay, I know some of you reading this may be in the Southern Hemisphere, celebrating the Summer Solstice, the time when the light reaches its peak and begins to decline. For you all, you may want to tweak this ritual, to consider what you have been nurturing this growing season and what you would like to release back into the Mystery. As the Sun goes into the Dream and the Dark, what do you give to be taken in to gestate, to plant the seeds of the future?)

A blessed Solstice, Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, and joyous holiday season to you all!


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