Today, December 22, is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the longest–some say darkest–night of the year. Celebrated throughout the world over the ages under different names, it is most associated with death–the loss of light in the world, bespeaking a cold, stony, dark place in the soul. This time of year has additional meaning for me as a Capricorn, ruled by iron-hearted Saturn, with the image of a fish-tailed goat, struggling up from the rocky depths, step by step, eyes focused on the lofty peak.
Equally important, the winter solstice marks the return of the sun, a rebirth, a time for great celebration. One of my favorite solstice traditions takes place at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. A spectacular event, it features the Paul Winter Consort, dancers, as well as other special guest musicians. This solstice experience is an ever-renewing thrill––hearing the great, magnificent organ rumbling into the lower registers, depicting the journey underground in bone-shaking waves of sound; watching the massive, brilliant sun gong slowly ascend twelve heart-stopping stories with its player to the vault of the cathedral; joining in the cathartic “Howl-eluia Chorus,” wrenched from thousands of throats echoing throughout the massive stone structure, with its seven-second long reverberation. More than a date on the calendar, more than an astounding concert, this event embodies the deeper meaning of winter solstice: death and rebirth.
This year’s winter solstice marks the 25th anniversary of my father’s death. He took his own life on December 22, and we buried him on Christmas Eve. I was overwhelmed with guilt and pain for letting it happen on my watch. In truth, I had no power over his actions, and it has taken many years of intensive work to finally accept that truth and heal. I have journeyed from dis-ease to feeling a seed crack open in my heart, sending out a tendril of hope that will not be denied. I’ve put one foot in front of the other on the long road from darkness to light, and am stronger for it.
I believe that to a great extent, we humans can heal from the pain of loss, guilt, anger, and abuse, especially with the help of others who have also experienced and healed from these feelings. It is my passionate desire to create staggeringly beautiful signposts for you that point the way to hope, light, joy, peace, and love.
Every journey begins with a single step. This is the first step in sharing my story of returning to a full life from the pain of abuse and loss. For me, the key is tapping into the power of creativity, in all its myriad forms. Bringing color and music back into your life. Honoring the seasons of your soul. Cultivating love and joy. Healing. Rebirth. It can happen, one step at a time.
It will be OK.