Winter Solstice

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Gillian Paschkes-Bell writes:

I follow the ancient Ceile De tradition of Celtic Christianity, and our mid-winter ceremony, celebrated on Solstice Eve, takes us mindfully into the dark of the year, the dark of the day, and the dark of ourselves before opening us to the re-birth of the Christ once again, in the womb of our hearts. On a winter solstice that coincided with the dark of the moon, I witnessed a woman’s death, a death that underpinned my sense of the cycle of life, death and re-birth. As this woman surrendered to the physical processes happening within her, she emanated a sense of peace, a sense of contentment even. When she could no longer speak with her lips, she spoke with her eyes, and her focus was love. She loved us, and we who were gathered round her loved her back, and then her newly-ancient face would break into a most dazzling smile. Light shining out of darkness.

Every solstice I ask myself what the re-birth of Christ in my heart means to me this year. Christ: the one who reaches out to every extremity and gathers all back into the centre, holds all in balance. The King of the Elements is a Celtic title for the Christ who can be born in any human heart. Where am I out of kilter at this time?  The demands of the time often nudge me off balance. The mad whirl of last-minute Christmas preparations, multiple carol services, social gatherings… In the dark of the year I need to find a time to stay home and hide myself away again, to re-gather myself, and find my own way back into balance.

The birth of the Christ in the heart. Not just a Christmas event. More, a path of daily renewal, on-going transformation.

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