From the Fire Friend Moon lesson at http://druidnetwork.org/what-is-druidry/learning-resources/perennial/unit-twelve/
The heart of the winter moons, this tide offers long nights to explore the nature of the season. Feel the world as it gently and quietly slows down; humanity is rushing around trying to fight the current of nature, filling it with noise and lights, avoiding the fear, but beyond the human chaos nature is slowing. At the darkest point of the year, there is an exquisite stillness. After a long journey, as the Solstice looms, we come softly to a halt. See if you can walk this path, stepping aside from the mayhem of Christmas and the human fears of cold and dark. Let the darkness embrace you, velvet stillness and serenity.”
I have been feeling the stillness of the dark this year. I have deliberately sought it out, not wanting to perpetuate the popular connection of darkness with fear and monsters, not wanting to push it away with light and busy-ness. The nights now are getting noticeably colder, so my moments sitting out with the night are getting correspondingly shorter, but I have been making a point of sitting outside with the dark, with the night, to make a better friend of it, and seek to understand its nature and teachings.
In the night, I have met the Mother of Darkness. She is formidable, yet she is merciful. She is austere and remote, yet she is all-embracing. She is the inevitability of death and the finality of the tomb, yet she is also the crucible of creation, the cosmic womb. All comes to, and from her, in endless cycles. She may appear indifferent, or cold, but there is relief in death. Energy can only burn for so long before exhaustion takes it; consumption can only last so long before the hell of famine faces us. The power of life must rest, must regenerate and renew, in order to continue supporting life. Existence without death would be a living nightmare, with nothing left to feed on, becoming an ever-more populated wasteland of tortured living. There must be death, there must be rest, there must be renewal, and so there must be a cycle. This is the mercy and gift of death- it allows for needed renewal, and cyclic rebirth. In this way, she teaches that her tomb is also her womb, forging and birthing new life and new worlds, around us and beyond us, continuing the cycle of life, sustaining and nourishing the vital force of life. Her power is most strongly felt during the long winter, but it is also evident in the smaller cycles, in the dark of the moon, and the dark of each night.
Sitting with the Mother of Darkness in her prime season, I breathe in her stillness, her silence, her vastness, her death and rest, and her gestation and creation. This darkness is the very darkness my ancestors would have known and understood, and so it brings me close to them as well. We sit together with this great mother, in her cavernous tomb/womb that is the arc of the deep night sky, and keep quiet company with one another while we feel the power of the Dark Mother working all about us, and within us. I breathe out gratitude for her as she holds and keeps this space and time, and honor her season and place in the universe.
I am side-stepping much of the mayhem of the Christmas season by creating a Solstice advent out of the month of December. I have an altar dedicate to the Sun Spirit on which I light evergreen-scented candles each sunset. I have compiled a collection of 21 winter solstice poems found all over online, and as I light the evening’s candle, I sit quietly and read the poem, taking it into me, and sit with the anticipation of the solstice event. While the winter solstice is not the most significant holiday in my druidic observances, it is the one most overlaid with consumerist frenzy and fundamentalist Christianity, so these pockets of peace each evening help to negate those influences and keep me balanced as I move through the season. This is my third year keeping this advent, and I appreciate it more each season I meet with it.