Yule Meditation - Passing the Light
A loving Yule offering from Jackie
You awake just before dawn. As you stretch and rub the sleep out of your eyes, you realize the longest night has just come to an end. It is the Winter Solstice.
You fetch your staff and a warm cloak and step outside. The stillness and the silence roar like the final notes of a symphony. The crescendo builds until each star hears its voice. The trees whisper a counterpoint, and Mother Earth joins her ancient heartbeat to the music.
Cymbals clash and the Sun’s first rays lance over the horizon. A glorious, mellifluous voice resounds in triumph:
“The Sun King has returned! The light is born anew! My death is done and I circle on my path once more. Come, child, and know me as your Ancestors have known me!”
The rays brighten to dazzling brilliance. You squint against the brightness. Then it is dark. As you open your eyes, you are in a cave. The slippery, mossy walls have been so cold all winter. A hunched old man, radiating power despite his frail shell, limps to the entrance, his walking stick in his hand. He is ancient beyond telling. His skins wrapped around him, he gazes up to the rising Sun, raises his arms, and chants words echoing from memories even more ancient:
“Winter’s back is broken. Welcome, Light Maker!”
The people by the hearth fires echo his chant, softly at first, then increasing to a triumphant roar. They have survived another winter. The Earth Mother has sustained them!
The Sun’s radiance pierces the cave, momentarily blinding you. You blink, then find yourself on the banks of a muddy, rain-swollen river. A brightly-dressed crowd is gathered in the semidarkness. A Priest raises his staff, his bright headdress foreshadowing the brilliance about to burst forth.
“Welcome, Great Ra! Your children await your triumph over darkness!”
The people cheer as the waters sparkle, then flame into brilliance with the Sun’s first rays. The reflection momentarily blinds you. You blink, then find yourself in a stone circle on an ancient hill. Power pulses through the ancient megaliths. Druids, dressed in warm skins and cloaks, wait inside the circle, their excitement barely contained as they watch the portal in the East-facing trilithon. Their leader, in the center, raises his staff:
“Prepare for the return of the Light! Behold, He Comes!”
The Sun’s first rays lance through the window in the stones, perfectly aligned across the ancient Henge. The Druids begin an ancient dance of joy. You gaze at the Sun through the portal and are again momentarily blinded.
You find yourself in Salem, Massachusetts. Behind locked doors of thick pine, a group of worshipers huddles around their Priestess, an ancient Crone whose wrinkled face is a map of sorrow. Shaking, she lights a single hand-dipped beeswax candle. Its light is weak but it is all they dare light, for many of their fellow travelers on the Ancient Path are in jails, many have been tortured, and several of her friends and family have been lynched by enraged mobs.
“Our light is weak but the God of Strength has returned to us. May He light the way for those to whom hatred has brought death and comfort us with His warmth!” Tears fall from her rheumy eyes as the Sun’s first rays pierce the crack in the heavy draperies on the single tiny window.
Then the Crone’s gaze pierces your soul:
”Many have given their lives for the Light of the Sun God and the Old Ways. Fear and hatred have nearly extinguished the Light, and we weep for those in darkness!”
Taking the candle in her gnarled, worn hand, she passes it to you.
“Please, for the sake of the Ancient Ways, keep the Light of truth alive. It is so feeble! Make it radiant with your intent, your magic and the ancient drumbeats that echo in your every heartbeat. For the sake of your children, keep alive the flame that has burned since the beginning of time!”
In her eyes you see the eager faces of your son, your daughter, the children of generations yet to come. Each child’s chubby hands reach for the candle and their eyes glow in the Sun God’s light.
:”Please, wise one, teach us! The light is so beautiful! Can you tell us how it began? Can you teach us the cycles of the seasons? Can you teach us to hear the music of the stars? Can you teach us to sing to the Goddess when Her light is full? Can you teach us to call her back when she hides her face? Can you teach us to ask the trees their names and share the wisdom of the stones?”
Crying now, you take the candle and hold it to your heart.
“I will shelter this Light in my heart, where it can be reborn. I will protect it, treasure it, and pass it to you,” you promise. The flickering flame brightens until it nearly matches the brilliance of the Sun’s rays bursting forth over the tree in your backyard. You are home. The Sun is reborn. You are reborn.