In the chapter on the Druidic Wheel of the Year (Modern Day Druidess) I have described the seasonal celebrations at the solar change points, the Equinoxes and Solstices whose differing energies allow us to work with their particular qualities and absorb these strengths into our own life, as we carry out rites like our ancestors for the necessary turning of the seasonal wheel.
But within each day too the Sun Wheel turns and so we can work at these solar highs and lows to restore our connection with nature and absorb the strengths we need. This does not have to be with formal ritual. If you light a candle, for example, to welcome the dusk and sit enfolded by the fading light you can focus on a point on the horizon and ride the gentle daily downturn of the Wheel. Of course, you may be a shift worker or still have a mountain of paperwork to complete before home time. Or you may have to brace yourself for the arrival home of the family and all their different demands. But that brief oasis of stillness at dusk can switch off the more frantic centres in your brain and bring a harmony to your spirit that will enable you to finish serenely in half the time when all around you are fretting and twitching in overdrive.
Dawn varies each day and can be found in a diary or the weather section of a newspaper. Unless you live on the line marking GMT, the sun will not be exactly overhead at Noon, so work either with your own local Noon time when the sun is directly above you. Dusk also varies each evening. When you have a free weekend or a few days, live by the four markers: dawn, noon, dusk and midnight. Experience the different energies out of doors and following the rhythms of the sky as our ancestors did, before the advent of electricity. If you are afraid of the dark, work just before dawn initially so that you can witness the inevitable return of light-to our ancient forebears this was a matter of trust, so if you can learn to trust again, you will relax.
This is a very special point in Druidry as the sunrise at the Midsummer or Midwinter Solstice especially symbolise the birth or rebirth of light. Many stone circles and passage graves are aligned to sunrise on special days; in the Christian tradition too, the importance of these special sunrises is recognised. For example, in the centre of the large octagonal labyrinth in Amiens Cathedral in Picardy in France, a shaft of sunlight filters on the Mid Winter and the Summer Solstice (around June 21).
The centre of the Labyrinth in the nave of Amiens Cathedral corresponds with the Spring Equinox and is represented in ritual by facing East. However, since the Sun only rises in the true East (and sets in the West) on the equinoxes, you may wish to work with its actual position of the sun in the sky when dawn breaks.
It is worth rising early to sit or stand and witness the beautiful patterns as darkness retreats, sometimes not without struggle.
Dawns are different, in winter, in summer, in bad weather or during a clear period, over plains, in deserts, over the sea, above mountains in forests. Walk in the quiet of the city before it wakes or the countryside or watch the darkness receding over the sea, leaving the scarlet tinged waves.
Every dawn is a Spring Equinox written small, a resurrection, the birth of new hope. Today is the day you anticipated or feared in many sleepless nights or anxious moments. So walk into the Dawn with courage, yelling your defiance or your belief you will win through or that this day will be absolutely the best one ever, because you will make it so.
Be not sad, be as the sun at midday says a passage in the I Ching and so whether the sun is beating down or hiding behind sullen clouds, the noon energies are powerful and so are you. Like the Summer Solstice whose microcosm or mini-version it is, the Sun King rose in triumph. The view from the top of the solar ferris wheel is quite spectacular. Therefore at every Noon as at every Summer Solstice count your blessings. If they are thin on the ground, seize some of that Sun power, reflecting it through a crystal quartz sphere (even the tiniest one will be bursting with sun power). Allow the reflected light to fill you with energy and assurance that all will be well.
Remember, too, the channel the light and power of noon into your healing work, hold your crystal quartz or crystal sphere (size does not matter) to reflect the light. Speak into the crystal words of healing and direct the rays or light beams to whoever or whatever needs healing, person, animal or place. You may be rewarded by a sudden tiny rainbow in the centre of the crystal, confirming that positive thoughts returns to the sender three fold.
‘Never let the sun go down on anger,’ my late mother used to say. This is the daily message of Dusk, writ large in the Autumn Equinox. What is gained and what is lost all merge into the darkness and with them we can drain resentment, regrets and also crowing triumphantly a moment or two too long.
So Dusk is a good time if near water to cast a stone or a flower expressing regrets. Or bury the stone of a fruit or a few seeds that will in the future bear fruit and blossom from what has been perhaps too dearly learned. As you light your Dusk candle if you are at home (easier after long summer nights when dusk is late), you can speak words of blessings on your enemies and consign the day to be reworked in the darkness.
Then as shadows soften harsh emotions you can if you need send reconciliatory letters or e-mails, make soothing phone calls, or speak in person your love or forgiveness, if only to yourself if another person is implacable.
If all is well in your world, you can share your own peace and happiness perhaps with someone who always goes home alone and wishes it were otherwise, to a friend or family member far from home in a hotel room or at college who draws the curtains on the darkness or a neighbour who would welcome a brief visit before you settle down either contentedly in your own castle or with loved ones for the evening.
As I said earlier, you can make a dusk oasis even if you are at work and then perhaps light a candle and have a simple dusk ritual later when you do arrive home, reading a list of the names of people and places you know are in need.
An unlikely sun time, but an important one as it corresponds with the Midwinter Solstice the rebirth of Light Just as sunset began a new day for the Celts, so in the modern world midnight is the transition.
You may be awake because you have been out socially or entertaining friends, you may be a shift worker or have returned home late from work or travelling. Or you may be lying awake worried about people or tomorrow or next year and this is a time when dragons can loom large.
The darkest hour is before the Dawn is another popular saying that rings of truth. But in another time zone the sun is shining brightly and we know, unlike our distant forebears, that the sun does not disappear into the sea or back into the womb of the earth mother to sleep until morning.
Midnight too is the time of the wise ancestors, not of frightening phantoms who will haunt you., but the gentle essences stretching back through time, those who spiritually and genetically have made you what you are; so to with you at the midnight hour are the guardians of the night who protect you in these waking hours before dawn and who will carry you into peaceful sleep if you lie down and let their faces form.
But first let float on the dark tide that even now is turning, all those things from the past, the old voices of doubt or unfair criticism that wound us when we are children and vulnerable and may return to haunt us in the night; let float also what cannot now be, name your worries and whatever keeps you awake or surfaces when you are trying to relax. Burn them in a dark blue candle as black threads or wool and when you are done, send the light as you extinguish it to the Sun, knowing that it will return to light the dawn.
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