“This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future; the place of caught breath”. Margaret Atwood
Yesterday we celebrated the summer solstice, Father’s Day, and our twin grandsons’ 19th birthdays with our son’s family when they arrived to spend a relaxing week at our family cabin in the mountains. This evening we will be joined by our daughter’s family. We’ll celebrate our reunion tonight with Grandma Raffa’s traditional Italian spaghetti and meatballs…everyone’s favorite meal. Coming together in this beloved place is a special time for all of us. We’ve done it almost every year for the last 21 years, but last year’s pandemic made it impossible.
I’ve just read a lovely blog post about the solstice written by Susan Scott, a dear friend who lives in South Africa where the pandemic is still raging. It seems so surreal, because here it is finally abating to the point that we can once again have our reunion. I’m inspired by how life goes on for her and her family despite all the turmoil her country is experiencing. For them, yesterday was the shortest day and longest night of the year. For us in the northern hemisphere it was the opposite.
This got me thinking about this threshold space between dark and light, winter and summer, night and day, chaos and order… and how our world is always moving between these opposites and always has for millions of years. For me, these repetitive cycles are reaffirming. Partly because I know that light and warmth and new life always come back after times of cold, darkness, and death, and partly because creativity, magic, and infinite possibilities always thrive in the in-between space between opposites.
Susan began her post with the above quote from Margaret Atwood. I found it so hopeful that I decided to borrow it from her. I have to start preparing tonight’s dinner soon and was worried that I might not have enough time to write tomorrow’s post. Fortunately, Susan provided me with the inspiration I needed. It came together quickly.
I’m grateful for these times of coming together. I see the connection between my dialogue with Susan in the in-between space of her beautiful blog. I see a connection between the solstice and our family’s reunion this week. It feels like this in-between space, “the year’s threshold and unlocking,” this merging of interconnected relationships between separate entities, is providing our family with an opportunity to let go of the past and move into a new future. It feels like the same thing is happening for our country. And despite the recent dark time of chaos for all of us, it feels like it’s happening throughout the world.
As our Mother’s physical body — this planet, our mutual home — experiences another life-giving merging of opposites, I send you this blessing: May you trust the phase of the cycle in which you now live, whether dark or light, and may you find inspiration and hope in the magical places between.
Here’s Susan’s post. I hope you enjoy it.
Think psychologically. Live spiritually.
Photo Credits: Pinterest, Dawn Jensen.
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Her Wilbur Award-winning book, Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new Nautilus Award-winning book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.
What a lovely surprise it is to find you writing about Susan’s solstice post within your own. And what an auspicious and celebratory day yesterday, June 21st, was for you and your family! I’ve posted a link from this post onto Susan’s post so hopefully you’ll get more like-minded souls visit to read all about your own wonderful solstice thoughts and happenings.
I had a lovely day yesterday myself and could easily have called it uneventful … that was until night arrived and dreams of letting go (on the toilet) came in thick and fast, to the point that the toilet was overflowing. Deep in the midst of my second Saturn Return and mother’s recent death, alongside the UK’s third Covid wave, I sense Kairos, the right time about these things.
And so today, as I sit and type, I can’t help but think about the tension of the opposites in all things and how, like never before in my life, I’m beginning to finally understand my task of bearing and holding that tension between light and dark, masculine and feminine, thinking and feeling to name but a few pairs of opposites, above and below, personal and collective.
Thank you for sharing more rich insights and deep thoughts here at the still-point of this turning world. Solstice blessings, Deborah.
Susan’s posts always inspire me, especially in the way she finds beauty and food for thought in ordinary things and daily events many of us overlook. You also inspire me. Your dream of letting go is so perfect and relevant to your life right now. Don’t you just love it how the Self sends us meaningful images just when we need them to affirm our path and let us know we are known and loved by something much bigger than ourselves? Solstice blessings to you too. Jeanie
Thanks for sharing, Jean. I was born on the winter solstice and always like reading about it.
Hi Charles. You’re most welcome. I know what you mean. I was born on Good Friday and always had a special interest in it. In retrospect, I can definitely find some valuable meaning in it. in my late thirties I went through a Good Friday, “dark night of the soul” experience and eventually emerged as a more awakened, conscious, and authentic person. I think we’re meant to learn from the underlying meaning of nature, myths, and sacred remembrances. Everything in life contains messages about our soul’s truths. Thanks for writing.
What a wonderful day of celebrations Jeanie! You say very poetically about the Solstice and the holding of the tension of the opposites. It’s such a necessary attitude to have in order to develop our understanding of these unceasing ones and their movement, how the dark gives way to light, destruction to creation, the personal and collective, thinking and feeling, these last two as Deborah says and the threshhold between them, the inbetween space as you name it. The merging of them …The value of repetition of these cycles, the one gives way to the other as it must needs do. It’s important to hold that image in mind, Mother Nature and her cycles, impartial in her destruction and creation ..
Speaking of images, a few have sprung to mind lately, out of nowhere. Images that I will paint. Not from a dream although I had them on waking or in a reverie. Today’s one was of two blackbirds coming from down below and flying up. The other was of a beautiful bowl of a violet hue with flowers in it, though the bowl was the emphasis, and the other was a wonderful abstract. I’ve sketched them and I prepared a canvas the other day. In black acrylic. I like black canvases. I don’t always use a black canvas but I mostly do.
Thank you for including my blog post and being so complimentary about it – I’m so glad it gave you the nudge to put up your own! I love Margaret Attwood’s quotation. It’s so dreamy yet so energetic. Thank you for your lovely post and blessings at the end of it.. Love, Susan
Hi Susan. Yes, yesterday was a special, meaning-filled day. I love your new images that have so recently come to you. It sounds as if your painting class was especially nourishing. As I imagine these images my associations are of my spirit taking flight from an earthbound ego into the joyous freedom of being my true self, and my soul blossoming within a numinous, 7th chakra (ultra violet) soul container. Glorious! I hope you’ll share some of your paintings on your blog soon! Love, Jeanie
Thank you for your associations Jeanie, I love that the violet bowl represents the soul chakra, I honestly hadn’t thought of that! And the blackbirds emerging from an earth bound ego! These images were not as a result of painting class (they’re on hold while our teacher is away on sabbatical) but just came to me. This morning I’ve been wondering whether to combine all three of them onto a very large black canvas. Maybe for the blackbirds to paint some feathers in white. It’s gotten chilly this day… Love, Susan
I read Susan’s post first (was it yesterday?) and now yours and feel a strong sense of the opposites in the northern and southern hemisphere and the north and south in the United States. I’m glad you can be with your family for a reunion and keep those precious connections strong in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. My small garden produces snow peas and lots of lettuce and herbs. Zucchini and cucumbers come next before tomatoes. A woman down the road provides local eggs and produce I don’t grow. Since the pandemic, I find myself relishing the peace of being home, walking with the dogs, and quietly searching for Monarch caterpillars and eggs. No one has expectations for me which can feel lonely–or I can feel grateful for the sacred opportunity of solitude. Something about the pandemic stay-at-home energy lingers in my community and for me. That feels balanced for now as I watch the bluebirds, swallows, and chickadees raise their young and watch fawns following their mothers through the fields. I read about chaotic happenings in the world and take in the gratitude of living in rural peace. Thank you for focusing m thoughts on the opposites.
I love how you’ve learned to trust the phase of the cycle in which you now live, and how you find comfort and meaning in Nature’s magic. I think of the opposites of city and country, civilization and wilderness a lot while I’m here in the mountains. Like you, I am grateful to be living at a slower pace in this peaceful place. I enjoy walking Izzy, reading in a rocking chair on my porch, and watching the hummingbird wars at one feeder, and the visits from Carolina chickadees, robins, dark-eyed junkos, and finches at the others. Fred saw a huge black bear cross the road in front of him on his way home from town the other day! That’s always a lovely surprise. Our garden is very small, but we did harvest a zucchini for last night’s salad, and the raspberries are having a good run. I saw an orange and brownish butterfly the other day that I thought for a moment might be a monarch. But no. We do see them here sometimes though. My days are rich with small blessings like these. Love, Jeanie