Heading Image: Benjamin Von Wong
The winter cycle in the northern hemisphere is a time of stillness and quiet. Nature uses this time of death and transformation to go within until such time the cycle of growth moves into play and life Springs forth once again. In the northern part of the Americas snow and ice cover the landscapes. Animals disappear within burrowed tunnels or tree trunks, bears hibernate within caves, birds fly south for a warmer climate, as trees drop their leaves and annuals are long dead on their stems. The harvest is over and all lay bare to the naked eye.
Cycles will come and go in an ongoing process of evolution as beneath this exterior are seeds waiting to germinate. The Death card in the Tarot Winter represents transformation, as Life overall is eternal. Though it may not always appear so in the moment.
Winter is the water element as taught through the Chinese 5 Element Theory of Life. Water is the element of emotion. The sound of deep emotion such as grief is wailing. Full moon cycles culminate what individually and collectively we've been moving through over the last luna cycle of our solar calendar. Emotions are running high for many and peaking along this time. In this process of stillness and symbolic death there can be much grieving.
Full Moon Rising - flickr
2023 was a year of endings and many losses are still resonating. In this natural process one may experience loss through physical death, endings of relationships, business, careers, health or something in one’s life that has turned the corner without permission and has left one's world. Particularly now in a world of political strife and unwanted shifts and changes created by humans against these cycles, it has been a roller coaster ride for many. The result of this loss is often felt as grief. An emotion that is as uncomfortable as any in having to deal with something one may have had no control over, and is often felt at the depth of one’s being.
Often a visceral feeling it can be felt as a pain in one’s heart. As if a knife has been plunged deeply into it and turned a few times. If ignored and not tended to it can be a precursor for other issues, such as a feeling of chest restriction and at its extreme, heart failure. It has oft been said; “he/she died of a broken heart.” On some level that may be possible.
Each person’s perception of one's grief may differ, but the emotion is the same for all; a deep feeling of anguish. Locked deep within the lung energy it can show itself through bronchial symptoms and sometimes lead to larger issues such as pneumonia in the extreme. And is important to acknowledge and release to allow the healing flow. Particularly so during viral seasons one does not want to hold on to the natural rhythms of nature. Release and heal...
Grief; a force to be reckoned with.
When we lose someone or something we love dearly we grieve. It’s a pain many will do anything to cover over or at best release. A creative person may write about it, sing it, dance it, perform it or draw it. Others may suppress the feeling behind their addictions; smokes, alcohol, drugs, sex and even one's work. Whatever is necessary to distract from the pain, but it will surface no matter.
There are those who face it head-on like a searing fire one cannot escape though the scorching of it can lead one to choose death in the moment, and some do. Yet somehow when dealt with, over time, life's distractions begin to dim the pain to enable moving on, though scars may remain indefinitely. In the process one may choose to dive deep into the source and reconcile it. Life is a precious gift and working with the process brings healing and rebirth as opposed to the finality of death.
Many books, articles and poems have been written on grief. As it exists for all at some point in one's journey, though some more than others. As death, one cannot escape its dance but choreographing this dance can assist in the experience of it. Below is an excerpt written by an elderly man who had many years of scars as a result of his losses. He did not leave a name but his wisdom shared is priceless. Perhaps it is something you need to hear today…
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s a physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. For a while all you can do is float. And stay alive. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is Life.”
Life is like the ocean and in the end you will have many opportunities to drown or swim. As much as some don’t like the water - swimming toward dry ground with faith and fortitude will get you home again.
A favorite poem by William Wordsworth ... Splendor in the Grass reminds us of these cycles of nature. We all move through them. And to remember the miracle of Life as we plant seeds for new beginnings, which will surely come again...
What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower? We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind...
2024 is a year of new beginnings as life continues it's rhythmic flow. Allow whatever, or whomever you are grieving to surface like the free flowing high/low tide rhythm, without barriers on its path to healing. Like the ocean tides and its Force of Nature, we too were given tears to cleanse, and sounds to harmonize as one allows the heart to open to release this natural ebb and flow of grief. And during the healing phases may God's mercy embrace you on this journey.
Peace and Love,
Disclaimer: Giving thanks to the unknown artists whose visuals I share. Would be happy to acknowledge the creators of such beauty. Peace and Love