I’m a Capricorn. People seem not to be surprised when they find out. I’m also the oldest of three siblings and a keeper of people’s secrets. Stories and secrets – my family’s included – I hear them all, take them all in. Sometimes someone will share something with me that involves another and afterward say, Now, don’t you go telling so and so that I said this. And of course I always reply, I don’t tell no one nothin’. And it’s true, I don’t tell – I simply take it in. I listen and I take it all in. The stories shared, stories of joy and of love, excitement and disappointment, of hurt feelings and misunderstandings, all of them inform me. They all cause me to reflect and consider the fragility of us all, the precariousness of life. We affect each other so much, from the smallest moment to the largest system, all of it makes such a difference to us.
Tonight we celebrate the Winter Solstice – it marks the boundary of darkness and light – it is the shortest day and longest night of the year.
In a part of her We’Moon 2011 poem, Darktime, Shae Savoy writes:
The Dark half of the year
Suits me just fine.
Winter time. The Dream Time.
So I ask you, on this longest night, what do you dream? What percolates in you?
I’m from LA, born and raised a “SoCal” native, so until I moved to Boston, I had no category for the “dark half of the year.” However, after almost 8 years here, after my feminist awakening, and my growing participation in earth and Goddess spirituality, I must confess that I have a growing appreciation for this dark womb time, winter time. This is the time when we can still ourselves in the warmth of our hearth and focus on our internal work; re-ignite our inner flame – that passion and energy from deep in our core that keeps us fully alive.
In the still, refulgent depths of gathering forces, in this reckoning time of year, we fold in and cackle as the fires crackle.
(Winter Solstice by Marna, We’Moon 2011).
And so even though the boundary of darkness and light has been crossed and the days will slowly get longer, we still have much of winter left. We have many days of cold and dark nights ahead of us…what will we dream? what will percolate within us?
People’s stories percolate inside me. I think of them and the people involved and I dream about a world that cares for them all – where all our stories matter; where all our lives are precious and are so treated. And thinking about how we can participate in making such a world real, even if only in moments, is what I want kindled within me, sparking my imagination.
But what material difference does this all make? I did mention I was a Capricorn right? Well, today also marks the day that the Sun moves into the Capricorn season and according to Heather Roan Robbins, this is the “yearly time to return to our roots, be fed by our traditions and reorganize ourselves for the coming New Year.” The Capricorn season is when we think about our traditions, and traditions have very material consequences. It’s also the time to think about the roots to which we want to return – what are those? I love rituals and celebrations and I try to be very thoughtful about them. They matter deeply and make a difference to who we are and who we will continue to be in the world. How we celebrate and mark important/sacred days truly does have a shaping effect. Rituals literally form us – they are embodied manifestations of the values that orient us in very material ways. What we practice in ritual organizes us and makes a material difference in the world.
May what we dream for the world, first be birthed within us. Blessed be.
Xochitl Alvizo is a feminist Christian-identified woman and theologian currently completing her PhD at Boston University School of Theology in practical theology with a focus on ecclesiology. Finding herself on the boundary of different social and cultural contexts, she works hard to develop her voice and to hear and encourage the voice of others. Her work is inspired by the conviction that all people are inextricably interconnected and the good one can do in any one area inevitably and positively impacts all others.