Winter Solstice Drama by Sara Wright

Last year I attended a bonfire on the night of the winter solstice at a friend’s house. As my companion and I walked towards the ledge where the fire had been the year before we were both astonished. Where was everybody? We stood in the dark confused. Minutes passed.

After suggesting we leave, my companion remarked with annoyance, “What the hell is going on here?” A Rhetorical question. I sure didn’t know.

Sudden hooting split the night and some dissonant musical sounds seemed to be coming from out of the bushes below us.

Following the sounds we descended the steep hill and discovered that the fire was at the river’s edge, and that a few people were already gathered there.

Unbeknownst to either of us the location had changed, and from our vantage point on the hill we couldn’t see the fire or hear any sounds. I had been looking forward to this celebratory turning, and liked the idea of sharing it with friends. Yet, now I felt uneasy.

As I recall, there were noise makers (?) but what stuck in my mind was my sense of confusion. Was this some sort of joke being played on us, and if so why? The anguish I felt was palpable. I barely remember the rest of the evening. I felt completely shut out and took refuge by staring into the flames of the fire, ending the evening by giving a solstice gift to my friend.

The next day I believe, I felt compelled to write to my friend to tell her how upset I was over what I perceived had happened. I love this woman, and consider her a soul sister.

She was as deeply distressed as I was. And when we spoke, cried, and hugged all at once, it immediately became clear that she assumed that we would know that the location of the fire had been changed because of a recent fire that had broken out further down the Bosque, and that no joke of any kind had been intended.

My perception and that of my companion’s had apparently been totally distorted.

I took responsibility for the distortion.

But I was floored.

I became a psychologist because I am a person who needs to root out underlying truths. I am like the proverbial dog with a bone, unable to put down an issue until I have unraveled it – even if it takes years. No dream came to me to help me unravel this conundrum. I have been sitting with it for a year, and have used the incident twice to demonstrate to others how perception can be skewed in ways that sometimes appear incomprehensible.

The closest I can come to an explanation for this drama will be difficult for most folks to comprehend, let alone accept. I have been a ritual artist for almost 40 years and have participated both alone and with others in these eight yearly turnings of the wheel and know from countless personal experiences that extraordinary happenings can and do occur during these times of what I call “natural power”. Sometimes these energies move in a positive direction and sometimes they move in reverse. I think what happened that solstice night was an example of cosmic energies constellating around a gathering in a negative way. Everyone was apparently  impacted. That fact combined with the astounding synchronicity that my companion and I experienced – the weird sense of being tricked in some way – gives credence to this explanation. Stunning synchronicity, is in my experience, almost always associated with these forces of natural power that can manifest for good or for ill.

When my friend and I discussed this unfortunate experience today she wanted reassurance that this kind of dissonance would not occur again at this year’s fire. Everyone had gotten hurt she said. This remark surprised me because up until now I had assumed that this issue was between us and didn’t really involve others. I realize I am not clear why these people were so upset. It wasn’t as if I said anything to anyone else. Still, I was only too happy to reassure her.

But her remark about everyone being so hurt gave me a clue.  Apparently everyone had been negatively impacted.

When I hung up the phone that I heard that nagging inner voice saying ‘you are assuming too much responsibility for this incident’.  My telepathic bird Lily b started bellowing.

Whatever happened that night may remain a mystery but I believe that all of us were unwitting players in the dark side of a winter solstice drama.



Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

11 thoughts on “Winter Solstice Drama by Sara Wright”

  1. And now you can move through and away from the dark and find some light. A few shadows are good, of course, but who can see in total darkness? Nobody.

    Happy New Year. All year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara, when I wrote this piece I hadn’t put together all the pieces. The obvious one escaped me. How could other people have been so upset if I hadn’t said a word? There was only one way others could have been distressed – my friend told other people and together they apparently decided “I would not want to attend this years fire because of my experience.” Whose was this really about – me or them? Well, for a year I had been carrying full responsibility for this peculiar incident; it never occurred to me that my friend would drag others into our issue – how stupid of me. I HAD assumed too much responsibility for this incident – others were more culpable than I was as it turned out. And no one took responsibility – then or now – except me. But FINALLY I have put the responsibility back on the people that were unable to deal with their own feelings and can finally let the thing go for good.
    This doesn’t change my belief that especially during winter (fire) and summer (light) solstices – times of extremes – strange things do occur. This is one reason, I believe that Indigenous peoples always have protective spirits that are part of these seasonal ceremonies. These folks realize that once you open the door – anything can come through!


    1. I think you’ve done the right and best thing by shucking off that guilt and putting the responsibility back where it belongs, not on you. Yes, the solstice and equinoxes can get weird, but we’re smart and we can cope. Sometimes I just have to put everything down and sit down and close my eyes and be mindful for a while. But we’re surviving! So far……….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I deeply appreciate this validation – I know that I have done what I needed to do – and its nice to know that someone else agrees with me about these times of power – someone besides Indigenous people, that is…. being mindful, for me is key. At dawn I often take river walks and although it was 5 degrees I did, this morning. I love these times in between because they naturally allow me to enter a meditative state.


    2. I think you nailed it in the last two sentences.

      Also, I think that even though we have collectively raised our “awareness” to some degree in recent decades, the proportion of people who are genuinely sensitive to the unseen goings on — of things like energy and synchronicity — hasn’t changed at all. Those things are still impossible for those who experience them to convey to those who don’t. May you always remain a deeply rooted, very tall tree, and gentle with yourself, my dear.


      1. In order to experience that which is unseen we have to become “receivers” – opening our body/mind/soul/spirit to that which is – and gosh westerners don’t seem to have a clue.


  3. Oh thank you Laurie. I think I did nail it in those last two sentences…

    I am not sure that collectively we have raised awareness – I think we have become more unconscious than people ever were – so we miss the signs even when they are staring us in the face.

    And you are so right. “Those things ( pertaining to soul and spirit and body) are still impossible for those who experience them to convey to those that don’t”… I have so often wondered why…


  4. Wow what a story Sara. I agree with Laurie that you nailed the last two lines. I was also struck my your line about how confused you felt. I can’t help but to connect on how your confusion seems to reflect the confusion and chaos that is going on in the world at large.

    For me, the lesson I keep coming back to in my own life is to heal myself as much as I can. I help those around me heal as much as they can so we aren’t like leaves in the wind being blown by the energies that we can’t control – so we can as best as we can – maintain our/my own centers in the face of the gale force chaos that continues to blow.

    Thanks for sharing this mysterious story and reminding me that mystery does work under the surface and does break through at all times sometimes whether you consciously open that door or not.


  5. Thanks Janet – this kind of story is important to share, I think, because these things do happen and those of us who are sensitive to nature’s nuances often end up feeling confused when people’s actions and natural powers coalesce in a negative way.

    Your remark about confusion/chaos in general – it’s everywhere and I agree that its so important to do what we can to heal ourselves (if this is possible in this broken world) or at the very least TRY – so that we can maintain some kind of balance.


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