Working with the rhythm of the year is a key tool I include in my coaching work.
By understanding where we are in the cycle of the year, we deepen our connection to the greater cycle of life itself.
The earth and cosmic cycles of the year reflect themselves archetypally within our inner rhythms, and in paying attention to them, we can better understand ourselves and our ever developing growth along life’s journey.
Today is the eve of a special festival known in modern times as Candlemas, marking a purification and light brought to our inner nature. While the term Candlemas is a Christian designated name, this festival has ancient roots that go back thousands of years. Connecting to these roots allows us to weave the many wisdom traditions together, honoring all, and understanding the importance of these traditions in helping us to know our true selves.
Candlemas is the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. In spite of the cold, if we look closely, we begin to see subtle signs of Spring, which in many traditions is celebrated to begin at this time.
The beauty of the Mother, while still perhaps veiled in a snowy blanket and dreary skies, is preparing to shine through in the very near future.
In ancient Celtic tradition, the Goddess of Spring, Brigid, was celebrated at this time, marking an awakening of the natural world into the pure light of Spring. It is a time for rebirth of the spirit, spiraling out from the darkness.
The ancient tradition of Lupercalia, which celebrated the Roman Goddess Proserpine, known as Persephone in Greek, included lighting many candles in honor of the candles used by Proserpine’s mother Ceres, known as Demeter in Greek, to find her daughter who had been pulled into the underworld, losing her innocence of youth. With this light through the darkness, Proserpine eventually emerges with wisdom and strength.
This is a time when candles are lit, purifying spaces, preparing for the new, opening our hearts to the Light of the World, or Christ Consciousness as celebrated in the Christian tradition. This does not come without going to the depths of darkness in the “underworld” of our inner temple.
We must bring this greater Light into those depths to meet our shadows and move forward in honor of our true selves. In this way, we connect to our own heart and the hearts of others.
These various archetypes are living in us in this moment. We can think of a spark or seed of our true essence having been planted within us at the time of Christmas and Winter Solstice. That seed is now quickening beneath the surface with new life and the beginning movement toward sprouting and shining forth. Yet it is important, as impatient as we may get, to remember that it is not time for the seed to sprout just yet. It is time for us to make room for it, to clean our temples and acknowledge that something new is birthing within us. It is time for us to connect to our highest Light so that we can travel to our darkest depths and bring forth the new, purifying and clearing the old.
Each aspect of these stories can be considered an archetype that lives within us. We are the mother searching for her daughter. We are the daughter, having lost ourselves to the darkness and learning to find our way to the light of our true selves. We are the temple into which the true Light is brought forth, and our soul will be pierced as this light shines in the darkness and illumines our hearts, thus connecting us in deeper compassion with the hearts of all, shining as our true selves and seeing the true self shining in others. We are the beauty of the Mother, temporarily veiled, and waiting to shine forth.
This time of year, here in the northern hemisphere, many begin to get tired of winter, and feel an impulse to move forward. This quickening beneath the surface can be uncomfortable. It can cause us to want to rush things, or push forward. We might feel as if we are being surrounded by beastly influences trying to compromise the seed before it is ready. In Poland, there is a legend that the Mother of God watches on wintery nights around Candlemas time, when hungry wolves stir and wait to attack. With a special candle, she wards off the ravenous beasts and protects the peasants from harm.
What might it look like for you to tune into these various archetypes mentioned?
Can you find comfort in the light carried by the Mother archetypes? Can you relate to the loss of self of the daughter, and the longing to find your own inner wisdom? Do you feel the quickening of the seed of your true self beneath the surface, waiting to sprout?
Many of these stories all connect to the feminine nature of the human being. By remembering these beautiful archetypes representing this time of year, we can take care to tend the inner seed of light and remember that it will emerge with a new wisdom that will serve us on our journey, and will serve others. We can step into the flow of life more readily, and accept where we are in this moment with the courage of our own striving.
Enjoy this Candlemas season, and tend the Spirit potential of your inner seed. Who knows what beauty may grow from it!