Monthly Archives: December 2015

Festive Greetings as 2015 closes: an Invocation for the turning year…

O Great Spirit,

as this Northern winter season slowly turns to meet the gradually emerging life of Spring and its lengthening, warming days, help us to live more peacefully with one another on this planet Earth, tiny amidst the vastness of the Cosmos. Despite our insatiable hunger for knowledge, our technological brilliance, who we are, where we are, and why we are here at all remains shrouded in deepest mystery.

Northern Lights at Stenness Stones, Orkney

Northern Lights at Stenness Stones, Orkney

Help us to be more humble in realising how much growing we must do as a human collective in order to emerge a little more from the primeval savagery of our tumultuous instincts which still appear to dominate the way we live, threatening now the very fabric of Earth herself.

Help us to be aware of the interconnectedness of all things in the Heavens above, and in the Earth below. Help us to realise that what we do to the Earth, ultimately we do to ourselves.

In the meantime, as Susan Cooper’s wonderful solstice poem has told us to do, let’s carol, fest, give thanks, dearly love our friends – and hope for peace.

Blessings, everybody! And many, many thanks to all my blog Followers, Commenters and visitors old and new for your support of my writing, for your wit, and for your wisdom.  

Standing Stones in Winter

Standing Stones in Winter

250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Poetic beauty at the Winter Solstice

We humans in the Northern Hemisphere, beset by darkness and cold, have from long antiquity needed light and celebration to lift our spirits in the bleak midwinter, no matter how much the grimness of world affairs or the pains of everyday life hold us down. At last year’s Winter Solstice, I published a wonderful poem by Susan Cooper which depicts the history and expression of this need with vivid beauty. Many of my readers have requested me to publish it again this year.

It has become an annual event in our house, as we flick malt whisky symbolically onto our Xmas Tree, the modern version of the ancient Sumerians’ Moon Tree, to read Susan Cooper’s poem aloud. I do hope, somewhere, somehow, she knows this.

Happy Solstice, Everyone!

Our Tree 2015

Our Tree 2015

THE SHORTEST DAY’ BY SUSAN COOPER

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

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In the bleak Midwinter...

In the bleak Midwinter…

Invincible summer – in the chill of winter….

All my life I have loved and been inspired by quotes.

At this dark time of year approaching the solstice, as winter begins to grip, I thought I’d post a couple of special favourites: I hope you find them inspiring! And – feel free to share one of your own in a comment…

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River Kelvin Dec 2010

River Kelvin, Glasgow UK, Dec 2010

photo: Anne Whitaker 8.12.10

“In the midst of winter
I finally learned
That there was in me
An invincible summer”      

(This is a popular quote whose original source I have as yet not traced, but have come across a slight variation ie ‘within me there lay an invincible summer’ – different sites have different versions. Come on, detectives out there! Where in Camus’ writings does this quote appear? Let me know!)

Albert Camus

( Albert Camus 1913-1960 was a French philosopher best known for his book L’Etranger (The Outsider) whose existentialist philosophy influenced a whole post-war generation)

AND

“It is far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than with the idea of will.Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their lives into shape. If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go.”

John O’Donohue, pp 83-4 “Anam Cara” Bantam Books 1999

(John O’Donohue 1956-2008 was an Irish poet turned priest, whose writing merged Celtic spirit and love of the natural world)

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/John O’Donohue/Albert Camus/ 2015
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page