Are you noticing a shift? — subtle but unmistakeable?
It happens every year around six weeks after winter solstice.
Yes! The returning light (despite kickbacks of chill) begins to bring warmth with it. It can feel like a long wait for this relief.
And if you are in the heat of the northern hemisphere, maybe you too are waiting for relief, only in this case it’s a change to cooler days.
Wherever you are, I hope the theme of waiting will resonate with you.
Waiting without proof
Between winter solstice and First Light on August 2nd we are asked to wait. Not without hope, because we’ve been given a sign. We know the light is returning.
But we wait without proof since the light, although seen, cannot be felt.
It happens in life too
How many times does this happen in life, when you may have kindled a new intention, pulled a dream out of the dark and into the light, and yet nothing happens?
You thought initiation was enough. Yet you can’t feel the change that you’d hoped for.
You’ve taken the right action, yet results are not flowing in.
What is Nature teaching you? What is being asked of you during such dark weeks of the soul?
This is a time to hold faith and patience, to trust, and surrender to a timing beyond your control.
And the signs will come
A rainbow springs from a rooftop, the sun caresses flowers on a balcony, and tiny lettuce seedlings lift their leaves. Also gifts may appear.
A gift of oranges
Today I was given oranges. These globes of winter-stored sunlight are a tasty reminder of First Light, which falls midway between winter solstice and spring equinox.
At last, the returning warmth can be felt by you and me, birds, insects, animals, trees, and sleeping seeds.
The season of awakening begins. Although the changes may still be subtle, they are perceptible as quiescence turns to quickening, slumber to stirring, and the slowness of dormancy to dancing movement.
A ritual for First Light
You may like to welcome in First Light with a candle lighting. This is a time to celebrate Brigid, the Celtic Fire Goddess of inspiration, poetry and healing. I like to link her with the Māori Fire Goddess Mahuika, whose flaming fingernails sent power into the forest of Tane.
Share poetry, inspiration, and your hopes for a new cycle of growth.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wish you patience as the light turns to warmth,
May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.
(Traditional Irish Blessing)
Books for the Seasons
For guidance in aligning with the season you are in, my Seasons books are there to help you.
Celebrating the Southern Seasons is a classic resource book. The chapter on First Light, (p. 86) links this seasonal marker with Celtic Brigid and Imbolc, Māori Pakawera and Hongonui, and Christian Candlemas.
Dancing with the Seasons is a personal guide to the seasonal flow. Towards the end of Chapter Six on p. 124 you will read how farmers had a unique way of testing the warming of the earth, and Chapter Seven will give you more
Sun, Moon, and Stars will inspire you to celebrate with your family or whānau. See p. 120 for the chapter ‘Glimmerings and Awakenings’ to tune you into this season.