For the past couple of months, many of my fellow Pagans as well as myself have been dealing with the growing darkness that is enveloping us, as we prepare for the return of the light at Yule on December 21st. You know how they say that the night is darkest just before dawn? Whether or not that is a scientific fact, I think from a philosophical and spiritual standpoint there is some truth to this. We are calling this “Tower Time” – after the Tower Card of the Major Arcana in the tarot. I won’t go into depth on what the Tower card means, but suffice to say that it’s a card of great transition, of tearing down old systems and old truths and old habits and old ways of thinking so that one can start fresh.
Destroying in order to build anew. Birth, death, and rebirth.
I’m struggling with Tower Time. It’s not an easy time. I’ve had to go to my altar again and again, invoking the Goddess, asking the Divine Feminine for Her intervention…and to be gentle. It hasn’t been an easy year.
But I am reminded of something that my good friend and fellow Priestess Byron wrote:
Sometimes when we pray, we forget that prayer is not simply sending our best intention into the Universe. For those of us who see the Ancestral Goddesses as non-corporeal beings who have some authority and ability in the world of the world, the prayers and the singing honor Beloved Ones who are near us, but are not us. The invocations in which we implore them to fix our lives or clean up our messes or show us a way through are requests and bargainings. We understand that we have a part in this relationship but we do not have control. We are not the boss. We are participants in an ancient cycle of creation and destruction and re-creation.
And sometimes we don’t always get what we ask for. Sometimes the Goddess kicks me in the butt and tells me in no uncertain times that I got myself into this mess, and it’s up to me to get myself out of it. I have to take personal responsibility, and fix what I broke.
As I deal with this tumultuous Tower Time, I find myself opening to the sorrow and anger, working myself into a frenzy of grief and guilt and depression and despair. And I seek my comfort where I can… in conversations with friends, in blogging and journaling, in meditation…and in simply getting away from it all. Sometimes the best thing we can do is go out into nature, take a walk and connect ourselves to the energy of the earth.
Byron refers to this as “going to ground”…and indeed it is a good description. When the going gets tough, the only thing left to do is make a run for it – to head back to the safety of the den, dig ourselves a burrow, huddle in and lick our wounds. There deep within the very womb of the Earth Mother herself we can release, reevaluate, and rejuvenate. We can heal ourselves and then return to society with a sense of renewal.
I’m thinking about a recent conversation I had with Byron, where I shared some deeply personal and intense issues. Her response was to advise me to take it slow:
I would give it time, if I were you. And let everything settle a bit. In my opinion, the “veil” hasn’t thickened up significantly in more than two years and we are all bombarded with the spiritual stuff from the other worlds at levels we mostly aren’t used to. Add to that the end-of-the-world and Tower Time scenarios and it is simply too complicated to think our way out of anything. Feeling is best. Be patient and see what comes through.
Indeed, the veil has been quite thin of late. It opened up significantly for me last year when I participated in Samhain observances during my trip to Ireland, and I don’t think it has thickened up since. I’ve definitely been bombarded this year – feeling that sense of displacement and a disconnectedness to the very things that I formerly took my strength and power from.
In conversations with members of my clan, I discover that I’m not alone…and that can be a source of comfort. Indeed, all across the Pagan Community I am seeing post after post being put up on blogs, websites, and Facebook from individuals sharing their thoughts and feelings about this time of the year. As we approach what is said to be one of the most important and historical and transformational Winter Solstices of all time, our senses are magnified and thus so are our responses to such.
The quickening of Solstice is about to hit. It may leave us reeling, but it also brings with it a message of hope and promise. Yes, there will be an ending. But with that ending also comes a new beginning – a time when the slate will be wiped clean, and we can start anew.
It’s a scary time…and yet an empowering time as well. The lightning bolt of truth has hit and the foundations of our own towers are crumbling. We seek to find wings by which we can fly away from all this mess, and discover that we have none. And thus we fall…as we must, hoping that the love of our communities and our own strong sense of survival will keep us from totally destructing ourselves on the rocks below. This is Tower Time, and we must either engage or perish. We cannot merely stand back and refuse to participate, for we are all standing on that Tower. Whatever happens…happens to all of us.
But it is not Doomsday. We can and will get through this. We get through it by embracing it…by seeing it as yet another transition in the endless cycle of transitions. We get through it by putting up our shields to guard us from all the debris falling around us. We get through it by going to ground – digging our roots deep into the earth.
Spend some time out amongst nature. Do some work in your own backyard. Walk in the woods and stuff your pockets with pebbles, pine cones, and handfuls of good old dirt. Set up your altars, light your candles and then spend some time in thoughtful meditation. Invoke your ancestors and call upon your earth spirits. Fire up your stove and cook yourself a real meal with plenty of nourishing food. Read something that inspires your soul and reconnects you to the preciousness of life. Listen to some music that you enjoy, sing along with the lyrics if you wish.
Reach out to others who might need support and comfort during this time.
It’s Tower Time, people.