Today the North Pole is tipped more toward the sun than on any other day of 2011, making it the longest day and shortest night of the year.  The word Solstice derives from Latin with sol meaning ‘sun’ and sistere meaning ‘stand still’ – as the days lengthen and the sun rises higher and higher in the sky, seemingly standing still. We ushered Summer in at 11:16am Mountain Standard time today, with a blazing sun and soft breeze. Rowan and I stepped into the bright light this afternoon to collect pine cones, dried grasses, rose petals, juniper berries and a dandelion leaf for a ‘nature bowl’ in honor of the day…  For thousands of years, today has been a day to light bonfires, drink honey wine, stay up all night to greet sunrise, and generally honor the gift of Light and Sun as we remember our place in the flow of life…

Shining Roots of Easter

I woke up this morning in Evergreen, Colorado looking out the window at snowy green trees bathed in wintery fog, pine needles iced with snow.  Immediately remembering that it was Easter, I felt a quiet pang of being drawn to participate in an ancient acknowledgment of resurrection and new life – Earth’s ushering forth of Spring alongside a sacred day marker of Jesus’s rising from death. Death and Rebirth.  Darkness and Light.  Winter into Spring.  New life.

These themes cycle themselves over and over again throughout the year and throughout the ages – so many stories giving rise to an understanding that transformation is always possible.  From death new life is also possible.  From the dark soil of winter rises new life.  The purple wildflowers bursting forth under snow in mountain forests offers testament to this truth today:  freezing hands touching soft petals under ice as songbirds fly overhead.

Spring emerges both within and without – my bones beckoning me to call forth again that which is drawn towards the Light.  What has been in hiding in the recesses of my experience becomes more illumined and I make myself available for a thaw into the heat of transformation.

The word Easter took root from Eostre and Ostara, names of a Germanic goddess who was celebrated prior to the 8th Century in northern Europe during the month of April (formerly known as Eostur-monath or Eostre month).   She was a goddess of Light, Dawn and Spring with her name deriving from the root austro, which means “to shine.”  She marks a season of new beginnings, returning light, beautiful early dawns…

Today, celebrate Light and the great shining forth of realization that invites the body and mind to be pervaded by radiance.  Remember the fire of transformation that moves everything from one condition towards another – and the possibility that a dying of one self gives rise to a less bounded capacity to shine.