Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stillness, Unwisdom & the Solstice

The word ‘solstice’ essentially means ‘sun stands still’. Today the daystar reaches its lowest point, before changing its path and beginning to ascend once more. 

Intrinsic to this day is a stillness—yet also an unending motion.  

It is something of a paradox, the ceaseless movement of the Earth around the sun, the constant turning and circling that characterises everything; the constant change. Still, inside that movement, stillness can be found. A sense of being in this time and place, right now—the shortest day, the longest night. A time and place echoed in this same solstice day that has come before, over and over.

This night is a single night; and there has never been any other. 
(Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony, 1977, p. 192)

It is interesting to look back on what I wrote last year, to see how this solstice is the same, and different, and a new world entirely. Part of what has emerged in the writing of this blog is an ongoing record of my moods, thoughts, ideas and images that I find it useful to return to. I so often forget my own wisdom, and need to remind myself of the important things I have learnt and explored, and even of my own goals and aspirations. The ups and downs, and constant turning and circling of illness often leaves me dizzy, without focus, unsure of quite what I should be doing. 

I found out several weeks ago that I have an iodine deficiency, which most likely explains why I have been feeling worse than usual over the past year. (This is one of those rare occasions when Western medicine has actually given me a useful result!) Thus, in knowing that I am finally addressing the problem, I started to feel a little better, and to write more, which energised me. I felt like I was gradually being lifted up from the low place I had been living in for several months, and a love of words and expression was returning, glimmers of creative magic. However, I’ve been knocked back a bit over recent weeks, not sleeping well, and my energy levels have fallen again. Tired, yet overwhelmed by ideas, by words, it irks me that I cannot act on all of them. So I just note them down, file them away, and hold to a belief that soon, I will feel better, and will be able to use my time to create.

In a strange way, beset as I have been with the realities of illness, with distractions, and some hesitation about the path I am travelling, I have been feeling—of all things—unwise, as if all my writing, all my creative explorations, count for very little. 

Why am I telling you this? More to the point, why am I telling myself this?

Because I want you/myself to know that troughs are part of life. The lows must be taken with the highs, and yes, sometimes things get hard, overwhelming.

Being overwhelmed, I feel unwise.

By ‘unwise’ I don’t really mean foolish, silly or thoughtless; I simply mean that whatever wisdom, intuition or direction I do (sometimes) possess, seems absent, and without it I feel stuck.  

I believe it was Socrates who said The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

I feel as if I know nothing, that I am searching in the dark for something that I have lost, and I barely know what that something is. But there is something about this state that intrigues me, despite the difficulty and frustration of it. It seems apt to be here now, at this the lowest, darkest point of the year’s circle. I want to wrap the darkness around me, and remember how to use the eyes of my heart once more, to finally see where I am going, and what I must do.

I have been both still and in constant motion over the past year. I’ve been myself, and changed. I’ve been high and low, light and dark, wise and unwise. I’ve come full circle, and will again, and again.

As is my wont, I’ve been reading many interesting books, exploring feminist spirituality, poetry, and inspiration for getting back to a daily writing practice. I’m also in the midst of Lucy H. Pearce’s most recent book, Full Circle Health: Integrated Health Charting for Women (2017). Once I have tried the charting process for myself, which I hope will help bring more balance and awareness to my daily routine, I aim to share my thoughts and experience of it with you. 

And in the beautiful, unstoppable cycle of stillness and change, in the blue-grey depths of winter, a bright face has appeared—my first calendula flower.

N.B. The misty photos above were taken yesterday. Today, in contrast, has been clear and sunny.


  1. Beautiful writing, beautiful thoughts and sharing of wisdom. Thank you, Therese. Happy Solstice.

  2. Wonderful post, and I love the beautiful pictures too. Solstice blessings to you xx


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