from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 22 December 2012

in a dark time

'In a dark time / the eye begins to see', wrote Roethke. We have to keep faith with this, remember that the darkness too needs a home in us for us to be whole.

At this midwinter turning, we've made the descent here in the northern hemisphere. We might as well go willingly – that way we learn, and are strengthened for our journey back up with the seeds and bulbs of our new life already primed for growth by our faith that the light will return.

In so many spiritual traditions across the globe, we find the motif of entering the darkness, sacrificing oneself, if you like, to the bigger processes that govern our lives. It is this that allows rebirth into whatever our soul is calling us to. In some traditions, including the British mystery tradition that predates Christianity, the initiate was 'buried alive' for three days, with the entrance of the chamber sealed with stones (you will of course recognise the ordeal of Jesus buried – also for three days, though at the spring equinox – and the tomb sealed with stones from 2000 years ago).

After the third night, at the point of sunrise on the shortest day, the rite of passage was completed, with the individual, almost translucent with the effects of such sensory deprivation, fasting and terror, emerging as 'reborn' into extravagant and piercing light – and the new life springing up in him or her. Think, too, Odin on the world tree; the shamanic motifs of climbing down the tree into its branches into the Underworld; and the hanged man of the tarot.

Archetypal motifs resonate down the centuries, the millennia, and call us too, one way or another. This is a harrowing journey, and we all must make it; maybe over and over. What's more, we have to make it alone, giving up all our reference points without guarantee of making it back into the Upper World.

Now is such a time, so if you are feeling a darkness in your life despite – or even because of – all the Christmas cheer, that is not surprising and you are not alone.

And let's hope that those who say that this transition from the Earth Age of Pisces into the Earth Age of Aquarius is really upon us now as we move into a higher 'octave' of mass consciousness and its attendant light are right. These are hard dark times; and it does seem to be the case that this is how it is before a revolution in consciousness, whether personal or collective. 'The darkest hour', etc.

Keep faith, my friends, and keep your eyes tuned to that tiny piercing ray of light finding its way through the cracks in the stones.


  1. Thank you Roselle. This was just what I needed to hear. Bx

  2. Hello Belinda! Greetings and warm wishes for this Yule season to you and Frog xx

  3. And Inanna's journey to the Underworld, stripped bare of all her earthly symbols of power. Left to hang on a hook for three days and nights. Beaten and bruised, by her own sister, the dark queen . And then, bereft of all her props, she emerges through the seven gates. Into the world, renewed.
    It's been a bit like that recently.
    Glad to read your post and resonate with these things.

  4. Thanks so much Lynn. I don't know why I forgot the female travellers to the Underworld. Yes, it's been a bit like that lately here and, I suspect, collectively. Love and winter blessings to you. Rx


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