Day 69: The Meaning of Yule

Yule is (pardon the pun) a magical moment in the year.  As Roderick says, it “is about promise.  It teaches us the lesson of the mythic Phoenix that rises out of the ashes of what appears to be complete destruction.  The continual rebirth of the sun illustrates for us that destruction is a fantasy.  Life and energy go on eternally.”

In other words, it lets us see the co-existence of binaries, or–as Keats would have it–melancholy’s sovereign shrine within the temple of delight.  Life sustains a mixture of these things.  After all, it is difficult to be purely happy:  you must know and remember sadness in order to know that you are, in fact, happy.  Yule is like this.  “Even in our darkest hour,” as Roderick notes, “we can find a spark of light.”  Wiccans search for this spark and help it to grow or transform into a full-fledged light.

Exercise:

Go outside at night and fix your gaze upon the vast night sky.  Now bring to mind a negative situation in your life.  Feel all of the emotions that this situation stirs up.  Take your time with this so that you feel everything intensely.  Once you are at the peak of your emotions, begin to exhale deeply.  Imagine that with each exhalation, the negativity of the situation you imagined leaves you and dissipates in the vastness of space.  Continue with this practice until you are completely drained of negative feelings.

Once you are drained, stop the exhalations.  Close your eyes and sense the vast emptiness you have created inside of you.  Now imagine that a glow of light emerges from this space.  The glow becomes brighter and larger until it fills you completely.  From this glow comes a word or phrase that will tell you the bright spot in your negative situation.  Listen closely.  How might the word change your perspective on this difficult situation in your life?

It may be May in Eugene.  The lilacs may be blooming, the days may be creeping up into the 80s…but the nights are still pretty damn cold.  I climbed up on my roof to stargaze, and boy…I scurried back down in a hurry for more bundling!

I did manage to perform the visualization, though.  My destructive situation is the intense self-loathing, fear, and paranoia that accompanies my paper writing process.  I’m always trying to do too little, too late…which just isn’t smart for dozens of reasons.  It makes me hate being a graduate student.

Seeing as this time is–quite literally–just around the corner for me, it wasn’t difficult to summon these feelings, and it was immensely cathartic to breath them out and create a void where they had once dominated.  The glow that I created had “trust” as its kernel.  I need to trust myself.  I need to control my fear of failure, which sabotages me very early in the research process.  I need to control my fear of having nothing to add, which sabotages my writing process.  This all boils down to not trusting myself or my abilities.  I’m a smart cookie.  I can do this.  I just need to be more conscientious of this fact and balance the fear with this trust.

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