As the season turns colder and natural brightness dims, we enter a festive season full of good cheer and light. But many of us overdo this darker time of year and end up with colds, feeling stressed and exhausted. Our bodies let us know we had best slow down, reminding us that as nature turns inward to renew, so must we. Whether we can’t wait to gather around a festive dinner table and eat all the sweets at a celebratory gathering, or whether you get a massive cold, feel lonely or simply wrung out by all the shopping and effortful living, the need to honour both the light and the dark come to mind.
Culturally, we tend to think of dark as “bad”. But darkness is not the evil side of light, just as night is not the evil side of day. Light and dark are part of one spectrum of wholeness. We are a solar driven society, praising tasks and accomplishments driven by external goals and praise. Yet the moon teaches us to live by a different rhythm, the tides of emotions, learning to go with the ebb and flow, riding the waves of life and finding wisdom in the dark.
These darker times of year are one of Nature’s reminders for us to look within at the hidden messages in the recesses of our psyche and open to the light of possibility. When we open to the dark, we find the gems there. Our hidden dreams, secret wishes, long-lost hopes are too often buried beneath niceties, good intentions, “keeping up with the Joneses” and people pleasing. What creeps into our lives, instead of joy and a sense of wholeness, are depression, listlessness, and feeling forlorn. We have lost touch with our darker, more lunar, soulful self.
If spiritual expansion is moving towards the light and opening to possibilities there, then soulful evolution involves moving into the dark and embracing the wholeness we are. We cast shadows on the earth. Not one person is without shadow. When we hope to dream and move beyond the fears we convince ourselves are real and have the courage to look at our shadow and the darker aspects of ourselves, we move through the dark to become the full, radiant beings we are.
When we are born, we travel from the dark womb to the light of the world. We go to sleep each night and in some ways are reborn each morning. We must regularly go into the darkness of our inner cave so that we may be reborn. We must remember to look within, beyond our conscious, day to day thoughts, and inquire into our deeper emotions, the shadow parts of our self that bring us to wholeness. Only when we have embraced both the light and the dark side of who we are, do we embrace our full power.
In this holiday season, may you remember that though we tend to bubble about out at parties and light-filled festivities, Nature is sleeping, having moved profoundly inward. It is the darkest time of the year. As natural beings, inward we too must go. As you engage in external activities, make sure you maintain balance and find time to go within. Read a wise book like Debbie Ford’s “The Dark Side of Light Chasers”, or watch a heart-warming movie like “The Family Stone”. Check out the fantastic interview we did with Velcrow Ripper, the renowned filmmaker who has been documenting the Occupy movement since its inception. The articles in this issue are geared to support you maintaining balance between the light and the dark during this festive season.
May you have a spiritually uplifting, soulfully nourishing holiday.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator, having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, and developed her own yoga teaching style called YEM™: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her current show, “Yoga in the Nightclub”, brings forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream.