Grief and Renewal at Solstice

This winter more than ever, Solstice teaches us that no end is ever final.

BY: Starhawk


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Grief can also be healing. Grief makes us stop, re-evaluate our lives, ask ourselves what is really important. Loss makes us aware that life is fragile and precious, that we are vulnerable, that we do not have infinite time to waste. And out of the depths of our pain can come renewed creative energy, new directions, new commitment, deeper values.

This Solstice, we might need to do less, buy less, plan less, be less frenetic in order to have more time to integrate our losses. The greatest gift we can give our friends may simply be the time we can spend listening to their stories. Rather than flaunting our abundance in a time of want for so many, we can simplify our lives a bit, spend less and make more, celebrate the real connections of love and friendship rather than the trappings.

Let this Solstice be a time to honor our grief, to sit in the dark, to acknowledge the dead and mourn for them, to mourn our other losses. Let this Solstice be a time of purification: When loss is acknowledged, we can let it go, wash ourselves clean of sorrow. In my home community, we will plunge naked into the ocean at sunset. But you can also purify in a hot bath, or by meditating on a bowl of salt water, or in a sauna.

We sit vigil through the night, midwives to the Dark Mother who is laboring to bring forth the Sun Child. At dawn, we climb a hill to sing, dance and celebrate as the sun rises.

Sunrise on Solstice brings restitution. After a loss, the renewal we most need is the restitution of meaning. We want to believe that life has purpose, that our suffering can bring some greater good.

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