Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

The Season of Darkness

The equinox has passed. Night is now longer than day. We are entering the gradual darkening until winter solstice calls the light to return.

Darkness gets such a bad rap. It’s scary, it hides secrets and shame, danger lurks in its shadows. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is gray and rainy much of the fall and winter. Darkness sometimes brings sadness and melancholy.

But I’ve been thinking about darkness in a different way. I have a new grandchild, born just a few weeks ago. She grew in darkness for months. The darkness was warm and soft and safe, shielding her from harm, nourishing her, preparing her.

Seeds are dropping to the ground, or getting buried by squirrels, where they will wait for spring in darkness under the earth.

We rest at night. Our bodies crave the regeneration of sleep and dreams in the dark.

Darkness is essential to life.

In the Tao Te Ching, darkness is the metaphor for mystery, the essence of the Way. It is the origin of all creation. The Bible tells us that in the beginning, “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” From this darkness, God called forth the manifested universe.

The darkness is where we came from, like my grandchild from the womb. It calls us to love, to embrace mystery, to welcome its season. The fire of the heart burns most brightly in the darkness of night.

As we gather the harvest of our active months in the light, we prepare for the time of quiet, the time of unknowing. The darkness is the gate to mystery. And it stands open, inviting us in, welcoming us home.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait…. So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~T.S. Eliot

12 thoughts on “The Season of Darkness”

  1. Wow, I haven't ever thought of darkness in those terms before. It's true there is a mystery about darkness. I found this engaging and something to think more upon. However, I do love light. We do come from the darkness of the womb. However, I feel our spirits come from the light of the pre-earth life.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one; I enjoyed reading them.
    Congratulations on your new Grandchild; that is wonderful. Enjoy the moments with this precious one!
    Blessings and hugs!

  2. Indeed, LeAnn, we all love light. We are like plants turning towards the sun. I think that we overlook, though, how much darkness is a necessary companion to the light, not in a good/bad way but in a good/good way. Both are necessary to create and sustain life.

    And yes, we are all in love with this little being who has joined the family. Thanks, LeAnn!

  3. Light is nothing without the darkness at certain points in our lives. Galen, I love the comparison of the child in the womb, being only in darkness, yet being nourished nonetheless. God will do the same, even when we go through the dark days in our lives, be they seasonal or be they the shock of horrific news about our health or the health of those whom we love. God's light and grace pierces the darkness in our lives, giving us fresh hope. Just as we know the trees must shed their leaves and prepare for restorative sleep in the seasonal change, we too must let go of superficial things, allowing God to refresh us and complete us in His own way.
    Blessings to you, and many congrats on the arrival of your new grandchild!!! Ecstatic for you!

  4. Thanks, Martha. We are having fun with this baby girl!

    And thanks for your additional reflections on light and darkness. I've been thinking about darkness not so much as dark or difficult times, but as a safe refuge, a place of rest and replenishment, a mystery to embrace rather than to figure out "in the light." I'm generally very "light" oriented, and our culture reflects this in our use of the contrast to represent good and evil, or knowledge and ignorance. I've been questioning these associations and it has been very "enlightening." Ha!

  5. I love darkness – I always feel so much more free for some reason. There are no dictates, time kind of slows and anything feels possible – magical. And a moon glinting on an ocean – sheer perfection!

  6. Fall is my favorite time of the year, when the air is like at no other time, and the bright days are so appreciated when they come, even if short. I love your posts; they remind me to love it all, the light and the dark. And congratulations on your new grandchild. 🙂

  7. Magical — I feel that way sometimes on an overcast day when there is no sense of time passing. It's like time stands still. I love your relationship with the darkness.

  8. When I read this I thought of the phrase 'dark night of the soul'. Many of us have gone through this dark night of the soul,the dry period with little insight and inspiration, when the way is not clear and the soul is depressed and brought low. It caused us to go into a deeper search for truth and it seems to be a necessary step in spiritual growth. There will be mountains and valleys of experience, with darkness and light, but it is all part of life. 'Darkness is essential to life' and necessary for growth.
    Every valley shall be filled in, and every mountain and hill made low. The crooked ways shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth. Luke 3:5

  9. I thought of that too, Brian. We often think of the dark night of the soul as a time of difficulty, but when we look at darkness in a different way, it can be a time of nurturing.

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