At 6:04 on 21st June BST we will be at the time of the Summer Solstice. It will be strange this year as our weather has been very unpredictable. We had a long what seemed like a buy one get three free winter, then the coldest May for decades and a week of sunshine or so and now the weather is destabilising again. So it seems a little off key that we are nearing the solar apex point over when the Sun will be at its highest point, we will experience the most daylight and then the balance changes and the daily light decreases.
No matter what happens within their daily lives, humans (and instinctively all of nature) have looked at the skies and felt comforted by the fact that there is predictability in the course of the planets, the seasons and the dance of light and dark. This is all really about absence and presence and the interplay of these two aspects of our life create all of our fears and longings.
Right from the start we experience the push and pull of absence and presence as we start life akin to a stone on the ground (just because a stone looks to us like it is dormant, still and has no feeding/care needs does not make it true) We cannot move and are dependent on an outside force/being, which we later identify as separate from us as Mother (or Father if he is the carer) for food and contact which removes our longings and fears. Initially we cannot comprehend concepts of separateness and “image – inwardly” that we are the source and go through what psychoanalysts call the “stage of omnipotence” when we imagine that we are in control and everything out there can be summoned on tap for us, We cry and food and warmth comes ( I know that there are differing degrees of care and paying attention to infants and that we are all born into individual circumstances but for the purposes of this post, I am kind of using a general premise, starting point from a infantile possible grasping of what is going on stance)
We are left in the dark about the dynamics of life until we begin to form a consciousness/conscious mind. Initially we are physically in the dark too as our physical sight is not formed so we only have inner sight and we cannot really form imagos/images at this early stage as we have seen and grasped nothing really tangible so it must seem like we are in some kind of dark void experiencing alternating absence and presence of unpleasant/pleasant bodily sensations. Then things slowly start to dawn on us…and consciousness develops. We can only assimilate those early experiences through reflection, through a lunarlike lens which is why, if we are not fully present in the moment we experience transference mental states onto situations and people in our daily lives. When we feel uneasy and threatened combined with a hint of questioning as to why we feel so, we need to see things in a new light, and become present with our conscious, solar light.
We never forget the dark period and those experiences which were not possible to describe because we did not have language. The echoes of those preconceptual experiences stay deep within our memory traces in our unconscious which is the abode and incubator of our fears, panics, plotting, aloneness, loneliness. As we interact with the outside of us we are always at our very root, still aware of the interplay of darkness and light, absence and presence. We experience the darkness as absence and light as presence.
As the daylight period extends we also extend. We spend more time in our conscious mind where things dawn on us and we can see the light, become enlightened, make light of things, be lighthearted. We wake earlier, go out into the world more and are generally more present.
How important the absence and presence of daylight is to us has been explored by SAD, sesonal affective disorder.
From the website : http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal–affective–disorder
- Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock, which lets you know when you should sleep or be awake. This disruption of your circadian rhythm may lead to feelings of depression.
- Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in seasonal affective disorder. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the natural hormone melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.”
― Leo Tolstoy
The way through the maze and frustrations of absence and presence is to reconnect to our own Sun within us. There is always light, it never leaves us and our conscious mind can shed light on what frightens us and taunts us from the unconscious. You have to find your own way of being the light, of carrying it for yourself and others. For me this is the overall meaning of the Hermit card.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
― Carl Jung
In the Rider Waite deck we see him alone, clothed in a cloak of darkness but carring a light which he is totally focussed on. This is his own light externalised. He is bringing his own light into the world.
We also see it in the 5 of Pentacles, the unconscious fears of being cut off, of being in a position of absence , the light is spacially higher in the card which reminds us that the conscious mind is always there to enliven us. Watch how quickly your mood can be uplifted and your posture. merely by your own thoughts. We can shine our inner sun on anything and send it light by looking upwards, being aware of the light, becoming present in the now.
Greet the day and sun on awaking. I always gaze at Sol as I walk along or stand at a bus stop and when it is setting. I always look for it through the clouds, identify the place where it is brighter and I know that they sun is behind it. All is well. In the same way, the Sun can send the light through those things/issues/dark heavy thoughts that cloud our judgement and prevent us from making light of things and being creative.
Look up to the sky and acknowledge the Sun’s presence even though it might seem absent. It is not. Align your thinking with the Sun and the the scary place, the unconscious will relax its grip. You will not spend the day “re-acting” which the unconscious leads you to do through unconscious repetition compulsion – you will be more present in the moment.
So at the Summer Solstice when the Sun is (appears to be) at its most present, acknowledge it and breathe it in. Connect to the light, take it inward and carry the light with you through the coming 6 months. At the time of the Winter Solstice on 21st December we will reach the shortest day of the year and then the daylight hours will begin to increase. The cosmic dance of absence and presence of light an illsuion really because light and dark are conjoined and neither is ever totally absent or present.
To Be (presence) in the Light or Not To Be (Absence) in The Light – that is the Quest.