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  • Writer's pictureMaria Wagner

Step into the Darkness

We are in deep preparation for stepping into darkness. This is the darkest week of the entire year, as we move towards the shortest day of the winter solstice and experience the darkness of this recent new moon.

My beautiful teacher Johanna Bell has the following quote on her website:

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton

I never quite understood what this was about. How do I know if I am the candle or the mirror and when?

This recent period of being drawn into darkness has guided me into the sacred space of the mirror. As we turn our attention inward, we are invited now to see darkness as the mirror that reflects the light. Can we during this time be willing to recognize our own darknesses as pathways into our light? 

The Tantric yoga tradition is a path of nondualism. Meaning that seemingly opposite ideas are understood as two sides of the same energy. Think of the yin and yang symbol and the way that the white and black swirl around and within one another. Together creating wholeness in the shape of a circle.

Without our shadow side we would only be one half of a whole. And yet for some reason we feel like we must be diligent in eradicating our darker qualities. We work to accept the parts of ourselves we don’t like, but this acceptance often comes with an underlying desire to change them. To have both light and dark within us is to be human. To remember that the light and dark are one in the same, is to be divine. 

Can we allow ourselves to fully acknowledge our shadows sides without judgement? Can we shift our perspective to not only accept our shadow qualities, but to hold them in gratitude as the source of our greatest strengths? Those moments of despair…curled up on the bathroom floor, feeling like there is no hope; our darkest day – was and is the most divine fertile ground on which to grow from. Those moments/days/weeks/years ignite a depth of strength within us that we never knew we had until we were asked to call upon it. In those moments, we are the mirror. There is nothing left to do but hold yourself. Nothing left you can do but be still and fall into a space of surrender. As the cycle of the sun teaches us, on the darkest day, the path back to Light begins. 

So I’d like to invite you to get specific now, and call to mind a shadow that is yours. Something big. Something that feels like you came into this world with it and that it’s yours to keep. Name your Darkness. Hold yourself in love as sacred space and allow it to resonate though you. To own it without shame.

Now call to mind how this darkness has guided you to cultivate the strength within you to take another step forward. Because we all did or are in the process of doing so – one breath at a time. 

Let us during this solstice take pause to remember and honor our darkest days as the vulnerable birthplace to some of our most beautiful strengths and to allow the darkness to reflect back to us the inextinguishable light of who we are. Whole and complete, the candle and the mirror.

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