The winter solstice is upon us ‘Grianstad an Gheimhridh’ the shortest day of the year. This time of year in County Meath, light enters the chamber in New-grange, 19 meters into the inner passage that leads you into a chamber in the shape of a cross. To witness the sun entering the chamber for the first time must have been a magical experience for our ancient ancestors.
Through these rituals, the ancient people of Éire celebrated the natural rhythms of the sun. Traditionally in pagan Ireland the people had a closeness to the land and where not separate from it. I saw it first hand the respect the people of the Gaeltacht had for nature.
Being in nature offers an opportunity to unplug from technology. The mythical landscape allows us to reconnect with the natural world, develop a deeper appreciation for its beauty ‘áilleacht’ and cultivate a sense of stewardship ‘maoirseacht ’towards the land ‘talamh. By recognizing the wisdom within nature, we can learn valuable lessons about ourselves. When walking out in the landscape ask for blessings and protection from the rivers, lakes, mountains, the Sun and the moon.
These practices create relationships between people and place ‘na daoine agus an áit. I believe everything in nature has a resonance that illuminates and enlivens the heart and mind. When I walk in nature, it feeds my imagination with creative ideas and inspiration when in the presence of awe. My heart and mind ‘croí agus intinn’ are in alignment.
By opening ourselves up to something greater than ourselves we are seeking a deeper, more meaningful and personal experience of the mystical.
For me it could be gazing at a full moon in the Grand Canyon casting captivating silhouettes on the rock.
I encourage everyone to allow more light ‘solas’ to enter the chambers of your heart this year. Light for me is being light hearted, having a few laughs, having a sense of humility by shifting our focus from self-centredness to a larger interconnectedness with each other. Loneliness and social isolation is not an inherent feature of the human condition. Resilience is the ability to bounce back, adapt, and recover from challenges.
The natural world can provide us tools to overcome these barriers we are facing as a species, to help add a sense of purpose and give meaning to one’s life.
Let us focus on what we want in our lives instead of what we don’t want. Become so optimistic it’s contiguous. We have a very short time here, let’s maximize the time here that really matters.
May the light ‘solas’ enter each of your hearts this Solstice ‘do chroí’ and open the chambers of your heart.