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  • Writer's pictureHelen Cottee

The good darkness

I used to be afraid of the dark.

I mean, as an adult, acutely terrified.

I couldn't sleep in the dark, I couldn't be alone in the dark, I wouldn't go out in the dark - because the dark was a cloak that hid terrifying things. Dark is what conceals, it shadows things that are there to cause us harm.

Many people aren't afraid of the dark, but we are taught that dark is bad. In religion and culture and film and in throw away sayings - dark is bad, light is good.

Many of us have been sent inspirational quotes about the necessary pain of darkness in tough times - dark times.

But the sentiment remains - that even though dark can be useful it is hard, bad and scary.

In ancient wisdom, there is much reference to this darkness and what dwells there, but there is also a different darkness that is not so malevolent, terrifying or the hider of bad things in shadows.

This is the idea of good darkness.

And good darkness was the thing missing from my tool kit when I was afraid of the dark.

Good darkness is where we are heading just about now. It is the place where the sun lets up a little and winter folds in. It is the place of quiet and rest, where the harvesting is done and the days let go on either end. Good darkness is the womb where new things are generated, where we are protected as we delicately gestate.

In the good darkness, we can let go. We can slumber. We can hibernate.

Good darkness is about rhythm and season and knowing that we can let loose on control a little so that things can die, and of course, so something new can be born.

Westernism doesn't teach good darkness - the sun is always on, we always work, we hustle hustle hustle, always in growth mode. But to any of you who felt the need to crawl beneath, to hide away, to cloak yourself, to be wrapped up with doors closed and the flicker of candles - you understand how our bodies and souls pull towards good darkness.

In a few weeks, we hit the winter solstice, the epitome of good darkness. And as we approach, I encourage you to allow the good darkness to beckon you, to draw you towards rest, to open itself to you for you to sink into and allow things to be released. Don't worry about the 'new' yet - it's not time.

Simply let good darkness wrap its arms around you and bring you some soul rest as the days darken and the nights get longer. And remember the invitation that always comes with good darkness - do not be afraid.

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