Winter Solstice 2018 - "Chasing the Light" by CJ Shelton
There is an old Cherokee Legend ...
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.”
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one that you feed.”
It has become a tradition for me to create a new piece of art at the Winter Solstice, to reflect the energies I feel are currently operating in the world and will be influencing the new year ahead of us.
As we come to the end of 2018 and what many consider a very difficult year full of uncertainty and fears, we have an opportunity to recognize that, just as in Nature, everything in our lives, our communities, the global community and the life of the entire planet, moves in cycles. Which means change is the only constant and every ending we encounter marks a new beginning. This threshold place between the old and the new is where hope lives.
With the dawning of 2019 a little over a week away, the new piece I have created for this year’s Solstice is called “Chasing the Light” and is based on the Cherokee legend above. This timeless tale is likely familiar to many of you because it is often told, not only in indigenous traditions, but in many spiritual, metaphysical and even motivational circles as well.
If you have heard the story before, perhaps you might smile knowingly and say “yes, yes, I get it”. But I would invite you this time to really reflect on how both my image and the legend may be pointing out something very vital for each and every one of us to be aware of in our journey ahead through 2019.
Consider: are the wolves running from something or to something? Do you get the sense they are coming for you and chasing you … or, are they running away from some chaos behind them? Perhaps they are searching for the source of the unknown light in the distance and it is that which draws them onward.
What if each wolf in this pack represents an aspect of yourself? Or an aspect of our world in its current state of unrest and troubling times? If so, then how do you choose to confront, befriend, wrangle or otherwise deal with such a pack of conflicting energies?
Consider, also, whether the dark outlier wolves in the image are merely ominous shadows or are they equal and necessary members of the pack? Might you be willing to accept that each and every one of us is capable of being both the light wolf and the dark wolf, both good and evil, and that complaining, fear and worry about what we see happening in our world – personally and globally – is actually a projection of the race between these two wolves occurring inside ourselves?
Wolves are incredibly wise creatures and ones that I have an enormous respect and love for. They are actually very similar to us in the way they conduct family life and “govern” themselves. But I would venture to say that wolves are far more successful at such self-government than we humans.
While we have taken over wolf territories and ruined their habitats, hunting them almost to extinction because they are “wild ferocious beasts with no soul”, still they have survived. They have chosen not to do battle with us, but to continue to govern themselves – individually and collectively - to the best of their ability in an ever-changing world, full of threats and violations to their well-being.
Dark as that image may be, there is hope to be had in the wolves’ scenario. The light in the distant trees may be the chaos they run from … but it may also be showing them the way forward. This is what the return of the Sun at the Winter Solstice is all about. No matter how dark it might get, whatever shadows haunt us or how worrisome circumstances may be around us, there is always the knowledge and the certainty that the light WILL return. The Solstice is not about having the light. It is about carrying hope and moving towards the vision we want to make a reality.This is the promise born of a threshold place such as the Winter Solstice.
So, like the old Cherokee grandfather, I ask you at this year’s end: in 2019 which wolf will you choose to feed? Will it be the one who harbours resentment, self-pity and righteous anger, blaming all that is external for the world's woes? Or will it be the one who stands for all that is good and kind and decent in this world and looks to its own actions and within its own heart for the answers?
We each, individually, have this choice to make. At this threshold point and the beginning of a new cycle, we should not despair. Hope is seeing light in spite of being surrounded by darkness. Hope lives as long as enough of us keep making the right choice and feeding the right wolf. “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” (Rudyard Kipling)
If you are struggling to make sense of it all at this year-end, then why not run awhile, side by side, with my wolves … for they will reveal to you whether you are truly running with them towards the light or letting the chaos and darkness hunt you. May this Solstice give both you and the wolves the strength to choose well, to choose hope rather than fear, kindness over hate and light over darkness.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”~ Og Mandino
To each of you who support and follow my work, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my gratitude and say a heart-felt thank you. Many of you have expressed how much you enjoy this newsletter, so it is now my turn to thank all of YOU for allowing me to share my creative journey “under the dancing moon”. And as we give thanks on this sacred Solstice for the darkness it honours and the light that it births, my wish is that hope and goodness flow through you, as it does for all those who believe …
Wishing you all the Blessings of Christmas, a Happy Solstice and much Peace and Joy for the New Year ahead.
Artist & Facilitator Dancing Moon Designs Illuminating the Creative Spirit ...
PS ... some of my upcoming workshops for the winter season are now posted on my website at www.dancingmoondesigns.ca to help you start planning for the new year.
PPS - If you would like to make any last-minute purchases from my studio for Christmas I will be at the studio this Saturday and Sunday until about 4:30 both days.