Now, as we move into the deepest darkness of Yule this week, and so many of us are also getting into the holiday festivities, I was frankly hoping for a happier card. But instead, we are challenged by a card that has been called, “The dark night of the soul.”
While we are beguiled by the commercial and entertainment industries that insist this is a time of pure joy, for many people, it is just the opposite. Not only do the scant daylight hours affect some people’s emotional stability, but for many, economic pressures as well as family memories and gatherings are very difficult.
And then there are the terrible realities more and more of us are facing this year – ongoing war, bankruptcy, foreclosure, lay-offs, deepening recession, failing medical care, and a bleak forecast for the living beings of Mother Earth.
No, this is not a happy card. But it is clear that there is something very important being communicated here.
In it, two miserable people in the wintry night struggle past the stained glass window. Where is the doorway to that place? Do they seek it? Or are they so used to surviving their hardship that they simply battle on? Perhaps they have been cast out, no longer allowed into the holy places. Or maybe they deliberately pass it by, because what it offers is not what they need.
While it may mean many things, I feel that this card, at this time, is a clear wake-up call for us to act on behalf of those who are homeless, without aid, without medical care. Their numbers are mounting every day. We ignore (and in some shameful cases, exploit) their plight at our peril.
Who is being shut out of a hopeful future? Who is sick, lonely, lost? In what ways are you or the people around you, being left out in the dark night of despair?
Consider this week what you need to survive, and how is that different from what you need to thrive? Is it possible that you may be missing the opportunity to be sheltered and cared for because you are unwilling to ask for help? Or, like many, have you exhausted all the traditional avenues of support?
Let the warning in this card encourage us to redouble our efforts and awareness of our interconnectedness, and ways that we can help one another. May the healing and light of this season become authentic and welcoming to all in need. May hope be restored in real, tangible ways.
And if there is no door to the warmth and light, together let us make one.