Past episodes of The Dark Months have examined escape, possibility, and hope. As we reach the shortest day of the year – The Winter Solstice – it seems all hope is extinguished. Now, more than ever, we need optimism and joy.
The Dark Months – Seventeen
It’s a word we’re becoming familiar with.
In our febrile politics it stands for authority in the decision-making process of the state and the maintenance of order. Yet in a sweet irony, as we reach that hallowed state of sovereignty, borders close to our meagre exports, more plentiful and necessary imports cannot enter, and all this against the backdrop of a lockdown to contain a pandemic that seems to be spiralling out of control.
Derived from the Latin superanus, and through the French souveraineté, sovereignty was originally understood to mean the equivalent of supreme power.
Like the sun.
Sol Invictus, the Romans ‘unconquerable sun’, wrote its power across the sky from sunrise to sunset. Sol Invictus was celebrated around the third week of December – The Winter Solstice.
As the power of Sol Invictus waned with that of the Roman Empire, so came the rise of Christianity. The Solstice celebration became one for the Christian saviour’s birth; with the sun seeming to die we get a kind of resurrection.
A pivot. A point where change becomes a possibility, even if only as an idea.
With the Winter Solstice, the days start to get longer, the sun begins again its majestic climb across the sky.
Perhaps, just maybe, we too might start to look around us and see above and beyond the immediate chaos to a future where the darkness is no longer supreme.
We can help plan that path.
We can plant and sow seed.
We can ensure that which is good and pure is given the space and nourishment it needs to grow strong.
So as the sun sets on our politics, and with the shade of our discontent growing, we should remember, it’s not the end. It’s the beginning.