The Light Persists: Musings at the Winter Solstice 2022


I have a sometimes complicated relationship with the Winter Solstice. In part as a legacy of growing up in the subarctic, I have a tendency towards a semi-annual Seasonal Depression. Being aware of that fact I have certain coping mechanisms I deploy, including trying to make sure I have links to a few key songs that have helped stir me out of my mood either by a degree of wallowing in it or by distracting me from it. Nothing was helping this year.

The last few years have been difficult for me and my family. My Partner was the victim of an assault and in a medical coma in 2019, I nearly died in 2020 from congestive heart failure, my partner had a stroke in 2021, and this year’s autumn saw a number of setbacks in particular as the place I work was sold to new owners, who do not provide insurance, and who have cut hours. I was also sick in bed for a few days a couple of week-ends ago, I am still recovering. I’ve been at a point of mental and physical and spiritual exhaustion, not even able to find solace in my writing or in conversations with friends.

A good conversation with a friend, even if it has nothing to do with what is bothering me, will often help me to recharge and reexamine things in a new light.


The metaphor we all work and wrestle with this time of year. It can be terribly difficult to kindle or rekindle within ourselves sometimes. Especially when it seem so much or our world is sinking into darkness and deplorable behavior and driving us to despair. The rises in Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, Racism, Economic Injustice, anti-Science, anti-History, Conspiracy culture, Fascism and Oligarchy over the last several years have each been onslaughts on their own and collectively building upon one another. In response to these I have often tried to remember the words of one of my Honored & Beloved Dead, Harvey Milk who reminded us “You’ve got to give them hope!” Other times I have held on to that refrain from Dylan Thomas “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Nothing seemed to be helping me this year. It was all seeming… so. very. much.

Then I came across a story in the news. Members of the Posner family, grandchildren of Rachel Posner the Rabi’s wife who took the now famous photo of a menorah in their windowsill with the flags of Nazi Germany flying on the streets at Hanukah in 1931, had been invited to light their menorah in a windowsill in the home of the President of Germany for Hanukah 5782 (2022). Now some may find it strange that a Gentile may be so touched and so moved and so inspired by this story. It is possible that they need to work on their capacities for compassion, decency, and empathy.

I found myself crying. The sheets of ice and inertia and misery in me cracking and beginning to melt away as if at the return of Spring. A phrase rang out within my head and heart…

The Light Persists.

The. Light. Persists. Even when we cannot see it. Even when we are unable to find it within ourselves. Even when everything in our lives and the world around us seem against it. The Light Persists.

I was forcibly reminded of the liminality of Yuletide. Winter Solstice is a crossroads that we are brought to again and again, year after year. Each time we come upon it in our life’s journey we are given a profound and special gift. The gift of choosing. Choosing to lean into the light. The gift of *choosing* joy. We are given the chance to make our highest ideals and the values of our ancestors manifest. We can share in the blessings of and share our blessings with families of blood and/or choice, with our communities, with those less fortunate, with friends and strangers alike. We can embody and invoke and evoke generosity, hospitality, kindness, compassion. We can elevate stories of joy and knowledge and family. We can choose to be the persistence of light.

May each of you have a very blessed Yuletide.

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

One thought on “The Light Persists: Musings at the Winter Solstice 2022

  1. Pingback: The Opening of the Year 2023: Standing at the Crossroads during Tower Times | Chrysalis

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