Lights Out

How do we respond to when it is still dark when we go to work, or get the kids ready for school, and when they or we come back home, when it is already dark again? Was the situation even starker and did it feel more threatening all those years ago, when there was no electricity and no central heating? Candles and the fire would become very important, while being limited resources at the same time.

Looking at the customs we have taken on and developed further from those days, we do not seem to be feeling much more reassured, maybe even less. Our responses are hardly any different to this innate fear of darkness, which is part of the instinctive / animal side of our nature. Blackpool Illuminations, chains of lights on houses and in gardens, some even Twinkling, and not very Little Stars either . . .

Well, that’s just what it is, a response to a fear a lot of us might not even be consciously aware of. It’s what we have done for ages, when times of daylight get shorter, and those of darkness are getting increasingly longer. So go for it, light those candles, buy those chains of novelty bulbs, reassure that frightened part of yourSelf with whatever works for you, and go gentle on what may look like tack to the eyes of some beholders.

People have been known to whistle in the dark, or do more raucous things, in order to boost their waning sense of self. A less obvious response, although addressing the same fear, is the behaviour we display or experience at Christmas Parties and in pubs around this time of year. Huddling together for re-assurance with others in the same situation, sometimes covering up these feelings by behaving in a loud and outrageous way.

And again, once we acknowledge some of the most probably underlying causes for these displays we can choose to be more understanding of ourselves, and of others. As beings of a physical nature, we simply respond to changes in our physical surrounding on a deep subconscious level. To the same extent we acknowledge that, we open choices for more acceptable and beneficial ways and means to express actively those feelings, which will come out somehow anyway.

They tell us that Prince Albert introduced the Christmas Tree in this country. Not altogether really accurate. The fear and apprehension of reducing times of sunlight, and nature going in on itself, has made people take evergreens into their caves and houses, put lights on them or into their proximity, attach little effigies of hearts and elves and houses and animals and objects, which would reflect the little light there was. They did all that in order to remind the nature spirits and themselves of the areas of life in which they craved for protection and reassurance. And they exchanged gifts with the notion, that their kinfolk were representatives for spirits and deities.

You love your friends, but you hate shopping at this time of year? That just means you are reacting within the Spirit of the Season. I would love to encourage you to be as grumpy, and as over the top, and as fearful or irritated, and as excited as the kid you used to be, and still have as a precious companion inside of you. If the dark of winter gets you down, you are very welcome, as well, to telephone or e-mail me, especially over “those days” . . .

Elisabeth@loveable.com