Longest night, shortest day here in the southern hemisphere and then from tomorrow the days begin incrementally to lengthen. The opposite happens in the northern hemisphere. But for both, there is a moment of balance before the tilt towards a new season either way begins – Solstice –

It’s amazing and affirming to me when synchronicities happen. I take it as a message that I must perk up, notice and take in its meaning. In the last three days I’ve been exposed by 3 other writers to Jonah being in the belly of the whale. Each speaks to the powerlessness and vulnerability we individually experience and now, also collectively.

Deborah Gregory put her poem up on Thursday. Here is the link, do read it. http://theliberatedsheep.com/belly-whale/

below are the last two verses excerpted with her permission –

Below is the Facebook post from the other day.

And lastly Dr Deon van Zyl’s newly published book which I’m slowly reading on my Kindle –

Are we in the Belly of the Whale right now, those great Leviathans of the deep? How long do we have to sit in it and experience the Dark Night of the Soul? Is it a death-rebirth cycle? When we are finally spat out naked, will we face a newly ordered world, one we do not recognise? Will our experience in the Belly change us? Will there be a re-orientation of attitude, a willingness to re-engage in a more real way, one that recognises that some attitudes that we previously had no longer serve us, or anyone else for that matter. Will we take to heart a little more ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ and ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ …

A few mornings ago I stepped out onto my balcony – Venus.

followed by a few hours later –

Today, the 20th June, is the day seven years ago when I had a terrible car accident. It was the day before our final move to our new home at the time in Johannesburg. The 20th June is a day I always acknowledge and give thanks that it wasn’t worse. Both sons were up in Johannesburg to help with the move and the final move was done on the 21st June, 2013. That day then was the solstice and with a full moon to boot. Tomorrow will be a new moon.

All is well in Plettenberg Bay. Our son David and his lovely wife Jüte returned to Cape Town today after spending 2 weeks with us. We had such a lovely time with Mike our older son who lives in Plett in his own home. The brothers spent useful time making new videos, shooting the breeze, being creative. We’ve played Scrabble, discussed much about ongoing politics, eaten like kings and queens thanks to Jüte who’s training to be a chef. I’ve been walking a fair bit, upping my steps and looking for a sighting of whales in the bay. We’re STILL not allowed to walk on the beaches in Plett for exercise.

Covid-19 wise our number of deaths are rising daily; as of today we’re under 2000 deaths country wide. Deaths are expected to rise as the winter months continue and business, restaurants, salons and travel open up. Full release of lockdown is some way away. We practise wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands etc. when shopping or out walking in public. And while we’re living in historical times, we’re paying attention to the history that has gone before locally and internationally and being well and truly stretched out of our comfort zones. I think so often of white privilege – I want to do a blog post on this one day – but in the meantime, this is an audio clip from several years ago, of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s words as voice over –

 ‘No one is born hating another person for the colour of their skin, religion or background. Never, never, never again, shall it be, that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another’ –

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you all.

48 Comments on Solstice, synchronicity, stars, sunrise, seven

  1. As always, Susan, thank you for your deeply thoughtful post, and for the lovely poems (thank you, Deborah Gregory). I especially like the shot of Venus in her Morning Star aspect. Beautiful. It seems that presently it is left to us writers to articulate what is going on within each of us and how we will proceed as we all endure and must adapt to this belly of the whale or long, dark night of the soul. A measure of balance and being aware of new opportunities and ways to adapt, while utilizing or letting go of what’s gone before, I should think, during this solar eclipse, equinox season, and so many planets retrograde. I am on extended leave of absence from my job and working on my writing — 2 books I want to publish soon. Would that they would afford me enough passive income from royalties that I could focus on my writing and not have to return to that dreadful day job. So glad that you enjoyed such a wonderful weekend with your family and especially with your “personal chef.” 😊 –Carol

    • Wonderful to see you here Samantha, thank you for coming by! Glad to hear that you’re on leave of absence from your day job. From what I recall it was pretty crushing to your soul on all levels. May the air in Delaware re-ignite your passion of writing. I remember well your “Begins the Night Music ~ A Dementia Caregiver’s Journal” and the follow up to that. Exquisite writing. I look forward to your new books. May the stars solstice and planets guide you.

      The chef and Davey returned after leaving on Saturday. They were concerned about Neil undergoing an operation on Monday (all is well) and wanted to be here to support him post operatively. Not only with love and care but with food, glorious food.

  2. As you begin to look for more light we begin to mosey toward darkness. Same as it ever was, but so odd to contemplate. At least for me it is. I credit blogging for making me more away of the yin and yang nature of our world. Happy Winter, Susan.

  3. Your image of the new moon – Venus conjunction is breathtaking and fills me with hope. And then the gorgeous sunrise. Thank you for sharing it. The belly of the whale seems an apt metaphor for where we stand. It’s all so deeply unconscious.

    I wrote about my childhood experience of white privilege this week. It was good to explore those experiences and also very upsetting to face how much I was involved as a little kid in a racist culture in Missouri that was on the slave holding side in the civil war. My family moved from that state when I was 12, but I didn’t face the culture until I was in college.

    I’m joisting with anger in another piece I’m writing. The unfairness of this world is unbearable. I hope we’ll make it through and change our president, but so much damage is being done by him and so many other “leaders.” It seems he’ll do as much damage as possible even if people don’t support his actions. He needs to spend some time in the belly of the whale, but he’ll do anything to avoid the abyss. As always, we’ll see what life decides. Thank you for all the references. I loved Deborah’s poem, too.

    • Thanks for coming by Elaine – the photo of the moon in fact was not the new moon, I took it a few days before the new moon which I still haven’t sighted. It was due at 08.41 on the 21st two days ago, and at that time it was broad daylight in my neck of the woods.

      I look forward to reading about your experience of white privilege as a child. O lordy this is such a complex subject. We were talking last night about a Truth & Reconciliation Commission (which we had in the late 90’s as way of addressing apartheid; white people confessing to their deeds under the white government) but we were talking this time round for the governing party who came into power in 1994 to now take on as a way of being truthful about the state capture and dreadful endemic corruption and looting we’ve had over the last many many years and which has brought the whole country to its knees. I mention this to you – thinking of a TRC for the USA to address the many oppressions of the African American and the American Indians. And for our country to now undergo another TRC –

      The wheel HAS to turn.

      • My blog is personal memoir, as usual, and about my childhood in Missouri. White privilege was a given and completely unconscious in 1953 when the photo I used was taken. It’s a morning moon photo and Venus is no longer in the evening sky here with the new moon. It’s the old waxing moon, Hecate’s moon. It’s a beautiful photograph and what a view!

  4. I find this to be such a life-affirming post Susan – thank you! I most definitely like the belly-of-the-whale analogy, and feel myself turning to my own deeper exploration of it. These are such extraordinary liminal times and not to be marked individually and collectively seems unimaginable. May winter unfold in brilliantly supportive ways for you.

    • I’m so pleased Deborah that the belly of the whale spoke to you. Wonderfully and extraordinarily, we saw a sighting of whales yesterday in the far distance from our sitting room. Synchronicity extraordinaire! Out with the binoculars and eyes peeled. Then into my car to travel a bit to see if we could see them closer up. But no luck there so a trek to another possible vantage point – this time on my own – and no whales but plenty of dolphins frolicking in the bay. Not today either, maybe another time. May your summer yield bright joys.

  5. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but the pandemic precautions and effects are much like being in the belly of the whale. Many will come out changed by the experience–even if they don’t have the disease, aren’t laid off or lose loved ones. The world will change and we with it. We are a bit insulated by our locale and our retirement. We have no elders and our children are not in danger of losing work nor are they in school. Nonetheless, we feel for the friends and others who are confined more deeply in that proverbial whale.

    • Thanks for coming by John. I really do think it’s an apt metaphor even if we’re not directly affected, for which we are grateful. We’re also somewhat isolated. Though who knows where to from here. Both sons are self employed and remain busy in their fields, one as an animator the younger as a musician so that is a comfort while remaining in empathy and sympathy for those who are struggling.

      Have a great week!

  6. Thought provoking and beautiful as always, Susan. So glad those terrible car accident days are behind you and the beautiful sunsets with Venus in the sky lie ahead. Happy solstice! oxo

    • Thanks Pam 🙂 I’m upstairs in my study now, the sun is down and it’s dusk. I’ll be looking out for the new moon tomorrow in the early hours. Sunrise is only at about 7.15 a.m. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be 07.14.8. Hope you get to see the new moon! xx

  7. Happy Solstice, Susan. I hope the answers to all your questions are a resounding Yes! We need a better future. We all need to contribute to it.
    I’m pleased you are staying well and out of harm’s way. May we all do better in the second half of the year than the first.

  8. Happy Solstice–you will be edging toward more light now, and we will be edging towards more darkness, but for a moment everything perhaps was balanced. I somber anniversary, but also one of gratitude that it was not worse. I’m happy you were able to be with family. We’re still taking precautions, and we’ve seen one daughter from a distance, but other family only on phone and Zoom.

    • Thanks Merril, happy Solstice to you too and Happy Father’s Day to your man. We also do Skype and phone with my brother & his son in Durban, my sister in Cape Town and my niece and her sweet boys in the UK. The day will come –

  9. Thank you so much Susan for including my latest poem in your Solstice post. What a lovely surprise! You’ve certainly piqued my interest with Jonah at this turning point of the year as the powerful new moon and solar eclipse both explode into our (Winter and Summer) skies this Solstice weekend.

    For me, the whole world and life as I know it, feels like it’s been on pause ever since our global lockdowns began. One reader included this wonderful poem in her reply to my poem which I want to share with your readers. The similarities to life during our lockdowns are endless and offer wisdom.

    Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
    Dan Albergotti

    Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
    Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
    with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
    Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
    Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
    for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
    each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
    of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
    Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
    of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
    Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
    where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
    the things you did and could have done. Remember
    treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes

    At times it can feel kind of strange to celebrate the anniversary of a bad accident yet we do. Why? Because it’s important to remember what happens in “the belly”. In many ways, more important than the end of the story. Astrologically, the heavenly alignment of your accident moving from full to new moon feels significant.

    I look forward to your future post on white privilege, something I’ve been feeling keenly for quite a while now. I very much enjoyed The Kiffness track. Thank you! What compassionate and creative sons you have and how wonderful to have a budding chef join the family! Yum! Love and Solstice blessings, Deborah.

    • Thanks Deborah so much! And for including Dan Albergotti’s powerful words. I’ve got a smudge stick that I can see on my desk in my study. I will use it and send smoke signals and continue to listen for the sounds of the heart. And all those wise words …

      Yes, it’s important for me to acknowledge the anniversary of my accident. Also, if I think back how well everything was planned and was going so smoothly. The plan was to officially move into the townhouse on June 21st when the moon was full. But the very day before … the best laid plans of mice and men …

      Happy Solstice blessings to you – I’ll be looking up into the night sky this evening to see if I can see the new moon. The other evening we were alerted to manned satellites moving across the skies but we didn’t see them.

      Love and Solstice blessings to you!

      • There’s so much treasure to be found “in the belly of the whale” yet it’s so hard to see this while inside! I’ve shared this on Twitter with that amazing image of Jonah, it’s so relevant to what’s happening in the world right now.

        • Thanks Deborah! We smudged just now, also in prep for Neil’s op tomorrow – in fact Dave & Jüte were well on their way to Cape Town yesterday but turned back to be here to support him post op. Jüte plans a huge cook up of soup for the days ahead ..

          • Oh, I hope all goes well for Neil tomorrow! Amazing, Dave & Jüte turned back. As the song goes … “more than a feeling, that’s the power of love! x

            • The Cherry on the Cake is a sighting of whale leaping far out to sea! Plus another Cherry is coming across a photo I took of the Black Madonna 2 years ago on 21st June 2018 – o wow!

  10. Many anniversaries of change and renewal–we hope. it will take time like the longest day and night. We are in a huge time and the opportunities are yet to evolve. Keeping conscious is what we can do and that is not easy.

  11. Thank you for your delightful post. I still have to chuckle as I forget that we are entering summer as you enter winter. So I was trying to figure out how your nights were so long and your days are so short, when my brain finally kicked in.

    Boy, your post is enlightening too, as it will be very interesting to see if we are in the belly of the whale. Will we emerge enlightened with life better? I sure pray that there is hope for mankind.

    Then I pray that the virus does not generate more deaths as here in the U.S. Some of our politicians are NOT very smart, nor do they really care for their people. This country is VERY sad right now. I’m praying that life will become better!

    • Thanks Gwynn for coming by. I do think we are in the belly of the whale. Ructions and eruptions everywhere. Believe me we’re very concerned about this virus as winter takes hold. And the explosion of violence in our land, including gender based violence. As well as land grabs. As well as … well, I won’t go into that right now.

      Sad is a good word re the feeling in the US. If sadness can galvanise us all, that would be good and useful.

      Happy Father’s Day to John. I bet he’s getting your choc chip cookies?

  12. There is so much good here, it bears a second reading. One statement about the solstice stood out, however: “But for both, there is a moment of balance before the tilt towards a new season either way begins –”

    The world feels SO unbalanced in this season (on either hemisphere); I find hope in a vertical view. Just this afternoon, I gazed up to the clouds and remember one rendering of a verse in Psalm: “Every cloud is a flag to his faithfulness.” The LORD God is my fixed point, my North Star in this unsteady world.

    You mentioned Jonah and I remember using the painting of Jonah and the whale in an Easter blog post several years ago, mentioning that depression precedes resurrection: https://marianbeaman.com/2018/03/28/easter-meditation-jonah-carl-sandburg/
    I am aware it’s considered spamming to put a link to one’s own blog in another’s, but I hope you don’t mind, as there seems to be a big of synchronicity here – ha!

    Life is not fair, but I have to believe in a just God, even though the divine often seems a mystery at time.

    I’m so glad you have had time with family, Mike and David and wife. You are blessed and so am I.

    All good wishes to you, my friend Susan! oxo

    • Thanks Marion so much. I loved going back to your Easter blog, not that long ago actually, 2 years back. It was lovely and relevant then as it is now. You used the same picture of Pieter Lastman (1621) as did Jung Southern Africa – SAAJA – as did Deon for the cover of his book. it’s so graphic. And with your blog post here again is synchronicity at work!

      In our Jung study group in Johannesburg, we studied Job from the Bible (on two occasions separated by several years) as well as Jung’s commentary on it ‘Answer to Job’. It was extremely unsettling to say the least. But an important task. Jung very much believed in a religious attitude to life and death.

      So, here’s to the ongoing mysteries and uncertainty. And, talking of being blessed, Dave and Jüte were well on their way back to Cape Town, 3 hours in, and they phoned me and said they’re turning back. Neil is having a hernia op tomorrow and they wanted to be here to support us both. They arrived back around 6.30 last evening. Jüte is already planning nourishing soups for her father-in-law.

      Happy Father’s Day to Cliff! Mike is on his way stopping in at a deli for delicious almond croissants for a late breakfast. My heart swells and gives thanks to all that is Holy.

    • I agree Jacqui, Mr. Mandela’s words are spot on. My take on it would be (inter alia) that we project onto others that which we don’t want to own in ourselves. We make a scapegoat of ‘the other’ .

  13. Thank you again for another very thought-provoking post. Powerful link from the Kiffness. I look forward to your future post on White Privilege. This topic has been on my mind a great deal as well.

    • Thanks Donna. Yes, it’s a huge topic that needs much more exploration and acknowledgment which thankfully it is getting. Hopefully we will not flinch from this task.

    • Thanks Mike for coming by and for your help this morning in drafting this post, and of course for your help this day 7 years ago and the days thereafter. See you tomorrow for Father’s Day!

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