As we passed the longest night of the year and the start of astronomical winter back on the 21st December, I watched the dawn rise amongst the sacred stones at Avebury’s Henge at the very civilised time of 8am! In one of those special Earth-gifted moments, we welcomed back the light.
The word Solstice combines the Latin words sol and sistere to mean ‘sun stands still’. A solstice occurs when either of the Earth's poles reach maximum tilt away from the Sun and is the ‘pause’ at either the northern or southern limit before the sun’s daily path reverses direction.
Standing alongside generations of our invisible ancestors, celebrating the winter solstice amongst those mist-covered stones, offered a perfect time to reflect on the symbolism of the sun’s ‘still-point’, the pause at the top of the breath. Be it the liminal space where we can let go of the past and become the future or the brief moment of coherence between the true majesty of life and its utter insignificance, it is a time to stop and connect to something much bigger than ourselves. The henge may be human created, but the stones themselves and the land they sit on are as old as time and there is something extraordinary that happens when you connect to that truth.
As I stood listening to the beautiful voices and drumming happening around me, I heard the Earth calling me home.
I read something on Social Media the other day and it stayed with me. ‘Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?’ When we shed the layers of modern taming and conformity and see flickers of our true humanity, who do we uncover? This work underpins what the amazing Joanna Macy calls the ‘Great Turning’, an essential shift we need to make as humans from the Industrial Growth Society we now live in to a life-sustaining civilisation. For we have clearly lost our way.
So many of my friends and I have conversations about the ‘freeze’ response triggered by the seeming enormity of such a shift and I am sure we are not alone. There is something so deeply unpalatable about the paradigm we currently live in, we feel it in our bones, but what can we do and where do we even start?
Facing things we have chosen to ignore is challenging and frightening and a wise friend recently said because all the stories we watch and read tend to finish with some kind of happy ending, our ability to face reality and act is deeply contaminated with the belief that if we just keep on ‘watching’, everything will work out fine in the end.
According to Joanna Macy, activism comes in 3 main forms: holding actions, structural change and shifts in consciousness. Believe it or not, the latter is why we work with tea. A daily invitation to allow the subtle but powerful medicine offered by these teas to shift our brains back into functioning in a way much more aligned with how our human brains were designed to perceive the world, not only the one around us, but also the one within us.
It might all feel too overwhelming to act, we might be so busy to capacity we haven’t time to think, but this subtle activation of both brain hemispheres in harmony can open us up to the possibility of positive action, no matter how small, through the changing lens it allows us to see the world through. That is how amazing tea is.
When we consciously align with a natural cycle or interact with or consume the natural world with reverence, we allow the old world and the new world to collide. We get the opportunity to momentarily shift into a paradigm more aligned with the original human blueprint, where we sat in awe of all life, where we were humbled by the vastness of the cosmos, where we lived in right-relationship with all our non-human neighbours. From there we might see alternative ways to act, we may see obvious changes we need to make, we might feel the incoherence of our actions with our deep knowing and we might feel the earth calling us home.
So as we enter a new year, be kind to yourselves for we are all doing our best, and know as you drink your tea that you are already beginning that journey of sacred activism, Use these daily opportunities wisely and breathe in and face what shows up. It might be scary or seem hopeless, you might be overwhelmed with guilt or lethargy, but for those few minutes dig deep into the magnificence of being alive, with all its highs and lows.
So as 2022 passes, a heartfelt thanks for supporting our work and enjoying these beautiful teas. Here’s to 2023, may it offer up just what you need when you need it and we look forward to speaking to you again in the February.