As we move into the season of crystallized water, of frost and ice and snow, I have been thinking about creativity. Even as a current of deep water continues to flow under the river’s thick ice, how can we keep our own creativity flowing through the dark and inward season of winter?
At this time of year, lulled by the warmth of the woodstove and the early darkness, it can be easy to sink into a soup-induced stupor and simply stagnate on the couch. Although deep rest is natural and restorative at this time of year, the Dreamtime of Winter is actually a season of inherent creative potential. All things begin the darkness: birds in their eggs, babies in bellies, seeds tucked into the soil, dreams in our subconscious. This dark, quiet time of year from Samhain (Halloween) to Winter Solstice is a time of conception, of setting intentions, of getting clear about what it is we want to manifest and create. The Winter Solstice heralds the return of the light, the lengthening of days, and the promise of new beginnings.
It is Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of artistic expression, creative flow, and initiation, who holds this energy of the first ray of sunlight coming up over the hills on Solstice morning. It is she who flows beneath the surface of the frozen river water, reminding of us of the presence of possibility and potential even when things seem stuck or stagnant. Riding on her white swan, a lute and a scroll in her hands, she is the words that flow from our mouths when we sing, from our pens when we write. She is the artistry that flows from our brushes when we paint, from our bodies when we dance or practice yoga.
Before she was considered the goddess of art and wisdom, Saraswati was originally a river goddess. As the mineral-rich snows melt from the high mountains and flow down to nourish the valleys below, so our ideas, concepts, and knowledge flow down from the third eye (Brahma, the mind) to the throat chakra where they are expressed outwardly in the form of speech, song, poetry, or story. Saraswati is sometimes called “Vach,” (as in our words “vocal” or “voice”), the Goddess of Divine Speech. When we string together letters to make words, and words to make sentences, we are spelling. (Yes, as in “to cast a spell.”) Saraswati embodies Matrika Shakti, the power to give meaning to words, and the power to manifest ideas into reality, powers that all of us have.
As we approach the Winter Solstice, it is time to make intention, to choose carefully the words that will empower us to manifest the creations we envision. Because we are mostly made of water, we hold the energetic imprint of our intentions on a cellular level. So choose mindfully!
Creativity has its own flow and rhythm. Just as the moon phases and the tides pulse, just as the wheel of the year turns and the white swans migrate over shifting landscapes, our own creative juices ebb and flow. Just as a river needs its banks, our creativity needs a container to help channel and focus its energy. A little structure goes a long way. A well-crafted intention can serve this purpose, especially in the form a simple commitment, such as, “I will write at least one page in my journal every night,” or, “I will go to at least one dance class a week.”
In the coming weeks, as you sit on your yoga mat, your meditation cushion, or even on the couch by the woodstove, use your exhalations to imagine obstacles to your intentions (such as “I don’t have time for that,” or “I’m not really good at that,” etc.) melting away from you like snow melting into the earth to be recycled into next year’s growth. With every new breath (in-spir-ation) lovingly repeat your intention aloud or to yourself. Feel the flow of your breath, the current of your aliveness, the gift of creative energy: Shakti.
Many Blessings on your sacred journey across the dark womb waters of winter. May the return of the light bring you the joy of seeing your creative visions and intentions manifest into reality!