Wreaths and Darkness, Doorways and Light

Each year around this time, as I travel through neighborhoods and visit friends, I notice the many wreaths adorning walls and lampposts and, especially, festooning doorways and windows.

These images of wreaths hold a powerful meaning of beginnings for me -- and also of mystery. I think it started back when my brilliant friend Cara told me that she had placed a beautiful carved picture frame I had given her, still empty, on the altar in her home. Cara said that whenever she passed the frame and contemplated its black velvet backing, it reminded her that it's ok not to know what's going to happen -- that she was holding a beautiful space for mystery on the other side of change.

Last winter, I kept this image in the back of my mind, as we tend to do with useful ideas in the wisdom of our unconscious, and eventually I found that I had come across a beautiful little empty frame of my own, and put it in the special corner of my dresser that serves as a bedroom altar. And just as Cara had said, every time I passed it, I felt reassured that the doorway into the unknown that many of us feel so powerfully around this time of year, is beautiful and sacred.

If you have an altar, perhaps you have noticed how whatever you put there seems to end up manifesting in other parts of your life. Soon enough, wreaths started appearing everywhere, each one its own welcoming celebration of the unknown, its own round doorway. And when my friend Tomas sent his annual Solstice wreath to adorn my front door, it felt invested with a peaceful, yet exciting power.

And as it happened, those auguries were accurate. 2013 turned out to be a year of many doorways into the unknown for me. The amazing part is that I walked through many of them, whether frightened, confused or exhilarated, only to find myself waiting, shaken but strong, on the other side. And I greeted myself with wonder, and began to want to do something more to acknowledge this power.

And so this year, I have begun a different relationship with the idea of the wreath, one that recalls its original role of celebration and honoring. I am learning to honor myself, to honor the people I love best, and to honor -- to hold in power and gratitude -- the celebrations and the days that I am part of. When I see a wreath now, I feel gratitude, and appreciation, and a sense of sharing, because honoring is always shared together.

Yes, each of us is alone as we walk through whatever door is ours. But after we get through it, we can turn and see the others near us and feel more and more that we are really not alone, that an essential part of being human is to recognize how much we do share with one another. So now, with the days finally lengthening, I want to share with you my heartfelt wishes for a deep renewal, for a courageous and profound entrance through the frame and into the peaceful, rich space honored by the wreath, as you move into the next stage of your own untrodden journey.