Blessing for the Longest Night by Jan Richardson

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

Blessing for the Longest Night

I don’t think there is much needed to say about this poem by the artist and minister Jan Richardson whose work I have enjoyed for many years. Tonight is the longest night, today the shortest day, what we call winter solstice. After which the light, almost imperceptibly, begins to increase, the faithful return of the light.

For many of us, the darkness of winter is challenging, a time when difficult things can feel even more difficult. For some, it is a time to hibernate, cocoon, reflect, a time to turn inward away from the busyness of the warmth and bright light of summer months. Whichever it is for you, I hope you will receive this blessing: This is the night / when you can trust / that any direction / you go, / you will be walking / toward the dawn.

Happy Solstice to you.


19 thoughts on “Blessing for the Longest Night by Jan Richardson

  1. Thank you dear Jan for this gift of opening to the blessings of the dark and walking towards the dawn. Solstice blessings and love to you. ❤️

    For some reason I couldn’t post on the comment section.

    Sent from my iPad



  2. And blessings right back to you, dear Jan. Thank you for this lovely poem – I’m already making a list of people I want to send it on to. Happy holidays to you and your beloveds. Love – Mary Lou


  3. I for one have been soooo looking forward to this day – the poem was brilliant – not only did I release my breath, every cell seems to have relaxed – oh, the mysteries :O). Thanks dear Jan xo


  4. Dear Janice,
    Thank you for sharing another deeply moving poem. How appropriate to the time of the year and to our times.

    Wishing you a peaceful and joyful new year!


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