Celebration of Darkness

Katoomba Winter Magicmona-reveal-details-of-dark-mofo-their-inaugural-winter-festivalHere in the Southern Hemisphere we are moving into the season of winter dark. So much of our lives and our worlds vaunt light as being superior to dark-after all my blog name is  Lightraveller Kate-that it is good to be in a city which celebrates the beauty and richness of the dark season. I lived in the Blue Mountains of Sydney where each winter the Solstice is celebrated with a Winter Magic festival. Winters in the Mountains can be hard with many people hibernating and a pall of social depression takes over the community. People are reluctant to participate. So what better way to rouse the community that a creative feast to honour the coming of the light when the days start by seconds to grow longer? Its a festival which unites the community fostering colourful dress, artistic expression and vibrant musicians and community choirs. It allows for pagan and eccentric expression which the churches at first protested but now many have come on board and found their own path in the eclectic mix. To the pagan Celts, the Winter Solstice was honoured as the feast of Yule, the birth of the Divine Child within us all. And this is a child of light, not darkness. But its darkness that is the more powerful force because its initially  the source of all life.Winter Magic by night And here in Hobart, its celebrated on the Solstice. Dark Mofo is not so much a festive event but more an solemnisation of the importance of darkness in the life of the city. Light is used judiciously to accentuate the dark and not the other way around as most of the events are held from sunset onwards.  As a culture modern western society has always been fearful of the dark and created  association with mortality. But it seems to me that often what we fear in the dark, is our own shadows into which we have cast  out all those aspects which were socially unacceptable and over which we seem to have no control. This will be my first experience of Dark Mofo a series of artistic and cultural events from June 12th to 22nd across various locations in the city. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing “The Witches” by Roald  Dahl, Giidanyba in the Royal Botanic gardens where the Indigenous artist Tyrone’s seven sculptures float amongst the trees, depicting nocturnal spirits of ancient Aboriginal mythology that impart knowledge and guidance to Gumbaynggirr people. As night falls and you move closer, these Giidanyba or ‘sky beings’ transform from unlit statues to shimmering light beings. “Radiant Heat” and “Angry Electrons” are also on my long list. So, like one of the witches in “Macbeth” I say all hail the power of darkness in creating a richer cultural life for us all

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