It was so dark this morning, still dark at ten to nine, because of the heavy cloud cover, I suppose. We’ve nearly reached the shortest day of the year now. Friday is the 21st of December. I can’t wait for the Winter Solstice. After that, the days will begin to get longer, and brighter.
At this time of year I like to think of Newgrange in Co. Meath. Constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.) in a place called Brú na Bóinne, Newgrange is an ancient place of astrological, spiritual or ceremonial importance. We really don’t know what went on here in the distant past but what we do know is that this ancient mound was constructed in such a way that on the morning of the Winter Solstice, if the sky is clear, the first rays of the sun shine directly into its inner chamber, through a 19 metre long passage, illuminating the megalithic carvings for a magical few moments.
It must have served as a powerful symbol of new life, new beginnings, the victory of life over death, the ceremonial meeting of Heaven and earth… as my friend Norbert recently wrote: “we underestimate the energy, fervour and intellectual accomplishments of earlier cultures”
Above is a painting I made for my Degree show, in the year 2000. It was from a series based on Newgrange. It’s an oil painting, about 120 x 80 cm. Yes, it’s very different to what I’ve been doing recently but – would you say that it has ‘fervour’ ?