• Erin

The Role of Light and Dark in Human Cycles and Timing

Understanding the intricate balance between light and dark in cycles is foundational for esoteric study and the use of tools such as astrology, I-ching and the tarot. The two forces engage in a delicate dance that weaves its way through the rich tapestry of our lives as members of the human species here on Earth. Their roles are so crucial that the two luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, were each given their own named card while all other celestial bodies were lumped together in The Star card within the tarot.

Light is active, warm, dynamic, projective, and unyielding. It is the concept of “yang.” In the light, we are emboldened, enlightened. The light portion of the day is where we conduct our business and interactions with the world. The light half of the year is marked from the time of the spring equinox until the fall equinox. We focus on creation and growth and our role in contribution. We venture forth and carry out our intentions.

Meanwhile, dark is passive, cool, receptive, fluid and yielding. It is the concept of “yin.” In the dark, we go deep to grapple with and face fears. Where light seeks to construct, dark wishes to deconstruct. Light may wish to slay the dragon and move on, whereas dark wants to understand it. In the dark, we return to our abodes to assess and finish the day’s activity and then sleep perchance to dream. The dark half of the year is marked from the time of the fall equinox until the spring equinox. It is a time of harvest, introspection, and planning. We reap what we sow and look ahead to prepare and plan the actions necessary during the next cycle.

In the tarot, it is no mere coincidence that the “scarier” or “more conflicting” cards are positioned where they are. Death is the midpoint in the Fool’s Journey. To learn the lesson the Death card teaches, the Fool must first encounter Justice. Like the gateway to the Underworld in Egyptian mythology where one’s heart is weighed against the feather of Ma’at, the sign of Libra depicted by the scales occurs during the twilight time of transition at the autumnal equinox wherein darkness takes over the reins from light.

Death is quickly followed by the Devil and the Tower. These three cards are frequently feared by many tarot novices. Similarly, the 5s representing conflict lie halfway between the Aces and 10s in the pips and are given a bad rap by many. But if we study their lessons and aren’t afraid to delve deep into their meanings, these cards all have much to teach us, not unlike the harsh winter which forces us into our homes to engage in the deep reflection and introspection that allows us to recharge, renew, reprioritize and fortify our resolve. Unsurprisingly, it is in the dark of the year that we set our resolve toward that which we hope to accomplish or act upon in the light.

There is much, much more to explore when it comes to such a rich topic, but I hope that this post has given you a small appreciation of or taste for the balance between the light and dark and its influence in our lives and archetypal journey.

In peace & love,


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