Radiate, sayeth Moon

In these ‘crossing days’ between autumn and full winter here in the northern hemisphere, our house soon overheats even with a modest wood fire. Recently a friend talked about the experience of “immersion and absorption” in his spiritual path, a practice he’s kept to for decades. For me an apt metaphor is ‘radiate from a center’. It’s how our wood stove warms our little house, and it’s how any spiritual practice I do feels like it spreads outward from a single point to other parts of my life.

Many people have posted images of the recent Blood Moon. I found its early rising without the dramatic coloring just as interesting as its other hues, for the simple fact of how bright it was.

[November Full Moon, approx. 8:00 pm local VT time shortly after it cleared our eastern hill]

Which is more important?” runs the old Nasreddin Hodja joke. “The sun or the moon?”

The moon, because at night we need the light more“.

It can feel that way at night, with the silvery glow emanating from a single point, with both shadow and light more clearly defined than on a hazy summer day, where daylight seems to pour from every quarter of the compass.

So I take this insight or image and run with it. Because that’s what I do, and because I notice that any spiritual practice I undertake regularly soon begins to highlight things in me that “ordinary time”, or the “mundane world”, often leaves hidden. Both flaws and potentials show up like uninvited guests. What I do with them, how they can serve as tools for growth, and not just as props or punctures of the ego, is part of what I make of my particular path. (They’re a gift that keeps on giving, courtesy of a universe that colludes and conspires to dazzle and dismay in equal measure.)

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Often the self in such moments of highlighting or contrast resembles the face, the persona, that a Hallowe’en pumpkin presents. (My character is often a caricature of the self.)

[Pumpkins at Harlow’s farmstand, Westminster, VT]

And I turn to bards, because so often their art confronts them with the self, just as any sustained practice will, and their determination to make something — anything — of that experience, in all its textures, enriches many of us. Robert Frost battled depression and illness in 1933 when he wrote ‘Desert Spaces’, which closes:

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars–on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

Because this is our human shaping, to measure our lives by our own familiar dimensions, “like one who takes/Everything said as personal to himself”, as Frost writes elsewhere in “The Wood-pile”. And why not? It’s one thing the self is good for, a human scoop to dip into experience and retrieve a day- or life-sized portion of this mortal stuff, this being half-awake and in love with things that keep slipping out of our grasp.

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But ffs mister, can’t you just let moons be moons and pumpkins be pumpkins?!

Well, of course. And they will be anyway, in spite of me or anyone else, though I may pile words on them in an effort to wrest them into something for my purposes. “Moon go away I don’t love you no more” writes Jim Simmerman in a poem and collection with the same title. I’ve known days like that, and so have you. But the sheer regularity of full moon, full moon, full moon invites me to linger under the magic sky, wordlessly, or singing a tune I don’t realize I’m humming under my breath.

Earth rhythms move us into their harmonies. Daytime, moon-time, year-time, their slow drum-beat accords with the blood-beat, music we all hear, whenever we listen. And the more I do, the more I want to.

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Posted 9 November 2022 by adruidway in Druidry

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