“What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive” (Walter Scott). We have been entangled in a web that was created by the simple act of apathy, by allowing those whose interests are for self and self alone to inflict this lack of ethos and pathos and by doing so to besmirch our country. The deceptions that have been foisted on us are too many to count in a short blog post, but the most important ones need mention and attention. We are not different from each other; we are diverse. We each bring a unique dish to pass at the table of our humanity. But we are not different. We each carry that spark of spirit that unites us within the greater Oneness. We are not separate from the Earth; we are an integral part of this planet and we are here to protect it and nurture it that we may all, in turn, be nurtured by it. We are not granted certain privileges of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; these are unalienable rights, given to us by the Creative Spirit, not the men and women who seek not our welfare, but their own. We have made poor decisions this past year as to whom we entrust our wellbeing. Those who seek to divide us, pollute the planet that sustains our lives, and withhold from us our rights need to be shown that the truth is a better foundation from which to lead than the web of deceit that they have created. In this, it is time to cut ourselves from this web and through a benevolence of spirit, demonstrate a more solid path built on peace, healing, light, and love.
As are many other people, I am affected by the waning sunlight available each day. I can feel my energies and ability to focus mitigated by the increasing darkness that shrouds my portion of the earth. From Autumnal Equinox in September through the falling of the leaves and the increasing chill, I eagerly anticipate Winter Solstice, which occurs tomorrow at 11:28 a.m. EST. As the sun reaches its lowest point away from me, the shortest sunlit day holds promise of the return of light. It does this according to the scientific, non-dogmatic reality of the workings of the Earth and the Sun. People since the beginning of time have held rituals and celebrations to entice the return of the sun, and to rejoice in its rebirth. Druids and other pagan groups celebrated by lighting candles and bonfires and gathering evergreen branches. In more recent times, the light celebrations of Hanukkah and Christmas have joined the merriment of the return of the sun, as one focuses on the miracle of eight days of light from one day’s worth of oil, and the other celebrates the birth of Jesus. On Winter Solstice, gatherings at Stonehenge and Newgrange mark the sunrise on this day as light pours through portals at dawn.
As we are faced with a darkness brought on by the decisions of those whose motivations are grounded in anything but the light, it is time to focus on the return of the sun and base our motivations in hope, faith, and peace.
You can celebrate tomorrow by lighting candles and meditating on the rebirth of the sun as it makes its way north to warm us, sustain us, and nurture us with its rays. Perhaps start making plans for a garden to plant after Spring Equinox, or renew your commitment to work in and through the energy of love.
As we gather to celebrate the Winter Solstice, the bonfires in the night are external manifestations of the brightest sparks that we are eternally. Let us take this moment in time to renew our faith in that which is greater than we are but of which we are intrinsic and vital parts. May this returning light embolden us to face the challenges ahead and know that as spirits having a physical experience, we are eternal beings living in and of the light.
The river flows past our cabin. It does not contemplate where it is going, or how it will arrive at some illusion of end. It just flows, carrying the debris from storms, or supporting the flocks of geese and ducks riding from one bank to the other. One day we watched a silent boat drift down the center of the river. It started a gentle pirouette that struck me as unusual for a cabin cruiser to perform. We boarded our pontoon and headed toward it, making a wide arc before sidling up and grabbing the rails. When we did, a disoriented man emerged from the cabin. He was obviously existing in the stupor between awake and asleep. With no apparent awareness, he started the boat’s engine and started back up the river. Somehow he kept the boat in the channel without drifting. We lost sight of him as he rounded a bend. The river guided him, I hope, to a safe shore. We later found out his was one of half a dozen boats whose mooring lines had been maliciously cut during the night. He was the lucky one. The rest were sailboats whose masts struck a bridge that passes over the river, breaking masts and damaging boats. Some repairs will go into the next season. And some boats may be beyond repair.
We must trust the river will carry us safely through, even when we worry about the shearing of our masts. Those who cut our moorings will not know the ultimate impact such behavior will create, and neither do we. Will our masts hit a bridge and then, damaged, glide under and through, or will we slide past unscathed until someone helps us take the helm again? We have no choice right now about what is happening, but we do have a choice to allow the river to guide us safely to shore.
Recently I was awakened to the loud retort of a gunshot. And then another. And then another. My weekends are often spent in the country at a friend’s marina where, from a duck blind, hunters are able to entice ducks and geese into their gun sights, shoot them, and then boat over to pick the carcass out of the flowing river. They do this in the very early morning hours, when the light of the rising sun turns the river’s surface into gently wavering pale gold, blue, and pink streaks that subtly bend the reflections of the bare trees. I dislike being awakened by this sound. It is very jolting, though less jolting than it is to the goose who was enjoying an early morning flight over the water. In warmer weather, we take a small pontoon down the river, enjoying the flora and fauna. I am wondering if this goose was one I would greet along the way. It seems that the ducks and geese form groups of multi-generational families that swim or sun together. There seems to be a close bond and a protectiveness toward the young who are taught well how to navigate the river, but apparently not how to avoid the hunter’s aim. I mourn the passing of each duck or goose as it is plucked from the river and think of their family, who will wonder what happened to their loved one. I am a mostly vegan. I slide sometimes into vegetarianism, but for the most part I avoid animal products, anything that had a mother and a face. I know there are many ways in which I am eating more healthfully for me and for the planet. I watched the movie What the Health?, among others of its kind, and was more convinced that my choices are the best ones for me. But I also think they are the best ones for the planet, not only because of the threats to the environment of factory animal farming, but also because I think taking the life of an animal is against the benevolent idea of “first do no harm.” It is against the idea to treat each being in the manner in which we would wish to be treated. And then I think of the harm we do to each other on a daily basis and while I recognize this place as a massive school in which we learn lessons both positive and negative, I cannot help but think at some point we should progress toward kindness and move up to the next level of understanding. Be the change, Gandhi said. We need to embrace the idea of a more peaceable kingdom. Now. Be the change toward kindness. In all things, first be kind.
Writer, Creative Mystic, Teacher, Consultant, Public Speaker