As we approach this Mabon, the autumnal equinox celebration, we are reminded of how the light and dark are held in balance. These are important lessons to explore while things are relatively easy and light, so that we can remember them when times are tough. I’d like to share with you a poem that emerged from one of my trips through that sacred darkness.
As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, for the 2014 turning of the Wheel my Great Work was devoted to understanding the concept of unconditional love–what witches call “perfect love.” That was also the year that this long-time, archetype-loving panentheist took a chance, and in full ceremony stood at the Imbolc altar and invited any of the Goddesses of Love, Grace and Beauty to aid me. There were bells and smells, things were burned, poppets made, offerings offered…I invoked Her by many names…and was smugly pleased with myself. I honestly hoped I was in for a year of Valentine’s days, cosmic hugs, and the sensuous delights of Her rose garden.
Despite all of my intentions, when Aphrodite answered my call and made herself known to me, I was shocked by how visceral and *real* She was. Her entrance was as subtle as a Lady Gaga concert, and in one fell swoop I was suddenly far more polytheistic than previously indicated! SHAZAM!
That’s when She threw me under the bus.
In the months that followed, many excruciating things happened. As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, my endeavors to learn about Love direct from the source hurt like hell for a while. My heart was broken, and I almost knuckled under in despair. So much for attempts at setting an “easy” intention for once. Where was my love and light and fluffy bunnies? There was not much “light” about it, and nary a hint of “fluff” to be found…at first. Yet, it was the most important year of my spiritual evolution to date, so I have no regrets.
The good news is that if you can hang in there through the tangled tour of the undergrowth, Aphrodite will deliver her roses. My life today is overflowing with awesomeness, but in order to truly appreciate the loveliness of the blossoms, I first had to endure the sting of the thorns. That is a key lesson of witchcraft; we all learn it sooner or later.
Below is a snip of an old writing of mine, that unfolds a bit of my process, and the first fruits of those lessons… <fades to flash back>”
An Experiment in Divine Love, June 15th, 2014
From Yule until Imbolc, as I opened myself to the Wyrd, and the messages of my guides for what my next Great Work should entail, “Love” was the word delivered over and over again. What does it mean? How to live and love in a healthy way? If the married couple is the microcosm embodiment of the Divine Lovers, how can our human unions reflect our inner divinity? Better yet, how do I get over my terror of commitment and abandonment fed by the wounds of my divorce? There was much to heal…
I started with the foundation premise of my paradigm, that all matter and energy in the Universe is the body of the Divine, both immanent and transcendent with a consciousness and purpose greater than the sum of its parts, meaning everything is sacred, interconnected and blessed in it’s nature.
Hermetic principles speak of the Polarity of Gender, that I call Goddess and God, and the cosmos flows through their love-making. “…and where the two are conjoined, there is blessedness.” Poetically, the whole universe is the embodiment of their love for each other, the dance of tension and attraction between all polarities. Well, that is lovely poetry, and I’m pretty good at holding both poetic truth and literal truth in the same thought, but what does that mean practically?That’s what I’ve been exploring through the Great Work this turning: *IF* everything is Divine Love, *and* has all polarities in equal measure, *then:*
Love in the Balance
If the Divine is Love, and all is Divine,
the range of opposites entwined; then,
they are all that is light, and all that is shadow,
the incubator, and the gallows;
all that is beautiful, and all that is heinous,
your rosebud lips, and puckered anus.
All that is tender, and all that is brutal,
It is justice, and the loophole.
They are all that is pleasure, and all that is pain,
they are the rescued, and the slain;
light kiss of breeze, and ripping cyclone;
the earthquake, and the stepping stone;
a gentle rain, and tidal wave;
the master and the slave;
both the beating and the caress,
sigh of delight, scream of duress;
soft candlelight, and conflagration,
they are the challenge, and the explanation.
They are all that is safety, all that is menace,
crimes committed and the penance;
both giving and deprivation;
the effect, and causation;
the feast of plenty and the famine,
pink of health, and foaming rabid.
They are the splitting zygote, the rotting corpse,
wedding vows, pen stroke of divorce,
the giggling toddler, and old age doddering,
love that is futile, and love that is conquering.
If the Divine is Love, and all is Divine,
they are the dove, and the swine;
they are blessings and admonition,
the victory in the war of attrition.
Then love is diversity, and adversity,
the Universe is our University,
both the classroom and the trap
Mama’s hug, and Papa’s strap.
These are such very hard concepts to wrap the mind around. How can loss and heartbreak, betrayal, abandonment, and abusiveness also be blessed? In what screwed up dimension is that OK my bruised, broken, and terrified inner voice was asking?!?!
So here is what I learned: they are lessons, and important lessons to have, in the great arching scheme of things, especially when we accept that the purpose of life on earth is to be our proving ground, the University of the soul, and every lifetime a different course in what it means to exist. Some courses are harder than others. Some subjects we like, and others we loathe, but they all further us towards mastery.
I’m a mother, so the metaphor of our Divine parents is easier to grasp; sometimes Mama has to smack your hand away from the danger, because She loves you and needs you to know better. Or sometimes our parents love us by stepping back to let us learn the hard way, get burned, fall down to scrape our knees, make our own fool-hardy decisions, and live with the consequences. We are tempered, purified and made stronger in the fires of risk and pain, failures and successes; the phoenix will rise from the ashes.
Learning to balance the “light” and the “dark” aspects of life is tough, but equinoxes are an ideal time to give these things some thought. I suggest closing the textbooks and going rogue to seek personal gnosis. Do you have a burning question that has never quite been explained to your satisfaction by any book or authority? Go direct. Appeal to the Powers that Be, in that special way that you do. You may want to add the caveat that they be revealed gently, in a way that will benefit your life at this time. Then, as the year winds down into the silence of the blessed dark, hold the space.