Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Shadows of Night: A Meditation for the Spring Equinox

Today is the spring equinox, and as usual, I have penned a short meditative piece. It is a journey structured in three parts. Part 1 is the night, and you'll see a lot of the bad weather we have been having of late. It is shelter in the storm, and the journey is into the night, into the storm. Part 2 is an urban piece in the middle, and it takes us to the peak of the night. Part 3 brings us through the night to dawn with signs of hope and joy. It is structured as a journey, where the weather takes us through an emotional journey as well, first the descent, and then the ascent.  Come and journey with me, gentle reader...

Shadows of Night
The Night
This is a time of division, of night and day divided into two, side by side, in harmony. The candlelight casts a shadow. And in the shadow lies the darkness.
We meet at night, beneath the stars, in the sacred grove. In the centre is a small cist in circle, an ancient tomb. Above the stars glitter and sparkle in the night sky, shining down on us, for we are the dust of stars, scattered on across the earth.
And since ancient times, our ancestors have gathered here. The still centre in the forest, while about the trees shake in the wind. Snow is falling heavily, and branches break and fall. With a creak, and a snapping sound, some trees topple, their roots weakened by the storm.
But the priestess holds the sacred torch alight. We have marked out the compass points, and charged the grove with words of power. Outside, the storm rages in the night, but we remain here, protected, in the calm. This is the still centre, the peace within, and here is not the breath of wind. Our white robes are still; no whisper of wind touches them.
The skies here are clear, and the stars shine down, glittering in a clear sky, but beyond the confines of the grove, the sky is black with snow clouds, a swirling vortex around the stillness at its heart, where we stand.
It is midnight, and the priestess raises the torch, and we begin to circle around the Neolithic tomb.
Marching, marching, marching in the night
Round and round, march by firelight
Marching, marching, marching in the night
Here is darkness, cloaking world from sight
Marching, marching, marching in the night
And then we kneel around the tomb, waiting quietly, calmly, for the passage of time, praying for the ending of the night, and the restoration of the balance of night and day.
Midnight's Hour
The streets of the old town are quiet. The weather has driven people inside, and the market closed early. The gas lamps are flickering in the wind, and snow covers the streets. Only the occasional sound of horse's hooves breaks the silence, from a lone hansom cab in a distant street.
The candle is flickering on the wooden desk in the study. A book is open, and the scholar is reading thoughtfully, translating the ancient Latin into English. He turns the Tarot cards, and there is the falling tower, struck by lightning, and death, a knight in black armour, slowly riding a horse.
He jots down calculations, and turns to the book of meanings, taking verses, and translating them to English. And then he reads what he was written:
Snow swiftly falls across the land
Cold has come to chill the bones
Darkness stretches out an icy hand
Outside, the blizzard howls and moans
The mighty oak has fallen down
Skies are thick with dark grey cloud
Fields are clothed in whitest gown
As snow descending, like a shroud
Fear walks along this frosty world
And brings despair, prepares the way
As riding in with banner unfurled
Death, the horseman, here today
The bells have rung, the hour is late
And all are gripped in frozen fate
The scholar sighs, and shakes his head with weariness. It has been many nights since he had slept well. He thinks to himself "How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night?"
And he consoles himself with a saying he once read "Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning".
The Dawning of Light
The sun has risen upon a frozen land. The snowfall has ended. Now the fields are white with snow, and the odd gust of wind brings snow cascading across the fields and hedgerows. But the sun is rising, and with it will come the thaw.
We gather round the entrance to the dolmen. The passage to the dolmen is in darkness, and as the sun comes up, we see the light move, like a straight golden beam, down the floor and to the back chamber.
The priestess stands there, and she is lit up in its radiance, holding aloft a golden casket. And we watch, patiently, as she brings it out along the passage, and places it on the ground. Then she opens it, and there are the treasures of the tribe, a golden torque gleaming in the sun. This is our sun's gold, our sign of light. And she places it on her arm, and raises it high, and we shout with joy and thank the gods for their blessing upon our land.
And we celebrate the new birth of the sun, holding hands, dancing slowly round the dolmen.
Dancing, dancing, dancing in the light
Round and round, dawning of the light
Dancing, dancing, dancing in the light
Here is daylight, golden rays delight
Dancing, dancing, dancing in the light
We turn and close the compass points, releasing our barrier against the storm. Suddenly, we feel the rays of the sun on our face, the warming breath of wind across the land, and hear the trickling waters of a nearby stream, and hear the distant crowing of a rooster.
The sun is rising higher, the wind is now a warm breeze, and the darkness has ended. In the meadow, the snow is thawing, and yellow daffodils are gently swaying. The shadows of night have passed, and hope has been born anew.
And over across the downs, where the snow has now melted, we see the white horse on the hillside. She has returned to us.

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