Winter Imbolc Moon
This is, I know, a terrible picture, although since it was taken at night, with my hand held computing device and from a considerable distance away-I was parked at the side of the road hoping no one would stovepipe me-it’s ok.
This tree is my favorite light display along Brook Forest Drive on the way to Evergreen. There were many. The folks who lit it up must have run a very long extension cord to get to it, because it sits all alone in the woods, on the edge of a precipice. I love its existential isolation and yet its brilliance and its color.
The woods up here, the Arapaho National Forest for the most part, are lovely dark and deep and beautiful because of that, but having this small bit of human intervention tickles me.
It’s a part of a larger picture that’s coming to me. When I mentioned shamanic seeing in the post about the mountain spirits, it made me aware that I need to a third R to my gerundal theology: reimagining and reconstructing AND re-enchanting. This last of the three R’s of an emerging approach to faith may be the most important of all. The first two involve rational heavy lifting, taking something apart and putting it back together in a way meaningful today. Important and critical, yes. But, I’m realizing, not enough.
More than the intellectual work we need the emotional work, a return to shamanic seeing, a return to a view of the world as a magical, mystical place. Which it always has been and continues to be. The empirical method, the scientific method has, like religious dogma, occluded our ability to see wonder. One woman said, during the mussar class in which we discussed the three messengers (angels) from the mountain spirit, said, “How would the mountain know when to send out the messengers?” Beep. Wrong question.
The right question? How can we open our hearts to the intimate communication we get from the natural world everyday? Including those emanating from within our own bodies. It’s our perception that needs to change, not the world. It’s still sending messengers and messages, but we’ve systematically tricked ourselves into thinking we now know too much to attend to them. We don’t.
What does that lenticular cloud hanging over Black Mountain have to say? How about the wind howling down off Mt. Evans? The snow storm about to hit us? The fox or the mountain lion or the bear crossing our yard? The gradual decline of our muscle mass, our mental mass, as we age? Where are our faeries? Why won’t the wood nymphs of the lodgepole pines speak to me? The sun and its perpetual light. That rock fallen on to the road. What do they mean? Not what are they? Not why are they there? But what love note from the big bang do they contain? How would the ancient Greek or the Hebrew on Sinai or the folk who walked up out of Africa relate to them?
No, we don’t have to give up the scientific. No, we don’t have to abjure missing the rock with our car or truck. We only have to ask about our relationship with all these. What is it? How does it convey meaning to me? I like the notion of spirits and gods, goddesses, too. I’m still looking for the Great God Pan. Maybe you’ve seen him?