Cycles of life, and death

Beltane                                                                       Cancer Moon

green knight

The Green Knight

Cancer has come up in several of my exercises so far, as you might expect with depth work. This work has helped me put it in the perspective of my life as a whole. Here’s one odd way. Progoff saw that many aspects of our lives went through conception, growth, decline, then death or significant waning. Children. Jobs. Creative projects. Hobbies. Places we live. Even illnesses. Cancer can be a metaphor for a project or relationship or job that has taken over our life, growing and demanding more of us than we have to give.

Cancer begins as cells in the body get out of whack, seek immortality at the expense of those cells that go through the life cycle. It grows unchecked unless a medical intervention occurs. If things go well, the cancer weakens, slows down, then dies. If not, the body weakens, slows down, and dies. Either way the cancer ends. So, cancer is not an exception to this experience of conception and growth, though it tries to hard to avoid decline. In this case I’ll actively seek its death, as we sometimes actively seek the finish of a career, a marriage, a creative project.

Samuel Palmer, The Harvest Moon (c 1833)

Samuel Palmer, The Harvest Moon (c 1833)

This perspective helps me see cancer not as a violent exception, but as an organic process like others. Which does not mean I’m embracing it. I know some people prefer not to see cancer as an enemy, but that’s not me. I’d like the archangel Michael to come in with his sword and whack every last cell of it.

This is also a Great Wheel insight. The ancient Beltane began with literal conception, saw the greening of the fields as crops began to flourish, then transformed into the heat and frenzy of summer at the summer solstice. As the crops matured, the harvest began at Lughnasa and continued through Mabon, the fall equinox, coming to a close at Samain, Summer’s End. Then the long fallow season commenced.  It’s a cycle that repeats year after year with the coming of spring, the greening of the fields, harvest, then the fallow time.

Cancer is, then, normal. Usual. Part of a cycle, with its own cycle, too.