Samain Long Nights Moon
When Hanukkah ends tonight, it will only be two days to the Winter Solstice. I long ago kicked transcendence out of my religious toolkit, believing it encourages authoritarianism, the patriarchy, and body negativity. How, you might ask? If we find our source of authority outside of ourselves, either up in heaven or with a divine father figure or anywhere outside of our body, we give away our own deepest connection to divinity, the sacred that lies within us. BTW: locating revelation in written texts does the same.
You could argue that cavalierly jettisoning a millennia old religious idea, celebrated and loved by millions, is anathema. Yes, may well be. OK with me. You could say if transcendence is real, then denying it is misguided or just plain wrong. Yes, you could say that. But if the downside of accepting transcendence includes self-oppressing, self-negating ideas, then it’s functionally bad, whether it’s true or not. So out with it.
If not up and out, then what is the direction for spiritual enlightenment? In and down. In your body/mind, and down into the depths of your soul. You say soul links us to the transcendent. Yes, you might say that. I’m more in the metaphysical world of Jungian thought though, where the soul connects us to collective unconscious, a deep stream of reality to which we belong and which belongs to us. Or, another way to think about it, the soul is our direct link to the nature of reality. It is the part of us that is eternal, that is divine and to know eternity, to know the divine, we only need know ourselves, as the Delphic Oracle said long ago.
All this to say that the Winter Solstice is my high holiday (or, low holiday) because it encourages us to go inside, to sit in the darkness, to be part of the Gaian womb from which life emerged. As we head toward it, I’m considering my eternal soul, that divine spark within which makes me holy. And you, too.
The holy scripture I choose to read starts at my fingertips, but extends into the reality around me. When I look at the lodgepole pine and its elegant means of sloughing off snow, or at Maxwell Creek as it slowly carries Shadow Mountain toward the sea, or the lenticular clouds over Black Mountain, my sense of wonder and awe increases. These close by things and I share the same building blocks, the stuff, the things that burst out so long ago in the great expansion. Just after the tzimtzum, the great contraction. There is no transcendence here, only interpenetration, the universe and its evolutionary marvels.
Down we go, into the longest night. A darkness profound enough to reshape our lives, to help us see.