Samain and the Choice Moon
Thursday gratefuls: Choice made and sealed. Gas. Retro, good ol’ gas for Ruby’s engine. Tinned fish. Morning darkness. Holimonth. Now, for me, November 28th. Choice Day. Part of my holimonth. Jacob at the Jabbok Ford. Wrestling with a man, an angel, God, himself. 311 E. Monroe, its kitchen. Mom. That Garden Spider. Finding the sacred at the breakfast table. Immersing in the holy Waters of the Mikvah of East Denver. Being with my sacred community tomorrow night.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Water
One brief shining: Each morning I crank shut the window, stop my alarm, pick up my blinking save my life please pendant, turn off the oxygen concentrator, and wander out onto the oriental carpet Kate bought for her long ago condo, lie down, do my back exercises, pick up my hearing aid, oh more sound, then make my way to the kitchen for a can of cold water and a cup of cold coffee, climb the seven stairs to my office, sit down and start to write as I’m doing right now.
A word about ritual.* If you read the short piece about ritual below, you will notice that it confidently ascribes the term sacred to the transcendent realm. If I have an original contribution to make to this millennia long conversation, it is this. No to transcendence. I know this would shatter my former UU heroes of the American Renaissance like Emerson, Thoreau, perhaps Emily Dickinson, but I find the idea of transcendence a fallacy of misplaced concreteness as Whitehead would have said. The very notion of a sacred realm beyond our experience, especially one transcending the universe or material existence, drains the magic from the world around us. The sacred is not here with us, it’s in that other place, far away or almost impossible to reach.
No. I do not believe that. Might there be a realm beyond this one, different in nature and purpose? Of course. May there be one and may I have the good fortune to visit it some fine day after this life finishes with me. But it is not the location of the sacred. Or, at the very least, not the only home of the sacred. Not the home of God or the Gods or the spirits or the daemons. No. That home exists here with us, within our reach and accessible to our senses.
Place your hand over your heart. The pulse of sacred life beats beneath your palm. Take the hand of a friend, a beloved and feel their warmth, both physical and emotional. The spiritual reality of the sacred exists next to you and within you. The Cat that walks across your lap, perhaps deigning to stay. The Dog, eager and loving, tail wagging. Greeting you when you come home. The Tree in your favorite park or along your route to work. The Lodgepole out my window. Sacred. And witnesses to the sacred for those who can see what they’re looking at.
Transcendence carries with it a host of problems not the least of which is a hierarchical view of the universe. Think the old three-story universe. Hell below. Earth. Heaven above. No. The Sky above, the liquid center of this Planet below, and our surface world on Land, not even the dominant form of matter on the surface. That would be Water. We inhabit a sacred realm, right here, right now.
Plant a Seed. Watch Birth. Experience an orgasm. Feel the warmth of Great Sol on your face. Embrace this sacred world for what it is, not for what it is in the reflection of a separate reality. We so need to do this. Right now.
Well, got away from ritual. Another time.
“Ritual behaviour, established or fixed by traditional rules, has been observed the world over and throughout history. In the study of this behaviour, the terms sacred (the transcendent realm) and profane (the realm of time, space, and cause and effect) have remained useful in distinguishing ritual behaviour from other types of action.” Britannica entry