Another gem of a blog that I follow and one I wanted to share. The photos are rather fabulous. This one in particular conveys such a sense of beauty and serenity.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives several definitions of Illuminate:
“Light up something”
“Help to clarify or explain something”
“Decorate a page or initial letter in a manuscript with gold, silver, or coloured designs”
The origin of the word is from the Latin Illuminare (Illuminate), from Lumen (Light).
I think all of the above are relevant for the purposes of this post, after all this blog consists of “musings of a wandering mystic” as I like to call myself, in addition to being a “non-poet” of course!
I’m aware that some of my posts may appear a little incomprehensible in their subject matter. Apologies for that. They take their place on the (virtual) page when my inner world deems that a little enlightenment is due. More for my benefit than anyone else’s. Perhaps I’m hoping to “light up” the shadowed places my feet take me on this life journey. There are many challenges being faced in the inner and outer worlds, some harder than others to overcome. It isn’t as bleak as it sounds. These things occur in cycles, differing in energies, much like those of the natural world and the greater Cosmos.
Our burdens can at times feel like those of the Titan Prometheus, although perhaps not to such an extreme extent. Prometheus sacrificed himself essentially to bring divine fire to humanity to help them survive and lighten the darkness of their existence (in more ways than one). Zeus punished the Titan by having him chained to a rock and an eagle eat his liver, which regenerated daily. The gods were rather imaginative and cruel in their choice of punishment dear readers.
Darkness gives us a time to recollect, rest and regenerate ourselves. On the negative side we have a tendency to view it as a home for all the terrible things of our nightmares. What did early humans do in the absence of fire? What did they fear lurking in the darkness of their environment? It’s not a mystery why the coming of light, sunrise, was celebrated so joyfully by all cultures. Although the idea of perpetual darkness and light is not a comforting one. Balance in all things is what we should aspire to, if only for sanity’s sake.
What of this mysterious thing “Iluminare”? Have I been successful in lighting up the hidden places in life and within myself? Have there been moments when I’ve shouted eureka and the scales have fallen from my (inner) sight? Yes and yes. Also No and no. My feet have walked from the shadowed places at the sight of light emerging in the distance and it has been a wonderful sight! At other times the torch lighting my way through the darkness has gone out and a sense of heaviness has descended. It can be described as a sense of desolation. The infamous “Dark Night of the Soul” then envelops us, revisiting our lives many, many times. That’s not to say we’re on our own at such times, we’re never alone. I recall one occasion years ago when I’d reached a very low point in life, my spirit felt utterly crushed. I asked, no one in particular why this was happening to me. No audible answer was forthcoming, except for a gentle and compassionate touch on my shoulder. There wasn’t anyone there, not visible to my sight anyway. I was quite upset at the time and brushed it away. A strange incident but whoever you were, thank you from the depths of my heart.
Moments like this are when we add further embellishments in a page in the Book of Life, our life. They act as gifts from our Higher Selves or Guardian Angels, bringing beauty and light for us to use. We use them to illuminate our lives to best reflect the wonder and splendour of both sorrow and joy. The contents of our Book of Life can be read on so many levels, nothing is what it first appears to be. Words become unnecessary at the moment light strikes at the very heart of our being.
Light and Shadow embrace, each emphasises the beauty of the other.
See how the silence holds the space, see how it flows in the grace of her limbs.
Shadow and Light, Light and Shadow, each woos the other. Draws in grace and beauty transcendence.
Speak what is in your heart they whisper, let it flow, join in the dance, utter words long hidden.
The dancers moved intuitively to the sound of their hearts as the music swelled and sobbed. It finally paused, waiting for the lovers to catch their breath. This was more than an interlude in a cafe that had seen glory and laughter in a bygone age. Few tourists ventured into the old quarter of the city, much less enter through the portal of this place. The ones that did manage to find this near mythical establishment were fated to come. Their souls were infused with the elixir of passion and pathos. Forever rising on the swell of the rhythm and then slumbering in the arms of the silence that followed.
A woman sitting at a table in the corner of the room stared intently at the dancers. They presented a magnificent picture; gentleness, poetic beauty in the lines of their faces and a certain melancholy in the embrace. Her dark eyes glittered, mirroring the luminosity of the stars and moon. They mirrored hope in a world that appeared to have embraced shadow and pain. The spirit and soul of humanity were being sorely tested, falling prey to the excesses of materialism and naked cynicism. Was she being naive now? A laugh escaped her blood red lips. She was present in this space set apart from time, present during day and night.
The dance rose from rather less salubrious origins, in the bars and brothels of the old quarter. It was a magnet for travellers from across the globe and some had hinted, from across hidden worlds. This is not to tarnish its reputation but to explain the soil its soul had taken root in. Its root went deep, deep into the fabric of stone and brick. Deep, deep into hearts and minds of the people moving through the city. The woman closed her eyes and travelled down streets clothed in shade and dappled sunlight. Her ears took in the chatter of thousands of voices, each reflecting sorrow and bittersweet regret, each reflecting joy and exuberance, each reflecting darkness and light, each reflecting boredom and inertia. All found solace in the heartfelt tune that rang out of doorways and windows, a memory of something thought lost but only lying hidden within mystery. This was the spirit of the dance, she was the spirit of the dance.
A voice interrupted this reverie. She opened her eyes and spied a green-eyed god staring down solemnly. He respectfully held out a strong, elegant hand. She grasped it and was gathered gently in his arms. They moved as if one being. Sinuous limbs gave expression to their hearts’ yearning, entered into each nuance and tone of the music washing over the couples gathered in the room. His silence spoke to her of things lain hidden for generations, of perceived shame, of deep regret. She listened and did not judge. She never judged. For that she earned his eternal gratitude. Even gods are inclined to give in to vulnerability now and again. The music soon ended and the radiant god kissed her hand and disappeared into the shadows of the bar. He did not leave empty handed but carried a pearl of the dreams she freely gave to all who were in need. The spirit of the dance returned to her table and carried on gazing at the magical ritual she had created, something filled with awe, passion and pathos.
Bernadette’s writing challenge this week involved numerous attempts at finding the right quote. I finally settled upon something from St-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince.” There was no mysterious impulse that guided me to the book. Or was there? I happened upon a quote about the beauty of the desert and wells from the same tome and here it is. Forgive me for the long-winded explanation; I’ll get there eventually. Where might that ‘there’ be? I ask myself. Somewhere within the vastness of the inner landscape, which appears to consist of sandy wastes as far as the eye can see. Deserts have always held a deep fascination for me, sandy deserts that is. In reality I wouldn’t survive in such an environment without expert guidance; which was there when I travelled through them to get to locations such as Abu Simbel and Saqqara to visit ancient sites. I would like to explore such regions further; one day this dream will be a reality. For now it’s to be the inner world that requires exploration.
I digress dear reader. Anchorites, mystics and Magi, seekers after truth and the meaning of existence have ventured into such places over the centuries. The presence of an infinite silence may have had a lot to do with their sojourn. Perhaps they beheld things that the physical eyes couldn’t see and the physical ears couldn’t hear. There are a multitude of worlds behind the reality our senses can perceive, or choose to perceive. Such places have an unearthly beauty about them, the vastness containing a huge reservoir of silence and mystery. The arid landscape may appear hostile to life; yet, life clings on and appears to flourish. How is this possible we might wonder? The flora and fauna have adapted to living in such a harsh environment over centuries and that includes humans. They are sustained by the knowledge of sources of water. Perhaps I’m straying from my purpose. Maybe, maybe not. I look inwards rather than outwards to reflect on the words composing the quote. Where then are our wells, places from which we partake of the waters of life and regeneration? What appears to be parched can be revivified and brought back to life, to flower once again. Our inner deserts are beautiful places but that’s only possible due to the abundance of the waters of life beneath the surface. If you get my meaning…