So, I've been thinking about duality in its various forms. In its simplest form it sounds like good vs evil, light vs dark, Clinton vs the Hate Monger. But, duality isn't simple. To see it as A vs B is to misunderstand that there are layers to everything. Does this mean that there is some good to the election of the Hate Monger? No. Absolutely not. But, wait a minute. What if this election means that enough people are angered, disenfranchised, uncounted, and hurt to be a catalyst for positive change? What if something wonderful came out of it?
Here's the thing, as I see it, duality is also about balance. At this time of year, when the planet is leaning into her orbit, we are at the furthest point away from balance. Balance comes at the Equinox, we are at the opposite end of that today. We are on the seat of the teeter-totter, our butts on the ground. But, soon, we will be poised in the middle and then up in the air again. Balance.
Light vs Dark is another false duality and is actually a beautiful balanced reality. We imbue light and dark with values that have nothing to do with the presence or absence of the Sun, the day star. Of course we do, silly humans, always making everything about ourselves. Sheesh! Have you ever read the Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien? It is the creation story (actually several stories) of Middle Earth. In the beginning of the physical world, there was no sun or moon and the elves lived under the starlight. The sun and the moon were created (in part) to give light to humans (a later species) to protect them from the forces that preyed on them in the dark. BUT, the dark itself wasn't bad, it was appropriated by evildoers for their own gain. When the sun and the moon were created, the Elves mourned the loss of the starlight. The starlight was that balance point between light and dark.
Do we fear the dark? Sometimes yes. I think that stems from being prey species in our evolutionary past. We've got good vision, but we need light to utilize it. It's harder to see the hunter in the dark. We may have feared the dark as children (and we may still as adults, no shame in that), we may have needed a nightlight to protect us as we slept. We probably didn't ever thank the sun for rising again, but our ancient ancestors likely did.
I'm trying to get to a place of balance. A place where light and dark are the natural, expected and equally cherished parts of every day. Understanding is the enemy of fear. If I understand, accept and celebrate the dark then I do not fear it. On these dark winter days and long winter nights I am working on finding an appreciation for what the dark gives me. Time to read, a cessation of yard work (mostly), the enjoyment of being at home all snug and warm while the storm rages outside, things like that.
As an aid to that seeking of balance, I have a new mantra. It may make you laugh, and that's not a bad thing, but I can tell you that it truly brings me a step closer to balance and centeredness. I say it as a prayer when I go to sleep and I say it as a gratitude when I wake up. I say it sometimes during the day when things seems bleak.
Bright blessed day
Dark sacred night
That's all. Just those two lines from the song 'What a wonderful world'. Performed and made famous by Louis Armstrong and written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss (thanks Wikipedia!). That song still has the power to make me tear up every time I hear it. It also reminds me that duality is false. Night and day are different, but they are two necessary parts of a whole. And here's one thing I love about that couplet: bright/day and dark/night share the notion of holiness. Blessed and sacred are the same value attached to the two opposites. With this idea we can see that both night and day are a gift.
On the shortest day of the year, I will look forward to the turning of the wheel. But, I will not bemoan the dark. I will celebrate all of the good that I have in my life, and I will acknowledge all of the work I have to do to make the world a better place. I will happy when the days are longer, but I am not sad that they are now short. It's time to make plans.
Happy Solstice, friends. I'm toasting you with a glass of crystal clear, mountain born, icy cold water. Drink deep, refresh your spirit, get some rest. We have work to do.