Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday's Ramble - Light

The word for the Friday ramble this week is "light", a precious commodity at this time of year and something much on one's mind: pale sunlight coming through a kitchen window in early morning, moonlight and starlight in cold evening skies, firelight flickering in a fireplace or wood stove, the golden halo of a beeswax candle burning in the window. This is Imbolc or Candlemas, and so, "light" is a fine word for this week's wordy Friday ramble.

Strange to relate, this day in the depths of winter celebrates light and warmth, the stirring of green things deep within the earth, the burgeoning of new life and the beginning of Spring. This day was also called "Brigid's Day" by ancient Celts, and it is consecrated to Brigid, an Irish saint and also a deity of fire and light. She is the patroness of the crafts of forge and smithy, of poetry and the healing arts, particularly midwifery.

To Brigid belong the candle, the hearth and the forge, and therefore, light is her special province. In times of darkness, we have always gathered together at our hearths, and it is difficult to light a fire in one's fireplace on this day (or a candle) without thinking about community and what it means to be part of a community, about the calendar of the seasons in its eternal dance and all of us here on earth spiraling endlessly round the Sun.

We forget it often, but we ourselves are made of light, creatures forged from the dust of stars which once shone brilliantly in the heavens and which ceased to exist many millennia ago. Within the cells of our remarkable metabolisms are encoded the wisdom of the earth, stories of ancient cultures, the star knowledge of unknown (as yet) constellations and "The Big Bang" which is thought to have engendered not only our own precious world, but our whole universe too.

The stardust of which we are made is in essence recycled matter, having assembled into diverse life forms over and over again, lived and died as those life forms, then dissolved back into the cosmic sea. In our time, “we” have been many things - we have worn many shapes, and we have answered to many names. In this lifetime I exist as a tatterdemalion, specific and perhaps unique collection of wandering molecules called Catherine or Cate, but in previous appearances I was someone or something altogether different:

I have been a tree with its roots
Reaching deep into the good dark earth,
I have been a lake sparkling in the sunlight,
I have been a hawk in rapturous flight,
I have been a dolphin dancing in the ocean,
I have been a mountain dreaming under the moon.
I have been a flame dancing on the hearth,
I have been a candle in the window,
Light guiding a weary traveler home.

Ancient cultures offer us a seamless paradigm in which we are all connected and exist in fundamental harmony, if only we had the vision and the wit to understand it. Within the paradigm of many different teachings, I am an ecstatically dancing creature made of light and stardust, and once upon a time I may have been a mountain - what a lovely thing it would be to have been a mountain once upon a faraway time.

Happy Imbolc to you, Happy Candlemas and Happy Brigid's Day.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

My dear Cate,

Happy Imbolc to you, Happy Candlemas and Happy Brigid's Day as well my friend.
May light embrace you and keep you warm.
Your posting is so beautiful...

Louise

Crayons said...

Cate,
Thanks for this photo. Yes, I'm so aware of light at this time of year. I'm aware also of the seeds waking up slowly deep under the ground. I liked learning about Brigid's Day.

Shelli said...

Just beautiful

Weeping Sore said...

As always, your posts inspire me. I live just north of the Mexican border in Southern California.

My sister lives just south of the Canadian border in Detroit. I love to visit her, especially in summer, when her long twilights stretch out the lazy days.

The difference between your latitude and mine is even greater, but thanks to your blog, I am enjoying a front-row seat to your seasons.

Nancy J. Bond said...

Ancient cultures offer us a seamless paradigm in which we are all connected and exist in fundamental harmony, if only we had the vision and the wit to understand it.

So beautifully written. And your photo is spectacular.

Debbie said...

I'm still here and grateful for your weekly word to help prime my pump.

Warmest congrats on how well things are going with your business.

Prairie Star
Prairie Star's Wonderings