from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

solstice, saturnalia, selenehelion

So now we're turning back towards the light, imperceptibly. The sun has reached its most southerly point in its cycle (or rather, since it's our earth that moves, we've reached the point where the sun seems to rise and set at its most southerly point), and now, after the apparent three days' standstill of the sun in the sky (mirrored in the three days' interment in a chambered 'tomb' of the initiate in pagan times, before the blocking stone would be rolled away to let in the first fingers of the midwinter sunrise, symbolising new birth) - where was I? - the days will slowly draw out again.

This is a time of disintegration; necessary before new growth can happen. Time to clean out our lives, let go of what no longer serves us, and feast. Or fast.

Thank you, Ruth, for the word 'selenehelion' (see - Selene being, of course, the moon goddess and Helios the solar god. I didn't know that that was the word for a lunar eclipse (of the full moon) taking place on the solstice. The BBC and the Grauniad apparently got it wrong: we were told that the last time this happened was in 1638. Apparently, according to NASA, it was 632 years ago. I THINK that makes it 1378, yes? What was happening in the wider world then? Is there an echo now?

If 'as above so below', then cosmic patterns appear repeated in every aspect of the macro- and microcosm - as quantum physics has also shown. So there are reflections of the outer events on an inner level too; the solstice, like an eclipse and indeed a full moon, also symbolises a point where a cycle has gone as far as it can go, and an ending needs to occur before a new cycle can begin. Certainly I was aware of a process of fragmentation and letting go in my own life yesterday.



The snow hides what is normally visible
and lays bare the hidden lives of others –
animals and birds, I mean – their secret
meetings and conversations for the reading.

The badger sett low in the banks of Simon’s
field, under the frosted catkins, at its mouth
has melted a narrow aureole back to grass,
upright and alive, defying the foot-thick coverlet
of snow to the four directions, and it seems

to me that love’s like this: a curl of breath,
faint but distinct, steadily streaming upwards,
and a circle cast of warmer air against
the encroaching arctic depths of night.

Roselle Angwin, December 22 2010

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