–Dying Days… of Winter
“So I have not declared all that appears and is necessary in this work, because there are things of which a man may not speak… Such matters must be transmitted in mystical terms, like poetry employing fables and parables.”—from an early sixteenth-century alchemical text, the Rosarium philosophorum, Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology
“For this work, you should employ venerable Nature, because from her and through her and in her is our art born and in naught else: and so our magisterium is the work of Nature and not of the worker.”—the Rosarium philosophorum
The wisely circumspect author of the Rosarium states he has not declared all that appears and is necessary in this work, and goes on later to extol the virtues of Dame Nature. Back then that sort of thing could and did land a great many individuals in hot water… or worse—the faggots burning beneath. Giordano Bruno suffered such a fate for exalting Nature above all else, for seeing God in every flower, twig, branch, and creature on this here blessed Earth. He was burned by the secular arm of the Church on February 17, 1600 AD. You just didn’t say such things four hundred years ago.
Why I tend to harp on this stifling of spirit, this throttling of vision that went on seemingly so long ago is because I see its affects everywhere I turn today. That squelching of the sense of Life, of God, within us as well as without colors our outlook in subtly hampering ways to this very day.
The New Age, a hundred year movement trying to restore a semblance of balance in our lives and the life of our communities–over-rationalized as they are–remains somewhat on the fringe. Business forges ahead, heedless and headstrong, while voices arise in every corner for a rethinking of things, for a re-being of selves.
I hear talk of ‘Holistic Living,’ but it is never holistic enough—for me at any rate. It inhabits a sort of holistic fringe, far from the concerns of business and government. It is undertaken by individuals and grassroots communities. And too often they set themselves up AGAINST the powers and inclinations that be. But they merely participate in the very game they seek to sweep aside.
Holistic? There is no against; there is only for. For business and the government which apparently serves it these days are us, every one of us.
Against? Why bother?
Outside as I write these words the birds are heralding the coming spring. The trees are not yet in bud, but no doubt the sap is stirring in their trunks, pushing out the branches and pressing on the nascent buds. My son has gone off to school to learn whatever they do in grade two. We were watching a National Geographic video on the mysteries of the galaxy last night, how the very atoms that make up our bodies and indeed everything we experience on this planet of our’s had their origin in the heart of dying stars.
As I’ve said before, we are starstuff, and you and I and everyone and everything living this instant are fortunate enough to make use of this cosmic material for a very short space of time, and some are doubly fortunate to be blessed with the incredible faculty of awareness too.
Thankfully their songs can and do ring out today, largely without fear.
That wasn’t always the case.
Cue the music: once again it’s Van Morrison.
Rave on John Donne.
Rave on thy holy folk…