This late spring, I could smell the Mediterranean breeze and Tuscan vineyards in the orange trees and in the bend of the olive trees in this sun drenched valley.
Late summer, I gave myself the nom de plume, Evelyne, because inexplicably the petite patisseries and boutique lingerie shops of Paris - the City of Light - were in my bones as I strolled through the promenades of Palo Alto, Los Gatos or Los Altos.
Late fall, the Celts weave their harps and faeries and thick mossy stones into my sinews and midnight black hair. I am dark Morrigan incarnate.
"Few forms of Christianity have offered an ideal of Christian perfection so pure as the Celtic Church of the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries," wrote Ernest Renan. The Catholic monk Thomas Merton agreed: "I am reading about Celtic monasticism, the hermits, the lyric poets, the pilgrims," he wrote. "A whole new world that has waited until now to open up for me." - Steve and Lois Rabey, Celtic Journeys: A Traveler's Guide to Ireland's Spiritual Legacy
Wednesday the new moon, invisible pure potentiality. Friday the winter solstice, seventeen minutes of pure light filters into the innermost tomb, the centermost womb. Today the eve of Christmas.
My creative writing tends toward the mythic, the symbolic, a finger pointing to the moon.
Both Stonehenge and Newgrange's ancient engineers ensured that both monuments came alive with the sun's rays on the darkest day of the year, and among the thinnest, gossamer veiled days of winter. Even the snow carpets cannot obscure if you but open your eyes.
Neo: Why do my eyes hurt?
Morpheus: You've never used them before. - from the film, The Matrix
Poet William Bulter Yeats, not to mention the Celts, whisper of thin places - like holy wells and sacred stone circles - open portals where drifting mercurial between worlds and dimensions is seamless.
"The world is holy. Nature is holy. The body is holy. Sexuality is holy. The mind is holy. The imagination is holy. You are holy... Divinity is immanent in all Nature. It is as much within you as without." - Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon
No, I am not afraid of hidden crevasses, evergreen forest shadows at 3 a.m., the depths of the well waters, the grey girth of the round Celtic crosses strewn in the cemetery. I am not afraid of the mere absence of light. No thing.
a match is struck
against the box of your body
ochre flames dance
crimson twirls spritely
on the torso
of the willow yule log
a slow burn on a long night
"Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day has come." - Rabindranath Tagore
Bonus: from Everything2.com: "Yuletide (Norse) lasts from December 20th through December 31st. It begins on Mother Night and ends twelve days later on Yule Night; hence the "Twelve Days of Christmas" tradition. The Norse word for Yule means wheel. In ancient Chaldee, the word yule meant infant or little child...
Yule is when the God is born to the Goddess. It is the longest night of the year, and afterward the days get longer and longer until midsummmer (Litha). Most Pagans believe in reincarnation, so the God is not really "born" at this time; He is simply returning from being recycled. The Goddess sleeps at this time after Her birthing... This is a time to celebrate the light as well as to revere the night (as it is the longest night of the year)."
p.s. And in the infinite cloak of velvet night, I will walk to my neighborhood Catholic Church for midnight mass. It's my first service with them, as I have managed to ignore my Catholic roots for quite some time. I'm in a neo-pagan, neo-Catholic frame of mind of late, so why not? Plus there ought to be rows upon rows of burning candles. This is how they begin to tell the history of their parish: "In the 40s this part of the valley was known as the "Prune Basket of America." Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road was a one lane road and for miles on both sides stretched thousands of acres of land with trees weighted down with fruit."
images Wheel of Night, by Jia Lu; archetypal Celtic goddess of the dark, Morrigan, goddess of death, prophecy, and passionate love (ravens are my totem too); Annunciation to the Shephards, by Taddeo Gaddi, a fresco in Santa Croce, Florence