Friday, December 22, 2017

Ritual of Endarkenment


This  painting says "past desire, ambition or grief, I rest in You,  a seed.
"You" means the Earth, and this was one of my  "incubation" paintings.   The Meditation/Ritual below is something I wrote and included in a performance in 2002, the "Ritual of Endarkenment".  In our driven, technological, left-brain, materialistic world, we place an emphasis on "Enlightenment".  Here is a reflection I wrote a long time ago, a descent into what the poet David Whyte called "Sweet Darkness".

The sleeping figure is entwined with all other life, and a shaft of water, or perhaps light, nourishes the dreaming figure that waits for the season of new beginnings.  How did we ever come to conceive of ourselves as apart from the cycles of nature and time  that all other living beings experience?  Perhaps that was the true Original Sin, when the patriarchs began to invent religions and philosophies that made us "apart" from the cyclical, magical animals we are, among so many other kinds of magical animal beings.  Yes, I think that is what "sin" means to me.

RITUAL OF ENDARKENMENT

Close your eyes, and see  a cord
a shining umbilical cord at your naval
that goes down,

into the dreaming Earth.

Into the darkness, the silence, follow,
that luminous cord,
un-becoming,
un-knowing

As you descend into the warm darkness
remove your garments
remove, one by one
remove your masks.

One by one, take them off
feel the heavy weight of each as
you let it fall, as you descend.
Let each mask fall away, but
take a moment to see it before it falls
into the Earth, into the darkness.

Take off the mask of competence,
the mask of your accomplishments.
what does that mask look like?

Take  off the child's mask,  the little one
laughing with delight, the child crying helplessly in an empty room.
Take it off  with tenderness.

The masks of relationship, the masks you wear with others,
the mask of the lover, the mate, the parent,
the mask of conflict, the mask of the warrior,
the mask of affiliation, of responsibility, of duty:
take each one off, hold it in your hand, let it go,
into the darkness, see them fall,
the question "who am I?"
falling like a feather with them.

And take off the mask of your age
the accumulated years that whisper
I'm just a kid, I'm middle aged, I'm old, I must, I can't,
I will I should it's too late, I can't.........
take them all off, let go, feel the weight leave you.

The masks of your parents that you also learned to wear,
their fears and dreams in the shape of your face,
 remove them with respect and pity, and descend

to the last masks, the shadow masks

the masks you do not look at, but cling to,
see them in your hands -  and let them go,
into the darkness, into the dreaming Earth.

Rest, and  wait.
Ask  for the dreams
the unborn ones

that wait to be born in you
empty and held in the womb of the Earth
invite them to come, in time to come,
the guidance and inspiration that will infuse your new year.

Make that prayer  into the darkness,
feel it like a pulse among roots, that deep umbilical
holding you safe.  Rest, and  know you are loved,
held, a seed, a child, a hope, a potential.

Begin to ascend at last.
As you rise, see the masks you've discarded -
one by one, take them in your hands.
Perhaps some you no longer need;
some you will examine more closely in the future.
Perhaps some you will discard, and
some you will wear more lightly.  Feel their weight.

And as you emerge from the earth
into the sunlit world, feel that unbroken cord, shining,
unseen, holding  you to your origin. 

To the Source.
 Always, always generous.

(2002)