Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Shepherdess

The night is cold: so cold and clear
that the bright stars above
seem closer: so close
that just by raising my hand
I can touch them. And I do.
They are my fingertip sparks.

I pull my cloak around me
for a little extra warmth.
But I am used to this hillside cold
where my wandering flock grazes
here among the wild rue and acacias
of the high pastures.

My flock and the circling stars are my companions,
and when I speak to my flock, I know
that they recognize my voice,
even know what I say to them.
At times I also speak to the high stars.
Then I must listen so carefully, so quietly
to hear the soft sighing of light
that is their astral language.
Not all can hear them, and even those who hear
that gentle sighing of the night
can know what is being said to them,
but I do, and I know that the stars understand me also.

Among my flock is a little one:
an orphaned newling, born out of season,
still uncertain of the world.
I feel her warmth beneath my cloak
and she feels my own warmth.
She is quiet now, asleep inside my cloak,
asleep beside my heart.
Tomorrow, when the stars are asleep,
I will carry her down the hillside,
down from these high pastures,
and we will both go into Bethlehem,
for that is what the stars tonight have told me I must do.

Painting The Shepherdess by Robert Gavin

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Sun on the Stone

It is just before dawn. Around you is complete darkness, far darker than the pre-dawn glow in the world outside, for you are deep inside the underground chamber of the Irish megalithic monument known as New Grange. This particular dawn is special, because it is the dawn of the midwinter solstice on the twenty-first of December, and what is about to happen is also special.

Outside the winter sun starts to rise, and as it does a single shaft of light penetrates the long entrance corridor and begins to pierce the darkness around you. The shaft of light grows ever brighter as the sun rises, until it strikes the wall of stone behind you, illuminating the chamber, and just missing the design of a triple spiral carved into the rear wall. Then just a few moments later the phenomenon begins to fade as the sun climbs higher, and its rays can no longer penetrate the length of the straight corridor. In another few minutes you are once more surrounded by the impenetrable darkness, and all is as it was before.

The event you have just witnessed could have been seen by someone – weather permitting – on this particular midwinter dawn of any year during the last five thousand years, for that is how long this monument has existed. But there is a difference: five thousand years ago, the shaft of light which you have just seen would have struck the triple spiral in its exact centre. That it no longer does so is due to our Earth’s drift in its orbit. The planning of the original builders of New Grange was immaculate.

These ancient monuments speak to us of the sophistication of their builders, our ancestors. But even more than this, they speak of a time when the earth itself was a place of magical ceremony. New Grange has the form of a womb, with the long entrance corridor forming the birth canal. We cannot know the exact nature of the ceremonies which would have been held here and at other such sites, but that they were concerned with the fertile well-being of the earth is clear enough. Father Sun penetrates the womb of Mother Earth, and the months towards the bursting forth of new life in the spring can be counted down.

The infant Child, we are told in scripture, was born in a stable. It is an idea which now has become so fixed and familiar that it takes an effort to think of things happening in any other way. But they did. The word ‘stable’ is a misunderstanding of the original Greek texts. What was mistranslated as ‘stable’ is actually a word more akin to ‘cave’. 
The Child as well emerged from these mysterious realms of nurturing darkness, and a mother gave birth to the Son.

All the opposing energies – light and darkness, male and female, day and night – must be tended carefully and kept in balance with each other for things to develop and prosper, and for events to unfold as they should. And the dark earth might keep her secrets, but on special occasions the light will reach into the depths and illuminate the mysterious patterns lying at the heart of the beginnings of us all.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

God's Daughter

I am in love with God’s daughter.
She smiles at me in the glancing sunlight through the trees
She smiles at me in the tender thrust of an opening bud
She whispers to me from within the perfect singing of the small birds.
She loves me always.

I whisper: why does no one know your name?
I whisper: why are your tales not told?
Why are the stories forgotten?
Why are there no songs?

She sits with me, cross legged
And opens her eyes for me
My heart beating as I gaze into those eyes so soft, so true, so lovely, so loving

She answers me only with her open eyes and says:
You know the tales so true, 
you know the songs so lovely, 
you know the tunes so simple, 
so delicate so precious, 
they are not lost they are not lost, 
they are safe within your unspoken heart.

Safe within the unspoken night, 
the unspoken moon, 
the unspoken dawn,
we await the unspoken love of man.
Do not worry my brave son, my beautiful son, do not worry ..
The unspoken night is upon us and tomorrow dawns the newly spoken day


Song of the Second Wind 
by Samuel Stillmore