Hildegard von Bingen wrote: “The soul is not in the body; the body is in the soul.” (Vol XXII, No. 5). This is a concept that I’ve been thinking about all week, and how we have tried to place unnatural limitations upon the body and soul based on our dualistic way of thinking.I suppose a true Zen answer would be the body is the soul and the soul is the body, but right now I’m enjoying thinking that the soul contains the body. Next week I’ll probably veer off into a more Zennist approach.
For this to happen, the soul must accept the body, not the other way around. As I’m not entirely certain that there is even such as thing as an individual soul, it’s an interesting concept.What if the “life force” on this little ball of rock hurtling through space is all soul, all an expression of soul?What if everything is an expression of the Earth’s soul, or the soul of the universe?
Ksama in Sanskrit means forgiveness. An indispensible word on the spiritual path at practical and cosmic levels, ksama is a virtue that, perhaps more strongly than any other, binds us to a tantric life. Its practice requires that we move beyond our ego and take sanctuary in the naked truth of reality. It is a gateway to Her through relationality (one of the five-fold qualities of the Dark Goddess), a way of creating connection across divides of difference on inner, outer and causal levels.
At times, forgiveness means making a choice to be present with another. It can also mean holding a space of respectful distance in order to let truth unfold. In its many manifestations, the path of forgiveness is a tall order in a world filled with insecurities and vitriol. So many of us harbor terrifying yearnings to be loved—terrifying because we fear we are unworthy of another’s love or worse, somehow unlovable. But as a mechanism for unleashing the power of unfettered love—the antidote to much of our struggle—forgiveness is worth taking the time to understand and practice.
Most Pagans I know are pretty nice people. They will drop everything to help a friend in need. They respond to healing requests that are broadcast by acquaintances over social media and participate in activism in a quest to heal the earth and bring justice to the world. We value that watery ideal of compassion and seek to manifest it in the world.
Celebrating the turnings of the Wheel of the Year encourage us to meditate on the cycles of life. This year celebrating the Winter Solstice has proven is harder for me to enterwholeheartedly than often in the past. At the Solstice we celebrate light’s return, and with it the rebirth of life from the mystery of death. This year perhaps it is fitting that it falls on the dark of the moon.Yule honors the return of light while I am living in a society where the lights seem to be going out.
Ultimately my post will be positive, very much so.But let us not pretend it is easy to see any growing light beyond that of the sun itself.
Recently, a 14 year old boy shot himself in the head in the boys’ restroom at his central Florida middle school. His family had moved here all the way from New York to escape bullies. Turns out you can’t end bullying by moving hundreds of miles. You can’t end bullying by talking to school administrators or teachers.
You can’t end bullying by fighting and punishing bullies because fighting and punishing IS bullying. Imagine firefighters trying to put out fires with flamethrowers instead of water hoses or buckets of earth.
I had so many things to be angry about. So many people had wronged me, from my biological father who molested me, to my beloved grandmother who’d bailed him out of jail and brought him home to live with me after he shot my mother in the head, to my mother who taught me that I was worthless and unlovable, to the so-called friends who had used and betrayed me over and over.
They wronged me. They hurt me. They deserved to suffer for what they did to me. How could I possibly forgive them, especially if they were not even pretending to be sorry?