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Luminous Wisdom of Night

The darkness embraces everything,
It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.
I believe in the night.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours

The Christian feasts of All Saints and All Souls on November 1st and 2nd honor the profound legacy of wisdom our ancestors have left to us and continue to offer. In some denominations, we celebrate and honor the dead for the whole month of November. In the Northern hemisphere the world is entering the dark half of the year. The ancient Celtic people believed this time was a thin space, where heaven and earth whispered to one another across a luminous veil and those who walked before us are especially accessible in these late autumn days. These moments on the great turning of the year’s wheel offer us invitations and gifts for our spiritual journeys.

As the earth prepares to enter winter, she sheds what she no longer needs and moves inward. We live in a world illuminated by artificial light and so we often forget the wisdom to be gained from being in darkness. With the busyness of our lives, we resist the call of winter to fallowness and to contemplate what mortality means for us.

To read the rest of this article go to the Patheos website>>


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4 Responses

  1. Thank you Maureen!

    Dyck – Patheos is an independent website which offers dialogue around religion and spirituality from a variety of traditions. I am a Contributing Writer for them so sometimes I will link to my articles there.

    Thanks for your reflections on this. I do agree that many of our patterns are unconscious and arise even from experiences before we were born. But the spiritual work is to make these conscious and to grow in freedom so we can live more fully. Some of our family legacy is also gift, shaping our stories in beautiful ways. But I do think this is some of the most challenging inner work I do for myself, to operate as creatively as I can.

  2. I’m thinking of possibilities of what ‘experiences’ seem to do to us, now, in our own past, and from ancestors over the ages; The way they appear to have such tenacity, but without our consciousness; Like programming or running a tape; And we having such little control of it; Maybe even with no awareness. And since ‘experiences’ are not all advantageous or wise… at least few seem to be so, rather most are from reaction that once past, is no longer valid or useful.

    And memory (being a gross capability) must damage us in confusing or blurring the everyday life of occupation versus the life of seeking the spiritual… obstructing & obscuring our Now.

    A strong metaphor for me is that experiences create a mold, from which we have little choice but to ‘fit’ into it. And that these behaviors becoming the norm., goes on thru family, society, and generation after generation.

    It seems to me it would take setting a strong spiritual journey to begin to weaken Impressions- to operate creatively and not mechanically. And the goal would be to have none at all… but rather to operate in the moment from innocence or love.

    As Rumi notes the night of not consciousness is Gods time.

  3. Christine, can you say something about the purpose or vision of the Patheos website? Does it build on or extend this site in some ways?

    Also, I’m getting good provocation from your writings. I’ll say more about what it conjures (Luminous Wisdom of Night) when I have a little more time.

  4. Your essay at the Patheos site is so beautifully written, Christine; it reaches inside, deeply. Thank you for the inspiration.