Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Like the Ravens

We're halfway through the winter and the sheep are big, looking like twins for a few of them at least. It's the beginning of lambing season and reminds me that Ground Hog Day was originally called Imbolc, meaning in the belly in Gaelic, and it was a feast designed to celebrate the advent of the rising sun in the sky and the sap in the trees, and the groundhog was originally the serpent at the center of the world uncoiling itself for a new stab at the growing of new life. But for me it seems like it could be seen as an inner imperative to turn away from the natural pessimism that arises in the winter months. I see it in my classes in my job as a teacher and there's just a spirit of meanness that pervades all of our consciousness at a certain time in January with the cold snap and the snow and the dark days. It's basically the lack of light in us that makes us want to hurt others or ourselves. We want to take this time to turn again to the light and affirm basic principles, no matter what faith tradition we hold to. It helps to hang with others in a festive setting, and thus Super Bowl parties come at a good time, a reenactment of ancient pagan motifs unbeknownst to us. Instead of bonfires we have glowing digital displays and hulking masculine life forms throwing themselves around in some kind of semi-absurd ancient sacrificial ritual while hyped up maidens jump and throb on the sidelines. What is it that causes these archetypes to arise again? Sometimes I think we are just puppets on invisible strings being yanked around by the unfolding patterns of human evolution.
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