Author Topic: Yule in the Labyrinth  (Read 1806 times)

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Offline Constance

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Yule in the Labyrinth
« on: December 20, 2012, 10:39:23 pm »
This evening after work, I went to the labyrinth at Mercy Center for a Yule walking meditation.

Yule, the Winter Solstice, is the longest night of the year. The lore behind the ritual is that it is the time of the Rebirth of the Sun. The days will be growing longer and the Sun will be growing in strength. It's a time when light is said to be growing stronger against dark.

I have a problem with the use of "light" to mean good things and "dark" to mean bad things. If I understand the symbolism properly, it has to do with things being more easily seen in the light. Still, I find it troubling.

And I was very troubled this Yule. A week ago 20 children and 6 women at a school were shot to death. What light will be reborn into the lives of their survivors? What can I do to help bring the light back to those survivors? I have no use for theodicy and will not under any circumstances attempt to explain away the horror that befell Newtown, CT, with meaningless platitudes of G'D's will and that the victims are in a better place. I recognize that religion is not required for one to be moral. For me, I feel that I derive tangible benefits from participating in my complicated faith.

It's Yule: a Wiccan holy day. But my Christian and Buddhist influences are not set aside on days like these.

Thinking of the shooter led to think about the idea of loving my enemies. What does that mean? I think I understand the Golden Rule. Treating others in the same way I want to be treated, to take the poetry out of the Golden Rule and reword it in simple English, makes perfect sense to me. So it seems that loving my enemies would be to treat them as I would want to be treated. How is that done when I feel so assailed so often? If any readers have any insights, please make them known.

When I got to the center of the Labyrinth, I stopped the meditative music I was listening to and invited my gods, guardians, ancestors, and spirit allies. Meditating briefly at the central stone, I then prepared to recite my Charges.

In the Autumn of 2007, I was looking for copies of the Charge of the God and the Charge of the Goddess that weren't so vengeful and (to me) violent. By Samhain, I had written my own, adding a Charge of the Transcendent One to include my Christian and Buddhist influences. These were written about 6 months before I began truly exploring the concept of gender identity, and I fully identified as male at that time. Reciting those charges this evening, they seemed to take on new meanings.

My own words took on new meanings.

Even in 2007, I was disappointed by the Charges of the God that I'd encountered that seem to equate the willingness to do combat with what it means to be a man. My Charge revolved more around the strength a protective father would employ to care for his children. But the line that struck me most this time was as follows:

Those who sacrifice themselves to no
benefit have lost my path.
Sacrifice is sacred, and must serve a
sacred purpose.

I've spent much of the last year and a half in a very bad place. Negativity was easy to come by. At Samhain earlier this year, I put a slip of paper into the cauldron of the Fire altar in the South quarter that said "Self Hate." It was the negative thing about myself I wanted purged from me. The coven members would not be reading these slips, but would be burning them ritually at the first full moon after Samhain. But Self Hate is stil with me.

In my Charge of the Goddess, the following stuck me:

Search for peace within, and share peace
with all you meet.

I paused mid recitation and asked out loud, "How? How do I search for peace within?"

It was then that I realized I feel like I'm doing things wrong. How can bring Light and Peace to others when I can't bring it to myself? I decided it was time to reconnect with my Zen teacher, and time for me to return to Sangha too. That second part will be a little harder. During zazen I find my inner demons, my Hungry Ghosts, all to willing to visit me. I've been at war with them. But Hungry Ghosts are meant to be fed and nourished. I'll be contacting my teacher to arrange a practice discussion with her.

I must also revisit my discussion of forgiveness with my pastor. How can I hope to forgive others when I can't forgive myself? How can I love my enemies when I can count myself as an enemy and I still harbor so much ill will toward myself?

I went into the Labyrinth with a simple question, How to bring Light back, and left it with even more questions. I think this is a good thing, though. Confusion has led to some clarity, in a way.

Blessed be.