Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Little Irish Shadow

No, Irish Shadow is not a drink or a dessert made with potatoes and whiskey. The Celts know well the beauty and power of Shadow, and they respect it. All that green beer, leprechaun-y stuff is just for the parade.

This time is always a favorite time of year for me. It’s Lent, and although I no longer practice the rituals of the season, I find it to be a time to contemplate the direction my life is taking. On the edge of spring, it's always a good idea to clear away the clutter and make room for new growth.

And although I am not Irish, I celebrate St. Patrick’s day for other reasons, because the Irish and the Celts bear out this long history filled with difficulty, along with, if you will pardon me, a human reverence for things unknown. Every life needs a bit of mystery. And as a culture they have produced such beautiful music, poetry, dance (and I don’t mean that Flatley guy). For a nation so consistently overrun by other nations, I’m waiting for Ireland’s great green shadow to come flying out at any moment.

But because the Celts are so connected to the earth and so aligned with mystery and the mystery of Self, knowing that both joy and sadness, dark and light coexist all the time, that’s probably not going to happen. Their literature, folklore, music, and religious expressions -- both pagan and catholic -- are filled with shadow (unlike our modern day masses; catholic leaders have forgotten to respect the shadow within the ceremony and have brightened it up with all this hand-waving evangelical hooey).

I always found it fascinating that those who quest the Holy Grail believe that it actually lies somewhere in the UK, possibly in Ireland. It’s just another “ring,” another object carrying too many projections of power yet to be withdrawn. When we withdraw those and bring our Shadow into check with us, greeting it in the mirror, we are more comfortable with the gifts of darkness.

Many of you know the afore-blogged John Doyle as a founding member of the band, Solas, along with Karan Casey. This tune is post-Doyle but has always been one of my favorites. When you find it difficult to step back or hang on to your Shadow, take a deep breath and think of these words.

Today greeted me with an invitation for my Shadow, but she declined. Instead we decided to keep our mouths shut and heads down. We remained at the edge of silence.

This song, Darkness, Darkness bears an undercurrent of Shadow's potency, but also acknowledges the comfort of darkness and quiet, like a deep forest or still night, when the restlessness of Shadow wants more but we know better. As St. Patrick's day approaches, take a moment to mix with the celebration a time to honor shadow and darkness and the deep powerful stillness where right is.

Darkness, Darkness

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow
Take my hand and let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

Darkness, darkness, long and lonesome
Is the day that brings me here
I have felt the edge of silence
I have known the depths of fear

Darkness, darkness, hide the yearning
For the things that cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Towards the things I cannot see

Darkness, darkness, long and lonesome
Is the day that brings me here
I have felt the edge of silence
I have known the depths of fear

Darkness, darkness, be my blanket
Cover me with the endless night
Take away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow
Take my hand and let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

Darkness, darkness, hide the yearnings
For the things that cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Towards the things I cannot see

Darkness, darkness, be my blanket
Cover me with the endless night
Take away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right

5 Comments:

At March 14, 2007 9:37 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

Nicely done, MandoMama. You're a good matador.

Much love,
Shameless Agitator

 
At March 15, 2007 5:11 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Heehee...thanks, Shameless. Somehow I stored that line of Johnson, "To be in the presence of another’s shadow and not reply is nothing short of genius."

Matador. Interesting totem.

Love,
MM

 
At March 15, 2007 8:19 AM, Blogger Women on the Verge said...

Loved this post, mandomama!! I agree. I've always scratched my head at those who believe in light but not dark, and good but not evil.. everything is about balance. One can't exist without the other to give it meaning... we've made everything vanilla as a result.

E

 
At March 15, 2007 10:58 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Thanks E! You're right. People are amazingly skilled at looking past life's difficult but enriching moments, at just washing their hands of dealing with the tough stuff. As much as I love my vanilla in baked goods, in life, not so much.

 
At March 15, 2007 10:16 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

You're right, Mando. A matador is certainly an interesting totem.

I do seem to have that effect on some of the former friends in my life. One look or thought of me seems to send them into a seething rage. All while I gloss over them with my eyes, ignore the vibrations of anger emanating from them and wave my red cape.

Ha!

Much love,
Shameless Agitator

 

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