Thursday, 31 July 2014

Lammas, 1 August

Lughnasadh, or Lammas, is one of the eight so called Celtic festivals, traditionally celebrated between the first and second of August. It originated as a feast celebrating the Irish deity of light, Lugh, later encompassing all harvest godheads, honouring the beginning of the reaping season with community gatherings and markets.

This is the climax of warmth and luminosity, exuberance and performance. The festival also heralds imminent changes, for it is as well the funerary feast of the god of light, which involves acknowledging cold and darkness, the other polarity of the cycle.

When life reaches its peak of light on one side, death and the peak of darkness thrives on the other.

Hence at Lughnasadh, as in all truly holistic celebrations, all polarities are encompassed, with everyone and everything, holy and profane, finding their sacred space on the wheel of existence.

For ages conflicts between polarities have been the major cause of affliction and humiliation. As we move into a planetary path of spiritual reawakening it is vital to acknowledge the wounds produced by the split of polarities, strenuously promoting ways to heal them so as to retrieve our original unity.
Death and life, day and night, light and darkness, male and female, all pairs of opposites engage simultaneously at all times. While the northern hemisphere is in the midst of summer, in the southern hemisphere winter reigns supreme, as the sun rises in one part of the world it sets in another.

With our limited perception we experience life as linear, getting used and attached to one polarity, while neglecting the other until with time, often to our discomfort and disbelief, what is ignored inevitably takes over.

We may even work hard to prevent the opposite side from emerging, denying and repressing it, obdurately holding onto a separate reality. We may be dead, and yet we believe we are living, or we may be living, though we assume we are dead.

Just as there is a part in us thriving with life, another is dead. While a side is joyful, another is sad, one is dark and the other luminous, poor and rich, ill and healthy, and so on.

All opposites live within us, constantly interacting and merging. Some shine on stage, while others lurk behind the wings, waiting for their turn to come. Yet they keep all being here at the same time.

At the heart of ancient ceremonies and gatherings, shamanic rituals and events, as well as their contemporary equivalents, lies the awareness of life as a vast multidimensional theatre production.

These events were and are times of deep reunion, with all actors and characters coming together and being acknowledged, while also providing opportunities for swapping roles, exploring new stories, establishing novel connections or releasing old ones. And, most importantly, these gatherings also draw the directors and producers, those who manage the entire comedy or drama of life.

Leo is the traditional sign of theatre, drama, actors and of all those who shine in the limelight of life. It is associated with royal power, the alchemical gold and the Sun. Yet, with all respect, this is not the sun that comes and goes, drastically changing its effects according to seasonal or daily shifts. Nor it is solely the sun of monarchs and show stars, academic awards and political leaders. It is a deep inner Sun, capable of bestowing generous gifts at all times.

We may find this ongoing Sun by retrieving our hidden and denied parts, by acknowledging what was formerly eliminated from our consciousness.

Surprisingly, in order to find the veritable source of light we need to travel into the darkness, facing all apparent areas of anguish and distress. We need to suspend our judgements and truly getting to know the areas we find difficult to accept, ceasing to act as if they don’t exist or only exist in others.

What if the bits that we find harder to accept in ourselves and others end up being the best qualities and gifts?

We may be so frightened by true light and life, so full of shame and prejudices about our authentic treasures that we bury them away, displaying instead our worst bits to the world, paradoxically believing that they are the best.

Many of us strain to express what is dead in their life, while repressing what is alive, serving a world obsessed with conventional appearances and missing the brightness of their inner Sun.

Yet, no matter how we try to conceal it, this light regularly returns and shines upon us. It glows upon all the crucial cross-roads on our path. It encourages us to let go of our decayed scripts and roles, of what is dead and long to take its course. It shines upon the blooming parts we are truly meant to play and dance in the theatre of life.

I wish you a most fruitful ripening of all the treasures generously available for you to enjoy and share with your beloved ones.

© Franco Santoro,  

Image: by Waterhouse
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