Saturday, November 1, 2008

Darkness

I am going to interrupt my discussion of CDIP and Diversity to note that this is a special time of the year. This is the time of Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Day of the Dead, and, for those pagans (including witches and druids) with any sort of Celtic connections, Samhain.

I mentioned in my post on Thinking Positive (8/1/08) that I am a naturalistic pagan. That means that I don't believe in a lot of the things other pagans believe in. (I've had to explain to some of my witch friends that I am rather 'belief challenged'.) But there are certain things that I do believe in: earth, water, fire, and air, the sun, moon, and stars, and the changing of the seasons. And darkness. I believe in darkness and the value of darkness.

All the holidays around this date are about darkness, death, disorder, and decay. A lot of this can be summed up in the word 'Entropy'. (Another blogger, SoapBoxTech, and I got into a discussion of this on his blog.) The point of holidays like Samhain is that that entropy--darkness, death, disorder, and decay--is part of the life cycle and we need to celebrate these things as well as life's sunny, creative, organizing properties. We need chaos and disorder to create new things out of. We need death and decay to make room for new life. And we need darkness to nurture new growing things and to allow us to appreciate life.

If you want to fully join in the dance of life, you've got to acknowledge all the participants--and that includes darkness and decay.



Quote of the day: "The dark: all that we are afraid of, all that we don't want to see--fear, anger, sex, grief, death, the unknown. The turning dark: change. The velvet dark: skin soft in the night, the stroke of flesh on flesh, touch, joy, mortality. Hecate's birth-giving dark: seeds are planted underground, the womb is dark, and life forms itself anew in hidden places." - Starhawk
Word (or phrase) of the day: Riparian Zone
Hero(es) of the day: Ernestine Rose

4 comments:

SoapBoxTech said...

We kinda put that discussion on pause, hehe.

I agree with what you have said here, and I too feel it is important to accept and perhaps even celebrate the entropic forces you mention. Life does indeed need both the creative and destructive forces, preferably in balance.

The thing is, I also believe in good and evil. This does not mean that I think order is necessarily good, nor chaos necessarily bad. I fully admit that the forces of "evil" make use of extreme order and extreme chaos both. But I do feel, in the depths of my being, that evil tends to favor entropy overall.

MoonRaven said...

Thanks for your comment, and thanks for letting me reference our discussion, SBT.

I don't believe in good and evil (funny, I was just having this discussion with one of my friends) but, having said that, I will agree that much of entropy (death, decay, etc) is not something I like spending a lot of time with. In fact, some of my beloved complexity theorists refer to life as a counter-entropy force. It is all about balance, and you sometimes need to embrace entropy. That doesn't mean you're always going to enjoy it...

SoapBoxTech said...

Admittedly, proving the existence of real good and evil is probably scientifically impossible. However, I feel it is still a worthy debate, not that you have suggested otherwise.

My response is:
How can you champion the things that you do, without believing they are good? Is it only that they are logical? I do not think so.

I am one of those who truly feels, not just believes or hopes, that there is something inside we humans which both guides us and is in turn nurtured/formed by our thoughts and actions. This is our soul, and mine screams at me to realize that our souls are affected by our thoughts and deeds, that we nurture our soul with goodness, with balance and joy and with love and acceptance and a sense of responsibility and stewardship...and that we taint our souls with hate and anger or vengeance or even self-pity, with the need to control and dominate, to exploit and kill; that our soul might even be destroyable or, worse yet, harvestable.

This is why I keep harping on about how change itself is not of utmost importance right now, but how we go about achieving that change. And it is why I place such importance on spirituality and wisdom, and not just on religion, scholastics and/or intelligence.

I think an adaptation of that old line fits here, "it is not necessary that you believe or take interest in these things, but they do take interest in you".

Thanks for the discussion, Moonraven. It is refreshing to say the least.

MoonRaven said...

Thanks for be clear. You are right--it's a worthy debate and impossible to prove either way.

So that I can be clear--I do believe in good and bad things and in moral decisions, it's just that I don't believe in evil as some force, I don't believe in cosmic battles between good and evil, and I don't believe in people as good (at least 'all good') or evil. I believe in fallible human beings, some of whom are doing the best they can and some of whom have been hurt so badly that they end up hurting others.

I don't believe in souls, but I do believe that our thoughts nurture who we are and what we do and working toward joy and love certainly helps us have better lives. I sometimes use the term 'karma'--not about future or past lives, but about how what we do and think now comes back to us later.