TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Hanukkah

The Light Within

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December is my favorite time of year.  In this month of darkness, in this the darkest month, the light of the human spirit shines forth in a fullness shown by so many, in so many ways.  As the days grow shorter, houses and trees are decorated, and snow falls.  In the hushed silence of the nights, lights shine in windows, and the beauty is shared by all.  For this season of giving brings the festivals of lights: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza.  Each tradition incorporates light in its ceremonies and decorations.

In December’s darkness we light lights.  For we are beings of light.  A light glows within each one of us.  And, at the most basic level, we are beings of light because we are made from stardust.  Perhaps that is why the stars hold such majesty for us– we are made from star material.

Einstein said: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe”– a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  We are all cut from the same cloth and our inner light unites us.

And in this holiday season we behold the night sky as shepherds did two thousand years ago on the birth of the holy infant, in a stable like the one down the road where my donkey friend lives.  That night a star lit the whole sky to guide the shepherds, and on these deep, long, silent nights as we light our houses, our candles, our trees, let us look inside ourselves and find the glow that may guide us to The Light

A holy Hanukkah, a magical Christmas and the ecstasy of Sadhguru to all for the New Year!  May we awaken from Maya and realize the wonders we are… for inside each of us burns the Sacred Light of the Universe.


Reaching for the Stars

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“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree… a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”  The opening lines of the poem,“Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer.  Indigenous peoples through the ages have talked of tree spirits and trees as wise ones.  Trees are striking as they permanently lift their arms to the Heavens in seeming prayer, day and night in communication with the Creator, their outstretched arms reaching for the stars.

Reaching for the stars.  The image calls to mind a dance of the Kalahari Bushmen who were featured in the movie “The Gods They Must be Crazy.”  The Kalahari, the last men born of the Stone Age culture according to Laurens Van Der Post, have no sense of individuality and so share all they have. They have a dance of gratitude which Van Der Post describes in his book entitled “A Mantis Carol”: “I never see their dancing without feeling deeply moved and utterly irreverent and blasphemous because of our own incapacity for acknowledging what life will give if only we will let it in.”  And then there is their dance of the “great hunger,” a dance that says we do not live by bread alone, a dance at life’s end fraught with longing, with arms outstretched taughtly towards the Heavens as they reach for the stars.

My grandfather reached for the stars.  He came to the United States, a 16-year-old peasant stonecutter from the mountains of Sicily, knowing no English.  He wound up carving the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in DC.  While working on the Gettysburg Address he studied English at night school.  I remember him telling me how he was the laughing stock of his fellow stone cutters because, inspired by Lincoln’s words, he carved his initials at the top of the monument, “A.L.” for Anthony LaManna (and, of course, for Abraham Lincoln), followed by: “Attorney at Law.”  Working his way through school, he actually did eventually become a VA lawyer.  He reached for the stars and touched them without ever forgetting where he came from.  And he was childlike as he took care of me, as we danced to records on the victrola or as he played the mandolin and sang to me.  I always think of him with a tinge of sadness, for more than anyone, he taught me to reach for the stars.

Reach for the creator– that is what the trees say.  At this time of year I yearn for the days of childhood in which God seemed close.  This yearning fully ripens each year at Christmas/Hanukkah when the people brighten their houses with festive lights.  It is a time of year in which we light up our hearts and look to the heavens and sing songs of love to a babe born not so very long ago, or in which we give thanks for the oil to light the lights of the temple for eight days.  We are all really seeking the love that motivated the Kalahari Bushmen to do their dance.  We are seeking a savior, and yearning for the Light in this overlit, commercialized, complicated world in which the inspiring simplicity of the Bushmen, the peasant, is rapidly disappearing.  And the trees touch my heart in their upward reach for the Heavens.  For at this time so many millions of them are sacrificed as they have become our Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes, to be discarded after the holidays are over.

May we experience this holy season with a simpler yearning, not for presents and parties and hoopla, but with our hearts full of gratitude, taking lessons from the trees, from the Kalahari Bushmen, from our ancestors, and seek Love, in whatever form it takes in our souls.

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Blessings of the Winter Solstice

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Christmas and Winter Solstice blessings to all those who have visited Moonside and especially to those to whom I was unable to respond due to physical or mental illness, a HUGE THANK YOU!!  

And to all… may you feel the joy of Christmas no matter what your circumstance, color, creed or faith and be blessed by health, happiness and peace in the New Year!

Love, Ellen

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“A Berry, Merry Christmas”

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Whatever you celebrate,

may you find

peace, love and joy

sublime!


Beings of Light

In this month of darkness, in this the darkest month, the light of the human spirit shines forth in so many– in so many ways.  As the days grow shorter, houses and trees are decorated, and snow falls.  In the hushed silence of the nights, lights shine in windows, and whisper in the darkness.  For this season of giving brings the festivals of lights: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and in the Fall, Diwali.  Each tradition incorporates light in its ceremonies and decorations.

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A neighbor-friend of mine who lives down the road, a donkey in his stable, reminds me of the story of another manger two thousand years ago.  And seeing him snug in his stable with snow on the ground gives the illusion that all is right in the world.  But all is not well.  Far, far too many know no peace in any season.  Far, far too many live in poverty.  Far, far too many suffer the effects of the new mammoth storms.

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We who live closer to the land are so blessed to share our lives with animals.  These creatures are constant reminders of humility and simplicity in this rapid, complex, multi-tasking world.  We drive around on a December night and see houses covered in lights with illuminated trees, houses warmed by fires, and imagine them filled with laughter and conversation and love.  We are blessed to have so much, when so many have so little.  Blessed to be able to celebrate our religious beliefs as we wish, when others cannot.  Yet even in the worst of conditions the strength of the human spirit is indomitable.

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In December’s darkness we light lights.  In truth, we are beings of light.  A light glows within each one of us.  And, at the most basic level, we are beings of light for we are made of stardust.  Perhaps that is why the stars hold such majesty for us—stars compose our bodies within, and, without, our skies sing with stars the hymns of the Heavens.

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Einstein said: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe”– a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  We are all cut from the same cloth and our inner light is one.

And in this holiday season we behold the night sky as shepherds did two thousand years ago on the birth of the holy infant, in a stable.  That night a star lit the whole sky to guide the shepherds.  And, in 165 BCE, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was re-dedicated and with the miracle of the ritual oil, the light burned for eight nights.

On these deep, long, silent nights as we light our houses, our candles, our Menorahs, our trees, let us look inside ourselves and find the glow that unites us and will guide us to the Everlasting Light.

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Playful Innocence

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Reaching for the Stars

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree… a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”  The opening lines of the poem,Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer.  Indigenous peoples through the ages have talked of tree spirits and trees as wise ones.  Trees are striking as they lift their arms to the Heavens in seemingly permanent prayer, day and night in communication with the Creator, their outstretched arms reaching for the stars.

Reaching for the stars.  The image calls to mind a dance of the Kalahari Bushmen who were featured in the movie “The Gods They Must be Crazy.”  The Kalahari, the last men born of the Stone Age culture according to Laurens Van Der Post, have no sense of individuality and share all they have. They have a dance of gratitude which Van Der Post describes in his book entitled “A Mantis Carol”: “I never see their dancing without feeling deeply moved and utterly irreverent and blasphemous because of our own incapacity for acknowledging what life will give if only we will let it in.”  And then there is their dance of the “great hunger,” a dance that says we do not live by bread alone, a dance at life’s end fraught with longing, with arms outstretched taughtly towards the Heavens as they reach for the stars.

My grandfather reached for the stars.  He came here, a 16-year-old peasant stonecutter from the mountains of Sicily, knowing no English.  He wound up carving the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in DC.  While working on the Gettysburg Address he studied English at night school.  I remember him telling me how he was the laughing-stock of his fellow stone cutters because, inspired by Lincoln’s words, he carved his initials at the top of the monument, “A.L.” for Anthony LaManna (and, of course, for Abraham Lincoln), followed by: “Attorney at Law.”  Working his way through school, he actually did eventually become a VA lawyer.  He reached for the stars and touched them without ever forgetting where he came from.  And he was childlike as he took care of me, as we danced to records on the victrola, or as he played the mandolin and sang to me.  I always think of him with a tinge of sadness, for more than anyone, he taught me to reach for the stars.

Reach for the Creator– that is what the trees say.  At this time of year I yearn for the days of childhood in which God seemed close.  This yearning fully ripens each year at Christmas/Hanukkah when the people brighten their houses with festive lights.  It is a time of year in which we light up our hearts and look to the heavens and sing songs of love to a babe born not so very long ago, or in which we give thanks for the oil to light the lights of the temple for eight days.  We are all really seeking the love that motivated the Kalahari Bushmen to do their dance.  We are seeking a savior, and yearning for the Light in this overlit, commercialized, complicated world in which the inspiring simplicity of the Bushmen, the peasant, is rapidly disappearing.  And the trees touch my heart in their upward reach for the Heavens.  For at this time so many millions of them are sacrificed as they become our Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes, to be discarded after the holidays are over.

May we enter this holy season with a simpler yearning, not for presents and parties and hoopla, but with our hearts full of gratitude, taking lessons from the trees, from the Kalahari Bushmen, from our ancestors, and seek the Light, in whatever form it takes in our souls.