When you really start closely following the phases of the year, especially when relentlessly broken down into six-week segments, time really starts to speed up. It’s sort of the opposite of what you’d think – a watched pot never boils, and all that. You’d think constantly watching the progression of the natural seasons of life and death would at the least make it all proceed more slowly, but not in my experience. Everything is just flying.
Either that or I’m just getting old. I’ll let you decide.
We’re not approaching the darkness anymore. We’re in it.
No matter how much action I’ve seen packed into 2014, I still can’t believe another year’s gone. That’s where we’re at – another year gone. Yes, mid-November still holds six more calendar weeks before our official New Year, but the nature of nature’s annual solar cycle is not like that of a consistent and steady long-distance race. It begins in slow darkness and impatient restraint, gallops off at break-neck speed, floats down just the tiniest notch, where it plateaus for what seems like forever, until the final ramp-up of the harvest and the final decline of the conclusion.
The harvest is very much over at this point. Up till now, I’ve left open even the slightest possibility that time remains to correct errors or complete final goal-oriented pursuits if they’re easy enough. No more. We’re not approaching the darkness anymore. We’re in it.
If you wait until December to start taking stock – and that includes both giving thanks and reflection on the year, you cut into your celebration time. You steal from yourself the time required to become fresh for the start of yet another round.
So before we set about getting all prepared and, well, settled, let’s take a second to make sense of this time ahead of us. Toward that end, let me just say a few cryptic words.
All right, though, fair enough, the stubborn slaves to the official calendar have a point – the next six weeks aren’t nothing. They still count. Things still happen. Time marches on. So before we set about getting all prepared and, well, settled, let’s take a second to make sense of this time ahead of us. Toward that end, let me just say a few cryptic words.
To start with, what I can’t emphasize enough is this: Don’t be late to the party. When something’s happening, don’t hold back or fear joining up with it, otherwise you’re likely to miss out on important bonding time with those around you.
All of the waters of the world flow together, and people follow the same basic rule. We’re all the water, each of us but the key parts of a much larger whole. Accordingly, now is the time to unite with others, not just in spirit but, when required, in actual mutual aid.
This should not be taken to mean, however, that the time is right for hierarchy-hating anarchist consensus rule. These are, for now at least, the days for a leader. That leader, called or chosen, must be up to the task, or things will get even worse than they are now. If you yourself are able to disqualify yourself from such a role, that’s fine, just be straight-up about it and try to identify the natural and benevolent leader nearest you.
Either way, it could hardly be considered surprising if any of us find ourselves summoned to action from above. You know the feeling (and if you don’t, don’t even worry about it). If we’re careful to be correct and precise and if we are sure to follow through with what we start, we get the ball going and it gets naturally easier as it builds momentum.
With all this going on, while this is something that’s especially tempting for me personally, now is a time in which playing the ruthless Machiavellian really will cost you your soul, perhaps permanently. Don’t catch yourself mid-way through the year-end holidays in the clutches of this sort of mindset. Another time, perhaps – maybe only a few weeks from now. Just not right now.
Hopefully, we can consider this a year that produced much – not necessarily in your typical neoliberal “productive” kind of way, but perhaps at least in part – but that’s something to determine in a short while. Regardless of the answer to that query, whether our efforts produced fruit, fat, and store of meager or abundant quantity, the time is now to wrap up and wind down all of those efforts, such as they are.
In late November, we do ourselves a favor if we step back, quiet down a little, and allow ourselves to assume a position of reception and not of creation, advance, or assertion. After all, it may be most important to create and illuminate, but that alone is insufficient. The earth’s role is to receive that which has already been created, and then to nurture it and bring it forth into life, to make it beautiful and complete. If the earth can be said to have a slightly subordinate role to that of heaven, it is still necessary to complement and fulfill heaven’s role.
If we choose to consider this perspective now, if we choose to orient ourselves in accordance to these ancient ways of thinking, we shall finally come to rest on the related cosmic truth: in addition to all of the above, it is the earth that bears all things, good and evil, pleasure and suffering, tragedy and joy and change and the ends of all things just as much as their beginnings. This is her sacred strength and wisdom, one of many ways in which she grasps true reality in ways we mortals cannot for any sustained period of time. If we ourselves cannot accept the existence of all things light and dark, we’d still benefit from acknowledging that the earth does so.
Take however much or little as you want or dare from this, but in any event don’t dwell on it too heavily. Let it float down to you like a nice bird, pass through your mind, then fly off. You won’t be able to determine exactly what’s stuck with you, but sometimes there are things your conscious mind doesn’t need to know, and it’ll find itself quite thoroughly occupied with one thing after another as we wind the whole thing down in the days ahead.