This week we come to the second of September’s eclipses. On Friday the 16th our Full Moon is due to be darkened. The lunar eclipse is most intense at approximately 11:54 AM Pacific and is of the penumbral variety. It will be visible, to one degree or another, over all of Africa, Europe, Asia and Australian. Only North and South America will be blind to the spectacle.
After weeks in the tunnel between eclipses, we emerge onto a strange beach. It is night-time, and waves crash and roar all around you. The ocean breathes, in and out. The tide caresses your bare feet, and with every wave you sink a little deeper in the wet sand. After a few minutes, your gaze drifts from the changing boundary between sea and shore to the horizon. There the darkness of night and of the deeps become one. Hanging low in the above and reflected below, the a Full Moon beams bright. You meet its gaze and watch as its edge slowly reddens, as if its tissues were being slowly suffused by blood. Yet the creep of reddening stops, and begins to reverse itself. Just as it filled- slowly but steadily- it begins to empty, the red pouring into the ocean below.
Looking down, you see that the waves have taken on a reddish tinge, and the froth which tips them has become a pale moonlight pink. As the Moon has given her blood back to the black sea of infinity, you realize you too must give something back to that from which everything sprang.
Its something you carried all the way here. You packed it subconsciously, and bore through the tunnel, and the cities and forests before that. Digging through your things, you find that it has become a cup. It is what it has always been, but you know that in this place it has always been a cup. The dream logic of it is inexorable.
You pick it up and direct gaze over its rim. Inside you see a dark, star-filled ocean, but your not sure whether the cup is full of sky or sea. Within, you can see the red ribbons of your own blood mixing with the blood of the moon. The trails of blood, like little sea snakes, entwine and cavort within the star-studded waters of the infinite.
It is time to return this little mingling to its source, so you pour it into the waves which lap against your feet. While you pour, it feels as if you are giving away everything. Yet as the last droplets drips from the cup, you are suffused with a feeling of tremendous relief. A burden has been lifted. You are emptier, lighter. You expected to feel some sort of grief, but leaving this behind, there is no loss.
Though it took you years to come to this place, and the feeling of relief is palpable, your realize that this was very small sacrifice. All you had to do was let go for a second, and it was done. You rise from the shore light, empty, free.
With this emptiness and freedom and within, you can feel the shoreline within, the shifting boundary between the fullness and emptiness within you.
Feeling what you are and what you possess, you also become aware of the blessed hollow spaces within. They do no scare you. You realize these emptiness permits freedom. You have room to flex, stretch, fly and dance.
As you move with a new, yet ancient, freedom, you sense that the void in which you frolic is actually not quite as empty as it just seemed. Behind the apparent lack there is some profound power, some tidal wave held in check, ready to sweep a million potentials into being. You realize then that every emptiness is an invitation. Every void beckons to form, every vacuum makes room for being. The waves you heard pounding and crashing around you are that ontological tide, forever pressing into being and receding back to night.
You know that the void you have created, the cup you have emptied, is destined for fullness. What wave could resist its beach, what light could resist its darkness? The wider you open the door, the more is fated to pass through it. Emptiness makes room for presence. The blood you and the Moon offered to the ocean was not a sacrifice, it was an act of creation. You remember it now as you remember the moment of your own conception.
Gazing at the bottom of the cup, you drift off into dreams of the infinite. Forms and figures that have and will be, as well as those will never, drift and shift through your awareness. There is only this breathing, pregnant void, the sound of its respiration the great waves all around you. Spiraling through forever, you dance and drift in and out of time.
After some immeasurable period, you start awake, and look up from the rim of the cup. It is daytime, you’ve been staring at the bottom of a cheap plastic cup. You look down, and see that the waves have buried your feet 6 inches deep in the wet sand. You’ve been sinking for some time. You pull your feet out and look around, embarrassed, to make sure that nobody saw you acting like a crazy person. Sheepishly, you walk back to your car and try to remember what the hell happened last night.
The waves ask to be fed with your fantasies. They belong out there, in a place of infinite space and depth. There they will have room to unfold to their full extent. Keeping them here, on shore, stuffed between cramped granules of sand, is almost unfair, like caging a wild animal. It is also disappointing, as the attempt to make them thrive on hard ground and in bright daylight, invitably constrains them. Instead set them free. Let thm find their natural depth. Those meant for terrestrial life will no doubt evolve stubby legs and crawl back ashore some day.
This week the waves call for you to toss them a doll. Dressed like you, the tiny mannequin is how you'd like other people to see you. You've been carrying it for a long time, hoping that the time and care you took in crafting gave it the power to guide other people's perceptions of you. It's worked- well enough, at least- but its time to feed it to the waves. At some point it stopped being a tool and started being a trap, constraining and shaming you. You'll probably make another some day, perhaps out of driftwood you find on this very beach, but for now, all there is to do is to let it float out to sea, like some miniature viking funeral.
This week the ocean calls to you, asking to be fed the portrait you carry with you. This portrait shows you regal and aged, stuffed full of accomplishments. It's a picture of you old, yet it was painted by you as a child. Its a vision of achievement, but looking at it now, its not right at all. Your successes sit differently on your real face than they do in the painting. You realize you've been posing to look like this figure, but that's wrong. It is the paint which should pose itself to look like you. Without a thought, you toss it into the waves and see the paint separate into multicolored flows. Looking down, you see your real face reflected in the waters below, and in that face you see reality of your struggle, failure and success. Though you might paint another picture some day, this will do for now.
The waves lap at the shore of your beach and the reddened moon above shines its compromised light on the compass you carry with you. You realize that in your desire to reach your goal, you've become a slave to its pointer. Something within has always pointed to a truer north, and this clever device and its straight lines have led you astray more often than not. Feeding it to the waves, you find your gaze decouple from the horizon. Your sacrifice of the distant has revealed what is near, and suddenly you see the details of the sand, stone and spray all around you.
This week the waves call to you. Looking around, you see that a thick nautical rope loops around your waist and then extends out in several directions. Through the shore fog, you dimly glimpse the silhouettes of the people you've tied yourself to, through both love and strife. You notice that these bindings have grown tight, and that some ugly chaffing is starting to develop. Setting to work with your knife, you saw through the tightest and most tangled knots. Tossing the severed bits in the ocean, you watch them dissolve. After working through the night, you notice that there are still plenty of ropes intact, but you've pruned them significantly. Like a prudent gardener, you realize its time to stop cutting them back. Walking down the shore, you find you move easier than you have in some time.
The waves call to you this week, asking for a memento from some old romance. It might be a treasured photograph, or a word spoken in anger you've never forgiven yourself for. It's something you keep trying to find a place for, something you expect to keep happening, even though its an artifact of another time. It doesn't belong here, so let the waves have it, and take it back to its own time, and place.
What do this week's waves want from you? Your habits, the daily patterns you've produced and inhabit. What may once have been supportive, or an adequate coping mechanism, has come to confine you. The patterns have come to contain you, to keep you separate from the actual rhythm within and without. It's come time to name them, and then strip yourself of them, one by one, and cast them into the sea until you are naked and able to feel the cold, wet ocean air again. Before long, you'll weave new ones, and they'll fit your figure as it is now. But for tonight, content yourself to strip away the old and to revel a few moments of sand, sea and skin.
This week, the waves want something from you. They slosh and crash and hunger for some old project of yours. Maybe its that half finished novel, the painting you never got done or that business plan you never completed. You've been lugging it around for a while, and its come time to let go. As you feed it to the sea, you watch the pages get soaked and ruined, but as you do so you find your original excitement returning. The spark you'd invested in enlivening that half-made body has been freed, and hovers next to you for the remainder of the night, like a fire-fly. Walking up and down the beach, you discover materials far more appropriate to your project than those which comprised the old form you just sacrificed.
The waves lap at your shore, hungry for an old memento from you childhood. If you are brave enough to let the ocean and the reddened moon have that memory, you may find, come the next morning, when the Sun again shines and the blue sky beams, that the waves have left something for you. Though what they asked you for was a piece of your childhood, what they returned was something else, a key component of your adulthood, your maturity, your fullness.
This week, as you sit by the sea shore, the spray and crash of waves starts to speak to you. The ocean wants something from you. You realize, after a time, that it wants the calendar in your back pocket. Taking it out, you see it filled in with appointments and reminders. Just looking at it evokes the stress of rushing around everyday, trying to get everything done. As you flip through it anxiously, you begin to realize that you've become buried in its pages, wrapped like a mummy inside your schedule. Peeling off one week at a time, you cast the pages into the ocean. As you do so you notice your vision sharpening and extending. You can see the horizon again. Though after tonight you'll probably end up filling up a new calendar, you swear that you won't let the daily grind blind you the grander vistas again.
This week calls you to the ocean's edge. There, the waves whisper to you, asking you for your possessions. Taken aback by the ridiculousness of the request, you listen more intently, hoping to hear something more sensible. However, you look down and notice that you've stuffed your pockets to bursting with all sorts of stuff. Digging through them, its clear you don't need half of it. Furthermore, you recognized how carrying so much is limiting your range of motion. You spend the night sorting through what you need and don't. Soon the sea is full of what's unnecessary, and you're walking lighter than you have in months.
As you walk this week's beach, you'll hear the waves whispering to you, asking for that mirror you keep in your pocket. Looking down, you notice there's an old image of you trapped inside it, composed entirely of yesterday's light. You know thats not what you look like, but you can't help identifying with it. Realizing now why the waves were asking you for it, you send it spinning end over end into the deeps. The spell broken, you feel your boundaries begin to shrink and swell with your heartbeat. Outside of the image, you are free to change, free to breathe.