17 June 2009

"Sun God*" by Anya ´broom rider´ Kholodova

Dear Drummers,

You’d think a shamanish-mythic guy like me would pay more attention to the summer solstice. The winter solstice – I’m totally wrapped up in that, but why is the summer solstice less important to me?

The winter solstice has been drawn into the mainstream by the influence of feminism. The images around the winter solstice are immediately accessible to all: rebirth, hope, light in the dark time. You don’t need to be in any way pagan to love these ideas. The winter solstice is also powerfully rebellious – it’s the anti-Christmas holiday, but placed at the same time of year so you get to eat fudge without needing to obey Jesus.

The summer solstice has none of this going for it, and it has a major strike against it: it focuses on the divine masculine, and this makes my feminist energies uncomfortable. I danced my way to the great mother largely because I was tired of having the divine masculine jammed down my mythic gullet. I have been wanting to explore and rectify my own resistance to the summer solstice.

In the pagan world it is said that the summer solstice honors the sun god in all his full, blooming, exuberant, life-giving, Yang-ness. The Celts connected summer to the direction south, where the sun comes from, climbing its way up from the southern horizon day by day after the winter solstice and returning there as winter returns. And for the Celts, the south is the mythic direction associated with exuberant, sensuous, celebratory reveling of the life force: music, dancing, love-making and feasting are all qualities of the south and summer.

But the summer solstice is also the point on the wheel of the year when the sun begins its descent toward the darkness of the winter solstice. So the day that we celebrate as the first day of summer is actually the last day of the sun-god’s brilliant fullness. There is a grieving here and this is another reason why the summer solstice has not made it into the mainstream.

But how beautiful, and how exactly like all of life: in the midst of the greatest, most intense joy, the grieving: the knowledge that life is linked inextricably with death, that everything is transient. Your lover’s face will grow old, and yours too; the darkness will come. Isn’t this what makes orgasm so powerful and so sought after – the fact that it only lasts a few moments? The sun turns its back on us and heads south, and we cry out over the unfairness; summer should last longer, the life force should never wane or transform or abandon us.

So we create heaven and we tell our children that death is only an illusion, or only for some, but not us. The Celts created “Summerland” - sort of a version of heaven where it’s always summer, and the trees have blossoms, fruit and nuts all the time, where it’s never night and the air is filled with constant music, dancing and revelry. Summerland is heaven with sex and whiskey, and that is why I think the Celts are the smartest people in the world.

There is nothing at all wrong with heaven unless, as is so often the case, your vision of heaven keeps you from dancing, eating, singing and kissing your ever-loving worldly heart out while in this life, and sneering at those who aren’t afraid to. If the summer solstice teaches us anything, it teaches us to not be afraid of loving this world, loving our bodies, and loving our desires and our skills, and loving this moment - this moment, now, as the sun god does.

So this Friday, please come prepared for exuberance. Bring cut flowers if you can, and maybe a little summery kind of snack. And don’t be distressed if you can’t, or if you forget.

I leave you with this poem from my book “Drumming The Soul Awake”

Don’t listen to those who tell you
it’s wrong to love me.
Untie those perfectly starched clothes
and open your soft animal body.

Seawater wears down the sharp rocks
kiss after soft kiss
then takes such pleasure moving a slow hand
over that smooth roundness.

The southern breeze runs its fingers
through the trees
and they can’t hold back their bursting:
One after another fragrant sighs fill the air.

And that flame — how it licks at the crevices
between trembling logs.
Can’t you hear them crying out:
“Glowing like this is what I was made for!”

How I enjoy stealing up behind you
on your peaceful walk through the shady woods.
How you moan with surprise and fall open to me.
How I love to sing to you from
the night branches
holding my distance until you beg me
in that particular voice
to climb in your window
and utterly own you.

But, beloved, you know a secret dance —
the one they warned you not to learn.
When you open your soft animal body
you become my favorite wine
and before I know it
I come begging you for that particular kiss.

© 2006 by Jaime Meyer. I am compelled to admit that the “soft animal body” line is a quote from Mary Oliver’s poem The Wild Geese.

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