Saturday, 10 May 2008

Darkness and Light

Darkness and light. We often see light as possessing the good and the pure, with darkness being somewhat sinister and best avoided. Darkness often fills us with fear and causes us to recoil, we attribute negative characteristics to darkness, possibly because it saves us having to explore our own. We work to avoid our own darkness, keeping busy - even busy minds, to avoid staring into our own darkness. However, for as long as we avoid the necessary exploration of our darkness it is this very unexplored side that will be at the root of our behaviours, actions and interactions because it will remain our full motivating force. And, whilst that won't always be a negative thing, it will be something that has not been bought into our own consciousness.

Darkness and light is not an issue of polarity. I don't believe that they sit at opposite ends of the scale. Beauty can be found in darkness as much as in light, and good can result from darkness as much as from light. We need both. It's not about embracing one and avoiding the other, it's not about running towards one and running away from the other. It's not about good and evil. What it is about is relationship, bringing everything into that inner relationship experience and recognising that we need to be of both in order to be whole, to be complete. Without light we will never know the dark, but without dark we will never know the full truth.

Darkness teaches us so much about ourselves because so much of ourselves hides away in shadow. Often, what really motivates us is hidden away in secret places. We have to be brave enough to walk into those shadows and embrace our whole selves, letting the dark mingle and merge with the light to become one - to become me. To become you. We need both to be fully human and we need both to be fully authentic.

Embrace the dark of you! Allow the dark to teach and lead you and do not attempt to view light and dark as good and evil, but as equal in the relationship that makes you the unique person that you are.

With light, there will always be shadows - and that's a good thing!


Anonymous said...

This is the problem with duality. The immediate presumption is that good - evil = light - dark.

I remember back to my grandmother's home; on her lower bathroom wall she had a poster which said; work hard in the hours of light, for the days are evil! I have no idea what it meant - but I've never forgotten it. It struck me as odd at the time.

The dark is kind. It lets us rest and we do our best thinking with our eyes shut.

Accepting that good and evil are roughly equal in the world helps us to stop assuming that we know where they are to be found. We have to embrace them, and be ready to experience them, whenever we find them.

Anonymous said...

It is all about balance & equilibrium- and true there is both Darkness & Light in us all- in everything. It is how we see it- use it- deal with it that makes us individual. We have to learn to live with our own Dark side- not hide it away. The world is not all sweetness & light.Andy, you have put it so eloquently.

Fox said...

I have, for a long time now, seen the idea of shadows and light from the perspective that they define each other and one really cannot exist without the other. Just as there really is no true black and true white, just many, many shades of gray. It is from our perception of those grays that we create "black" and "white". The same goes for shadows and light, good and evil. They are just the results of our perception and how we define what it is we perceive. They are all concepts created from our own perception. All that needs to be done to change the feeling of the shadows or of evil or of dark is to change our perception of it, to look at it in another light so to speak.

Andy said...

Your comments are really interesting, than you. I agree that there is a problem with polarity and often, I think, this 'separateness' is made simply to make life easier. It's a little like stereotyping, people do it to help their understand the world, but the end result is one ultimately gains a false picture of the reality of the situation. Life isn't simple, the multiverse is obviously vast, and we have our own inner world because 'as above so below.' We're complex too! I am much more comfortable seeing 'light and dark' as part of my inner world that brings inner relationship and unity and within this their is individual wholeness.

Ceri said...

This is a very relevent, meaningful and honest post.I agree with all the above 100%It's interesting how people have been conditioned to view practitioners in Paganism in this way too.Social stereotyping of good witch/bad witch, light/dark, pink and fluffy new agers/black magicians. No wonder that some people have difficulty being 'out' about their religeous beliefs.The sad thing is that some of the persecution and discrimination comes from other Pagans who seem not to understand the concept of light and dark as being part of the whole.And hey, it's hard enough being on a soul path without all that too!

Tess said...

This is a really interesting post. We talk about "bringing things out into the light" but darkness has as great a richness.
I think Shamrockwitch has it right in talking about balance and equilibrium. Perhaps that's why the equinoxes have such power.
I'm glad I read this, you've reminded me that I have on my "unread" shelf a very interesting book by Demetra George called Mysteries of the Dark Moon. I've just been thumbing through it, and it's shot to the exalted and giddy heights of "very next book to read"! (So many books, so little time...)

Andy said...

I obviously meant 'thank you' above, not 'than you'!

It seems to me that we're all pretty clear on this topic - both light and dark are present, and they are both needed! I do like the idea of equilibrium and balance, although I still find the idea of relationship and unity helpful, as this shows me see an outworking of the equilibrium and balance, the fruit of that relationship, if that makes any sense at all!

The Shepton Witch said...

Aha! I have found your blog at last (and not before time I hear you say) and I'll add you to my blogroll if I may. What a great first post to read. I know I have ranted on in other places about light and dark being part of the same thing, so this resonated greatly for me.

The other thing it made me think of is the way we treat ourselves and our personalities. We are so conditioned to cultivate the 'acceptable' elements of our personalities and to suppress the less socially agreeable aspects, that I think it can sometimes cause us a great deal of pain and illness. I'm thinking of emotions like anger; how often, as children, did we hear that it wasn't right to be angry, and yet to suppress anger is like trying to suppress day or night - it is part of the emotional continuum and must be accepted and embraced as much as any of the "nicer" traits, like compassion.

If we see calm as daylight and anger as night, we continue to perpetrate the confusion and over-simplification of both the universe and the wonderful complexity of our personalities. We all have to muddle along in the social matrix that we call society, but I know that on the occasions when I hang up my conditioning and let the darkness and the light flow through me without constraint, I am a much happier and healthier person.

Andy said...

Great that you've found me and had the time to pop over, SW, you're really very welcome! Please feel free to add me to your blogroll, you're on mine!

Your comments reasonate further with me, in fact they confirm a lot of things that I've been thinking and reading about today - I'll be interested to see what you have to say about the post I make later this evening, I'm still working on it at the moment!