Monday, 3 February 2014

Candlemass and Light

           This night is Imbolc or Candlemass the Celtic and pagan celebration of the beginning of Spring. Warmth is returning to the weak wintery sunlight; the days are clearly getting longer and the darkness of night waning.  Snowdrops are out and life is visibly stirring in the earth for a new cycle of fertility and growth.

          It is traditionally celebrated by lighting all the candles in the house; it is our Diwali; our festival of light. In the tantric tradition and far beyond light is associated with consciousness and awareness; shining a light into the dark recesses of the unconscious; the basements and attics of our mind and body. It is a quality of Shiva of  basic consciousness that is the basis of everything. Consciousness is a quality of the masculine and meditation shines a light onto the operation of our mind and small ego and opens us to the vast spacious qualities of consciousness; Rigpa in the Buddhist tradition the vast, spacious illuminated qualities of mind. This is en-light-enment. But it is more complex than that, for the primary quality of the feminine; of Shakti, the goddess is that of radiance. When the feminine enters a room; it is as if a light has gone on; something lighter, and brighter and warmer has entered. So the masculine is Light and the primary quality of light is feminine - Radiance. The tantric dance of masculine and feminine is everywhere.

         This night I lit an altar full of candles for my mother who died last week; with a central large candle to Shiva, as consciousness. I chanted the  Mahamrityunjaya Mantra to Shiva as the three-eyed one; the third eye being a beam of light.

       Light flows down the body from the splendour of the crown chakra reflecting the light of the Divine entering the body; through the third eye as a searchlight of awareness beyond the surface of things; to the heart and the hands as "wings of the heart" which in the healing traditions channel light from the crown as healing energies through touch. Then last but not least (but least understood); the lingam, or wand of light in the Hindu tradition; vajra, lightning in the Tibetan, as a bringer of light, consciousness, healing and above all pleasure and bliss.

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