On the Nature of Things

The artful lovemaking of darkness and light

Lovemaking darkness and light

‘Some say that all gods and all living creatures originated in the stream of Oceanus which girdles the world, and that Tethys was the mother of all of his children.

But the Orphics say that black-winged Night, a goddess of whom even Zeus stands in awe, was courted by the Wind and laid a silver egg in the womb of Darkness; and that Eros was hatched from this egg and set the Universe in motion.’

– Robert Graves, from The Greek Myths

The one and the many

What are creation myths if not stories and patterns for the rebirth of soul? That our consensus culture utterly lacks soul is evident from its obsession with The One. One God. One truth that redeems all uncertainty, all darkness. One remedy for all ills. One person who is our soul focus: me, myself and I. (Even if this one is a pseudo-trinity!) One reason for what is wrong. And, one creation myth only.

But we cultivate soul from inside our experience, and love of, the rich variety of what exists. Soul is evoked from amidst the many. Including our many inner voices and sickly creatures. Similarly, there are many ways through which soul blossoms back to life. Not only this one way: six days of hard work and rest on the seventh. To mention just one other ‘creation myth’: entering into darkness, allowing it to do to us what it wills. Which is what the Tao Te Ching, the Kabbalah, and the teachings of Alchemy suggest, to name but a few. Before rebirth can occur, our old ways have to die. And death is never pretty, nor easy.

Lovemaking darkness and light 1

‘Entering into darkness means making love to darkness. It means losing one's "centeredness". Losing one's control. Losing one's mind.’

Hovering over darkness

This myth of entering into darkness starkly contrasts with the Genesis myth. Which is of ‘consciousness hovering over the face of the very deep dark.’ In other words, it remains outside the darkness. Then it employs The Word to impose light, to lay it over the darkness: ‘Let there be light.’ Its emphasis is on the power to effect change without being infected. This is the style of patriarchy. Of the all-powerful masculine.

Some say denial of darkness is the essence of the Genesis myth. That is, its culture is a culture of denial. Because, in fact, the darkness is, yet there is no acknowledgment of it, no surrendering to the role of darkness in the genesis of all that exists. Others say that it works from a distance rather than ‘getting in there’. In other words, it ‘remains objective,’ not touching what it works on, is not affected by its ‘intercourse that creates.’ And imposes what it wills from the outside. Like scientific-mindedness. And lovemaking without Eros.

Love and power

But it is not so much that there is anything wrong with this myth. Rather, the culture that developed around it became intolerant of all the other creation myths. And so, became one-sided. Siding with only the One. While telling us that all the others are ‘wrong’, or ‘not what actually happened’. So, when this myth is no longer complemented by more feminine myths, we cultivate a masculine culture that is no longer in touch with the feminine. Which is a good chunk of what is at the heart of widespread disease and decay in our world today. Significantly, we all, each in our own way consciously and unconsciously collude with this one-sidedness. Both men and women do this. Because we believe it benefits us materially. But, ‘where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking.’π

So, the consensus culture of our epoch is still deeply rooted in the Genesis Myth. Even though most of us no longer feel the Genesis myth to be valid to our lives, it is still at the very roots of our everyday way of life. The stories that live us – our myths – are very real. Despite our denial. Despite our culture's definition of ‘myth’ as ‘unreal’. We experience the realness of myth whenever anything touches us deeply – the essence of whatever touches us, is always myth. Only the soul-dead, dull-hearted masculine demands ‘proof’ of such things before acknowledging their ‘validity’.

‘Getting in there’

In contrast, ‘getting in there’ involves making love and dancing with the darkness. It means losing one’s centeredness. Losing one’s control. Losing one’s mind. Perhaps even shattering into a million pieces. It means opening into the gentleness required to relate with whatever we find there, despite deep discomfort. No longer using our small-minded judgements as justification to not relate to it. And so, the powerful One becomes dissolved, separated, even decayed, down and back into modesty. And opened: to experience the vastness, enormity, complexity and tremendous beauty of existence.

After some time of contained dissolution inside the cocoon of darkness, we find ourselves fluid again. And receptive to feel the presence of myths, gods and forces that live us, live through us. It is essential for a soulful life that we allow space for this myth in our lives. As long as we obsess about 'getting out of our darkness' without embracing the powerful alchemy it contains, our lives will remain empty of soul. ‘Darkness within darkness: gateway to all understanding.’π A silver egg borne by the Wind, birthed from lovemaking with Night.

Complement this piece with the short poetic sketch Enveloping Night, which was inspired by the same images.

Also, see an original rendering of the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching, which, like Genesis, contains a creation myth, albeit a very different one.

Further supplement the ideas in this piece with an article on seeing our world with different eyes, another article which contrasts our usual goal-directed way of life with the journey that is dedicated to soul-making, and, an article on consensus culture, which looks at the power of the cultures of society and our social environments to prevent us from living soul-fully.