“So it is clear that wisdom would be the most precise kind of knowledge. Therefore, a wise person needs not only to know the things that follow from the sources but to discern truly what concerns the sources.” – Aristotle, NE
I greeted this year’s Summer Solstice alone in solitude, surrounded by the trees of the forest, while reciting Proclus’ poem To The Muses. It didn’t seem necessary to follow or participate in someone else’s ritual formula, so I allowed things to take its natural course instead. Here’s a brief synopsis of my experience:
After walking several miles without any particular destination in mind, I immediately recognized the place to participate in my adoration of the sun, for a very large eagle launched forth from a tree directly in front of me! Ah, the sound of its wings a delicate thunder that filled me with an immense awe and reverence for the beauty abound. It was delightful to watch the clouds part from an overcast sky, allowing for a splendour of light to shine through the trees. How the sunshine surged thro’ my veins with a warm nostalgic exuberance. While reciting poetry a spontaneous melody sprang up to infuse my recitation with some kind of bacchanalian bliss. What a serendipitous encounter, to have felt the vivifying power of the Muses as my voice permeated the wood, its sheer volume enough to drown out that of an opera singer. It’s moments like this that remind me not to close myself off to the divine.
The attached image was taken on the way back from my unorthodox excursion. It captures the general layout of the land. The body of water is called Three Pond Barrens. As for the title of today’s blog, Solace in Solitude, it feels appropriate in some respects partly because the things that we do alone, that simultaneously bring us joy, often turn out to be that which gives us the greatest solace, as in peace of mind. On the other hand, being alone can be very difficult to say the least, whereas solitude implies being at rest with oneself. Like the sun, our authentic self rests upon self-reliance; unlike the state of loneliness, which needs the energy of others to make them feel ok, solitude has little to do with being alone per say, as it does with being one and/or replete.
The summer solstice, the point at which the sun seems to rest, represents a complete wholeness, as though everything in the universe has reached its end goal. Everything that we can possibly hope to become while mired in earthly flesh can vanish in a twinkling of an eye. To desire anything other than which we already are, be it a bright shining star, is to divide our soul into a multiplicity. Reconnecting to the forces, and/or sources, that sustain our reality, heralds an alternative end, for in so doing we rise above cause & effect, that our souls might truly connect and reflect the coherence of being one.