We are in the hottest part of summer now, the apex of the direction South on the Celtic medicine wheel.
The sun is in its full song of love for the earth right now. The old man sings his wooing song, bright and fiery, and the old woman swoons with delight. Her skin glows green with her pleasure, and she sighs with the sound of birdsong and flowing water. The wave crests glisten and sparkle with the old man's fiery kisses. The lilies open, the bees dance in. This is how this world moves forward - through love and delight. It is only humans who don't see this, and if you want a shaman's definition of sin, that would be it.
It's difficult to see the world through this lens of love. We are taught hundreds of times a day, from the internet, the newspaper, the classroom, and the pulpit, that we should see the world through the lens of fear and anger – that to see the world through the lens of love is namby-pamby new age unicorn fart woo-woo, or it's denial, or white-privilege-induced, or unrealistic. Many voices line up to tell you to cease and desist seeing the world through the lens of love.
The famous biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann wrote about the role of the prophet in ancient Israel: "It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.” *
In mythic terms, the King uses his power to constrict the people's imagination, to shrink their ability to imagine new futures that operate outside of the King's old rules. But this is what I call the Negative King. The positive King uses power to expand blessing, to expand imagination and beauty for the people.
Our current negative king is the voice of twisted, ill, toxic masculinity, and it is that voice telling you to cease and desist seeing the world through the lens of love. Why? Because love is about connection, and the toxic masculine is wholly devoted to disconnection. Everything our current negative king values can only be achieved through continued disconnection from nature and from one another.
But the direction South on the wheel urges us to summon in us and in the world, a healthy masculinity. (Please be aware that I'm not talking about human gender here, but spiritual energies present in each of us, no matter where we are on the human gender wheel.) Healthy masculinity turns its power toward expanding imagination, not enforcing obedience to a limited imagining. Healthy masculinity honors and actively summons grief and beauty, which are eternally bound together and cannot live without one another. Healthy masculinity trades in its old tired certainty for new awe, and it welcomes when the watery Feminine corrects his impulse to destroy the world through fire. Summoning the healthy masculine is a form of calling in your prophetic powers to help change the world.
So, here are some ideas and practices you can employ in these fiery days:
- Stand on the land and feel the power of love whirling around you in nature. Notice all the ways that love expresses itself. This seems so simple, but it is prophetically aberrant in our current time.
- Make a simple prayer to the South: Ask the South - or Spirit, Godd/ess, Creator, The Boundless Blessing- to bring the power of love into you, to infuse it into you as strength against the crushing, shrinking power of the King's small universe. Ask it to bring the power of love into you to expand your imagination for yourself, to cleanse away old shame and self-deprecation. Ask the South to bring you into your fullness as a human being. (Remember, when you make a prayer like this, you need to fulfill your part of the agreement by actively taking steps to become what you are praying for. Spirit work in partnership with us, and we must step up and be a partner.)
- Look for opportunities to put your love into action. Ask yourself what your life would look like if you activated the prophetic power of Love and sent it into your world. Form (or repair) a connection that you know you want, but have been afraid to form. This connection can be outward, but it must also be inward. For example, it may be the connection to your own creativity, or to your own faith. The negative king doesn't want you connecting to your creativity, he doesn't want you to connect to the power of forgiveness, or awe. And he surely doesn't want to you to connect outward into the world - he would much rather have you at home worrying and fearing. Ask the powers greater than human to help you move past any fear that disconnects you and any grief that holds you back. (For this, you may need to work deeply with grief, which means working with the powerful ally West on the medicine wheel. The thing is, when you work well with one part of the wheel, it helps you work well with the other parts of the wheel. ) Ask to be reconnected internally to Love, and ask the Powers to help you use that inner power to connect you outward to the world.
* Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (Fortress Press 1978), 45