Luna Reflection

 

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Moon over Tennyson Down

 

At certain times during the luna cycle the Brahmins and in later days the Buddhists, observed “Uposatha”. The word means “entering to stay” and it was the custom of the Brahmins to go to the sacred place away from their homes and families and purify themselves by leading a secluded life for a day and night, returning after the rites were finished. The times when they kept this seclusion were determined by the phases of the moon, the most important being the Full Moon and the New Moon days. It was an encouragement to take stock of the preceding weeks, to pause and recognise areas of difficulty and to commit to starting anew – a kind of rolling confession which helped to prevent the buildup of guilt and regret and encouraged the kind of letting go and living in the moment that Buddhists believe will lead to a happy and fulfilling life.

Sometimes it seems as though we have forgotten how to look up. How to rest and reevaluate, to confess and let go.

Not so long ago, when the stars told us where we were in space and time they were, as fixed points in a confusing and shifting world; our orientation, our grounding, a powerful source of wonder and a way of guiding us home. Nowadays the heavens are, in many parts of the world illuminated and indistinct  and most people have forgotten the patterns of the constellations that breathed mythical significance into the universe. Advances in astronomy have made it safe to ignore the skys in a way that would have left our ancestors incredulous.

I love the skys – the shifting landscape of layers, the predictor of weather to come and at night as a small child growing up on a farm, I wandered the place with my sister, two intrepid explorers of far pastures and deep woods. I wanted to know every tree, to look beneath the hedges and find the steaming newly born lamb, knowing that every single moment of time was charged with a magic that is now largely gone from my experience of the world. A sense of connection and being at ease with nature and the elements. In particular a visceral experience of the essential living rhythms of season, tides, moon, weather, birth and death.

Although we live in a world where the phases of the moon no longer mean much, maybe it would be helpful for many of us to be reminded of the ancient ways to pause, to take stock and to rest even if just for a moment, to slow the cogs of hectic lives, to set and reset our courses. I hope that by choosing to share my personal reflections here in a cycle to coincide with the new moon and the full moon, you will be encouraged to engage in your own contemplation,and maybe take just a moment to glance up at the night sky.

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Luna Reflection

  1. It is true, we need to slow down. I live in a very big city, and i sat down at a train stastion once, which i knew was allways buisy. I watched the people, running round, everybody needs to do stuff so quickly, they are almost runing. But there were times, when nobody was at the train station. The time when people from the last train had already left, and the new one had not arrived yet. Funny, how that kind of fits into the moon-phase circle. It means the same. We need to look, to take our time.To slow down and watch the sky. Because we have this time.

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    1. I’ve just spent some time in London and the thing that really struck me was the speed at which city life was lived. It was as though someone had pressed the fast forward button and forgotten to take their finger off.You are right that there are moments of quiet – and that it takes some slowing down and looking to actually notice or create them. Thank you for taking the time to read and to write such a thoughtful comment.

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    1. Thank you – is it still noticable to you that life is hectic or does it become the norm after a while? I travel between a very quiet countryside life and occasional jaunts to the city and it’s always a shock to notice how the speed of life changes. It’s tolerable – and even enjoyable in the short term but I would struggle with city life nowadays.

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  2. I have long thought, and commented, that people are losing touch with nature. Many people can’t even see the moon and stars. Food only comes from a grocery store. There are no trees under which to read a book or to climb. Many communities are segregated by age so we lose touch with other generations. There is very little quiet or solitude. Children are no longer free to roam. Their days are so scheduled, they don’t have time anyway. Even death is avoided; I can’t even remember the last open casket, if there even was a casket. People just disappear these days. And, back to your subject, I used to live and work in the Washington DC area and the pace was normal. Now, when I go back, I am shocked at the rush. It’s the slow lane for me!

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  3. I live on a smallish island – and was saddened last week when the last “proper” vegetable grower who I’ve visited weekly at market to buy local grown, cheap and wonderful produce, said he was giving up. In his words “People are too busy nowadays to shop like this ” – and yet we all (I am guilty here too) talk the talk about slowing down, shopping locally etc. It is depressing that now there will be no choice – supermarket or greengrocer with imported produce or nothing.

    Absolutely agree re death – life is so sanitised and we allow this to our detriment.

    Thanks for your comment Dinata

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