As you may already know, the wee hours of tonight will hold a rare event: for the first time in nearly 400 years, a total lunar eclipse will occur on the Winter Solstice. In a thoughtful reflection marking the event, Ron at the Grünewald Guild’s Scriptorium comments that “The last time this occurred Galileo himself likely watched the phenomenon . . . perhaps from a window in his villa” where he was under house arrest.
To celebrate the occurrence, here’s a lunar reflection from Night Visions. It holds a tale of a full moon that I saw long ago in another land. As we move through the longest night of the year and cross back into the bright half of the calendar, what wholeness might lie in the shadows of your life, waiting to reveal itself?
The Moon Is Always Whole
I walk with Kary under a full moon on the grounds of the only castle in New Zealand. Under its light I tell her about a Barbara Kingsolver poem I have recently come across: “Remember the Moon Survives.” It does, Kingsolver writes. Around the encroaching darkness the moon bends herself, curls herself and waits. Against the waxing and waning shadow, she writes, the moon is always whole.
Kary asks me if I believe this, believe in the constant wholeness of the moon. I think about the year past, about the rising and falling tide of sorrow that has played on my shores. I think of how I embraced the opportunity for a trip to another land and the possibility for respite it would provide. But the tides run in this Southern Hemisphere as well, and I am dismayed by the flow of memory that pulls me even here. I had thought to leave your shadow across the ocean.
But here, beneath the full moon, I tell Kary yes. Yes, the moon survives. Beneath the ebb and flow of darkness it is waiting. I have seen it whole.
God of the two lights,
I love the sun,
its revealing brilliance,
its lingering warmth;
but in the dark of night,
let me learn
the wisdom of the moon,
how it waxes and wanes
but does not die,
how it gives itself
knowing it will emerge whole
[Reflection and prayer from Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas © Jan L. Richardson.]