The Moon, The Hare and Ancestors’ Night
“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” Mark Twain.
From Uruk in Mesopotamia, to modern day New York, or Johannesburg, the fear of death rears its ugly head in the chest that court the fear of living; the fear of the unknown originates in the lap of the fear of the known. Man is super conditioned by the “institution of fear” because those who know, know that this empowers those able to control the collective through its very quivering and lurching heartbeats. However, if lived to its fullness, Life liberates and prepares man for Death’s welcoming embrace. Death catapults us into another dimensional awareness, ending this life but not existence. Even the Lady of Heaven had to subject herself to Death’s embrace, as did Orpheus, Gilgamesh, Llew, Dionysus and Baldur the Good, who was tormented by prophetic dreams of his passing on.
Strange how we equate death with oblivion, suffering and agony, but death is not the denial of Being; it is merely non-physical all-awareness. Birth, or Generation, is Death’s inseparable counterpart and as much a companion to suffering, agony and pain in happening, as is dying.
Laurie Halse Anderson in her book “Speak” wrote: “When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time”, so in this life we need to combat the erosion of life, by speaking out, by saying, by singing, and writing … even silence speaks loudly when it is intended, but when the voice is silenced, it screams in terror and undermined desperation but no one hears it the unwholesome screamer.
We die a little every day, naturally, for such is human nature, we die too, through our own short-sightedness, our mistakes, illness, hurts, words, weariness and betrayals. What we live for, what we die for, matters.
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quiet us make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d!”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Death is not a threat to life, but that which welcomes all when we cross the veil into a different existence. The body ages, faces myriad difficulties, becomes weary and is finally, vacated by our awareness, which however continues ad infinitum.
Until our body transpires, and we move on to new worlds, let us express ourselves through living, and abandon ourselves to those little nocturnal slices of oblivion, seeking the “Great Perhaps” of Rabelais, allowing “It” to devour us in hedonistic fashion, for death by love of something or someone we love, is not ignoble, but a way to live and die in the truth of whom we really are, of what we really feel, losing ourselves to the passion for life and experiencing it through full awareness, through the senses and guilt-free joy, as opposed to experiencing it through the pangs of inculcated false conscience and fear.
Remember Victor Hugo’s words in Les Miserables. “It is nothing to die. It is frightening not to live!”
Those who love us keep us in life and in death, they keep the memory of us alive in their hearts, mind, actions, songs and stories. Remember with love the Ancestors at the end of this year, honour them with songs and feasting, perhaps even the “dumb feast”. Say their names! Let not their stories and memory be lost in the deafening silence of forgetfulness. Repeat their history, tell their old stories, and hail their names.
“Lo there do I see my father, Lo there do I see my mother, my sisters and my brothers, Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call me; they bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever!” The 13th Warrior
Live well! Speak Up! Be Happy!
Happy New Year!