Neo: “Why are my eyes so sore?”
Morpheus: “Because you’ve never used them before.”
I was thinking this morning about how much pain, constriction and injury is concentrated on the left side of my body. This morning I was using a tennis ball to release trigger points within my left hip and shoulder. The tightness reaches all the way down through my left leg. It is painful work, but the resulting relief is palpable even in my mouth and jaw.
Amongst magical practitioners, we tend to interpret physical symptoms as symbolic of energetic, emotional and mental ailments and blockages. So in addition to treating the physical body, we also trace the ailment back into the subtle body layers, i.e. charkas, auras and such. Our physical selves can provide clues as to where we are harboring calcified thought patterns, frozen emotions and shorted energy flow.
Today I am truly aware of how the restricted range of motion in my left shoulder could be interpreted as a wing that has not fully unfolded.
The left side of the body is usually thought of in traditional or indigenous medicine as associated with the non-rational or holistic side of self. The right side is associated with the rational, sequential self. The front of the body is associated with one’s outer face, one’s ego or conscious self. The rear or back is associated with ones inner or unconscious self. Our feet are associated with our path, where we stand and where we hold our ground. And our hands are associated with what we do, what we create and manifest.
I have long felt that our shoulders and hips also play pivotal roles. I am coming to believe that our hips have to do with our flexibility in the face of change, our ability to adjust ourselves like a tree in a storm. And what of our shoulders? I see our shoulders as the base of our wings. And in order to soar, to imagine, reaching new heights of perspective, openness and flights of fancy, we need strong, unfolded and healthy wings.
As I stretch, massage and strengthen my left shoulder and hip, I am working to also broaden my perspective and reexamine my inner dialogue. I need more space, more openness, more flexibility in the face of chaos, not less.
I decided that it is good that my shoulder and hip are sore, because maybe, just maybe it is because I am finally trying to use them.
Wake Up Neo
Submitted by katrina on Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:48am.
Normally it is around this time of year, that I begin noticing again how much I am out of touch with popular culture. Just as everyone else starts gearing up for shopping, parties and decorating, I instead start shedding, nesting and turning inwards.
Indigenous Europeans celebrated the Winter solstice for centuries as a festival of lights. Christmas lights and trees share this pagan heritage. The Oak King is victorious over the Holly King during the longest night and the Sun begins to slowly to take back its domain over the night. Light is reborn, and the wheel of the year turns toward spring.
But until the solstice, the Holly King rules. The Holly King symbolizes withdrawal, reflection and rest. Mammals especially begin their hibernation in northern latitudes and nature herself slows down and falls into a deep sleep. The birds that remain fight over scraps, while the squirrels become even more hectic in their hoarding. Any frantic activity in nature is toward picking the bones of the final harvest.
The harvest festivals are now only distant memories, and what is consumed are the bounty that cannot keep over the long winter. Windows, doorways, and all openings into home and hearth are girded to withstand winter’s storms. And the heavy blankets and clothing are brought down for inspection and repair. The work moves inward, and supplies are set aside for winter’s projects such as knitting, weaving, spinning and tool repair.
Our entire human history, our mammalian ancestry and nature itself pushes us to slow down, turn inward and reflect. And what do we do? We go mad with shopping, eating, drinking, and parties. We travel long distances to be with families yes, but we drive ourselves doggedly to buy, buy and buy as if there is no tomorrow. We consume what serves us better to be save. We buy ready made what would serve us better to create. And we put up lights all over our homes sending heat and light out, instead of conserving the energy for warming and illuminating our homes internally.
We do not turn inward until New Years, after the Oak King has reawakened. The Oak King symbolizes expansion and growth. And maybe it is appropriate to examine areas in need of growth, i.e. New Years resolutions. But the Oak King does not reach his zenith till Beltane, May 1st. So although the Oak King is victorious, we are still within the domain of the receding Holly King.
Christmas is notable for another cultural theme as well, holiday depression. More people attempt suicide during the Christmas holidays, than at any other time of year. There are many theories as to why this is so including Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. The diminishing light of winter causes many sensitive folks to begin a descent cycle energetically just as everyone else around them begins to rev up.
What would happen if we celebrated the season in tune with the signs of nature all around us? What if we all slowed down, turned inward and fortified home and hearth? What if we as a culture moved the shopping and decorating back toward harvest time where it fits the hoarding and exhilaration of autumn, and let winter become a time of rest and reflection. Maybe folks with SAD and others who begin descending into the underworld would not feel so out of step. Maybe we all could begin to satisfy our very human needs for withdrawal. All hail the Holly King!
The legend of The Oak King and the Holly King
Submitted by katrina on Sat, 12/10/2005 - 1:23pm.