Litha in Blue

Full Moon, High Summer, these times are uniquely confronting. The brightest lights are glaring us out of our hiding places. Sometimes this feels so good and welcome! A relief to have old ground cover scorched away. Other times the cover comes away painfully and leaves us running for the shade.

Something touched me this year about how tender it is to open. Everything in nature is reaching out to contact something essential to its continuing life. Every plant thrusts all the power it has into remarkable forms: blooms and pods and fruits, reaching out to pollinating insects, to its own blossoming, and others of its kind to make the connection that will give it life again. Where I have always seen a celebration of abundant life at this time, I am moved now by the exquisite expression of vulnerability in this ‘all or nothing’ act – giving everything up to the cause of living again. Even in this flush of life, I am aware of the discolouring petals, the fruits uneaten and the seeds blown onto unforgiving tarmac. All the necessary collateral loss due to the expense of just keeping the cycle going. I am in awe, in fact. And gratefully in touch with the seed of the Yin, in this extreme Yang of the year.

Although I always long for the summer heat, I find I am more disoriented & blinking than I expected to be, now it is here. Awe, inspired by a feeling of wonder close to overwhelm, I feel in respect to the Fire element. We are in the time of full Fire at Litha – summer solstice, just past. Fire is harder for me to handle than the Water I feel at home in. But there can be no life and warmth without it. Fire moves fast; crosses space to light up connections; expands us beyond what seems imaginable by meeting others in generative exchange; and lies inside every spark of inspiration. All this is expressed in the Fire element, it’s essence is unknowable spirit. In the Chinese Five Element system, the Fire spirit in us, resides in the Heart. This means more than the physical organ, but the sovereign seat of the Self. What can pass into and out of this chamber is managed by several further Fire-fuelled functions of the body system, because it is a complex and many layered process relating to the world; relating to others. To hold our sovereign identity tenderly intact, amid the push & pull of all the demands and influences of our lives, is no small thing.

Traditionally our personal Fire requires to be settled – its tendency is to scatter and leap, necessarily, to launch us over the fearful boundaries between self and other – and we are rewarded for coaxing the flames into slower burning embers that will last longer into the night. So, remembering to make the Heart a quiet sanctuary, like a nest which the fire-birds can return to and rest, is our regular practice. This can be especially challenging in high summer heat! We all want to be out making hay. Midsummer touches the peak of the creation cycle: full expression. This is what the festival of Litha is in celebration of – blazing-up-all-night-intoxicating-ecstatic-celebration… It’s the top of the year, the apex moment when we might be in touch with the wildest dreams of what we can do-be-create in the world, it’s the reason we are all here! How could we not be moved, thrilled, awed by it?

I want to remind myself that while reaching beyond, crying for connection and expanding into the warm appeal of this season, while risking everything for the worthy prize of more love and more life, among the collateral lost is not the still centre of my Heart, my own personal flame steadily burning on – not burning out.

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