“Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the worlds.” ~ Rumi.
I was fortunate to grow up without many fears. My mother was a very matter-of-fact person, so you were expected to face life head on, and deal with whatever came your way. Moving to rural Jamaica from an English city meant that we were introduced to a host of insects and animals that we were not used to encountering. But that was no excuse to be scared. Could we hear scurrying up in the attic at night? No problem, a cat was obtained who was pet by day, and rat-catcher by night. When a second cat came along, and was not as brave as our first, he was known as ‘Scaredy’ (short for scaredy-cat of course!)
One night, soon after we had moved into the manse in Chapelton, we were woken by the loud snoring of an animal, which seemed to be coming from under the house. Since the house was built on a slight slope, the back of the house was on stilts. Outside went my father with a flashlight (torch, in the English language!) shining into the corners looking for an errant donkey making this huge noise. It was some days later that our local expert and firm friend, Deacon Jackson (who had the twinkliest eyes I had ever seen) laughingly told us we were hearing a tiny tree toad.
Ghosts (duppies, as they were known in Jamaica) also held no fear for me. Even though those country nights could be very dark, and as we lived next to the church, there were also several graves nearby. But my parents were very clear. The only ghost they acknowledged was the Holy Ghost. Everything else was pure fiction. Another potential source of fright were the bats that lived under the church eaves. At dusk you would see them swooping out, black shadows against a darkening sky. Each weekend the ladies of the church had to sweep out their collected droppings (good source of fertilizer). Rat-bats they are called in Jamaica. There were also giant moths, (more commonly known as bats, usually harbingers of death, or messengers from the dead), huge winged creatures that would gather around the verandah light and occasionally sneak inside the house, their whirring wings dusting surfaces with powder if they brushed against them.
But, again following my mother’s matter-of-fact example, these were interesting creatures that we shared space with, and we just needed to learn how to live with them. I remember a family who came from Canada, the husband was very briefly my math teacher. They lasted only a few weeks as the wife could not cope with the many varieties of lizards. There were tiny polly lizards with their translucent tails which they shed at the first sign of danger, or the more disgustingly pale ‘croak’n lizards’, miniature dinosaur looking creatures that emitted another loud croaking sound, designed to give you chills while the ghostly looking creatures remained out of sight. But lizards also came in an amazing variety of colors, and when they stretched their necks to display their ‘dewlaps’, red fans of skin that male lizards display during mating rituals, you have to admire them. Ironically, many Jamaicans (mostly female) are deathly afraid of lizards, despite growing up surrounded by them.
The moth and flame analogy has inspired an NPR radio show. Anyone can participate, providing they apply, have a good enough story, and can tell it in public without a script. The Moth Radio Hour pays homage to the evenings when folks would gather on the verandah and tell each other stories, while moths fluttered around the single porch light above. It is a very human condition, to tell stories. We have been doing it around campfires and in caves since we first developed the power of speech. We have been leaving pictorial evidence of our stories on cave walls, stories of conquest and power, images describing origin myths and ancestry. In Africa the griots were the ones entrusted with holding the stories of the tribes, and passing them down from one generation to the next.
I heard a beautiful term the other day, one used to describe the energy lines criss-crossing Australia, evidence of the pathways connecting people, places and animals, and carrying stories of the history of the indigenous Australians. Songlines, they are called, and songs help to record the ancient history of their people. In Native American tradition, singing is used to heal, to celebrate life, and to honor the dead, and is an important part of their rituals.
Many of us have become separated from the sources of energy that were once so important to the human race. Whether it was Songlines in Australia, or ley lines connecting ancient sacred sites like Stonehenge in the UK to the Pyramids in Egypt, these energy lines are mystical and intriguing. There is so much that is not completely understood, and yet we all rely on energy to keep our cells working and our bodies moving. Energy workers tap into meridian lines in the body, helping to clear blocked pathways and release tensions and dis-ease.
This weekend I am taking a much needed break from my daily routine and have retreated to a part of the state that is quiet and rural. Last night I was able to see more stars than I have seen in the night’s sky for a long time. We are far from the light pollution of the city, and far from the noise of traffic. As I stood on the deck and gazed upwards, a small moth flew into the house, bringing back a flood of memories mentioned above. Sometimes the stories come to you.
On this Friday morning, I hope you can find a way to restore your own energy flow. If you can, try to retreat from the things that cause you stress long enough to clear your pathways and restore balance. And I hope you share your life with people whose story-telling keeps you entertained, energized and connected.
Have a wonderful weekend, Family!