Saturday, July 17, 2010
My teacher Rose May Dance told us that the elements of life (air, fire, water and earth) are "one-eyed." What she meant is that the elements do not have the power of discernment. The element of air can be as soft as breath or as powerful as a hurricane, or anything inbetween. Water can be steam, vapour, tears or a tsunami, take your pick. In post-modern witchcraft, we regularly invoked the elements, asked their powers to join our magic circles to assist us in whatever conjuring we were undertaking. Rose's point was that as the priestesses who called in the elements, it was up to us, the "two-eyed" who possessed the capacity for depth perception, to figure out just how much of any element was needed for a ritual.
Reclaiming was a very creative, anarchistic tradition so almost always, the particulars of each invocation were left up to the individual. In addition to spoken words, people danced in the elements, sang them in, played instruments or whatever. I loved that part of Reclaiming. At least those of us who studied with Rose thought carefully about just how much of each element, and what qualities of the element, to call in. Allegedly, "spirit" or "center" was the fifth element, or at least was the fulcrum where the other four elements came together. Sometimes we called the center, but mostly we just called the four cardinal directions. I think that's because we had it wrong. Spirit is not the fifth element; love is.
Of course the image of Milla Jojovich wearing that crazy Jean Paul Gautier outfit springs to mind. Indeed, Luc Besson really nailed so many things right in that funny, groovy film. Milla (who is the fifth element) must feel love and receive love in order to save the planet. And she does - at the very last second, I should add. Then she and Bruce Willis, a cute guy but total loser, allegedly live happily ever after ... or whatever. It was just a movie!
I was thinking this morning that all kinds of people, not just modern witches, invoke love all the time. No one asks for gentle love - do they? When we wish for love in our heart of hearts, don't we always wish for true love, for deep, passionate, undying, abiding, mind-bending love? That's what I've always wished for. What about you?
Love is one-eyed. It "comes over" as Eric Clapton says. It comes over hard, I should add, like an all engulfing madness. No need to go on and on about this. Everybody knows how crazy love is, how it can knock you down even when you beg for mercy. It can make you fall for the "wrong" person, or someone falls for you, even though it's never going to work. I think about how much I loved my dog, Jake. He was a royal piece of work, but I loved him unconditionally. Oh yeah. Love is the fifth element.
I've been contemplating Don Shapiro's contention that love is a spiritual state. I like taking it out of the realm of emotion which really does it no justice. Even better, I like the idea of love as a force of nature, as the fifth element. Love is omnipotent and I bow down before it, I truly do.
Today in the mail I received a box of gifts: a book, a journal and a keyring made from many small beads and semi precious stone hearts, put together by the female half of the "band of gypsies" - a group of ten of us on FB who have in some miraculous way adopted each other and become family. We went to high school together; now after forty some years we are friends again, hanging out, telling stories, laughing, crying and getting crazy with each other. We are very different from one another, but we tolerate each other. Better than that, we love and support each other. Love came over the band of gypsies, oh yeah. We are swimming in it.
Love is the fifth element. If you doubt it, I'll show you my beautiful keyring. I am blown away by the power of love, by the kindness, generosity and beauty of the band of gypsies. Though it is massively insufficient, all I can say is: Wow.