I am hearing the Music of the Spheres this week before Christmas. On Tuesday there was a full moon, full lunar eclipse, and Winter Solstice, all at once. How could such events, especially during the holidays, fail to turn each of us into a mystic? Musica universalis--Pythagoras said "There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacing of the spheres." It's a harmonic philosophy regarding celestial bodies, space among the sun, moon, and planets.
Maybe it's because my mother told us that if we were very still and quiet on Christmas Eve, we could hear angels singing--the only night of the year that was possible. Of course that was a bold attempt to settle us down, wild with excitement for Christmas morning, but even as young children we felt the deeper meaning.
Everyone feels the holidays in their own way. For me Christmas is inseparable from my mother; after a very long illness, when she was constantly dying, the time finally came. Her final death started in mid-December. The doctor and a priest charged me with telling her what was happening. I remember sitting by my mother's bed at the nursing home, informing her that she was going to die.
She got really mad at me, and refused to speak to me for a week. I'd go see her, and she'd turn her head to the wall. I found a small tree and decorated it with lights and our family ornaments, irridescent balls decorated with twinkling snow, dating back to my grandmother's turn-of-the-century childhood. I brought her Scottish Terrier, Gelsey, to visit her. I introduced her to my new tiger kitten, Maggie.
Then, finally, one night I was sitting by her bed in the dark, with only the tree lights illuminating her small room. I looked over at her, and saw her staring at me--intensely, as if she was trying to memorize me. Her mouth moved--I read her lips: "I love you."
"I love you, too, Mom."
I held her hand, and we looked at each other for a long time. She slipped in and out, but talked to me when she could. The cold shoulder was forgotten. Having fought so hard for so long, she really didn't want to let go. It was a case of "blame the messenger," but that's okay. I understand, and am all the more grateful for our last few days together. She died soon afterwards, on January 2, 1995.
Music of the spheres.
Love the planet, love the moon, love the sky, love each other, love what is and not what you would have it to be, love music, love the beasts, love yourself. Peace on earth. Or as Peter Lehner of NRDC says, Peace With the Earth.
I have quoted this section from Shakespeare many times, on this site and in essays I have written--it speaks to me for so many reasons. Today, I'm hearing the "heavenly music" line...
From the Tempest, Act V, Scene I:
I have bedimm'd The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds, And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up The pine and cedar: graves at my command Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth By my so potent art. But this rough magic I here abjure, and, when I have required Some heavenly music, which even now I do, To work mine end upon their senses that This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, And deeper than did ever plummet sound I'll drown my book.