A Personal Solstice
Usually, art is just a pleasant thing. Pretty pictures. You feel good…there is nothing new or threatening in the way of ideas. Life is a walk in a meadow, tip toeing through the tulips. But when ideas and emotions come together, sparks can fly. Lightening can flash. Thunder can boom.
Occasionally, art and ideas become so enmeshed as to shake the viewer as nothing else can: Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel explicates a theology more than any epistle could ever define or glorify. The Idea becomes supernatural as human forms explode through the heavens with impossible power and grace. That is true of art of other religions or social orders. The artists are masters of emotion.
But a lightening flash can also burn and destroy; pictures, even videos or charts, can smother the truth and burn holes though the fabric of a time and place. Some of the best propaganda has been devised by powerful wizards for self-glorification. The charlatans of science and knowledge can paint earth-shaking word pictures for the exaltation of a false ideal.
We have seen much of that in our lives, but never as much as we have witnessed these past years. These have been disheartening times for us. Traumatic. We wonder…will our dark times get darker?
Peoples of the world have long watched the days of the year get shorter and the winds colder. The turnaround hasn’t always been sure and there was great fear that the sun would sink into the abyss. Civilizations waited for that magic time when the sun would freeze in the sky, hesitate, and with songs, prayers or sacrifices turn back from descent and begin its daily recovery.
That magic day is known as the solstice. In our lives it can occur when our personal descent reaches it lowest point. We don’t know if it is going to stop, hesitate and turn back—climb toward the light. We can usually sense when the turnaround begins.
We see the sun rising to a thunderous chorus of nature’s eternal song.
There’s a flash of understanding captured by art, music and literature…and we can sense our survival. We are still alive, aren’t we?