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The Moon Is Always Full

This semi-structured conversation between Jabali and emily was inspired by an image by Abacus Corvus. The Moon is Always Full. We have been dancing with the idea of ‘shadow’ for many months now, and this seems like the perfect time to explore it more!

Jabali: These words rang so true in my ears when you said them, emily. In one phrase I saw the connection of my rage with what I shall call my enlightened being in training (EBiT) self. To begin I should explain my EBiT. In pop culture symbolism, it's Luke Skywalker, vs. Yoda vs. Darth Anybody. Failing epically on the path of doing ‘good.’ We can theorize that failure on this path trumps success on any other path, but that would be wrong. The binaries established by these words are known falsities. And yet we have little else by which to communicate what sense we make of things. So be it.

Along the path of the EBiT one encounters the teaching that anger is not healthy. Rage is worse. Even physically fighting from the emotional realm of those words is considered poor practice. Abandoning Star Wars, and entering the very real world of the Dragon, we learn,’ A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.’ – Bruce Lee. What human doesn't know the truth of these words, myself included? And the reason for this is precisely in that question. We are humans.

As humans the moon of our emotions is always full. Seeing the Crescent moon at the expense of the totality is to live a lie. The Crescent is merely a perception brought about by certain contexts. My rage and anger is with me right now. To deny that is to deny myself my humanity. To immerse myself in my rage, however, is to do the same thing.

Emily: I think what drew me to this image and to this phrase “the moon is always full” is that it reminds me of one of our Peacemaking Principles: treat everyone as sacred. The moon, and the fullness of the moon, is sacred, just like each one of us. And, from our perspective on earth, the moon goes through cycles of new moon, waxing crescent, full, waning crescent, back to new moon. The dark moon appears all shadow, but we know that the fullness of the moon still exists. It’s still sacred. We just might not see it as such.

Jessica Dore had a great card draw and write-up recently on one of my favorite cards: Temperance. I spent a year studying this card. I love it. For me, it means balance, moderation, and patience. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, but I truly aspire to it. Jessica has a different and connected read on the card:

“The need to sort and categorize things as either good or bad is partly just our brains doing what they’ve evolved to do, but I think it’s also partly a post-traumatic defense strategy to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. If you were hurt in early relationships you may notice a tendency to see people as either all good or all bad at any given time; an otherwise good person does something that triggers pain so you toss them in the “bad, terrible person” category, just to be safe. Tarotist Rachel Pollack wrote about how at the root of dualistic thinking is the fear that we do not know ourselves. We see things as either this or that because we don’t trust ourselves to flexibly navigate the complexities & contingencies of life and still be okay. We see this concept in contemporary therapy models, too; dialectical behavior therapy teaches people to think in a way that accommodates & integrates seeming opposites, under the assumption that “black & white” thinking underlies so much dysfunctional behavior. A person who has never examined their tendency to view things in terms of extremes & opposites experiences depression & believes in that moment that depression is all there is in life even though just last week they were feeling connected & alive. Problematic, obviously. Joseph Campbell said the Garden of Eden was a metaphor for the kind of innocence that is “innocent of opposites,” a Utopia that the trauma of living has ripped us away from, a space we may have no memory of ever being in but to which we all long to return. This theme shows up everywhere—from biblical myth to behavioral therapy to Vendantic nondualism & Hermetic philosophy, which states “opposites are identical in nature but different in degree,”—highlighting its enduring significance in our lives. We can start by knowing there is always more than one truth to every situation. & By seeking alternative viewpoints to thicken & diversify our narratives. By noticing where we believe aspects of life should be all pleasant or all painful, where we don’t have space for imperfections, & where to be right we must make another person wrong. It is our nature & also there’s room to grow.”

I love the idea that opposites are identical in nature but different in degree and that the Garden of Eden was a metaphor for the innocence of opposites. We had a conversation once about antipodal points being the same point on a projective plane. I’ve been thinking about this general idea for a long time!

Maybe we designate contentment and love opposite to anger and rage. Then, with this binary thinking, we label contentment as good and anger as bad. Contentment is in the light and anger is in the shadow. But it doesn’t feel that simple. And so I love the phrase ‘the moon is always full,’ because to me it speaks to all of the emotions being our sacredness, our fullness. It’s when a shadow is projected onto it that we start to see things differently: Light=good, dark=bad, but that is not the reality.

When we talked about this briefly with Huayruro, Monica mentioned the idea of an eclipse. I would love to think more about what an eclipse might mean in the context of this metaphor!


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