Into the darkness

Impermanence, death, winter and nature.

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly" Photo dedicated in memory of NIKOtheOrb, RIP.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
Photo dedicated in memory of NIKOtheOrb, RIP.

The first day of November heralded for the Celts the start of the new year, for my ancient ancestors considered that the world began from the darkness.  This is now the twelfth day of winter, everything is dark and cold, the land of Britain is falling asleep.  The trees cast off their leaves, the hedgehog that visited my garden has vanished into hibernation.

I am reminded at this time of the tale of Lludd and Llevelys, a Celtic story of a king that I argue was ruler of Colchester because he was brother to Cassivellaunus who was said to have historically seized Colchester prompting Julius Caesar to invade Britain, and in legend to have seized the throne of Britain from his brother.  In this story at the start of winter an invisible thief charms everyone to sleep then steals the food and drink of the people, prompting Lludd to call in help from his wise brother Llevelys.  The story highlights the Celtic worldview that death and winter is merely a transformation, nothing dies, everything becomes invisible and asleep, before re-emerging awake and visible.  The invisible thief is that aspect of nature that is death and winter, the land is now asleep, and the abundant food I used to forage until a few weeks ago has vanished.  

This invisible thief has hurt me in recent weeks by making invisible… stealing… those things and people I cared about.  I was devastated when the “Castle Tree” was wiped out by storm St Jude on 28th October.  Now I learn that a blogger, a kindred spirit called Nikotheorb died on 21st October, the day they made three blog posts, and who I last exchanged comments with on 16th October on Liberated Way.  Niko’s blog posts and their comments on my blog was a source of influence and encouragement to my blogging.  I do not know how Niko died, but I grieve at this news, like parts of me are vanishing into nothingness.

Objectively I recognise in nature there is impermanence, everything is change and transformation.  Things and people appear and go out of existence every moment in nature.  I write this, Helix the cat has jumped upon the table to investigate an interesting smell, unusual for this cat… everything in motion… the cat is cleaning itself and now settling down to sleep on its interesting new “blanket”… I remember Helix as a little kitten… in years to come it will grow old and pass on…

Like my ancestors I recognise that death is not an ending, but a transformation from one state to another.  What is invisible and asleep will emerge again into visibility and wakefulness.  The warm days will return, the darkness and cold will flee, the land will awaken into abundant visibility at some point.  For everything and everyone death is a change in state, visible to invisible to visible again.

The last post of Niko was about her delight of a thunderstorm. My post on 22nd October after Niko’s passing is my own joy of nature. The cat Helix watches me as I post these last words, a reminder of the moment, to enjoy life whilst we can, each beautiful moment.  Helix goes to sleep.   The final post by Niko was a quote by Einstein:

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony.  In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Tears as I finish… a little cat sleeps next to my laptop in innocent bliss.


22 responses to “Into the darkness

  1. Alex, thank you so very much for this beautiful sharing.

  2. I am sorry for your loss of a friend. Whether we meet online or face to face we do become friends from our exchanges.

    I do not look forward to the cold and dark of winter as I do not like to be cold or to be distanced from touching the nature; the grass, flowers, food, even the weeds. Yet at the same time I need winter. It is my time of rest to store up the energy I will need when spring and life returns to my world. Nothing remains stagnant in nature. While I worked in the field and cleared the weeds there will be new ones. Dandelions where there weren’t any this year and new animals who will inhabit the homes left behind this season.

    • Yes, through blogging people do share connection.

      Death/renewal, winter/spring, I recognise the importance of these cycles, harsh though it is in the darker aspect of the cycle.

  3. Wow, such a moving post Alex, thank you so much! It truly is amazing how we establish connections via the Internet. Thank you for reminding us of the impermanance of everything. And yet, grieving, mourning is a process we cannot deny ourselves as we go through the human experience. Bless you dear heart. Namaste…♥♥♥NadineMarie♥♥♥

  4. What a fabulous post. I’ve always enjoyed the colder months and have a different kind of respect for the things in nature which soldier on through. As a child, my favourite flowers were snowdrops. There is something so calm and admirable about their little heads popping out amongst the greys and browns of winter.

    • It is through the experience of the dark cold winter that the individual can deeply appreciate the joy of warm joyful spring. My heart jumps for joy when I see the harbingers of spring… the snowdrops and other little signs… a favorite time.

  5. I like the metaphor of the invisible thief.

  6. Beautiful and poignant words. To which I would add that on the gate across the start of the long drive to our house, hangs a sign. It reads ‘Anam cara’ that in Celtic means ‘soul friend’. It so perfectly reflects the broad expanse of nature; the valleys, the peaks, the creeks and the forest that surrounds us. Nature does indeed protect all our souls, of all the species.

  7. Great post Alex, as you so connect to the Earth you see how all is in transition as we grow and learn.. Our past to our ancestors connecting us still.. Love your analogy with the butterfly We Transform from one state as you rightly say to another… So too the earth herself transforms through the cycles of seasons, and even beyond that through the cycles of planetary rhythms as we witness now her shifts of weather patterns..

  8. Your post is a lovely way to honour Niko’s memory.

  9. Thank you for writing which is quite good and best wishes always, and greetings

  10. I am Niko’s mother. Thank you for your post, It was beautifully written

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