In this season so busy—things changing so fast—I happened upon this dark passage: the cautioning utterance of a spirit long departed:
Everywhere the wasteland grows;
woe to him whose wasteland is within.
~ Thus Spake Zarathustrua (Nietzsche)
Stark words. From one vantage as we head into 2022, it’s as if this ancient cautionary couplet were engraved in ominous foul-tempered clouds looming over our moment in history. Dangerous rumbling darkness. People in need of light. Woe indeed.
Not really a new sensation. Same as it ever was, going back through our long global history of tragedy, enslavement, rioting, rebellion, fascism, war, and staggering natural disasters. We’ve been here before. Most of us have learned that when we honestly face the inner wastelands, we can create ways to regenerate. These are matters of will and intention. Inner and outer landscapes can be seeded with flowers, fruits, and light.
Observations about light remind me of something the late Grandfather Martin M. Martinez said one day in 2004, another time when seasons were changing. We were sitting with Navajo elder Leon Secatero at the time. We were talking, drinking hot coffee and eating berry pie. Leon translated Grandfather’s words from Navajo to English as he shared something about the medicine songs he had mastered as Hataa’lii, a traditional chanter in the Navajo way.
“Many of the songs are keys to repositioning and setting right vibrations,” he said. “These are what we call the notes of the holy ones, such as the Song of the Mother Earth. Our ancestors have always told us, this is the way…It is known throughout the indigenous world that light and vibration directly connect all living beings to our environment. This first light from the stars and their vibrations are explained in our Blessingway songs.”
For me, this first light serves as a reminder of what we human beings have learned through the millennia about how we can best generate light in times of darkness. We do it through the verities, or eternal verities as they are sometimes called. Basic stuff. Honesty, caring, sharing, respect, and that ineffable attribute which some possess and which all may cultivate—grace.
When we embody and express these virtues, when we sing or chant in beauty, we add light to the world. When we add light we are traveling upon what Grandfathers Martinez and Secatero spoke of as hózhó jí, the blessingway. This is good. Very good.
In 2022 and beyond, with the seasons so busy and things changing so fast, may we all find ways to keep our hearts, minds, and feet traveling forward in beauty on the blessingway. May it be so. ~ Thus spake Steven.