All my life I have had strangers saunter up to me and do one of two things. They either tell me their deepest darkest secrets or they ask me intensely personal questions. This usually throws me off balance and I wonder at the liberty of it all. But lately, I realize this happens because that is the intention of my Life. I strive to live authentically and I long to have meaningful relationships and conversations with those around me. That can be intense when most people you meet take you up on your offer.
I had a stranger turn around at a concert and ask if I was a member of a coven. I told her no, but that I understood why she would ask me that. I do have a blue crescent moon tattoo in the middle of my forehead. Turns out, she is new in town and trying to connect with the Atheist community in Nashville. She was stunned at the anger she found here. She came from the Midwest where there was a much more relaxed attitude about religion. I suggested that the culture of the Bible Belt breeds contention and makes it difficult to form bonds of mutual respect. When life is a series of either /or choices there is no middle ground to be found.
I said that the Atheists would not have me due to my interest in the metaphysical side of life. And I could be roasted within the Metaphysical community for my non-literal, humanistic take on the gods and goddesses of yore. She wanted to know then why would I have that symbol on my forehead if I was not Wiccan? The short answer is that I have taken responsibility for my own spiritual welfare. The longer answer is that it represents me walking the “straight and narrow”, the “middle way”. I seek balance and appropriate response to what Life brings my way.
This got me to thinking about my choice to walk the line and not jump to extremes. It would be easy enough to do. I was reared in a tradition that functioned in duality: GOOD/EVIL, Heaven /Hell, Light/ Dark. I have also seen enough of my fellow apostates run to an apparent opposite extreme and in doing so turn into the very thing they hate. That is probably why I had to explore a philosophy disconnected from (I thought) my upbringing. One I could appreciate without all the emotional baggage religion used to hold for me.
Who knows why I fixated on ancient Egypt. It could be that it was familiar because I had studied it in Sunday school class. Or that the first time I opened my history book in elementary school to study King Tut, I felt weak in the knees. I continued to explore this ancient philosophy and its marriage to ancient Greek philosophy. I felt like I had found a home. Yes, there is duality in this philosophy but there are subtle differences that allowed me to see the world and my place in it a little more clearly.
One is linear the other is cyclical. There is Light and Dark and they do “Battle” one another. But there is the sense that this is an eternal and never-ending dance. The happy ending is not the destruction of one or the other. The happy ending is in the balance they create between themselves. When you look at life as a circle it allows you to give yourself and others a break. We are human after all. Mistakes are part of learning and we move on. In the linear timeline, this is the one and only chance you are ever going to get so you better not screw it up or everything will be hell for all eternity.
The push and pull between the Light and the Dark in a cyclical philosophy creates something between them. A tangible tension, like a bungee cord, stretched between two objects. It contracts and releases. The two become three. In this new space, it is easy to see the middle ground. It is often times a difficult place to stand but a much easier place to dance.