– C. G. Jung, as quoted by Meredith Sabini, Ed., The Earth Has a Soul; The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung, p. 4
If you have trouble loading all the pictures and YouTube music videos in this post, it may be that there are just too many, and the picture files are too big. (They are big so that you can see them full-screen by clicking on them.) Try waiting a moment or refresh your browser (reload the page). Last ditch effort: clear your browser cache. I’m working on alternate approaches at this end.
If you want to write a song about the heart
Think about the moon before you start
Because the heart will howl like a dog in the moonlight
And the heart can explode like a pistol on a June night
So if you want to write a song about the heart
And its everlonging for a counterpart
Na na na na na na
Yeah yeah yeah
Write a song about the moon
– from Song About the Moon
Paul Simon 1981
Full lyrics on Paul Simon Official Website
Alternate YouTube link: Simon & Garfunkel Song About the Moon
When you write a song about the moon, or dance with it alone in the peaceful beauty of night, your heart may have a counterpart right there. Mine does, and I thank the moon for never giving up on our blessed relationship, and for the fun of creating moonlit pictures, and its help engaging enchantment and fantasy for the health of my soul.
Alternate YouTube link: Van Morrison: Moondance
In The Gospel According to Me, a relationship is the product of the union of two souls or forces, physical or otherwise. It is a third party, or entity, formed by the two who created it, with a nature all its own, like a child.
If immersed in waves of love, a relationship truly can strengthen its parents, even help to heal them of the baggage they brought into the relationship, if they have real faith in the relationship, in each other, and in the practice of loving (not just “being in love”).
This power of the relationship relies on faith that extends beyond the rosy times into the dark ones; faith when the waves of love have gone flat or stormy, faith when hope seems lost.
Relationship is a kind of life-force, the soul of the union.
It’s fascinating how easily people murder these children, these relationships, these extensions of self unified into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Relationship enlightens us about ourselves and each other. Sometimes the truth it tells about ourselves is hard to bear, so we take it out on the relationship, and blame the other parent for it, and we don’t know we’re slashing at the child with blades of faithlessness, ignorance, stupidity and delusion.
Mostly delusion, if only because it stops us from seeing the reality of our own stupidity and ignorance, except in hindsight (if at all). It also blocks the view of what’s going on in the relationship until it starts screaming.
We’re out of touch with reality partly because we don’t spend enough time in reality outside, in all seasons and all weather, in the light and in the night, in realities that are not ours to possess or control, but to swim in, to be immersed in, sometimes absorbed by. And we don’t do it often enough or long enough to let nature nourish the capacity for relationship (and the fullness of being human).
Also, most people don’t have a productive, long-term relationship with a good psychologist for “reality checks,” and for the blessed force of that relationship to strengthen, heal, and draw from the infinite reservoir of love and light within the patient. (Good clinical psychologists sell their time practicing unconditional love at a deeply personal level. I joke that they are like psycho-social licensed prostitutes, with no risk of STD.)
The therapeutic effect of the clinical relationship develops especially if one willfully practices faithfulness to the relationship, enough to participate fully, with an open mind and heart, consistently, regularly, for the long term. Sounds like the kind of investment made in other intimate relationships, doesn’t it? Otherwise, it may be just another sightseeing trip to your inner moon, or even just a drive-by.
Relationships conceived through intimate, private conviviality with the moon can inspire a capacity for creative fantasy, like these pictures and songs. They are the child’s toys, the creativity of the relationship. I take the child’s lead in play, and with so much more powerful technology at my disposal than in my childhood!
And I have at my disposal the moon. And the clouds and trees. I am immersed in moonlit nature atop a promontory of wide, sloping rock descending gently to the water. There are two moons, one reflected in the water. The rock is warm to the bare feet, having baked in the sun all day.
At my disposal I also have the gift of being able to stand up on two feet and walk, and hike (and paddle) out to that rock, and raise my arms, play with my bright companion of night, and capture glimpses of us together forever in pictures, made with a flair for fun, a hobby of the relationship. Play.
The full-body moonlit silhouette self-portraits (at the time I’d never heard the word “selfie,” and I wish I never did) were shot exactly 13 years ago, on August 19, 2005. This article celebrates their anniversary, and the birthday of the child of my union with Selene, Goddess of the Moon. (Oh, yes. She DOES hook up with mortals. That’s been known for many thousands of years.)
It’s a birthaversary party!
So I pulled out many more moon shots to share.
Who is fully human without immersion in the night?
Alternate YouTube link: Cat Stevens: Moonshadow
Do you think that somewhere we are not Nature, that we are different from Nature? No, we are in Nature and think exactly like Nature. – C.G. Jung, quoted by Sabini, p. 24
For some people, an immersive relationship with Nature gives birth to a variety of “children,” a family. This is partly why there is no solitude in a forest.
At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the splashing of the waves, in the clouds and the animals that come and go, in the procession of the seasons. There is nothing […] with which I am not linked. – C.G. Jung, (Sabini p.4)
Above: 2005 balsam fir and moon photo – exactly the way it looked that night, except it sucked me up off the ground. Talk about “fly me to the moon,” Frank. This big (2-ft. wide stump) balsam fir stood over the blueberry patch in the front yard until ants and woodpeckers and wind threw it to the ground. It wiped half the branches off a big maple on its way down.
Sometimes Balsamea gently embraces the moon in its fingertips and whispers, “Look!” The photo cannot capture the moment, but it serves as a souvenir. I’m grateful for still finding things in it that I had not noticed before, or did not remember. For instance, the perch of the moon precisely on the ends of balsam “fingertips.”
What is the chance you catch a picture of that? What chance if you don’t spend a lot of time with Selene and trees at night?
I can hear certain known persons saying, “So?”
I’ve been collecting some books and dozens of professional articles about studies showing evidence of the effect of exposure to Nature (especially, in my view, immersion in Nature) on human health in mind and body. The evidence is strong enough to make Nature visits not just a good idea, but necessary TO BE FULLY HUMAN.
Now, consider what it may mean to humanity that is removed from half the reality of the world, the half that is at night, especially night in Nature. Fear of the dark is fear of life.
Jung identified [in a 1923 seminar] four elements that have undergone the most severe repression in the Judeo-Christian world: Nature, animals, creative fantasy, and the “inferior” or primitive side of humans which tends to be mistakenly conflated with instinct or sexuality. – Sabini, p.2
I don’t seek engagement with my primitive side. I try to get out of its way, because it has such a great role in my capacity for and enjoyment of creative fantasy.
When moonlight dances in chiffon clouds, it appeals
to things in human nature too deep to explain, but
needing to be awakened.
If a person goes out in the middle of the night, drawn by a creative fantasy swirling in the blood, enchanted by the condition of the sky and the nature of the moon’s light and its play on a lake, stands alone on a promontory slab of rock, and photographs silhouettes of himself playing with the moon and the air and the clouds, enjoying both his primitive and civilized nakedness and playful creativity, you can conflate that with sexuality if you want to, or anything else you want to conflate it with. Have fun with it, even laugh at me. I do.
Alternate YouTube link: King Harvest: Dancing in the Moonlight
(The song says, “You can’t dance and stay uptight.” Well, for me it depends on who’s watching. I won’t do it as entertainment for spectators.)
The song says, “When the moon gets big and bright, it’s a supernatural delight.” We know it’s not supernatural, but it’s a poetic way to say that its nature is super beyond measure. Who needs the supernatural? Nature is super enough.
Recently I decided to divest myself of people who insist on the supremacy of the supernatural, if they refuse to entertain reason as at least equally supreme.
Someone said, “You don’t see things the way I do because you’re logical and I’m spiritual.”
You’re damned right I don’t. And you don’t see things the way I do because I’m logical (or working at it) and you’re just superstitious if you think spirituality is beyond logic.
What they mean when they say things like that is, “You can’t see truth like I can.” There’s a term for that with the initials FY.
I was deeply vested in spiritual traditions for decades, studying, exploring and practicing more deeply than anyone I ever knew who was not in it professionally, and some of them were pretty lame. Ultimately, it left me with the sense that spirituality is about seeking conscious connection with the essence of things, not making things up. The biggest thing I learned from religion was to stop doing it, because it distracted me from the essence of things as they are, not merely as I wanted them to be, or as someone said they should be.
It does not mean I have no appreciation for metaphysics, mythology, mystery, or transcendence beyond the known or understandable. Consciousness is transcendent and evolving.
When a person refuses to look at reality with the eyes they’re given, they’re not transcending their eyes. They’re closing them.
Humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears, and nostrils-all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness. This landscape of shadowed voices, these feathered bodies and antlers and tumbling streams — these breathing shapes are our family, the beings with whom we are engaged, with whom we struggle and suffer and celebrate. … We are human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human. -p. ix, The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
We keep forgetting that we are primates and that we have to make allowances for these primitive layers in our psyche. – C.G. Jung, quoted by Sabini, p. 13
We need to project ourselves into the things around us. My self is not confined to my body. It extends into all the things I have made and all the things around me. Without these things, I would not be myself; I would not be a human being. – C.G. Jung quoted by Sabini, p. 13
That Siren-esque moon goddess, Selene, largely inspired this dose of blogolalia, by the way she put Endymion to permanent sleep so she could love him despite his being human. Talk about “silent partner!”
When I found out, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Imagine the dreams he had. Goddess consorting with him unawares.”
That brings to mind a marvelous song that starts with the line, “What a dream I had …” This song really knows how to say I love you. Try it.
Alternate YouTube link: Simon & Garfunkel: For Emily
Selene (Greek moon goddess, Roman Luna) has been in the moon-man relationship business for a long time. This is a picture of her made in the 5th Century B.C.:
That’s 4,000 years before the Twelve Disciples (if you don’t count Mary Magdalene) failed to convert Israel, so they turned to the Pagans, who are too often too quick to add another god to their pantheon.
For millennia artists have gone wild over Selene, especially in her relationship with Endymion. I’ll come back to that, but here’s a recent sample, from 1822:
I chuckled when I noticed he was wearing sandals. Maybe he walked in his sleep. I’ve been staying barefoot as much as I can lately, indoors and out, including on my trails. It offers an enhanced kind connection with earth. Um … and it just feels good.
Notice in this painting, there’s Cupid, lifting the veil, saying, “See, see? Isn’t he beautiful?”
Reportedly, Endymion’s beauty is what enthralled Selene. I have nothing like his beauty, but Selene still plays and has fun with that beautiful child in me.
Find me under the next full moon over Balsamea. Full Moon is a legal holiday here, often celebrated with campfires, photo experiments, hikes or night swims.
More about Selene, from theoi.com:
“SELENE was the Titan goddess of the moon. She was depicted as a woman riding side saddle on a horse or driving a chariot drawn by a pair of winged steeds. Her lunar sphere or crescent was either a crown set upon her head or the fold of a raised, shining cloak. She was sometimes said to drive a team of oxen and her lunar crescent was likened to a pair of bull’s horns.
“Selene’s great love was the shepherd prince Endymion. The beautiful boy was granted eternal youth and immortality by Zeus and placed in a state of eternal slumber in a cave near the peak of Lydian Mount Latmos (Latmus). His heavenly bride consorted with him there in the night.
“A number of other goddesses were also associated with the moon, however, only Selene was represented by the old Greek poets as the moon incarnate.
“… She is also called Phoebe, as the sister of Phoebus, the god of the sun. By Endymion, whom she loved, and whom she sent to sleep in order to kiss him, she became the mother of fifty daughters.”
The guy … a human shepherd made immortal and eternally young … gave this goddess fifty daughters, in his sleep. I suspect she may have used some sort of surgical technique.
I mentioned paintings of Selene and Endymion. Here’s a little gallery of paintings, sculptures and mosaics from my art collection. Some of these works identify the goddess as Diana, not exactly the same as Selene (e.g.: she was not a huntress like Diana), but they both have the Endymion story.
Click the first image to open the gallery in large carousel mode. While there, to see one in full screen mode, scroll slightly down and look for the link in the lower right. You can also post comments on each picture. I’ll respond!
Get in touch to help with my next moon photo shoot.
Thank you for visiting.
No? Aw, that’s okay. I really only hoped someone would read all the way to here.
If you have not enjoyed this playground, that’s okay with me, because I had lots of fun with it. As I always say, I blog for my entertainment.
Enjoy a few more songs from the Balsamea jukebox.
If you’re doing a moon song review, it’s a federal crime to leave this one out. Seriously. They will lock you up and throw away the key …
Alternate YouTube link: Neil Diamond: Harvest Moon
And if you leave out this one, you’re just going to hell …
Alternate YouTube link: Frank Sinatra: Fly Me to the Moon
Here’s a twist … one five minutes long …
from Breakfast at Tiffany’s …
Alternate YouTube link: Elton John: Moon River
Hold onto your icebox, so you don’t melt …
Alternate YouTube link: Diane Shaw: Blue Moon
“… and when I looked, the moon had turned to gold.”
~ ~ ~