Awe and Wonder: Proximity and Distance

It’s always there, and so in that sense, always proximal. Sometimes we notice it and sometimes we don’t.  We know it’s there, but we likely spend most of our days not really noticing it, taking it for granted, assuming a presence but never feeling the need to verify it, and so in this sense it is always at some distance.

Then, as if out of nowhere, as if having been separated by this distance beyond full moonimagination, we come upon this sight.  We gasp. We are drawn both into the silence of awe and the sudden, excited chatter of wonder–talking about this sight as if it has never been seen before, as if we are the first discoverers of the great, glowing mystery.  This is not a new human experience.  Human beings of all types in all ages have called upon this image for magic spells, prayers, and metaphor for relational ideas.  In this sense, it is ancient and timeless.  It happened to me yesterday, and it could happen against to you or me tonight if we happen outside at the right time and see the moon in all her glory and fullness.  We will feel the wonder of the full moon anew.  In this sense it is a brand new experience.

This translation of the Hindu Gayatri mantra calls to mind this monthly experience:

“O Divine mother, our hearts are filled with darkness. Please make this darkness distant from us and promote illumination within us.”

This Wiccan offering at the full moon captures some of the awe and wonder of our experience:

Lady Moon bright and serene,

Shining with the bounty of the Mother,

Look down on us your Children of the Earth.

Come, light of the Goddess,

Fill us with your power.

Lend us your blessings,

Let your light surround us.

Impart to us your light and blessing.

Your love and grace, surround us.

Surround us Goddess,

Surround us with your love.

This Cherokee Prayer may, in its simplicity, say it all:

Ga lu lo hi gi ni du da
Sky our grandfather

Nu da wa gi ni li si
Moon our grandmother

E lo hi gi ne tse
Earth our Mother

Ga li e li ga
I am thankful

Si gi ni gé yu
We love each other

O sa li he li ga
We are grateful.

On this day of the full moon, perhaps we could find time to go and see the moon in her fullness and ponder for a bit:  who are the people, what are the relationships that I expect always to be there but which I almost never take time to acknowledge?  So close.  So far. Awe and wonder.  We just have to go outside for a minute, and look into the sky.

Bob Patrick

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