Last year a client sent me this beautiful article on the night, by Jeanette Winterson, and not long after, I watched “The Current War” about the spread of electricity into the modern age. My inner cogs shifted, and I realised with sadness how the world was before technology allowed us to turn the night into day.
Like Jeanette, I’ve always loved the night. It’s still velvety embrace, a hushing of the world, and the way it reveals the splendour of stars and Milky Way. As I used to walk home after work, in awe of the starry sky, a sadness gripped my heart to see other humans, sequestered in their homes with lights ablaze, blind to the dark beauty all around them.
Why did we turn our back on the night? Did we forget these dark lunar realms have a purpose?
Sleep. Rest. Quiet. Dream. Pleasure. Storytelling.
A time to seek meaning and dwell with Universal things.
Sure, there can be hidden beasties, but it’s also a time when we heal and renew, on all levels.
During the day the single-focus Sun holds centre stage. Its light on our atmosphere creates a blue sky, whose hypnotic azure draws blinds across the view of inky space beyond and keeps us focused only on ourselves here on this ball, hurtling through space. Yet as the Sun disappears each night, those blinds melt away to reveal the breathtaking beauty of the cosmos around us.
Our Spaceship Earth spins from dark to light, and we humans are designed to fit into its diurnal rhythms. Despite what our modern, electricity filled times tell us, we cannot be on, conscious, active and busy, 24-7. We are meant to work AND rest. Play AND sleep. Perform AND dream. Be conscious AND unconscious.
But now our world worships the Sun; so much so, we push away the night to mimic the day. When the Sun goes down, we don’t even notice it anymore, the solar wheel just keeps on turning and dragging us along with it.
It wasn’t always like this. It’s been less than 150 years since the lightbulb became widely available. That’s a short sneeze in the human evolutionary cycle. And a host of health problems show our bodies cannot evolve at the lightning rate our technology is pushing on us.
The gentle Moon doesn’t hold court alone, blocking out all other light so no other can be seen. Instead, it shares the stage, gathers from around itself and softly reflects whatever it senses for us to feel and share. Only in darkness can we appreciate our micro in the macro, as our planet wheels through the velvet darkness of the Universe.
And as on the outside, so on the inside. As we turn more and more towards the conscious, active, driven solar principle we are losing our ability to reflect, dwell and dream. So many people ask me “why can’t I feel or trust my intuition?” and I feel it’s because we don’t devote our nights to being with it, listening to its soft instructions and dwelling deeply within ourselves. Our inner nightscapes are quieter, slower; and easily drowned out by the bright lights and activity of the conscious realm.
Darkness can encourage shadow work; reaching into the dark to draw out parts we were told were unacceptable and shameful, yet are just a small part of us. Reuniting with these subconscious lives brings inner peace and settlement, and allows us to be whole again.
So, this is my invitation to you to claim back the night. Perhaps start with one night a week spending time with the night sky and listening within at the same time. Gaze at far-flung stars and galaxies, feel the awe and wonder its magnificence inspires. Honour the heavens in your own inner world – “as above, so below” – and see their brilliance also resides within you.
May this hopefully remind you of what your forebears lived with constantly, this view of our small place within an endlessly vast system. I wonder if we are forgetting our connection to our earthly and Universal home because we are blind to this sight? Are we no longer reminded we are part of something much greater, much higher than we here can be on Planet Earth? Night-time is when we can awaken from our modern somnambulance and remember where we truly came from.
If you’d like to delve deeper into this world, join my new Lunar Landscape Gatherings, a way to honour the Moon and her dark night haven, both outside and within.