Category Archives: Illumination Meditations

Dancing with Speeches #35 Pachebel

This week’s speech dances with a classical piece of music. Instead of words, the speech was Pachebel’s Canon in D. The occasion was the 3880th registration of a marriage by the civil servant officiating. Witnesses attended in real life and via a range of digital devices and platforms.

There was a celebratory toast sans speeches to the bride and groom. From the 17th Century Pachebel’s Canon in D Major was written to match the beat of the human heart – could there be a more perfect choice for two lives being joined in a common journey?

Playing this canon at 60 beats per minute, the speed of a sleeping person’s heartbeat brings the dreaminess of incomprehensible love, where no words are adequate and only a toast by witnesses will align the external joy with the inner peace of the happy couple. The polyphonic of voices playing the same music together and in sequence is the pattern of a canon, and so it is with marriage, a sequence of familiar steps taken together, with the provision for independence with the depth of sound to carry and hold. A subtle, delicate progression may continue on regular rotation, as so much of life is routine, but is not unchanging.

The music blesses.

May you always find peace and solitude and rest for your selves as individuals and as a couple.

May you find the heart beating in regular time when there is nothing else regular around you and turmoil, disappointment or despair come to haunt.

May you build on the foundations of D major, the key of triumph, of Hallejuahs and war cries, marches, holiday songs, and heavenly rejoicing angelic choruses.

May this soundtrack offer constancy and fidelity to your shared dreams.

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Study in Blue

Hildegard Man in Sapphire Blue

I decided to mediate on one of Hildegard’s illuminations this week and see what she had to tell me. I chose the Man in Sapphire Blue. When I looked at it, I was reminded of finger stitching we all learnt as youngsters and created on the top of cotton reels with a square of four little tacks or nails. Do you remember creating one? Then winding it round and round into a circle?

In this image the weave surrounds the Man in Sapphire Blue and has one entrance and exit. Matthew Fox invites us to notice “the aperture at the man’s head, so that this powerful healing energy can leave his own field and mix with others – and vice versa” (Fox, M Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, 1985 p.23). The energy we have to heal and to receive to be healed can seem to seep into and out of us if we allow ourselves to receive that energy and let it soak in. The outer concentric circles remind me of two things – the planets pathways circling around the sun and ripples on a pool when a stone in thrown in. Both these images require something solid and steady and energised at the centre and here she has the Man in Sapphire Blue holding that space.

I have held the Man in Sapphire Blue at the centre of my meditation, and considered what healing energy might ooze out to me this week. Interestingly I was surprised that the focus I drew was on the little (and big) prejudices I hold and how I allow them to be reinforced. When I hear about the tragedies of shootings in USA, it reinforces my attitudes to the US as gun toting, war mongers who don’t appreciate their place in the geo-political realities of being a super power. When I hear someone shouting at their children in the shopping mall I wonder how long it will be before child protection services will need to be called in. When I see a man being extra helpful and kind to a woman I am suspicious of his motives. All irrational and illogical connections, but ones built on some flimsy facts and experiences.

As this has been a Study in Blue, I also was drawn back of a song of Sinead O’Connor’s: We People are Darker than Blue and with the choir and a mixture of musical styles yearns for the end of prejudice, segregation and separation.

Divisions are big and small – from the Gaza strip to the internal conflict between our false and true selves. It seems to me that there are big and small prejudices just below the surface for those of us who think we may be above them. None of us are really exempt from the virus of division, and it is an act of constant vigilance to keep above it all. There are many times however where I hang on to my prejudices and they even serve to protect me – but isn’t that the lesson? To learn to be vulnerable in spite of our differences?

Hildegard’s Man in Sapphire Blue seems to be reaching out with outstretched hands as if to channel a blessing for equanimity to me – surely the antidote to division.

I wrote this little Blessing for Equanimity in the genre of Blessings shared by John O’Donohue.

Blessing For Equanimity
As the dawn breaks and your head aches
May you be blessed with a still mind

As the morning opens to the day
May you put down divisions and look for synergies

As the sun reaches its height
May you call on your higher self

As vespers arrives and unfinished business haunts
May you gratefully gather up the remains of the day

As evening comes and you toss and turn
May you be rested and refreshed by a deep sleep

As the darkness settles in
May you be filled with starlight.

And may the Man in Sapphire Blue
Bless you with equanimity.
(c) M Deslandes, 2013