Tag Archives: Diwali

The Night is Black

At this time of the year millions around the world are preparing for the triduum of  Allhallowtide, which encompasses All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. For many the preparations will include stocking up on candles for the rituals and  traditions that involve candlelight.

Millions more have begun another celebration, today, which also requires light; light to vanquish darkness and evil and despair. This celebration is the annual, five-day  festival of  lights, namely,  Diwali.

Having grown up in Fiji, where Diwali has long been an honoured occasion (and now a public holiday), I have a love for Diwali which outstrips any affection I have for Allhallowtide.   Seeing the houses decorated with beautiful Diwali lights was a yearly highlight of my childhood.

So, this week, in accordance with  my family’s customs,  I will light a Diwali candle (candles if I can find more than one).

Light a candle

Light a candle

I will listen again to the gentle singing words of Rabindranath Tagore’s Invocation to Diwali 

and consider the significance of Diwali, so eloquently expressed here:  “The night is black. Kindle the lamp of love with thy life and devotion.” (Rabindranath  Tagore)

Until night falls, however, I will keep watch with the dear, little lights that are ever present , and need no darkness to make them shine.

Little Charlie, a  new  (de) light  to brighten our lives

Little Charlie, a new (de) light to brighten our lives

 

Candelabra

Candelabra; shining light on the shadows

And, if I can organize myself sufficiently well, I may even make a special sweet treat for Diwali;  a rhubarb and apple crumble with freshly picked rhubarb from my garden.

Join me, if you will, in lighting a candle, for the night is black, and we need all the light we can get. Happy Diwali and may the light of the lamp burn brightly in all our hearts.

© silkannthreades

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Now is the hour

After my brief break to honour  Anzac Day, I am returning to my blogcation story.

Two nights and three short days have passed. Now  it is time for my friend to embark on the next stage of her journey. It is time, it is the hour, for us to say goodbye, just as we have  done before. We know the words well. They are words that are integral to an island childhood of many farewells, and, sometimes, few returnings.

Words, as integral as the liturgies, the creeds, the  hymns and Bible stories my friend and I  absorbed,  filtered through layers of cultural and religious and missionary ambiguities and diversities. The miracle is that  we absorbed and retained any of the Anglican faith at all, surrounded as we were by every religion, and interpretation of it, that one could imagine. For example, Diwali was almost as much fun as Christmas; the sounds of the   Call to Prayer were more part of our day than the ringing of church bells; fasting could mean Ramadan or Lent, missionaries could mean Methodist or Mormon, and so on; but, as children, we simply accepted  all the differences of faith with equanimity, as part of what made our community specifically ours.

As a parting gift, and in memory of those early shared bonds of faith, my friend gave me an extraordinarily beautiful book “The Scrolls Illuminated”, illustrated by Australian artist  Fiona Pfennigwerth.

The Scrolls Illuminated, illustrated by Fiona Pfenningwerth

The Scrolls Illuminated, illustrated by Fiona Pfennigwerth

Fiona takes 5 ancient texts from the Bible and uses her understanding of Australian nature, and the Bible, to bring the texts  ” across time, culture and geography to those of us in the 21st century “at the ends of the earth” – and anywhere between.” She enriches old stories of faith by adding a unique Australian filter; much as we children grew our faith through a particular Pacific lens.  The book was  the project for Fiona’s Honours and PhD studies in Natural History Illustration at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

And the result of her talent and study is Joy; pure Joy.

I commend joy Ecclesiastes 8:15

I commend joy
Ecclesiastes 8:15

Update:

Yesterday we commemorated Anzac Day. “Now is the Hour”/  “Po Atarau” has been  sung as a farewell to our troops as far back as the First World War. It was also sung when passenger ships left Fiji. “Now is the Hour” became a huge international hit in the late 1940s, thanks to Gracie Fields and Bing Crosby.

© silkannthreades

 

Light in the Dark

Seeing as it’s very close to that time of year when we celebrate the  ‘light in the dark’,

A friendly light

A friendly light

in festivals as diverse as Halloween and Diwali, the beautiful Beautycalypse   and I were discussing our favourite ‘light in the dark’ songs. I mentioned Neil Young’s Light a Candle

and, before she turned out her Northern Hemisphere light, and turned in to bed, she reminded me to listen to Leonard Cohen’s Anthem.

So I did; listen, and then I listened again, and again. And then some. I ADORE (IS THAT LOUD ENOUGH?) Leonard Cohen. My words can’t fully express how his music, his voice, his poetry, soothe my soul. Although I must confess that, half the time, I really don’t know what he is on about, but, still, I  feel  his songs wrapping around my heart like a cosy, comforting, well-worn shawl,  saying ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, life can be lived”. Or something, like that; the words are faint; the feeling, the embrace, is strong.

Listening to Anthem, took me back to one of my earlier posts, Ring in the Spring ,   where I wrote that “we know, deeply, that even a broken bell has its own essential resonance”

Considering my recent visit to the  Slough of Despond, I found Leonard Cohen’s reference, (and my own), to the hope/light/life in cracked bells very reassuring; if not sweetly, sublimely,  uplifting. So, thank you Beautcalypse for helping to let the shine through, all the way to my small, temporarily “broken” place at the bottom of the world.

And thank you, too, to all my readers and followers and commenters who have been little beacons of light

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gently guiding  me out of  my momentary Slough. If I could sing like Leonard or Neil, I would sing an anthem to you 🙂

Instead, I will share my Millennium Prayer Candle,  which has been by my side, and lit on every important occasion,  since its  first lighting  on New Year’s Day 2000.

These are the words of the Millennium Prayer Candle

The Millennium Prayer

Let there be
Respect for the Earth
Peace for its People
Love in our Lives
Delight in the Good
Forgiveness for Past Wrongs
And from now on
A New Start

© silkannthreades

And sincere apologies to anyone if they  can see that I have now somehow  ‘earned” a WordPress ad at the bottom of my post! Grrrrr!