By Donna Carey & Ellen F. Franklin
Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth and all things will be nourished and flourish. – Confucius, 475-221, BCE
As we read through this month’s rich contributions there is a theme of remembering, remembering what it feels like to live life with an illuminated and open heart, to feel centered in the light and love that should be ever present during this holiday season. As we write we are just a day away from the Thanksgiving holiday, here in the US, which is a time to join with friends and family to give thanks for the harvest and the blessings of abundance that we receive throughout the year. This is also a time that marks the beginning of the winter holiday season here in the northern hemisphere, and it is frequently heralded by what is called “Black Friday” a day of sales that is focused on the promotion of gift giving. This is without question a time when it is far too easy to become stressed about the perfect gift for a loved one and to forget the gifts of the winter season, that it is a time for openly giving of ourselves, knowing that through the wisdom of Jupiter there will always be abundance, while also remembering how critically important it is to find time for self-nurturance and renewal.
How can we remember our true purpose for being and doing in this season? What does it take to return to the root, to identify what brings us peace, abundance, harmony and equilibrium? What does it mean to live life fully with our hearts illuminated and open to share of ourselves from a place of love and compassion? When we are stressed from family, the needs of the season, or political unrest what can we do to remember that place of internal balance and peace, the reset that we all need to live from a place of acceptance and gratitude, not judgement, and with our eyes focused on the larger context.
We are all living at a time of climatic and governmental turmoil. In the end, all of these events will be decided by the individual and collective moral compasses, and the axis and spines that we turn on to and just move forward in with an upright and generous manner. Which brings us to Jupiter’s gifts of the higher philosophical, judicial, and moral order where nobody is wanting on any level and there is joy, abundance, kindness and sharing.
We were reminded recently of the story of Philemon and Baucis a story of kindness, love and compassion that we share in Acutonics from Galaxies to Cells. In this story, drawn from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, we see the critical importance that Jupiter places on kindness to strangers and hospitality. In this story, Mercury and Jupiter set off on a journey attired as poor travelers. They knock on many doors and are turned away or ignored. As Jupiter becomes angry at the apparent greed and corruption that seems to prevail, he simply wants to turn his back on humanity and return to Mt. Olympus. In anger he shouts at Mercury “Have these mortals no knowledge of basic decency? What greed have we fostered among men? How dare they refuse to shelter us or even allocate a small portion to poor weary travelers.”
Mercury, true to his nature does not want to give up on humanity, and he encourages Jupiter to continue. Seeing a small run down thatched home in the distance he encourages Jupiter to press on. They arrive at the home of Philemon and Baucis an elderly couple who are poor beyond measure, and here Jupiter and Mercury are received with a courteous and kindly welcome.
Philemon and Baucis share everything they have, even attempting to catch and provide their scrawny pet goose. As the humble repast seems to never end and the wine goblets never go empty, they begin to suspect that they are among the gods. Jupiter will not allow the goose to be sacrificed and wishes to bestow a gift on the couple for their generosity. He transforms their humble home to a palace and asks what additional gifts he might bestow upon them for their kindness. After conferring lovingly with one another, Baucis and Philomen have but one wish of Jupiter. “Please, lord, we should like it if our lives might end at the same time, in the same hour, so that we shall never have to live without the other.”
Their prayer was granted, and after serving Zeus faithfully for many long years they were simultaneously changed into an oak and a linden tree, which to this very day stand side by side, lending shade and support to each other, eternally grateful.
Ever curious about the etymology or origin of words we wondered whether Philomen related to the word philanthropy, which it does, as in both early Latin (c.1600) and Greek the word philanthropia means benevolence, love of and to mankind. Also, in this story perhaps we have the origin of turkeys being pardoned during the Thanksgiving season. We also see the magic of giving to strangers, paying it forward in whatever way seems most appropriate, and the power of coming together with shared goals and values. Joining together with our birth or chosen families to share freely with one another, remembering the beauty and magic of simple acts of kindness, we give thanks.
We are thankful for each one of you, taking time to read this message, sharing of yourself and giving back in your communities. Being of service in whatever way best brings joy and illumination to your heart – a remembering of the simplest things and the gifts of light and love.
Buried in Time, Teepees at Petrified Forest National Park © 2019, Ellen F. Franklin