by Kate Kennington Steer, all images by Kate Kennington Steer,
The eye of the great God,
The eye of the God of glory,
The eye of the King of hosts,
The eye of the King of the living,
Pouring upon us
At each time and season,
Pouring upon us
Gently and generously,
Glory to thee,
Thou glorious Sun.
Glory to thee, thou Sun,
Face of the God of Life.
Alex Carmichael, Carmena Gadelica (III, 307)
One year on from my decision to trace the course of light through the natural seasons by intentionally marking the solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarter days. What strands can I pull free from all I have written about these pinnacle points of this year’s light so I can embed them into my becoming? Trace the colours:
At Beltaine, fresh lime, pea and peridot greens emerged under pale, finespun gold; strengthened into curling petals of mauve and lavender, a froth of white and cream at the Summer Solstice; fruited as tongues of ruby, vermillion, scarlet, fuschia pinks and reds at Lughnasa; flourished into burnished saffron and golden ochre at the Autumn Equinox; faded into dove grey, taupe and charcoal by Samhain; folded into midwinter’s depths of blueblack and indigo at the Winter Solstice; re-emerging as pewter, sepia and khaki by Imbolc; then as the number of hours of daylight reaches its’ crucial moment, an acid, chrome and orpiment yellow blaze of resurrection promise is released after the Spring Equinox. Height and angle, brightness and dimness, the endless balancing game between blue and yellow, between cold and heat: the hues and tones of every colour are mixed on the palette of light into infinite variety, year-in, year-out. This light continues even through the perpetual challenge of the physical and emotional ‘grey days’, the seeming endless blank of depression, a fog that threatens to overwhelm all memory of how things might be different: and yet it never quite eliminates the hope that this spiral of emerging colours, under the year’s changing arc of light, has imprinted the eternal in me.
And through it all comes the twist of fire to bind or loose, to distil or destroy, to dance with or lament through: the urgent wonder of turning aside to watch the burning bush and notice the whisper of Invitation, as encapsulated by Abba Moses in the desert: ‘why not become fire’? Why not let the fire of God burn through you? Why not let the fire of God reveal your essence? Why not let the fire of God light you up as beacon, as warning, as prophecy, as celebration, as companion, as guide, as protection, as succour, as lover, as … ? Fire’s trail reminds me to love the light in all its guises; it releases me to be passionate about loving colour and light in mind and body, heart and soul.
In the book of Isaiah, the I AM says, countless times: ’Now I Am revealing’… How do I notice the I AM? How do I notice the I AM in my now? Do I even notice the present tense of the I AM? What I AM light am I taking for granted today? Am I not seeing how the early morning snow, under heavy slate skies, became sparkling drips dropping from tree limbs, as mid-morning sun lit only the very extremities, the swelling tips of branches; how light-grey clouds suddenly massed and masked the differences between the clean windowsill and dusty cupboard top; how such heavy flatness became pierced through by midday glowings, fleeting and uncertain, highlighting the furze of greening birch trees on the hill at one moment, collapsing them into umber shadow the next? If I had not looked up – and out – a few times in the past few hours I would have missed all this plenitude.
Such sky-watching is possible at most moments, in most times, as I sit up in bed, unless the very thing I treasure as a contemplative photographer, my sensitivity to the I AM-light, becomes the condition I need to protect myself against (on those days I have to pull down black-out blinds to nurse a migraine or pull curtains to allow a weakened, weary body lie down quietly in the semi-dark and rest).
Such sky-watching has become the antidote to my self-entered preoccupations and the hamster-wheel of my ruminating mind. It immediately allows me to focus on the wonder of our created earth, and the abundance of minute details that Sophia dances before my eyes to demonstrate, time and again, that I am not alone; that the eternal I AM is present in all my details, if I have eyes to see.
Such sky-watching is also the corrective to my craving to see change. I am impatient for my healing from the chronic functional neurological disorder which has affected me for the past thirty years. I am desperate to see a permanent break in my cycles of clinical depression. I am longing to alter the patterns of self-sabotage and lack of self-compassion which dictate how I use (and fail to refuel) my precious, fragile energy source. I am incredibly fortunate to have a gifted counsellor and beloved friends who reflect back how my healing is happening, but if I ever need a cosmic reminder that change is happening I need only look out the window, and then look back into my mundane habitat with renewed vision.
Such sky-watching confirms in me my hunch that healing is about wholeness, not wellness. There may be little variation in the physical symptoms of my condition from one year to the next, but how I deal with those symptoms, how I understand and articulate my feelings about them, how they colour my relationship with my Source, is open to infinite shifts and adjustments, and will in turn, affect how I interact with the people and world around me.
Such sky-watching has become intricately linked with my determination to turn away from living a fear-filled life, to embodying a creativity-filled life, even if – especially if – most days I don’t leave my bed for more than an hour or two.
This too then, is what this year has brought me: a reconnection to the bedrock need for gratitude as a transforming force in my life. Sky-watching fills me with the wonder of a life based on abundance, not on lack. So there is plenty of material into which I can go ‘mining for gold’ as I have written about several times over the course of this last year. Sky-watching encourages my feeble faith to believe that there is always, always, a wonder for me to see, inside and outside of myself, if I will but continue to follow the path of Light, the one the God of Holy Surprises lays down before me, through every twist and turn.
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Beautiful images and heart felt sharing. Thank you!!
Dear Kate, this was amazing and beautiful and inspiring. I have only been struggling with chronic illness for three years, but I recognize so much of my struggles in your post, and am comforted and inspired by all you have learned. I have always loved watching the seasons and observing the passage of the sun through the year, and this only enriches that passion all the more. Thank you!
I used to grow colorful flowers that I can share to others via blown up on US postal stamp pictures.
Now at church when I see colorful clothes I tell them they are reflecting a color meaning.
You have written these: green= new life, gold=divinity God loved it so much for them to use it to cover the inside of the desert tabernacle. red= the blood of Christ, blue=truth, yellow= fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5 vs 22-23 like lemons, and pretty flowers, charcoal black= like black absorbs all light wave lengths we absorb God’s love and white=purity and
since white is when all wave lengths off; The degree we receive God’s love the more we can reflect love to others.
Black is also crucial because we must have it to print Bibles & books.
My name is Bernie=phonetic burny= fiery trials Malachi 3 vs 2-3, & Isaiah 43 v 2b.
from How Firm a Foundation song: “When thru fiery trials thy pathway shall lie. ‘My grace is sufficient’ will be your supply. The fire will not harm you it’s only designed thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
dross is the impurities in silver ore.
Also, earthen vessels must go thru the fiery kilns So, 2nd Corinthians 4 vs 6-7; Light that shines in our hearts:
knowledge of God’s light is glorified in the face of Jesus Christ. in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power of God may be His and not ours!.”