Water on the moon

up to the highest heightScientists recently hurled an empty rocket stage into a crater on the moon where it’s about 365 degrees below zero, throwing up a cloud of dust so they could analyze it.  They found a number of gallons of water, by their calculations, suggesting that there could be raw material to make into drinking water, oxygen and even rocket fuel (hydrogen as a component of H20).  For the NY Times report on this see: http://tiny.cc/Gq3XS.

Now water on the moon is a nice surprise to learn about, but in the sixty mile wide and two mile deep crater where they found it, water was there whether we knew about it or not.  What intrigues me about this goes more along the symbolic meaning of the moon, and what these sorts of changes in awareness might offer to our collective, ever-shifting consciousness.

Traditionally the sun is the symbol of male intellect and enlightenment, reason and rationality—good to a point, but followed to its reductionist extreme we get a world on the brink.  The moon was queen before the sun became king.  The moon was the basis for most calendars before the sun was.  The moon makes it around the earth thirteen times in a year, and when matriarchy fell to patriarchy the circle was cut into twelve pieces, an arbitrary number that makes for leap years in trying to keep our created calendar in synch with the earth’s cyclic journey around the sun.  Thirteen fell out of favor, whole buildings appear to lack thirteenth floors (maybe we’ll find them where Hermes, the 13th god, hid them—in the craters on the moon).

The moon is a symbol of the unconscious, the feminine, the non-rational and mysterious.  The moon is feminine, ruling tides, menstrual cycles and moods.  The moon is more the mother than the father, and in the context of revisioning parenting as a mindfulness path (rather than a science experiment based on reason) the moon may currently have more to offer than the sun.

Water is a symbol of fertility (mother as sea:  mere/mer/mar), purity, transformation (lake, mist, cloud, rain/snow in a cycle) and the unconscious. 

I am haunted by the timing of personally nearly drowning as a child in a lake in Wisconsin at just about the same time as Neil Armstrong, carried by Apollo (god of the sun) 11, walked on the moon.  Trapped under a dock, I could see the rays of sunlight above me, but could not reach the air; walking in his spacesuit, Neil Armstrong could not sense any water.  I yearned for a world with more water in the tenor of relationships—more softness, more honoring of the subtle and numinous spirit that, to me at least, pulsed and still pulses in the play of shadows and in the industry of insects—and in the unconditioned art and utterances of children.

I’ve always felt leery of the “facts” I’ve been taught.  In psychology school Jung was as foreign to most of my professors as was Satyajit Ray, Ingmar Bergman and Fellini—worthy psychologists in my book.  Water is the feeling function and it exists even where we thought all was only cold and dark; could this be an apt metaphor about not giving up on people who seem uncaring or lacking in empathy?  Given that the “watery part of the world” extends far beyond the metaphysical ocean of Moby Dick and right out to the moon, we might all reach to expand our consciousness in order to redeem the lunar wisdom that has all but dried up in the light of the rational sun. 

Modernism has meant machines, materialism (which is not purely masculine demise so much as the shadow side of the feminine—after all, we’re not saying it isn’t cold on the dark side of the moon) and widespread alienation.  True postmodernism must include the intuitive, non-rational, mythic and mystic.  This is how we might get past our economic jitters and paralyzing (and literally sickening) fears of destruction and disintegration and come to understand that the age of the stand-alone self must give way to the age of relationship.  For this reason I argue that parenting, if we open to its multi-layers of meaning beyond procreation and continuation of the species, is our paradigm par excellence for relatedness—for grasping and living what Martin Buber means by “the essential deed” of relating from one’s spirit to the spirit of the other, beyond use, gratification and desire.  As parents, children abundantly offer this opportunity on a continual basis.  Former Czech Republic president and playwright Václav Havel described the postmodern world as being based on science, yet paradoxically “where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.”

So, here’s to dedicating today to water on the moon, to parenting as a postmodern opportunity for practicing the quintessential deed of relating, tending our, children, our planet and cultivating compassion for each other—in the service of all our collective children.

Namaste, Bruce



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