Monday, July 06, 2009

Moonlight on the 4th of July

I spent my 4th of July at a beach in Ventura with my dad and sister. Supposedly there were going to be fireworks there, but apparently they were being held in Oxnard, many miles down the coast, and so while we could see fireworks, they were very small : little tiny bursts of color.

There was a dogshow at the Ventura Fairgrounds, and thus people in RVs and tents, and families had assembled by the hundreds down by the beach to watch the fireworks.

Since they didn't actually hold fireworks at the beach anywhere in Ventura, it was needless to say anticlimactic if you like fireworks.

Since I generally am not too fond of fireworks myself, this wasn't really a problem, and actually quite a bonus, for me. I got to enjoy some of the color, but without all the loud sounds of explosions. (I know, you're saying, hey, Ziggy, for someone who doesn't like explosions, you chose a strange religion, it being a "warrior" religion and all. You must be weird. First of all, yes, I am weird ; secondly, it's not a "warrior" religion ; thirdly, I chose it because it was the only religion on the planet that specifically talks about Wyrd as something Good!)

On the other hand, the moon was almost full, and its light was shimmering on the waves iridescent like dancing nymphs in white linen negligees, or like Odin writing runes in wavering Arabic script with Mani's light upon the waters. It was just gorgeous and awe-inspiring.

The appearance it gave, with the anticlimactic, diminutive, and only occasional fireworks in the distance, was of flocks of families converging on the shores to watch the moonlight on the water.


That was a powerful impression.

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be awesome to live in a culture where without the pretext of fireworks, families would assemble to come and watch the moonlight?

Really no ritual is necessary at all. There is something about having that gathering of families to witness a natural epiphany of beauty and wonder that is itself religious. Liturgy would almost make the cake too sweet. If I were to add any liturgy, it would be only as window dressing, only as merest framework to set the tone and then leave it alone. (Perhaps the problem with much of organized religion is that it does not know when to leave well enough alone.) Both Saxo's tale of Odin's undoing of ritual complications, as well as Havamal's invocation of not overgiving or oversacrificing suggest that in heathenism there has always been a sense of sacred simplicity.

The fact of the matter is you don't have to do much. When you've got moonlight on the water, and families gathered, it's an event, and it speaks.

Visions of a heathen revival flooded my imagination. Simple. Beautiful. Elegant. Powerful.

Best 4th of July I've had in years.


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