Bright Blessings is a signature, greeting, and sign-off frequently used by pagans and Wiccans. It’s a lovely way to send good wishes and blessings to readers, listeners, friends, and strangers. Several years ago, I started signing my posts with “Blessings, bright and Dark,” in acknowledgement that the bright/light and the dark are all part of the one, each providing definition and understanding to the other. In my way of thinking, the light reveals while the dark illuminates. The light relentlessly demands our understanding of the facts and information while the dark asks that we reflect and deepen our understanding. Realizing wisdom from the light is, perhaps, easier; while in the dark, you have to delve into the realm of the hidden.
In the dark, we have to soften our focus, lose our reliance on our sense of sight and learn to trust other senses outside the five. Our intuition, perception and ability to guess (intuit) are senses we need to use. In both the light and the dark we need to be strong and courageous in seeking wisdom and magic. To me, the dark and the dark moon are paths to explore and it takes awhile to understand the nuance and texture of the dark. It is not something to fear, even though we are taught that the dark is evil.
One of the High Priestesses of my acquaintance talked about the dark blessings. Through difficult times, we become better, stronger, more sure of ourselves and more divine. Lately, a number of us in my circle have been confronted with issues of aging, chronic pain, death, and disability. For myself, I’ve learned not to fear words like stroke, surgery, cancer, and pain. At this point, it was family member(s) and not me and I found the suffering of a bystander and loving person to have its own unique pain. In addition to learning courage, I found humor, more love, and unexpected gifts and new stories to be told. These blessings are not like winning the lottery to be greeted with unalloyed joy and exuberance, these dark blessings are ones that make our wounds and pains to be a thing of beauty and survival. It’s a “gee thanks, I think,” kind of blessing. Actually, it’s deeper and more profound than that.
Years ago, a former lover died suddenly and unexpectedly. It was a tumultuous and difficult relationship so the grief was tempered with guilt, and anger. The cantor who gave the eulogy said some beautiful things that touched me to my very soul. I cannot remember all the words exactly but it went something like this: It is not fair to lose someone from your life like this. You will be different now. You will be harder, and you will be softer; you will be uncertain and you will be more certain; you will be more negative and you will be more positive. I made those words up from the well of wordless comfort she gave me. What is says is that this touches you in such a way that you cannot help but be changed. It will make you have a different texture. Your understanding of yourself and life will be changed. Such it is when the dark touches you and invites you into its realm.
To me, that is the call of the Dark Moon path. To go into that realm of illumination and to be changed, to emerge different. To face the darkness, the shadows and the hidden is to go courageously into that which frightens us, freaks us out and makes us more whole.
The dark and the light is a continuum not an opposition. As Kallan Kennedy writes on The Secret Life of the American Working Witch, this misinterpretation of darkness and light has caused a sort of one-dimensional thinking.
Go bravely wherever you go
Into the dark or into the light
Learn from the bright blessed day
And the dark sacred night.
And everyday and in every way
You change, transform and make your mark
To you, blessings, bright and Dark.