In the final ‘Foliate Man‘ ritual, just under two weeks ago, I metamorphosed from the Veiled One to The Bright One.
This created a shudder of expectation through my mind – and, as it turned out, a misunderstanding of the nature of brightness. I felt I should be chirpy and cheerful, smiling and energetic, laughter-filled and beautiful, positive and full of life. Anything less than this felt like failure, felt as if I had been wrongly cast, was letting the side down in some way.
I have tried to be all those things in the weary days since I returned from the Nightingale Centre. I have tried my hardest to banish woe, to let my face light up with joy whenever possible, to be a beacon of bright.
And I have battened down the hatches upon the roiling storm of emotional truth which lay beneath the bright mask: The dark side, if you will, The Shadow One.
But cramming emotion down exacts a price. Trying to be the perfect Flower Fairy sets up a dangerous space for weeds to enter the garden and try to take over. Unable to express the rage and fear, the deep sadness and sense of betrayal, my physical being has turned upon itself, sending out violent shock-waves of agonising pain.
I am very sad and hurt at present. The struggle to be chirpy and cheerful is more than I can cope with most of the time. Therefore, I have to trust that those who love me will not ditch me because, today, I am crying more than I am smiling; because my sense of brightness is dimmed; because I am exhausted, scared and debilitated; because I have been battered emotionally for so long that I struggle to see myself as a worthwhile human being, someone who deserves love, gentleness, kindness, respect.
These thoughts whirring round in my mind like crazed caged hummingbirds have made me feel that I have ceased to be the person who was crowned with flowers and married, ritually, amidst such loveliness; that I have been sacrificed upon the altar of another’s ego and rapacious appetite; that bright has turned to dull, dusty, doomed.
I cannot begin to describe the screeching and wailing of muscles and sinews last night and this morning: An orchestral crescendo of such anguish that, several times, I feared I would cease to be human, alive, at all.
And yet, just as all seemed lost, two communications reminded me that I had been given the joyous part of the Bright One – and that this mystic conferral of ancient Light upon me went deeper, and was less obvious, than our superficial understanding might suggest.
A friend, in a lovely comforting ‘letter’, referred to me as ‘Shining One’ – at a time when doubt had clouded the whole picture. Then, this morning, one of my best friends, in a text, made reference to the pleasure of seeing, ‘…your beaming face…’
I looked up ‘beaming’ because the choice of word seemed significant (this friend is very much attuned to me, and has a kind of psychic connection). To my delight, the definitions included ‘Bright’ and ‘Radiant’…
The truth of the matter is this: Yesterday evening, when my face beamed, I was in great pain (of body and spirit) – and yet, miraculously, something of brightness, of radiance, came through, and was picked up by the sensitive and the aware.
This is hugely comforting – and profoundly confounding, because it turns my self-image on its head, and hints at the true nature of The Bright One. It does not lie in me being cheery and full of wit; it does not demand physical beauty or constant laughter; it does not stipulate a broad smile, twinkling eyes, an even temperament or a lantern so bright that it blinds all who come close.
No. I do not have to be perfect, or happy, or beautiful, or hilarious in order to be The Bright One. That brightness is a quality of my spirit and exists independently of my particular mood, life experience, pattern of mind. It is an integral part of who I am – and does not have to prove itself in overt displays of colourful whirling feathers.
I do not have to slay dragons, or be stunningly gorgeous, or sweet-natured, in order to deserve that inner brightness. It does not have to be earned through the hard work of constant happiness, nor am I going to have it taken away from me if I weep and give way to despair from time to time.
I am The Bright One because I am ME, and not because I am a paragon of all the feminine virtues.
Those who cannot see it probably never will – and those who can radiate a brightness of their own, like calling to like.
In sacrificing my own preconceptions, and prejudices, about the real nature of The Bright One, I have opened the space for renewal and healing and the true cosmic balance between Light and Dark, Brightness and Shadow.
There was no failure – unless being fully human is deemed as such.