Several years ago I dreamed of the passion writings still crystallising..
In the dream, passion was two rocks hard to lift from the ground, a black and a red. They were knee high, one almost bell shaped, the other more rounded, both firmly settled on the baked dust.
The first rock was a deep velvet black, dense and undifferentiated, like that midnight after a sweat lodge with an Oglala friend, when we both looked into the dark sky and felt it was a good night to die. The second rock was red, rent with black wounds like sword cuts, and other scars, yet speckled with gold, and with patches of a rich ochre like the scorched earth out of which the heart was first formed.
The red is born of the black, fire rising from a wound, but the black remains a mysterious power latent in the red. The black is a stillness that cannot be moved, the red will leap into a movement that cannot be stopped.
I know that to finish the passion writings I will have to lift both rocks.
I stand there, staring at the impossible summons.
Brokenness of heart and unbreakableness of spirit are linked= this is the Black and Red.
Brokenness of heart in the tragedy of humanity, and unbreakable spirit in the fight to redeem it, are linked in passion.
Black= “By sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” [Proverbs, 15, 13].
Red= “Jacob’s heart fainted.. but his spirit recovered” [Genesis, 45, 26-27].
The irrationality of the wound that deepens us does not make sense or add up by any light, be it scientifically intellectual, philosophically rational, or apophatically mystical. From any vantage point in Eros, the Daemonic is beyond the pale, and cannot be integrated into the grand Wholeness that harmonises all variation, balances all opposites, and unites all hierarchic levels of complexity. The Daemonic has no symbolic images, and it has no metaphysical names. It is the unknown God for whom the Greeks left a memorial. Indigenous peoples confronted the Daemonic walking abroad on the earth, and gave it a name that signifies no name can be given to it, because what has been confronted is ‘wakan’– strange, odd, unusual, holy, mysterious, dynamic in change and powerful in action, yet upsetting any structured order, from the mechanical to the cosmic.
David prays for Eros, to escape the Daemonic, in Psalm 55=
“My heart is sore pained within me… and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me and have overwhelmed me. And I said, O that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo there would I wander far off.. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest..”
Of all the manoeuvres we could perform in the fearful hands of the Daemonic God, this is the worst. In the Black, there is no Eros to rescue us.
We are in the West, called Wiyohipeyata, because it is where the sun goes down. This is the finishing of things. We started on an edge, stepped off, and are now in a gap, suspended between the loss of the old and the not yet arrival of the new. We are in suspense over whether there will be any rebirth. In the Black, you lose all hope, because ‘the finish of things’ means everything is done. It goes forward, and then it crashes, and then it is done. If you see any light at the end of the tunnel, you are not in the tunnel.
Yet, the fighting spirit that stirs in the Black, even when it is all over, implicates the East, called Wiyohiyanpa, because it is where the sun comes up. This is the beginning of things. The new beginning comes first on the air, before any hint of dawn, while the night is still black.
In passion, we travel from the setting sun to the rising sun, West to East. We start in dying, and then we travel to rebirth. This reverses the usual order of things.
Accept the Black, struggle in its depths, and then rise up into the Red. This is passion’s way. This is warrior way. This is heart way. It turns a lot of things upside down, and inside out. It is called, Reversal Way.
In the Black, you are in the hands of this reversal, so ordinary assumptions do not apply. Just when you are sure it is really unravelled beyond recall can be the turning point. What you thought of as victory soon sours; what you thought of as defeat slowly ripens.
Let it be what it has to be. Then it will become what it can become.
Black= depth of heart, passion brought down to the Abyss.
Red= greatness of heart, passion standing up from groundless ground in the Abyss.
If you lose the fight on the rim, it is redeemable in the Abyss.
If you lose the fight in the Abyss, you are lost, forever without any end.
In the struggle with depth, when we are gradually losing, sorrow can soften into self-pity and anger can harden into vengeance.
No heroism can be refound in the grip of the soft and the hard. It corrodes and undermines the heart.
Defeat in the Black takes various ‘pathological’ forms.
There is neurosis and psychosis– this is crazy passion.
There is criminality and wickedness– this is evil passion.
There is Nietzsche’s laughable tough guy– this is indifferent passion.
It may take a long time to connect our suffering to the tragedy of humanity, and it may take a longer time to connect our anger for truth to the fight to redeem that tragedy.
If you lose your way in the testing Black, then the proven Red never arises.
The Black clears away all that is not going to burn with God’s fire. It keeps some kindling, some wood, and this is our willingness to let fire go because we do not know true from false. Like the wheat and tares, they were mixed up. By becoming immoveable in the Black, we watch the false rise up in our heart yet do not invest in it, and gradually we cool to the false and warm to the true. When it rises, our heart starts to leap, like a dancer whose feet are in motion before they can stand up.
We will not act decisively until our sifting has readied us. We will eschew prematurity, instead we will be patient, forbearing, long-suffering.
This persisting is fortitude, and strengthens the heart. It is the acceptance of what is true, and cannot be changed. Truth is hard. Falsity is easy. Giving way to falsity is easier and induces weakness. As weakness gets a toe hold, we know we are starting to fall.
Black= what it means to have a heart.
Red= what it means to use the heart.
Black= the defeat of the false light of Lucifer.
Red= the defeat of the false fire of Satan.
Will fire be kindled in ashes?
Can this happen?
In the depth, the true Red is won from the deepest Black where it could go either way.
You don’t get rid of the passible. You come through the passible. You win through, it is a real victory, and that is why God takes the risk and then rejoices with us when it ‘comes good in the end.’
Black= the cry of the heart, the prayer most acceptable to the Daemonic God.
Red= the shout of exultation, as the heart sacrifices itself for God, by loving the world as God loves it.
Black= the Deep Mystery
Red= the Great Holiness.
‘Blessed are those who mourn’, for through their suffering, a different fire of truth is born, one able to contest the world for love.
The passionate are the wounded and the burning ones.