Welcome to the festival of Bel, dancing ’round the May pole, soaking up that spring sunshine (Bel derives from the original sun god, Baal, from way back in Sumerian times). Whether you’ve come down the blog hop trail from Robin B. Wood’s Quartz Cafe or our hop wrangler Aisling the Bard‘s blog, welcome, and pick up a torch on your way in, since we’ll be using this virtual observatory to contemplate the stars in the darkness.
In honor of this fire god sort of day, I noticed that my Tarot spirit wafted in three Wands cards for my daily draw. The Knight, the Ace, and the King. Talk about your fire power day! Looking forward to working more on my first paid website redesign. I’m having way too much fun with it. 🙂
But wait. Aisling wanted us to play with the Opposites this time. Fire rising up through the dark. Just like with the stars. Can’t see ’em unless it’s dark. Funny how that works.
The Physics of Opposites
Out in the rest of the cosmos beyond Earth, the play of matter and energy, light and dark, is going on all the time. Shortly after the universe began, collisions of matter and anti-matter (talk about your opposites!) released tons of energy through the universe to help generate the creation of all those lights in the darkness that we call stars.
And those stars are in a constant battle between the opposites of gravity and expansive heat energy just to stay shining for billions of years. Once they run out of fuel to keep gravity at bay, they collapse under their own mass and become white dwarfs, brown dwarfs, or even black holes.
And yet, and yet, nothing is actually created or destroyed in this illusionary play of opposites, for the matter and energy of the universe simply change form; the total remains the same. The universe is physically One, not just “spiritually” One. Neat, huh?
The Metaphysics of Opposites
The Lovers card is supposed to be symbolic of the human game of opposites in that historically it seems to be about making a moral choice. In the pre-Golden Dawn decks like the Marseille type, there are three human figures instead of two, with what looks like a man in the middle choosing between two women, possibly one who is plain and virtuous vs. one who is prettier but maybe not so virtuous. And then Cupid hovers above ready to shoot his arrow and influence the choice. After Arthur Waite and Pamela Colman-Smith got together to build the RWS deck, though, the symbolism shifted to the moral choice that exiled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Since then, other writers and artists have shifted the symbolism even further to illustrate pagan ideas about the merging of opposites in human sexual union (male and female opposites).
To bring this back to the universe, I chose this image for my Lovers card in the Cosmic Whispers deck. These two galaxies are in fact merging into one, which will involve some actual collisions between stars, but mostly changes in orbits due to the interactions of gravity; most of the stars are too far apart to actually collide. Unlike humans making choices to join or not to join, to do the “wrong” thing or the “right” thing, these galaxies are simply following the inevitable lines of force controlled by gravity; they don’t have free choice.
That leaves the question of whether or not and if so how much we have free choice in deciding to go our own way or follow the paths of others, whether to be alone or “merge” with another in intimacy. When we “fall in love” it does often seem as if we have no choice, doesn’t it? Or do we still? Are we just on a ride along lines of emotional force that move us where they will (fate), or can we pull on our own energy of consciousness to take a different path? What do you think?
With that question, I’ll leave you with an interesting quote on the nature of love, which may or may not have an opposite:
“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…”