Crossing the Threshold

Everyday Myths: Monday, Day of the Moon

Wait, what day is it?

Who hasn’t had thought like this since Covid-19 turned our lives upside down? Given that the world’s current relationship to time is primarily industrial, such temporal dislocation shouldn’t be surprising. Until recently, a calendar week had consisted of two main segments, workdays and weekends. Without that familiar structure, many of us have felt unmoored.

Time hasn’t always been so mechanical. We owe our current concept of a calendar week to the ancient Babylonians, who divided the 28-day moon cycle into four seven-day quarters. Though the days’ names have changed, the quarter-moon structure has withstood the test of time. 

The English distinctions we use today derive from Germanic, Norse, and Roman myth:

Monday — Day of the Moon
Tuesday — Day of Tiw (Tyr)
Wednesday — Day of Woden (Odin)
Thursday —Thor’s Day of Thor
Friday — Day of Frigg or Freyja
Saturday — Day of Saturn
Sunday — Day of the Sun

In ancient cultures, including Greek, Roman, and Egyptian, days were not just a sequence where each day merely connected the day before with the day after. Each day had its own distinct qualities, like a tone of the musical scale or a color of the rainbow. Think of Monday as red. In this analogy, Tuesday would be orange, with its own unique attributes, not just a connection point between red and yellow.

Day of the Moon

Selene, Greek Goddess of the Moon

Monday gets its name from Máni, the Norse personification of the Moon. In Greek myth, she known Selene and often associated with Artemis, goddess of the hunt, and Hecate, the goddess of crossroads and magic. The Romans called her Luna or Diana. 

Selene drove her chariot across the night sky, alternating shifts with her brother Helios who had the day shift. At the end of her ride, she passed the chariot to her sister Eos, goddess of the dawn.

If you associate the seven days of the week with the seven colors of the rainbow, you might think of Monday as red, the base of the visible spectrum. While you’re at it, you might link this metaphor to another archetypal system built around the number seven, the chakras.

Vedic View

In the Vedic chakra system, the Root or Base Chakra, called Mūlādhāra, represents the survival center, our instinctual nature, what Freud called the id. In the face of fear, we fight, flee, or freeze. In search of comfort, we pursue food, sleep, and sex. This is the symbolic home of courage, resourcefulness, and survival instinct.

The root chakra also connects us with the spiritual energies of our ancestors, their challenges and triumphs. Containing a record of our encoded memories of war, famine, and natural disasters, these memories travel through time, passing from generation to generation, creating unconscious behavioral patterns. With COVID-19, we’re experiencing collective trauma, one that has activated our unconscious patterns, causing our most primal survival mechanisms to surface. 

The light of the Moon helps us to see these shadowy patterns, allowing us to respond intentionally to our current predicament instead of reacting to a past trauma when our forefathers had limited biological understanding and fewer technological resources.

An Experiment: Monday Wisdom

To honor the Moon, tend the most primal part of your subconscious self, the part concerned with survival. 

Start by noticing that YOU ARE HERE. 

You are in this world at this time. 

You deserve to be here now. 

There is a reason for you to be here. 

What do you need here and now?

The Moon reflects light and spends much of her time obscured by Earth’s shadow. By her light, we can navigate the dark. 

Sit with yourself and ask what you might notice if you were fully present. Be still and listen for answers.

Thriving begins with surviving, with meeting your needs. How attuned are you to what you truly need? When you eat, do you swing from craving to craving, or do you nourish your body?

This concept applies to the mental and emotional diet, as well. 

What kind of information do you feed yourself? Do you get high on future-tripping and crystal ball predictions, or do you consume news that is relevant to you and actionable?

When you clothe yourself, do you simply cover your nakedness, or do you lovingly warm and protect yourself from the elements? How do you protect yourself from outside entities that would drain your life-force?

Ask yourself:

If I could see more of myself clearly, what would I notice?

To be clear, I’m not proposing this model as The Truth, merely a way to engage time more meaningfully. The ancient Greeks were a much more reflective and introspective culture than ours today. We’ve lost touch with our inner lives as we’ve adapted to our roles as cogs in a capitalist machine. 

Our associations with days, months, and hours are breaking down, giving us a rare opportunity to question and explore our relationship to time. Perhaps by engaging ancient mythic wisdom, we can bring deeper meaning and purpose to our daily lives.

Crossing the Threshold

Today’s Actions Determine Tomorrow’s Options

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

When humanity began to adapt to the spread of the novel coronavirus, it caused interesting psychological reactions. Isolation means different things to different people. In terms of productivity, I noticed two basic responses.

Some people (like myself) trumpeted seizing the day. Write your novel! Start a blog! Declutter your homes! Finally, there was time to tackle the big projects.

Another personality type posted memes about how you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t get out of bed for a week. Be good to yourself. Sleep as much as you need. Take hot baths. After all, no one alive today has ever faced circumstances like these.

Both are strong reactions to fear and uncertainty. Neither is right. And they both are. My clients, friends, and family have all vacillated back and forth, as we integrate the two polarities.

Self-isolation has created new opportunities and problems. Nearly everyone I’ve talked to is on the fence as to whether the juice is worth the squeeze.

In March, I was enthusiastically getting ready to teach Mythic Manifestation, my first myth-based goal-setting seminar, and preparing to enroll in a Mythological Studies Ph.D. program this fall.

Just like that, my goals evaporated. Like everyone else, I’m grieving the death of a dream, the dream of the future I believed in. There are moments when I want to curl up and never get out of bed.

My massage business had to close. With my primary source of income wiped out and fearing I might never see my family again, I left San Francisco to shelter with my dad and stepmom in Oklahoma. (This is your indicator that Hell has indeed frozen over.)

Driving across the country was a hasty decision I will never regret. Not only did I enjoy a super-cool Route 66 adventure, but now I’m getting to know my parents in a way I never would have otherwise. I would not have chosen this experience, but wouldn’t trade it either.

At the collective level, people all over the world have time to examine and practice their values. For one thing, the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota cop might have been swept under the rug like countless others, if not for time, attention, and energy freed up for people all over the world to say “enough is enough,” possibly leading to long-overdue systemic change.

Here’s the timeless truth: Today’s actions determine tomorrow’s options.

What you do matters, but not because it makes you a good or bad person. Your inherent worth is a constant. Nothing you do can ever make you more or less valuable than you already are. You are essential. You are a necessary part of the cosmic dance, with all your strengths, weaknesses, and perfect imperfections.

Of course, it’s great to rack up some accomplishments. Achieving goals builds self-confidence and God knows we need that right now. However, you need not punish yourself for not having the self-discipline to write an Oscar-worthy screenplay while achieving the ultimate home-gym body, or because you haven’t solved racism or topple patriarchy yet. There’s no cosmic judge staring down disappointedly at your lack of interest in the things you said you would do if you had the time.

Please don’t measure yourself against a superhuman ideal. (I tried it for years. It sucks and it’s unhelpful.) Likewise, be generous with people who are struggling, especially if you’re one of them. Anyone who says he hasn’t had a bad day in the last three months is either lying or oblivious.

The reason your actions matter is because they literally create the future!

If you do eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

If you do one push up, you will begin to build muscle.

If you write 500 words, you will have something you can edit.

If you tell someone you love them, you’ll feel more connected.

This is the first issue of Crossing the Threshold, the beginning of a new journey for me. It came out of a process of asking myself what is important to me, what I enjoy, and how I can help. I invite you to do the same thing.

Are your thoughts and actions aligned with the future you want for yourself, within the circumstances? You may not be able to end Covid, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome life of magic and meaning. One day. One thought. One action at a time.

Crossing the Threshold

The Paradox of Love

One rainy San Francisco afternoon, I was enjoying a glass of wine with someone I’d met through a mutual friend. When he mentioned that person, warmth filled my chest, and a feeling of affinity and kinship quickened in me. “I love that guy,” I said.

The two of them had a long history together and had shared years of formative and transformational experiences. I had heard some of their stories, but I was relatively new to the picture.

“You don’t even know him,” he replied. “I hate it when people use the word ‘love’ so casually. It cheapens it.”

Wow.

I was floored. I felt shamed, hurt, and really confused. What in the world was this guy talking about? At the time, I couldn’t think of a question that would help me get clarity. His indictment of my expression of Love as something unworthy left me feeling slimed. How in the world can Love be casual?

After a lot of processing, I came to understand that for him, Love was an award given to someone who had gone through a filtering process. It was reserved for those select few. In his world, Love was something to be earned or developed over time. Now, I have no idea what kind of criteria he used, but clearly, it was a scarce commodity, not to be wasted on the unworthy.

That is not at all how I experience Love. From my perspective, Love exists everywhere and between everyone. It’s the magnetic force that holds the universe together, an eternal sacred quality that can be called forth by naming it.

By speaking lovingly about someone who is not present, we invite others to sing their praises with us, to share stories about what they bring to our world, their quirks and contributions, and why they mean so much to us. Through this conversation, Love expands in intensity and scope. We all benefit from its visit, our hearts filled.

Sharing Love doesn’t diminish it. Love doesn’t thin out as it spreads. Love’s nature is to become more abundant as it is shared.

That’s the paradox of Love — the more we give, the more we have. By letting Love flow freely, we attune to its rhythm and frequency. We learn to dance with its familiar song that strengthens the heart and moves the soul.

When we inhibit Love’s flow, when we dam it up and hold it in reserve, it stagnates. We may feel a sense of ownership or dominion over it, and feel safe from its wildness, but it loses its vibrancy and the transformational power that comes when it rushes freely through the world.

If Love remains blocked for too long, we may lose our ability to channel its energy. We forget what it feels like to let it course through us unbridled.

Allowing it to flow again might be painful at first, frightening us with the knowledge that it could break our hearts — but when it does move freely, it nourishes everyone and everything it touches. Letting Love flow is at once the most generous and selfish thing we can do.

Some say a person exists not within a body, but inside a conversation. When we bring Love to the discussion of someone, even when they are not physically present, we give them Love in a meaningful, concrete way. When I say I love someone, and you that person later, you bring my expression of Love into your interaction with them.

When we feel sad, isolated, or lonely, calling to mind the people we love is like opening a boarded-up window to let in the light. What’s even better is calling these people to tell them that we love them.

I’ve never regretted telling someone I love them, but I’ve regretted not doing so. Loving people is so much easier, more empowering and life-affirming than withholding Love. It makes life better — for everyone.