Today is the Winter Solstice, an important day in the calendar, when darkness culminates and the return of light begins.
The darkness has seemed particularly dark this year, so the end of this cycle is welcome. But before moving on I felt like taking a minute (or an hour) to wallow in it. Darkness, after all, is overcome by confronting it, not by avoiding it; in the I Ching, the “young light” emerges only after “darkness is increased by one.”
But of course, being who I am, I couldn’t resist adding some uplift at the end. It may take a while to arrive, but hold on, it’s coming. I recommend listening at dusk with a cocktail in hand, as I am doing at this very moment.
[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/American_Magic_and_Dread/sacred-songs-part-5-darkness-increased-by-1/ width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1 light=1]
This mix is dedicated to the memory of the fat John Goodman, who apparently is no more.
[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/American_Magic_and_Dread/sacred-songs-part-4-the-life-of-the-mind/ width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1 light=1]
- Look Upon Me John Goodman
- This World The Staple Singers
- If I Follow My Mind Jimmy Cliff
- It’s All in Your Mind The Soul Angels
- Stoned Out of My Mind The Chi-Lites
- Out of My Mind Buffalo Springfield
- Can’t Find My Mind The Cramps
- Dear Prince Lord Buckley
- Starfish and Coffee Prince
- All in My Mind Love and Rockets
- My Mind Is Connected… The Soft Boys
- Turn Off Your Mind Timothy Leary/The Stranglers
- Tomorrow Never Knows Junior Parker
- My Body Is a Cage Peter Gabriel
- Cut the Body Loose Astronautilus
- Postures (Leave Your Body Behind) Chris Thomas & Tabby Thomas
- Light Years The Gift of Gab
- Free Your Mind/Back in Our Minds Funkadelic
I know it’s generally considered rude to remind people that they’re going to die. But I’ve been guilty of it in the past, and if you listen to this I’ll be guilty of it again:
[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/American_Magic_and_Dread/sacred-songs-part-3/ width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1 light=1]
And yes, sure, it can de depressing to contemplate mortality. But then again, as Ford Prefect says (paraphrasing, I think, Dr. Johnson), “the prospect of death contracts the mind wonderfully.” Often as not, and maybe this is just a quirk of my strange personality, I find being reminded of my own eventual demise oddly exhilarating: a reminder that I am in fact alive now, and free to do as I please for whatever time remains. It can be nice and bracing, like a splash of cold water across the face, if you’re into that kind of thing. Caveat auditorus.
And so, end of the trail beckons. See you at the finish line.
Here’s another musical collage for your entertainment and edification:
[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/American_Magic_and_Dread/sacred-songs-part-2/ width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1]