We Must Love One Another Or Die
LAYC Almanac v.31
It’s been a very strange, tumultuous, violent, yet also tender time out in the world. And still the earth turns. We quarantined through spring. Summer came and went in a blaze. And now we in the Northern Hemisphere sit squarely in fall (the season, though perhaps also of the Empire). Landscapes are shifting. Temperatures dropping. Vegetables are harvested, the edible bits pickled, fermented, stored and canned while the leaves and roots return to the earth to compost and decay through winter and make way once more for the fertile soil of spring. This decaying autumnal time brings with it a sense of connection to those who have come before us — familial ancestors but also the Ancients, wise ones who point us to insights and wisdom.
This time also reminds us that things are always shifting, changing. As Heraclitus famously explained: Panta Rhei! Life is flux! He saw life, the very essence of life, as evolution and change. A notion he saw embodied as and reflected by the flickering element of fire. As the ever-trans-mutating quality in all things, Heraclitus saw fire as the ‘primary cause’ giving rise to this unity.
For Heraclitus, logos or the word, is also fire. A metaphor for the shifting meanings of all truth. Truth, wisdom, knowledge, and reality—none can stand apart from this fire that allows no objective, salient truth. While we may desire solid truths and futures—a firm grip on something, anything—whatever it is that may appear solid—Heraclitus incessantly reminds us, it isn’t.
Contemporaneously in India, Siddhartha Gautama (the historical Buddha) recognized the same essential aspect of life—that everything is impermanent and that the see-able world is in a perpetual state of change. That which appears and disappears is governed by causation and karma. The law of flux! And this simple truth underlies all of human suffering—that people insist upon permanence in a world of impermanence leading to pain and suffering. Buddha encouraged folx to accept this essential nature of life and detach themselves from the false idea that anything which may be held is permanent. Heraclitus had the same message with one significant difference: go ahead and hold one’s self to anything, but loosely, understanding that this, as in all things, is fleeting. As William Blake sweetly reminds us aeons later—“He who binds to himself a joy / Does the winged life destroy / He who kisses the joy as it flies/ Lives in eternity’s sunrise.”
Seeking stability and certainty is an impasse. Instead, we stay with the flux, within the autumnal fire of transformation. We’re doing our best, laying low, honoring the flow, with deep devotion and reverence for the ever-changing world around us.
Wishing you ease in the flux,
Spiros + Erica
Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing,
for the known way is an impasse.
— Heraclitus, Fragments (7)
(classes + lunar notes)
OUR VIRTUAL SHALA SCHEDULE
◯ If you’re an LAYC member, or a paying Almanac subscriber we would love to send you a brand sparklin’ new magnet hot off the presses. Email your snail mail address and we’ll have that in the mail shortly.
◯ Don’t forget the clocks turn back an hour this evening (in the USA), so we get an extra hour of sleep 🥳 (this also means that for you sweet souls who don’t live next to your phones and computers, if you still operate on old fashioned clocks that haven’t been adjusted either by hand or by the internetworks, Erica's 9am Led Primary class tomorrow might appear to be an hour later than normal).
◯ View our schedule of classes at LA Yoga Club.
EATING THE SKY
(Los Angeles timezone)
Once in a Blue Moon
◯ Today’s Full Moon is blue, being October’s second full moon, and Halloween no less.
◯ Tonight radiant light pours upon the dark night as our Full Moon rises over the kitschy Halloween phantoms with all the trashy candies, earnest children and campy costumes. Over the next few days, many understand that the veil between the worlds, between the living and the deceased, is very thin. Ghosts roam freely. Karmic wrongdoings may be unearthed, screaming for justice. The ancestors are honored.
◯ One practice we enjoy—
Prepare a favorite dish, particularly if it’s a traditional one from your family.
Make an effort not to notice or enjoy the smells as you cook. No tasting either. This is for the spirits!
Prepare the dish beautifully and offer the food to the ancestors. I like leaving the offering by a great tree, and/or a nearby river.
Thank the spirits of the dead for your time here on Earth, this time for us to be alive.
◯ Tomorrow (Sunday, Nov 1) is known in Mexico and other places around the world as Día de (los) Muertos, Day of the Dead. The celebration strikes a chord of continuity all-the-way-back in time to the ancient Aztec festivals celebrating death (a theory which was strongly encouraged by Mexican poet, and Hanuman-inspired Monkey Grammarian, Octavio Paz).
◯ For Northern Hemispheric Pagans this is Samhain, welcoming the darker half of the year.
◯ Christians call this is All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, Hallowmas, the Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints—all ways of describing the Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. And this honoring lingers into the following days as All Souls' Day.
“The great wisdom of Mexico about death. The unity of death and life. The passing of the one and the birth of the next. The eternal circle, the enjoying of this circle. Death Day in Mexico. The Day of the Dead!”—Sergei Eisenstein and his 1934 film, Death Day
◯ As these lunar days wane, in the moments prior to the forthcoming New Moon, Jupiter will conjunct Pluto (Nov 12) for the third and last time, followed by Mars returning direct (Nov 13) as new energies may emerge, charging full steam ahead.
◯ Next: New Moon is on Saturday, Nov 14, at 9:07 PM.
This Edition’s List of Links
W. H. AUDEN: 'WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER OR DIE'
Nick Cave: “My experience of actual people in this time is overwhelmingly positive — there is a great deal of love and mutual regard and community. I think most of us understand that in order to rise above this particular moment we must pull together, and act with civility, generosity and kindness. We have a monumental task ahead of us that will require vast reserves of energy — we must rehabilitate the world — and this fellow feeling and mutual respect is essential to the process… Negativity, cynicism and resentment will not do. ‘We must love one another or die.’” | The Red Hand Files
The Milky Way is home to hundreds of billions of stars, and many more planets. Some come in sets, as in our own solar system. But not every planet orbits a star.
Some planets actually wander the galaxy alone, untethered. They have no days or nights, and they exist in perpetual darkness. Rogue planets, they’re called. Wanderers. Striking out on their own to carve a new path. | The Atlantic
Our favorite Golem is busy advancing a new vision for ecological and racial justice. Her latest project envisions My Golem as a spiritual replacement for Smokey Bear, metaphorically opposing the US Forest Service’s 100-year campaign of fire suppression and the longstanding oppression of Indigenous cultural fire. Learn more about her project & sign this petition to allow California prison firefighters to work professionally after release.
When we sense, feel, experience a dead loved one — is it real? Do we uphold a materialist scientific viewpoint because we believe all the great questions have been answered, or are we being gestural—afraid to appear out of sync with a consensus that presumes the mind is bounded by brain? The Atlantic Monthly’s William Dean Howells wrote so eloquently more than a century ago: “I would have the bereaved trust their mystical experiences for much truth which they cannot affirm.” Anthropologist Jack Hunter affirms: “There may be more going on. Reality doesn’t play by our rules.” Humans have always sensed the ghosts of loved ones. It's only in the last century that we convinced ourselves this was a problem. | The Walrus
“The year 1857 will be remembered as the year when all false hope was lost. So much is gone that once we could not live without, and yet we do live somehow and even sometimes think hopefully of tomorrow.”
—Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days
What year is it again? It’s 2020, allegedly, but all the clocks seem to be running backward. In the space of half a year, we’ve experienced a public health crisis, an unemployment crisis and an overdue conversation about racial injustice. We’re revisiting not only 1989 but also 1918, 1929 and 1968. Statues have toppled; institutions are being remade in real time. The greatest art that has dealt explicitly with topical matters, tends to emerge out of the national mood at a given time. But Barbara Kruger’s work has endured. It seems seems to answer to something enduring in our way of being, transcending time and space. | T-Magazine
This Tuesday: Brooklyn Raga Massive offers an election night treat to reduce our “anxiety over the election by breathing deep and singing with us, no experience needed. Neel Murgai will do a short performance of his recent experiments in looping and overtone singing, then teach us to hear and control the overtones that are always present in our own voices.” | Overtoning the Chaos: Neel Murgai
On November 21, in homage to minimalist composer Terry Riley, Brooklyn Raga Massive will debut “In D” in conjunction w/ 24 Hr Ragas Live Festival.
Mike Kelley’s Infinite Expansion and The Sublime: “I’m interested in a less elevated beauty. For me, psychedelia was sublime because in psychedelia, your worldview fell apart. That was a sublime revelation, that was my youth, and that was my notion of beauty. And that was a kind of cataclysmic sublime. It was very interiorized, it wasn’t about a metaphysical outside, it was about your own consciousness.” | The Broad
Everything you need to make it through this Tuesday more ease-fully and graciously, whether you’re going it alone, gathering virtually with scattered friends and family, or connecting safely in person: grounding and inspiring music, meditations, poems, speeches, and reflection questions to intentionally cross the threshold of Election Day 2020. | Citizen University’s Guide for Gathering
“Sometimes Form chokes us.” — Octavio Paz
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Lastly, some of our link sources of recognition, gratitude, and inspiration for this edition include Julie Weitz, Sarah Mirk, Erik Davis, Dr Concrescence, Laura Olin, Priya Parker and others. Thank you! Banner detail from GBSK.