Rest In the Sheltering Shadow

By Josquin Deprez, one of the most cosmic musicians of all time, here is a setting of Psalm 91: "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty..."

Mystics are not afraid of the night. Christian contemplatives named God, "the divine darkness," inviting us to find truth in the "cloud of unknowing." St. John of the Cross proclaimed that illumination only happens after "the dark night of the soul." They called this path to God the "via negativa," just as the Vedantists of India called it, "neti neti: not this, not that."

Indian poet-saint Lalladev cried, "Give me the strength to take hold of the darkness!" In Chinese spirituality the Yin principle of darkness is as fertile and healing as the Yang of light.
The Jewish psalmist wrote, "Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day; darkness and light to thee are both alike" (Psalm 139). In the creation hymn of Genesis, chapter 1, we discover that God's Word of light emerges from a living sea of pulsating darkness, which is "tohu wa bohu: formless and void." Yet this is a vibrant Void where "the breath of the Spirit stirred the waters of the abyss."

These profound opening verses of the Hebrew Bible encapsulate the wisdom of modern physics: particles emerging from energy into matter as "fluctuations of the vacuum," waves of pure mathematical probability arising from the uncertain and infinitely Possible.

Throughout Eastern Europe, in the most ancient centers of Christianity, the sacred Dark was embodied in the figure of the "Black Madonna." It is she who gives birth to the Light.*

What a tragedy that Western religion came to impose its moral dualism, Good and Evil, onto the mysterious dance of Light and Dark! Let us return to the fierce sweet naked sheltering shadow, and "rest in the shadow of the Almighty. For darkness is not the opposite of light, but the womb of light. Selah.


A profound exposition of the Dark Goddess principle is given by mystic and scholar Vera de Chambelet at her website: LINK

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