THE MOON SYMBOLICALLY CONSIDERED

SELENE, or Diana, or Luna, is the twin sister of the Sun. She is complete woman, in all phases, untouched by male caresses.

The Moon in her increase is the child, innocent and receptive, smiling above the sunset; nightly we see her grow, nearer and nearer to her triumph over darkness, queen of heaven! It is this Moon that gleams so phantastically yet so candescent, a motive repeated again and again in the hymns of every poet. Keats was a mere nympholept to the Moon, like his own Endymion. In the pages of Swinburne, her lustre lamps fitfully his verse. Baudelaire, one of the greatest of all poets, seems rather of the moon than of the earth. The Indian lyrists chant her beauty in unnumbered songs, and the priests of all nations have done worship to her on hidden altars. She has been incorporated in all religions as the symbol of woman at her highest.

Yet she is also huntress like her brother Apollo; she is to be seen in dim woods with her maidens and her hounds. Woe to him who, not being utterly chaste, surprises her! Her arrows are barbed with silver as his with gold; and if his are dipped in death, so are hers poisoned with madness. Restlessness, hunger for the unattainable, seeking after strange pleasures, such are some of the lesser signs of moon-infatuation.

It is noticeable how small a section of poetic attention is given to the gracious childhood of the Moon. For at first she is asleep in the arms of the Sun, and almost before we are aware she springs to fullness. {151}

But glorious is that fullness. She is now Sophia, the Virgin Wisdom of the Father. It is she that appears in the gloom of the threshold, and leads us into the Temple. She is our pure aspiration to things high and holy, the triple cord that binds us to the stainless unity beyond all. She is the veil upon the sanctuary, the mist of tears before the eyes of the penitent. She is sorrow, and pure love that burns up sorrow! She is the lustral water, and the mystic bearer of the Holy Grail. It is she who will clothe us about with all purity and all perfection; it is she who will give us to drink in the House of the Father.

Gaze upon her splendour, gaze not only with your eyes but with your heart; follow her in dreams with such strength that dream becomes reality. For the Moon is in heaven what the sea is upon earth; and what that is, only they know who truly love the sea.

For so do we gain life most, when most absolutely we surrender it; the goal of our existence is not on earth. Life is but an ordeal; let us manfully pass through it; but whatever its rewards may be, it is not on earth but in heaven that we come to the understanding of ourselves. That is the End of the Quest.

 

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