Posts Tagged ‘The Dark’

Via Negativa….

February 2, 2012

I have been reading Matthew Fox’s “Original Blessing” and the poem of that name  came from that  reading.  It’s a world and wealth of divergent Philosophy of Theology in this book;  it  intrigues me.  I have been studying the chaos and comfort of Shintoism for the past few years, but being (mostly) Western in culture and thought, this  book of Matthew Fox doesn’t grate upon other philosophies.  It includes them in an enormous and pungent stew of theologies.  Perhaps the issue is to find those things in there that feed and nurture a seeker, as some of us are called.

I haven’t finished this book, but am surprised to find myself reading it every day, in the morning, and surprised  how much it feeds my poetical attempts.  Fox has themes, or spirals of placement here: Via Positiva, Via Negativa, and I think the third one is Via Creativa….I haven’t read that far along yet.

Yesterday I was talking to my 99 year old Aunt Jean, a beloved and very philosophical relative, quick in mind if tiring in body right now.  And only after getting off the phone (she had some class to go to…) did I think of what the Via Negativa could be and probably was:  Aunt Jean was talking about the ‘calendar knowing her age, and forcing her to attend to her years’.  LOL!  Well, the calendar is the same for all of us, and especially in the Winter. She said that all of January she was low in energy, just not able to do much (this from a woman who does much, probably too much!) and I thought this Via Negativa was a perfect process to follow in the beginning of the year, say January to February.

Via Negativa, if I understand it,  (and I don’t deeply) is an acceptance of the Dark, of Silence, of Unknowing, of Stillness, of Unknowing the voice of God, of just Waiting.  Well, it seems that this season, this Winter, is the perfect time to make our peace with the Via Negativa.  Perhaps to gather our energies, to sit and stare out the window at nothing, to draw nearer a low fire, to feel empty and to feel the void around us.  To await the next cycle…or spiral…of Via Creativa, that of Spring and all that means…all that blooming, tender energy.  So a small poem came out of this ‘silent’  path, this new concept of Via Negativa.  It fit the gray outside and and gave some sense to this time.

Lady Nyo


Via Negativa


Winter is the perfect channel

To carry Via Negativa,

No static

Just Silence, Stillness

And the embracing Dark.


On this path,

We sit in contemplation,

relish the early dusks,

No answers,

No struggle,

We empty ourselves of movement.


This time is filled by little outside;

A flash of darting cardinal

Like a stream of blood

racing past our eyes,

The sound of a falling limb

makes us search the skies,

The moaning of the wind

bustling around limbs,

soothes us,

 the rattle of skeleton- bones

Of  attic haunts

does not disturb us.


These are part of this path,

this dark quietude of a particular season.


And yes, Death,

As Winter brings

To those who succumb to frigid winds,

And those lost from shelter.


We spiral into the Darkness,

Where we barely need breath,


Conserve our energy,

And stare outside at such

A severe palette.


Stilling ourselves,

stilling our hearts and thoughts,

We draw closer to low fires,

Scratch our dried skin

Like a monk in a hair shirt,

And, with time and patience–

spiral back into the light of Spring.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012


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