Love, the stars, and planets
"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."
On January 7, 1610, Galileo turned the first telescope to the sky. He modeled it after a toy, a spyglass made by a Dutch optician. The spyglass magnified the world by three; Galileo’s telescope magnified the world by 30. The device was so crude that it seemed the most normal and childlike of actions. After all, where better to turn a telescope?
What did he see? He saw the dark age-spotted moon. He saw that the Milky Way was a tight, clustered collection of stars, too innumerable to count. He saw Jupiter had four moons. And he saw that the sun had many imperfections. His most controversial belief, however, regarded his support of the Copernican idea that humans were not the center of the universe. It turned out that both the Church and leading views were wrong. The planets revolved around the sun.
That was a difficult, radical revelation and challenge for the human ego of the times. So much so that Galileo was thrown in jail. His radical beliefs cost him his freedom. He could not speak or write about what he knew. He lost his vision. And in spite of myriad requests for clemency, Galileo spent the last eight years of his life confined to his home. He wrote to a friend, "The universe which I with my astonishing observations and clear demonstrations had enlarged a hundred, nay, a thousand fold beyond the limits commonly seen by wise men of all centuries past, is now for me so diminished and reduced, it has shrunk to the meager confines of my body." Blind and imprisoned, he still believed in the magic that he had seen.
My son keeps asking me questions about Santa. He figured out the fallacy of flying reindeers, of space and time, and the improbability of delivering presents to so many in so short of a time. He looked at me and said, "you know what mama, if it's not true, I don't want you to tell me. I still want to believe." He craves the magic of it.
We all crave the magic of the flower floating on the water, of Aurora Borealis, the feeling of a first kiss, the way a song or book moves us.
I think what Galileo taught us is as much a spiritual lesson as a scientific one. It is a metaphor for love.
Love entails a de-centering, where our beloved becomes the sun that we revolve around. Our galaxy expands and wobbles. We are no longer the center of our own universe. We have our own internal Copernican revolution.
In Freeing Lily, Book Two of the Tantra Series, Lily Seger asks, “what metaphors can we use for love?”:
“I’m a very good catch myself; perhaps I fell too quickly and gave too much away too soon. I really despise that we have to play these games, but I am not so naive to believe that they don’t matter. Let’s face it, romance is a game and how we play the game is important. I’d like to find and live a better metaphor for it, but for now, that’s what I’ve got. Maybe love is a journey? Milan Kundera discusses this in one of my favorite books as a teenager, The Unbearable Lightness of Being , when he
says ‘love begins with a metaphor,’ and as such can be a dangerous phenomenon.Choose the right metaphor, the right story. The story we tell matters. What will be my and Win’s story?” (Freeing Lily, 2018)
We ask your, dear reader, which metaphors guide your heart in love?
(purchase Freeing Lily on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2EP2xth