Johfra Bosschart was a Dutch artist (1919-1998) who saw the world slightly different from your average person. I found his work when searching for two particular images, astrological representations for Cancer and Virgo, the signs of both my wife and myself (you can see the art for the twelve signs here). But I found more than I had hoped for. The sign for Gemini particularly struck me as being one that evoked ideas of the Mysterium Coniunctionis, a book written by Carl Jung. The central theme is that of the holy marriage. Of course Jung was talking about the marriage (awakening) of both the masculine and feminine within each human.
I continued looking at the strange images and wondered about the man whose soul was caught in those images (see a larger collection of his works here).
There were a few that startled me, images from what I could only guess were from his tortured soul during his own midlife crisis when the veil between the conscious world and the unconscious world is so thin as to allow both heaven and hell to seep through only to overwhelm. Images of darkness, in a period of darkness, give birth to either despair or hope. Hope grows out of despair.
In these dark days, today being the darkest as it is the winter solstice, we struggle as humans. We have been cast out of the Garden of Light into darkness where suffering and death reign. Thrust out of the light, we created so many trails through the wilderness of darkness, those swamplands of soul, which we followed either into madness or back into the light.
The rituals we crafted to show us the way to light, the rituals that brought us hope out of despair were vital, and remain vital. This is the true meaning of Christmas. It doesn’t matter if the story comes from Inuit roots, Germanic roots, pagan roots, or whether they spring out of religions – they all have the same task – the promise of light. So on this darkest of days, I offer you the promise of light that lays ahead in the days to come.