You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
-T.S. Eliot, “East Coker” from the “Four Quartets”
Christmas is the celebration of new birth. For the last few days I have been reading the Grail legend, the archetypal human tale about Parzival, the tale that Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth) says is “the founding Myth of Western civilization” because it teaches that each of us must find our way to enlightenment, to the new birth within ourselves. What better story to go with the my own Christian tradition that involves three wise men and a baby born under a starry sky, like those we see so often in these bright heavenly nights, in this land between rivers, which merge in the sea.