Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour 2008 - shedding light on an hour of darkness

As Earth Hour 2008 set in, I turned off the TV, stopped the dryer mid-cycle, and lit a few candles before switching off my last lamp. It wasn't quite dusk outside, so there was a glow coming in from the deck, but somehow it was still too dark to read. I found myself sitting on the sofa, listening to the sounds of my home settling, and wondering how I was going to fill the next 60 minutes of my life without using any electricity.

Would turning on my laptop be cheating? I wondered. Technically, if I ran it off the battery instead of the wall-jack, I could justify it, but then again, as the candle light flickered around my living room, the thought of the fluorescent lights of my computer monitor felt heavy on my soul.


Could I make a phone call? Maybe spending the hour chatting with an old friend would help the time pass quickly - but no. All of my phones are cordless, meaning they on electricity out of the wall. My cell phone? Well, I would be relying on a cell tower somewhere to power that call...


I wanted a cold glass of water. My hand reached out for the refrigerator door - and I stopped myself. Opening the fridge would turn on the automatic light inside. Instead, I ran the water out of my tap for a few seconds and filled my glass. It may not have been as icy cold as I usually like, but it quenched my thirst none-the-less.


Back on the couch. Fingers tapping away a tune stuck in my head. A glance at my IPod, resting snug in it's speaker box. A dull ping of guilt settled over me. I remember thinking how sad it was that so much of what I take for granted, so much of the seemingly innocent details of my everyday life, are using up this planet's energy resources.


Watching the flicker of TV lights in the windows across the street, I notice a woman walking her dog. The dog leads the way with it's nose less than an inch off the sidewalk. I wonder faintly what new smells they might be pursuing. I also wonder if they walk each other every evening, or if this is just another attempt to exist for one hour without the use of a light switch.


By now I've grabbed one of my notebooks and begun journalling. I can write in the dim candlelight. In fact, it seems to shed more light on my soul as the words pour out onto the page. Maybe the silence (accentuated by the humming of the refrigerator) isn't quite as terrifying as we've come to think. Without the noise of the television, and the distractions of laundry and preparing meals, it seems that once again I can hear that whisper of inspiration in my head. Then again, I can't help but peek at the clock again, wondering to myself how long it will be until I can flip open my computer and once again allow my fingers to glide over the keyboard.


The sun has now set. The streetlights cast an eerie orange tint over the street outside my window. Two cars drive past, each going in opposite directions. I wonder where they are headed?


I'm on my feet - restless. I cross the short distance to my bedroom, and squint at the titles along my bookshelf. I know it's there, if only I had thought to bring a candle in with me. Instead, I run my fingers against the book spines. The tarot cards sit recessed between two books. I can feel the distinct size of the cards as I pull the deck out and make my way back to the sofa.


I shuffle three times, thinking about my life, my career, my plans. I don't have a specific question - almost a necessity when turning to the cards for guidance - but somehow it feels appropriate to do a reading now.


I choose the pentagram.

1. This is where you came from.
6 of swords. Science.
1st impressions: conflict, science killing religion, chaos

This card implies a move to another place or change of environment. It represents strength and the job of integrating different worlds. *Simultaneously contrasting and unifying worlds*.

Be thorough when confronting your conflicts;
Be thorough in bringing your needs to the attention of others.

2. This is where you are going.
The Priestess.
1st impressions: freedom, openness, compassion, sanctuary

Luck is not a matter of chance; it depends on fulfilling important wishes and releasing intrinsic fears.

Practical consequences of this card point in 2 directions:
- to create your own space & boundaries
- to open the walls to the outside, blending your feelings with those of others.

3. This is what is difficult for you.
5 of cups. Disappointment.
1st impressions: emptiness, uncoordinated, tangled

This card represents the shadowy side of our emotions. But shadows are visible; express your feelings. Feel the grief, and, if there is still time, do something about it.

This card can also mean that your emotions are drawing a line through the past and that you are now completely open for a new beginning.

4. This is what makes sense.
1st impressions: justice, careful judgement, symmetry, balance, intuition

The subject of inner-attitude is not very far removed from justice. Justice is less a matter of abstract principles than of how we deal with right and wrong in our lives, and how fairly we behave towards others. In order to be fair in your attitudes and your behaviours, you must first examine your assumptions.

You need the courage to criticize and to honour achievements when you ask timely questions, but nothing is as important as the willingness to be honest when deciding whom and what you really love.

5. This is your ultimate goal.
10 of disks. Wealth.
1st impressions: multicultural, layers, symbolism, diversity

The 10 disks represent the "tree of life" in Kaballah. This tree is a model for wholeness, unity and completion. The tree, however, is missing the connecting path that creates the shape of the "tree".


The question is whether you can connect all that you are, all your many skills, and still be able to recognize a piece of yourself in everything that is human without always thinking that everyone must agree with you.

Individuality is not possible when going it alone. Once you find the bridge that connects what is foreign and different in you to others, loneliness disappears just as the fear of being swallowed up by the masses will disappear.


While I got lost in interpreting my tarot reading, Earth Hour 2008 passed by before I even realized. I quickly turned on my computer to type out all the thoughts that had been swimming through my head, but I think I will leave the TV off tonight. There is something sinfully pleasant in re-learning to enjoy the silence, and I will indulge in it a few hours more before returning to my old ways.

Perhaps this hour of darkness will lend itself to my new beginning after all.

Earth Hour 2008

Join WWF's Earth Hour 2008 and help save our Earth before it's too late.