Life’s splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.
— Franz Kafka
We’ve been getting to know the youngest of the three Graces, Aglaia, who is the Grace of radiance, beauty and splendor. She is said (by the Hermetic traditions) to be She who draws up the energy of the helical pingala current of the Serpent-Fire. In other traditions, this is the equivalent of awakening the kundalini.
The Oxford dictionary defines “splendor” as “magnificent and splendid appearance; grandeur” and “having magnificent features or qualities.” When was the last time you were touched by magnificence? Swept away by splendor? And I am certainly not referring to the hyperbolic use of those terms by advertisers selling cars, hamburgers, or hair coloring.
Splendor doesn’t happen to people who are numbed out with the buzz of endless infotainment. I’m sorry if you’ve just paid a king’s ransom for it, but magnificence really doesn’t happen on a gigantic TV screen. No, not even in digital.
To experience Aglaia’s gift of splendor, we must be wide-awake, in every sense. We may not know, until we have had some kind of a jolt, that we spend a lot of time in a dozy twilight of awareness. Most of us are on auto-pilot, with only as much attention as needed to get through the day. And it seems that our current culture is conspiring to pile on even more distractions that keep us off-balance and too busy to be awake.
But one by one, one would hope, we begin to realize that this is not enough. It’s not even authentic. Whether through some brush with our mortality, or simply the deep longing for connectedness, it seems to be an innate part of the human spirit to reach for something more.
Being awake means having all of our senses open and receptive. It means that we are deeply aware of our life force, our very aliveness. To receive the gift of splendor, beauty and radiance, we must engage every one of our many senses.
More about this in the days to come!