There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven
-Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
Tawhirimatea is the God of the winds, constantly circling the planet, occupying the space between Papatuanuku, Mother Earth, and Ranginui, Father Sky. He is the god of the winds and therefore the god of Change.
These are times of change…but then there have always been times of change and it is certain that there will always be times of change, both in our own lives and in the world around us. We can only imagine what the citizens of Rome felt as they watched their seemingly impregnable civilisation fading away and weakening, becoming more and more vulnerable to the hordes from the north.
Change is hardwired into the circuitry of the Universe and, in spite of our best efforts to deny it, to pretend that we have finally reached the shores of an inland sea with sandy beaches and palm trees, where everything is tranquil, where the tides are small and the waves lap gently on the sands and there are no cyclones or tsunamis, change is inevitable and inexorable.
And the truth is: Change is necessary. Change is, if you like, the flood which sweeps down the river, scouring out the debris which has built up on the riverbed and under the banks, surging into and cleaning out the stagnant backwaters which have been slowly drying up, where thick green algae has taken hold in a corner of the life of the River, its relentless journey to its demise in the sea, its intimate part in the cycle of nature, of birth and death and rebirth.
It is rather like the metaphor of the three little pigs. The first little pig built his house of straw and stood there proudly, admiring his handiwork and enjoying his new construction. Then the Big Bad Wolf came along, and huffed and puffed and blew the house down. And then, of course, ate the little pig.
The second little pig, who seemed to know a little more about construction methods, built his house of wood. Of course the Big Bad Wolf came along, raised an eyebrow, smiled grimly, wound up the pressure, knocked this one down as well and of course ate the second little pig.
The third little pig used advanced construction techniques, and retreated from the world inside his own cave, a place where he felt secure, which, his ego convinced him, was impregnable. The Big Bad Wolf came along, did his level best to flatten the building (without success) and then resorted to climbing down the chimney. The little pig put a large cauldron of hot water on to boil and of course the Wolf fell in. The little pig had won; his future was secure. He had survived his time of trial, and could now sit back and relax.
Or could he? Nowhere does the story specifically point out whether the big bad wolf was the only bad wolf? One assumes, that since he was part of the great Cycle of Nature, he had parents and perhaps siblings (he had to come from somewhere?). Perhaps, when the word of his demise got back to his family, they may have taken it rather badly and come to investigate. Then the little pig’s security may not have been quite as tight as he thought it was.
However, the message of this story is that change is inevitable and a part of life. Sooner or later all of us who were born into this life will leave it. We will change from one existence to another. It is what we do with the time between Birth and Death that is important, the way in which we use the time we have. And even within that time, change is occurring. We are growing or we are not growing, we are enlarging or diminishing. When we are 21 we may be a certain height. However, when we have reached old age, we may well be shorter. Somewhere along the way a few millimetres will have disappeared. We are not as tall as we once were, therefore in one way we have diminished physically. In another way however we have grown. The 30 mm or so has been substituted for understandings about life. We have changed, and Change has helped us to grow. Sooner or later, no matter how we try to avoid it, the Big Bad Wolf will appear to us out of the Darkness, and bring about transformation in our lives.
It is interesting to note how we are subtly encouraged to take the side of the pigs. They are described as little, pink and therefore helpless. They are to be pitied. We side with the third little pig whose adaptability, diligence and wisdom (and superior construction methods) saves him from the Big Bad Wolf – and from oblivion. Presumably he will be able to sit outside his front door, staring out across the Inland Sea… waiting for something to happen.
I have somewhat of a soft spot for the Big Bad Wolf. Notice how he appears out of the darkness, out of the Great Unknown and causes trouble. He rises from the dark well of the Great Conscious and brings about change. Once he has come, nothing is the same.
All around us the world is changing, the river is in flood, sweeping, scouring, cleaning out and constantly renewing. But then it has always been doing that. If we stand on the edge of the riverbank and stare fixedly at what is in front of us, we have no idea of what will float into our field of vision next. We mistake what is in front of us for the real thing. The hand which points at the moon is not the moon itself. If however, we allow our gaze to flow upstream to the river’s headwaters in the mountains, where passing storms rain upon the hills creating the rivulets which become creeks then streams and ultimately the river itself, we begin to sense that the river is formed by the winds of change bringing rain to the mountains, and life and death. If we allow our gaze to follow the river downstream to where it flows into the sea, we can observe how the river changes, and how its dies and yet becomes part of something greater. If we allow our minds to follow the evaporation from the ocean back through the atmosphere to the mountains we are able to understand the complete cycle. And in understanding the metaphor we grow ourselves and move closer to the Centre. Our understanding changes us, whether we see it or not.
For life to continue all things must change.
If the Tawhirimatea card has appeared for you, the lesson is about change and your response to it. Tawhirimatea is the Big Bad wolf knocking on your door. You are being asked to consider and reflect upon your own life and the way in which it has changed and it is changing. Tawhirimatea is the God of the winds, constantly circling the planet
Are things changing for you? Has some life event, for example, divorce or a death in the family, brought about a great shift in your life? Perhaps you have lost your job and you are wondering what to do or how to cope. Are you resisting it, and longing for the security of a past which is no more. Is it time to move on from a relationship which has grown tired and empty?
One way to handle this is to sit down and mind map your own life. Note the times when things changed dramatically for you. What happened? What brought about the change? Beside each one make a list of the unpleasant things which happened and then list the good that came from it. What were the positives? How has that experience enabled you to grow?
And where is the positive in what is happening to you now? Where is the good that will come of this?
In what ways will you grow from this?
The greatest journey
Is the journey within.
-Rainer Maria Rilke