Anyone who has ever loved will know that there is nothing linear or certain about Love. Love can’t be contained or explained. Love has its own circadian rhythm: a sweet scented breeze that shape shifts like clouds on a warm summer’s day then fades like a rainbow. It waxes and wanes like the Moon. Love can erupt as a formidable Force rupturing the structures of our lives, rendering them irrevocably changed. Love burns us in the fire, renders us shining, resplendent and forged a-new. Love is a Many Splendoured Thing.
We can’t measure Love the way we measure ourselves: our attractiveness, our worthiness, our “success”. Love lies in the soft folds of the skin that shelter our elbows. Love lies in the lattice of maturity on our faces. It cannot be smoothed away in the way we smooth lines of anger or worry or happiness with sharp little pricks of Botox. It cannot be cut off or pulled tight in mask-like caricatures of a youth long gone. Love nestles in the warm chambers of our hearts. Love, like Faith and Trust is a Force as indefinable and immeasurable as the Intelligence that throbs and shimmers through the uni-verse.
Popular books with titles like “Getting the Love You Want”, or “Mastery of Love,” mirror a fast-food culture where Love is a commodity that can be ordered, gotten, or kept. Gary Chapman’s The Five Languages of Love hints at the paucity of language to describe this thing called Love.
In all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it comes to descriptive feeling words. Sanskrit has 96 words for Love, there were 30 in ancient Greece and 80 in ancient Persia.
We use the word, Love, to describe a host of experiences that delight, enthrall, satiate, soothe and stimulate our senses. “Our superior function has given us science and the highest standard of living the world has ever known … but at the cost of impoverishing the feeling function,” writes Robert A. Johnson in The Fisher King & The Handless Maiden.
But does Love feel the same for us all whether we live in London, in Papua New Guinea, on the frozen arctic plains? Kristen Lindquist at the University of North Carolina and her colleagues have discovered that our ability to understand the meaning of words has a measurable effect on whether we can recognise those emotions in others. The way we speak about feelings might influence how we feel them. Researcher, Tiffany Watt Smith writes in The Book of Human Emotions , “most of us have on some occasion felt the urge to crumple into the arms of a loved one to be coddled and comforted. It’s important and reviving, this sensation of temporary surrender in perfect safety. The concept is not easily captured in English, but Japanese people know it as amae, the feeling of being able to depend on another’s love and help with no obligation to be grateful in return. It helps relationships to flourish and is an emblem of the deepest trust. In the 1970s, Western anthropologists became very excited about amae, claiming that it was evidence that even our most intimate emotions are shaped by the societies in which we live. They argued that Japan’s traditional collectivist culture had allowed amae to flourish.
So one wonders why those of us who grew up speaking English often fumble when trying to articulate a similar experience. Perhaps this lacuna in English speaks volumes about how hard it can be to accept other people’s support.”
Even though we can’t find the right words to describe what we feel, this thing called Love is what opens our hearts and connects us to our own Divinity. We are changed when we allow ourselves to love deeply and to be loved in return.
To love means risking loss or rejection. To love with our whole heart is to know the hollow emptiness of the ending. Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah… When Love changes form, we may dare to love again, but it will be another kind of love… “She had … an affair that struck deeply; I believe she loved totally and was loved totally. I know about it, and I am glad… This love, and the ensuing emptiness of its ending, changed her. Of such events we are always changed — not necessarily badly, but changed. Who doesn’t know this doesn’t know much” wrote Mary Oliver about Molly Malone Cook her inseparable partner for more than four decades.
It takes enormous courage to Love. To fold yourself into the different rhythm of The Other, day after day. To sleep night after night tangled in one another’s dreams. It takes courage to forgive the transgressions, the betrayals, the words that tumble thoughtlessly and pierce straight through our hearts. It takes tenacity to move like patient oxen yoked together, through fields of sorrow and fields of joy.
Anyone who has ever loved will know that Romantic Love, falling in-to love, is not the same thing as staying in love. Writer Mandy Len Catron knew Love after asking 36 questions.
“Love didn’t happen to us. We are in love because we each made the choice and chose again and again… and I continue to make that choice without knowing whether my partner will continue to choose me…we want the happy ending… we want someone to love us back. It is terrifying but that’s the deal with love.”
Anyone who has ever loved will know that Love is the most profound mystery of our human experience. We choose to Love, again and again and again, even though we have no certainty. We hope for, but know deep down inside there may not be a happy ending. And yet the warmth, the glory of Love fills us like radiant sunlight. And again and again we turn our innocent faces towards the life-giving warmth that ennobles our humanness.
Saturday 31 October & Sunday 1 November
The Astrological Lodge of London, 50 Gloucester Place W1U 8EA
£85.00 per day, or £150.00 for both
Join us for an exciting weekend of relationship astrology in London, designed to be suitable for all. Join us for an exciting weekend of relationship astrology in London, designed to be suitable for all levels. The two days are completely different but are designed to complement one another, so you can choose to do either day, or both. Bookings – firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com