The Philosophy of the Sun and the Moon
Arise, men and women of the West! Arise, and take up sword and shield to meet the shadow that creeps over our lands and our people!
So many things are bound together by life-cycles. The morning sun that rises each day to share with us its warmth must, in time, give way to the night, whose gentle light leads us back to our homes to rest and be renewed for another day. They are two separate realms, each ruled by its own monarch, who chases his counterpart across the heavens until they have established dominion for their kingdom, at least for a time.
But that dominion can never last for long. In time, that kingdom will diminish, and the other be renewed. The struggle for the heavens has come to a balance, both parts being equal. Though the Sun and the Moon rage against this and will do so, I suspect, until the end of their days, we are at peace with the balance and are blessed by the bountiful gifts each one offers us in its time of power. Knowing that the brilliance of the Sun will give way to the softness and subtlety of the Moon before day comes once more gives us a quiet peace and a place from which we can build our lives and make our way.
In the same way, there are two other realms seemingly at odds each other, each with their own philosophies, ruled by different monarchs who circle one another in an endless dance of war. They fight to claim as many to their own side as they may, believing that a gain for them is a loss for the other. For the most part they coexist in a relative but tenuous peace, though sometimes there are clashes at the borders where their realms meet from time to time. They are as different as night and day.
One of these realms seems to attract those who are driven by accomplishment and bound by duty. They toil long and hard to set things right with the world and are off to their next task as fast as their feet, or the hooves of their steeds, can take them. They devote the great majority of their lives to these tasks, and they accomplish truly great things. They dare to delve into the deep places of the world, to combat horrors most can only imagine.
I have been fortunate enough to have been able to sign on for a venture or two with those of this realm, on the rare occasion that they have need of the aid of one outside of their circle, and I have marveled at their mastery of battle and how they bring the fight to the enemy. It is a vision to behold. They are of the Sun, for their deeds shine so brightly.
It is a wonderful gift when want and need coincide! There are a great many who find balance in such things alone, and it is a blessing to us all that there are, for they do so much to make our world more safe.
The other realm is more calm, more at peace. Its people have taken the time to know themselves and understand their place within our world. The desire to carve a niche for themselves, to find their role and play it well, is foremost among their thoughts, and they live their lives deliberately and unhurried in pursuit of that goal. When one is able to visit that realm and spend even just a moment with its people, the world comes alive like never before!
This is the realm in which most of us here reside. Our friendships and bonds are all the more meaningful to us because of our shared awareness of this moment in time and our place within these lands. We know our words and deeds matter, and we take the care to shape them both as best we are able. We are of the Moon, for our light may be more subtle and soft, yet it is no less beautiful nor less important.
It is a wonderful gift when want and need coincide! There are a great many who find balance in such things alone, and it is a blessing to us all that there are, for they do so much to make our world more meaningful.
This is not to say that there have not been those who have made the journey from one realm to the other and back again from time to time. The heavens are vast, and the watchmen who guard the realms’ borders cannot hope to see all ends. In the dusky twilight of the time between times, sometimes one can catch a glimpse of the Moon riding off into the West as the Sun sends its rays of light across the skies to chase it away. In the same way, on a different day, it may be the Moon who is the victor. Its heralds of soft night and starlight can be witnessed keeping watch over the retreat of the Sun to the edge of the horizon and beyond.
There are some who are residents of one realm but enjoy visiting the other from time to time. Sometimes they go to visit friends they know who live in the other realm. No doubt some have interest in other ways than there own and enjoy taking part in new things now and then. I suspect there may be as many different reasons for these visits as there are visitors themselves, for balance is something that each of us finds in our own way. It is enough for them to turn their face to the Sun and feel its warmth for a spell. It is enough for them to lie by calm waters bathed by moonlight and reflect for a time. And they return to their own realm renewed for it.
It is a wonderful gift when want and need coincide! There are a great many who find balance in such things alone, and it is blessing for us all that there are, for they do so much to make our world more understanding.
Yet there is one more event that occurs in the heavens…
The Great Convergence
Arise, elves of Arda! Arise, and take up staff and blade to lend aid to the Free Peoples and these lands one last time in this dark hour!
In the rarest of moments during the darkest of days, the two realms collide. The two great monarchs find a meeting place in the heavens and all goes dark.
Do they parley? Do they search for a weakness in the other at which to strike?
The subjects of both realms wait, stilled by fear and trepidation, for the moment to pass.
And, soon enough, it does. The Sun and the Moon go their separate ways once more, and the heavens are brightened. The people breathe a sigh of relief and go about their lives once again, bathed in the light that guides them along their way.
But, as I watch the two slowly separate and make their own way, each to their own realm, I am lost to wonderment. Why would the two monarchs, who rule with absolute dominion over their realms, make such a long journey through seemingly hostile lands to meet with each other, only to go their separate ways soon after with nothing to show for the effort, either for good or for ill? What could this portend?
Is the darkness that blankets the heavens when the two great monarchs meet somehow meant to mirror the darkness cast by the shadow and evils that take hold of our lands in such times?
The sigh on the collective breath of those who share this world as the two parted, what if it was also echoed by the heavens themselves but for a very different reason, as if a message was imparted but not yet received? An example created but yet to be followed?
What if the Sun and the Moon, who gift us in so many ways with their glorious light, are gifting us with their wisdom even now, even in the darkness? What would it mean if the two realms became one?
And it came to me that, in our darkest hour and our greatest need, those who strongly feel the pull of both the Sun and the Moon are being called to bring light to this darkness. Those whose blades are guided, not only by strength and duty, but by the clarity of purpose that comes only with true awareness of what it is that we face and what will be lost if we fail, are being summoned together to act as one.
To those who believe that, by taking the time to enjoy that which we endeavor to save, our efforts in that regard will be all the more inspired, I ask you to look to the skies, for they are darkened.
That time is upon us. This moment is ours.
Small Steps That Become Great Strides
Arise, dwarves under the mountains! Arise, and take up axe and hammer to meet the shadow that seeps through the deep cracks of the earth and into the underworld!
So I found Master Tarnorili and asked him to sit and listen as I shared these thoughts with him. He sat in quiet meditation whilst I spoke and for a good while thereafter as well, his eyes closed to turn all other distraction away while making only contemplative grumblings every now and then that might pass for snoring if my news had not been so exciting.
But there is a time for thought and a time for action so, finally, I shook him back to his senses to get his opinion. He muttered something about tall-folk and daydreaming but said he thought it was a grand idea, and he came up with one to match it. He said we should put out the call to all those in the Moot who share these same beliefs, so that we might rid the world of its greatest evils, yet still go about it in our own way.
This will be quite an undertaking, to be sure. The good news is that, when counted among the many, even the smallest steps have a way of adding up and taking everyone involved further than they ever thought possible. Of course, the first step will be to gather enough to us! We are thinking we will need at least twelve to delve into the deepest parts of the world and assault the strongholds ruled by the terrors that work to establish dominion over us. More will certainly be welcome, as some will need to rest every now and then.
Once assembled, we will all have a sitdown to discuss things in more detail and make our plans for the coming days. The plan as of now is to meet once a week for two hours, though we may need to extend that in the future if we wish to explore the more vast areas of the deeps from time to time. We will most likely begin by visiting the skirmish camps to get some practice working together. From there, we will probably be off to the Vile Maw, where a certain squid has eluded us for a very long time.
In between the times that we meet, should there be enough of us about to make a go of it, there can be other adventures, of course. Most importantly, it will be vital to see that we are all girded in the trappings and garments of power that will enable us to see these tasks through. It may seem a small thing, and for just one of us, it might be. When applied to the whole, however, we will be the stronger for it, and we will need every last bit of strength in these journeys.
The Looking-Glass and What We Face
Arise, Hobbits of the Shire! Arise, and take up club and bow, for shadow observes no bounds and would darken all lands, even to the ends of the earth!
From time to time, I make my way to the posting boards where many kin leaders place articles of recruitment that seek to enlist others to their cause. Our society is very diverse, and it a wonderful thing to see so many directions in which one can share their path with those of similar mind and heart. There are so many ways in which we are connected to others, and some kinships are formed upon foundations and ideals so unique and clever, it comes as a pleasant surprise just to read of them!
One thing I always look for as I read these articles, and yet never find, is one founded upon uniting the two aspects I have touched upon here. In speaking with Master Tarn of this, he assured me that there has not been such an attempt made before now, at least to his knowledge. He says that, even in far-off worlds, journeyed to through gateways not of this earth, that there has been no real success at it, at least in any significant way. I think he may have been a little deep in his cups when he spoke that last part, but it does speak to the heart of the matter, which is this: What we are trying to achieve is beyond difficult. To end this call to arms without first making clear what those difficulties will be, at least as best as I am able, would not be right.
Those of the Sun who venture into the darkest places recruit those of similar kind, and with the whole in mind. They send out Scouts, who provide very detailed reports based on their reconnaissance of the region, and then form a strategy derived from that intelligence. They have the numbers and the means to base that strategy upon knowing they can pick and choose their team. They have at their disposal a vast array of ready and able members who can serve any role and perform any task called for by that strategy.
More often than not, we are very lucky to even muster a full team, and we never have the luxury of planning a strategy beforehand, knowing that all conceivable roles will be filled at our beck and call. It is our hope that these challenges will be greatly lessened by a more organized approach, but we just cannot hope to come close to matching the resources that those devoted only to the Sun can manage. And even if we could, those who wish to join us will always have a place over those who can help us the most. We would never turn away someone just because of what role they play and how well or not they fill the shortcomings we might have in that moment. Our tactics have always been more organic in that we take a look at who all is with us and then form a plan of attack based on the team.
The other thing that comes to mind is that the leaders of the kinships of the Sun have a way of projecting their voices over the din of battle in a way that enables them to be heard by all. Now, when Master Tarn bellows his warcry, he can make my teeth rattle a bit, but even he cannot make himself heard in the same way those others are able. What that means is that we will each need to be paying very close attention when he, or when any one of us who calls out in battle, has something worth saying. Each one of us will have to be strong in our own right, strong in the battle plan so that we can follow it without constant reminder, strong in our awareness so that we know to take a draught if needed or to cure another in need, and so on. This will be absolutely critical to our success, even more so than for those who can hear their leaders’ direction with ease.
Many of us have braved the dark places of the world and helped bring light to that darkness, but there can be no doubt that the challenges we will face where we intend to delve now will be greater than any we have yet known and in every way conceivable. There is not a single facet that comes to mind that will not be more difficult than what has come before, whether it be in the cost of repairing ones things, the acquiring of shinies, the time involved, the unity of thought and action we will need, and a very long list goes on from there.
To my mind, no longer having the need to earn the Radiance that once emboldened us to dare step foot in the darkest places of the world makes knowing whether one is ready for such endeavors very difficult, especially for ourselves. The wise counsel of friends and a long look into one’s inner looking-glass is what we have left, and it will have to do. If I were to counsel someone on what they should search for when they peer into the looking-glass, the thing that stands out clearest would be desire. If, in the old days, one thought of earning the radiance necessary to delve into the deeps as a chore, I can virtually guarantee that the tasks set before us now will be a greater chore. If it was a bother, this will be a greater bother.
In those dark places, all we will have will be each other. The desire to brave the deeps with friends at one’s side, the wish to stand with them and do the near-impossible is paramount, at least to my mind. And, as much as I might like shinies, the rewards earned by coming through that fire, paid in the currency of bonds formed and successes shared, outshine the shiniest of shinies by the breadth of the heavens themselves.
This declaration has become more like a novel than I intended, but I would like to close with a final word to any who might wish to join us but find themselves held back by the fear of failing in a time of need. The fear of letting down those closest to you is something I can identify with very well, for it kept me from taking part in ventures such as these for the longest time.
The landscape in which we live is, in many ways, mirrored by the landscape of our hearts. All things are connected, and the power we have within ourselves to effect or not effect change in our surroundings simply cannot be overstated. For every terror that lurks somewhere in the deep places of the world, there also lies a fear deep in the hearts of one or many of us that keeps us from fighting it. For every evil that wages war upon the Free Peoples, there is a shadow of doubt that has shrouded the heart of one or many that keeps them still and safe. By conquering those terrors, we not only make the world safer for others, but we also reclaim a small piece of ourselves that had been lost to us. Our hearts are that much more our own, and we take a small step closer toward becoming who we were meant to be.
There is not a single one of us who has not been the cause of a failure from time to time, and my times are more than I could ever count. But you will be among friends, and friends raise their voices in praise, not in anger. Friend extend their hands to you in order to lend aid and support, not to draw attention to shortcomings. And, if you work hard at becoming the very best you are able, you may find one day that, rather than fearing letting those friends down, they will be asking for your aid because of the boon you have become to them. As the tears streaming from my eyes as I write this can attest to, better than any words I could ever hope to write, the sense of fulfillment one gets from those moments goes beyond mere words 🙂
For any who may be interested in taking part in this endeavor, please speak with either Master Tarn or I directly, send us a note by the Quick Post, or leave a message in the tiny space I have left here 🙂
The idea of the Sun and the Moon first came to me while fishing off the Bywater Bridge with my dear Bounder-friends of Addernotch Station. We were night-fishing, and the moon was near to making its way to rest, and we looked to the East for the sun, with the hopes to see two things of such wonder and beauty in the sky at one time.
And the thought of the two realms I and some dear friends dwell in, the Sun and the Moon I write of here, came to mind, for we have ever tried to meld the two into one whole, but in a less formal, less contrived way.
Perhaps, one day, we will take on the Sun and the Moon once more, in a more formal way. But, for now, we find them both in those precious times-between-times, in the twilight that makes us whole…
(Credit for that last rendering, the banner we would carry into battle, goes to Master Tarnorili Oreshaper, a dwarf of many, many talents.)