1. The Heart of the Season: Wise Words from a Young Old Soul

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Over the next 5 days, we’ll be posting some pieces that will offer a place of reflection as the Christmas rush bears down.  As one who doesn’t really have any religious tradition affiliation, the season for me is more about the natural rhythms of the earth. This is the fallow time of year, where the dormant seed is resting before spring to life in a few months. You’ll be seeing pieces about animals and people, some personal stories, some happy and some rather poignant.  But, all will offer way to get the reader back in touch with his or her humanity, a chance to step back for a minute to regain one’s footing, and maybe offer ways to renew the spirit by nurturing the dormant seed through the dark days.

For many of us this year, it’s been a very harsh time of disappointment. But, in some ways, it’s more than mere disappointment. If you are of a certain age, you might have the feeling that a trap door that you didn’t know about suddenly opened and sent you falling into a dark hole. It was unexpected and we are still reeling from the shock.  Things we had fought for are now being tossed aside for by people in a party that is no longer our rock.

The only way to handle this may be to step back and connect with what matters.  Goodness toward people and all living things.  Supporting each other and those who are going through great tragedy.  We have to remain human in the face of what seems to be a huge machine that is trying to mow us down.


I already had planned the four pieces that will follow, but it was this first post that came together in my mind just yesterday morning. A lot of things happen when you’re just coming out of sleep in the still darkness, before the dogs are up and the birds have arrive.  Yesterday morning in the dark, a name from the past floated into my mind.  And as I thought of this person, I knew I had the start of my series of posts for the days before Christmas.

Remember Mattie Stepanek?

He’s gone 4 years. A memorial has been built in his home town.  Oprah Winfrey was heavily involved with his flash of fame, but I never watched her back then (and I don’t watch her now). I remember seeing Mattie on with Larry King several times. Larry King, someone else I don’t normally watch these days, was quite sincere in his admiration for his young guest and his mother. In those quiet visits, without an audience and hype, Mattie recited his poems, talked about his illness and tried to inform the public about what the disease he and his mother suffered from was all about.

Of course, it was easy to see what the disease was doing to both mother and son; one didn’t need a name to understand that. With a breathing tube and confinement to a wheelchair, and stories about repeated hospitalizations, one had to wonder  from the source of this little boy’s strength and insight that seemed to flow out of him as if by some miracle.

Visiting the website maintained in his memory, one of his poems stands out.  It’s one of his most famous, I suppose.  I connect with it because of its reference to the Moon.  I love the Moon; it’s on this blogsite’s mastead.  The Moon is an archetype, of course, for the feminine.  These are trying times for women who feel they are  facing the destruction of what they thought were gains and who may be experiencing a crushing fear  that years of struggling seem to have been useless. Some may pray or some of us may look to  the Moon as  something we might find worth hanging onto.

In her brilliant book, “Jungian Symbolism in Astrology,”  Alice O. Howell, a former faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institutes of Los Angeles and Chicago,  has this to say about the feminine archetype:

As women somehow know and men fear, females have an incredible access to strength and natural wisdom if left to their own devices. People in ancient times saw the feminine as the triple goddess: maid, mother, and hag.  I see them as one enfolded within the other: bud, flower, and fruit.

Notice the words, “if left to their own devices.” And there’s the rub–keeping our power and the freedom to use it. Accepting what life brings our way…but looking beyond to find our strength to deal with it all.  Hearing the voice of  the Moon may be our anchor as we  go forward. We still have the capacity to flower and bear fruit.

In the meantime, read Mattie’s poem about the that early morning time, when the Moon’s wisdom is left for us to help us as we begin to face the stresses of  the day.


Revolutions 365:25

When the moon sets
Over your shoulder
As the sun rises
Bright towards your face,
What’s in the middle?
Your life is.
Filled with choices
For each moment, each place.
We live between the
Past and the future,
In the moment of our
Here, now, today.
Can we cope with the
Daily life stresses?
If we humbly accept.
We must pray.

December, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek
Used with permission from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion, 2002



MDA-Remembering Mattie

The Muscular Dystrophy Association

The My Hero Project

Alice O. Howell

“Remember to play after every storm.”–M.S.

15 Responses

  1. GRL,

    Wonderful thoughts from both you and Matt. As I read, I couldn’t help but wonder if the ancient association between the Moon and the feminine was somehow responsible for the modern association of flashing one’s backside. Was this just another way to degrade us and increase our feelings of worthlessness? Something inside me says yes.

  2. Never thought of that one, Grail!!!

    From the /psychological/archetypal/spiritual view, the Moon and Sun are partners, feminine/masculine, yin/yang, patriarchal/matriarchal…etc.

    It’s also the home of the “Moon Rabbit” from Chinese lore which I used to tell kids about. On a full moon night, look closely and toward the left of the face and you WILL see the Moon Rabbit.

  3. If I see a Moon Rabbit I will suspect that either someone spiked my eggnog or that one of my few remaining screws fell out. 🙂

  4. Maybe too many of those cookies, Marge!

  5. I realized that something happened with WP and the links/quote below and the picture weren’t there and it was an old draft that was up! GRRR!

    Some things in this new WP format are still confusing me!!!!

    All fixed now!!

  6. Marge…

    I LOVE you!!!


  7. Insight, as always, so many thanks for that. Being a Moon Child, I, too have always had a special attraction to Things Moon. Your talents continue to amaze and thrill us all–for instance, I had no idea you were so well versed in Jungian/archetypal/shamanic astrology!

    Little Manny always touched me heart as he did millions of others–he is truly an Old Soul who reminded us of what’s really important.

    As this season grinds on into the coming New Year, your wise words resonate keenly–our best move right now is to step back a bit and reconnect with the goodness and love so we can continue to spread it in support of one another.

    For that is what will get us through whatever challenges we face. In the end, the love you love you take is equal to the love you make.*

    May the true blessings of this hallowed season find everyone.

    *Lennon/McCartney, 1969

    P.S. LUUV your little snowflakes!!

  8. When I was a small child (yes, I can remember things that happened eons ago) After my mother oversaw our nightly prayers and we had asked God to Bless everybody else there was a little tag we used to say:

    “I see the moon, the moon sees me
    God Bless the moon and
    God Bless me”

    I don’t know where that originated but still, these many years later, whenever I look at the moon I think of this.

    Perhaps it’s my way of reflecting on the simpler way of life we had then., or the fact that all the problems that might have been around did not affect us as children if we had strong and loving parents to shelter us. I was more than lucky as a child. I realize this more and more everyday as I grow older and see what some things in this world have become.

    In this Season of the year when those of us who worship the Christ Child celebrate his birth, let’s not forget all the little children who are not fortunate enough to have a worry free world and do every thing we can to add just a little bit of cheer to their lives.

    As Tiny Tim said – “God Bless Us Everyone”.

  9. On a lighter note: Marge’s comment will probably bounce back to me from some of my friends and family in town. Sometimes they think I have a few screws loose.

    After another family member, with whom I shared the “Saga of Tom Turkey”, gave the name of Kenosha Marge and this site, to all her friends in the teacher’s lounge at one of the local high schools, I understand some of them visit this site hoping for another such treat. Tom has become more famous than he could ever have imagined.

  10. Stay tuned….we have a story about Katie coming up!!!!!

    Also, Truth Is Gold—if you want to see some of my past astrological writings, they are collected here:


    They’re in several of the categories, including History and Prognostication!!!!! involving POLITICS! You’ll have to guess at the name, although you may know from the call the other night!!

    And they’re still floating around the web on the pages from my former Zianet site!

  11. lee M, remembered this from her childhood:

    “I see the moon, the moon sees me
    God Bless the moon and
    God Bless me”

    I vaguely remember that from prehistory when I was a child too. I don’t know who taught it to me or when but I can remember it. Perhaps a Protestant relative slipping something in under the Catholic radar? I still remember the tussle for my soul back then. Ha, they both lost!

    I also remember in one of the many Andre Norton Sci-Fi books that I devoured there was one with some women being daughters of the Moon or something.

    Even though I don’t see a Rabbit, I have always loved to watch the moon. Explains the “lunacy” donchathink?

    Love you too Leslie.

  12. Insight, many thx again–I’ll definitely check them out!

  13. Marge,

    That’s another excellent example of the oral put downs associated with the Moon! Lunacy of course is derived from Luna, and folk wisdom says it comes from the way people act when there’s a full moon, but I wonder if it may have more to do with the menstrual implications of the Moon. You know – you’re acting crazy – like a woman with her period.

    Misogyny is so deeply embedded in our daily life, we barely recognize it anymore!

  14. Insight, having spent an enjoyable night engrossed in your work, I can truthfully state that I slept not a wink all night, so busy was I contemplating the heavens!

    As Above, So Below…As Within, So Without…

    And so it is 😉

  15. I know this is an old post, but I am seeing it for the first time, and want to say thank you for sharing the message of hope and peace my son believed was his ‘reason for living’ — aka his Heartsong. If you would like to learn more about Mattie’s life, please consider reading the biography I wrote about him last fall — “Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs.”
    In hope and peace,
    Jeni Stepanek (“Mattie’s mom”).

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