Gifts of Shadow and Light, A Story of Beginnings

Gifts of Shadow and Light

A Story of Beginnings

By Joseph Anthony

own one’s own shadow is to reach a holy place — an inner center —

not attainable in any other way.”

–Robert Johnson


Darkness and
the Young Soul stood together on the shores of a great sea.  They watched silently as the waves spilled
over one another in a moiling effort to dance around their feet.

The sun hung
peacefully in the distance, watching yet not intrusively.  It watched as a father does wondering when
his child will go make something of himself in the world.  The moon too watched from just beyond and
above a range of misty blue mountains. 
She smiled and nodded to Darkness. 
He returned her nod with one of his own.

And then Darkness
reached into the folds of his cloak and produced a sphere of swirling black
fog.  He held it out to the Young Soul
who stared at the roiling ball of blackness with wonder.  It looked alive; like animated India ink congealing
into the form of a ball filled with spirals. 

“Is it mine?”
asked the Young Soul.

Darkness replied, “it is mine. I offer to you it as a loan.  Care for it as one would a child, for indeed,
that is what it is.  Hold it until you
know it well and it knows you; hold it until you are one.”

placed the sphere into the Young Soul’s hands. 

“It’s warm,”
said the Young Soul.

expects shadows to be cold,” said Darkness, “owing, I suppose to shade and its
cooling properties, but the shadows I give are filled with light.  And light is warm, just as the most
comforting words are warm, not cold.”

happens now?”

“You will lose

“Lose it?”
said the Young Soul as he stared into the piece of the night that roiled in his
hands. “Why would I do that?”

“It happens
to every soul.  They forget the gifts
they carry, lose them, if you will, and then spend the rest of their lives
searching for them.”

“You mean I
am meant to lose it?”


“Why would I
pick a Destiny like that?  Why would I lose
what you just gave me?”

“Adventure.  All souls long for adventure; to be able to
explore the jungles of emotions, to sail the rivers of passion; to feel what it
is to inhabit a body and to know hunger, to make love with the Muse and the to
create beauty unlike anything the world has ever seen or heard, tasted or felt.
 So they accept my gifts and then lose

“That all
sounds tempting, but what does losing your shadow have to do with it?”

“It starts
the adventure.”

“I don’t
understand,” said the Young Soul.

“You needn’t,
at least not yet.”

“But why
would you give me a part of yourself knowing it was going to be lost?”

“Every gift
is lost at some point,” said Darkness, “the giver knows that.  The joy comes from knowing the gift has been
received with grace and is being passed on from generation to generation, heart
to heart, and from the knowing that the gift will grow, blossom, multiply, and
become many gifts in many forms.  That is
the way of all parents and their children. 
The children become lost and then found in the most unexpected places
and ways.” 

“How does
one go about losing a shadow anyway?” asked the Young Soul testing the black
sphere’s weight.  It felt as if he was holding
a ball of air.

“Begin lying
to yourself about yourself. Once you do your attention shifts and you forget
the gift and then it runs off to begin an elaborate game of hide and seek.  For, like all children, it loves begin seen,
and when it’s not being seen, it does all sorts of remarkable things to get
your attention.  And one of the things it
does is to begin playing.”

The Young
Soul laughed.  “Well I am not going to
lose mine.  I will never lie to
myself.  I intend to live bathed in the
light of truth always.”

As he spoke
the sphere cracked open like a black egg and began spilling its black yoke all
over the Young Soul’s hands.  He gasped
and cried out in fear.  But it was too
late.  The shadow spread around and
within him like black ivy until it disappeared within him completely.  He shivered as if filled with cold, black
ice.  The waves receded and seemed to
wait in the wings for their next instructions from the moon.

“You said
your shadows were warm.”

“They are,
but lies are cold, and ‘never’ and ‘always’ are the coldest of all.”

The Young
Soul straightened himself and trembled. 

“So,” he said,
swallowing hard, “now I fill a body, is that it?” He spoke as one resigned, yet
trying to summon as much courage as he could to accept the consequences of his

“Yes, be
born,” said Darkness, “the adventure has begun.”

“How will I
know where to look for my shadow?”

“Look in the
things you truly love and hate.  It will
be revealed in your passions and desires; look for it in your mean criticisms
of others for it will be reflected there. 
Look for it in your talents–the ones you develop and the ones you see
in others but are too afraid to try out for yourself. Search your dreams for it
will unveil clues to its whereabouts there; it will move like a black deer through
the forest of your mind; it will swim like a black fish through your deepest
thoughts.  And know this: it can leap
from you and enter other people just for a moment to look at you through the
eyes of its host seeing if you can recognize it.”

“It can
merge with other shadows?”

were born to merge.  It is their deepest
desire.  One day when all of my shadows
become one and return to me, the world will explode into light and a new heaven
will descend upon the earth and spread like the first, eternal morning of

The Young
Soul turned his face away.  He seemed to
be listening to something only he could hear.

smiled.  A small vessel approached the
shore pushed by the unseen hands of an unseen current.  In the boat sat a woman dressed in a flowing
gown of silk, colored like the waves and the foam.  She was singing. In her arms she held a baby. 

The Young
Soul looked on with wonder as the boat touched the shore.  He turned to face Darkness.

“Is it time?”
the Young Soul asked.

“Only if you
say so.”

The Young
Soul looked at the woman, she looked down at the infant in her arms with all
the love of the Dawn looking at you through your bedroom window.

“Thank you,”
said the Young Soul to Darkness.

welcome.  We will meet again.”

The Young
Soul embraced Darkness and then turned, and moved towards the woman in the
boat.  He stumbled in the sand and waves,
the first of many stumbles he would make on his journey into and out of

stood and watched them drift away.  His
cloak billowed and suddenly became all wings and feathers and he rose and flew
towards the ever welcoming light.  


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Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

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