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The Allegory of Shadows

Pealing and Falling

Plato's Cave - The approach of Candlemas when shadows rise to the light, when the groundhog surfaces, also raises the Platonic light: the Form of the Good..Is it the time of year that conjures shadows to the light – the approach of Candlemas, when the cherished groundhog rises to the surface to assess the season? If so it might also be the time of year that makes of me a Platonist again, enkindling the desire to rise up to that light which is sun to sun: the Form of the Good.

Without doubt I cannot reach this by philosophy, argument, disputation. The Form of the Good is not just visible light – it is not even that. It moves among people like the ringing of an inaudible bell – the peals of sound falling from the sides of a perfectly-cast bronze bowl. Pealing and falling, pealing and falling. Therefore, the light is not visible, the sound is not audible: you have to listen with your wholeness, see with your self.

That is why the shadows congregate. They love the argument and disputation. They light fires in their enclaves to keep the flickering going right up to the end. And people mistake the flickering for truth. This is what Plato taught. And it is the lesson of the groundhog as well, if I can mention them in the same breath.

It might be the time in the Great Year as well – illuminatingly also called the Platonic Year (25,580 ordinary years) – which causes us to rise above planes and surfaces, solids and shadows. The Form of the Good will gather us up in time. We will rise from our caves and underground places into the upper light and even our shadows will be redeemed.


nature winter sunlight - The approach of Candlemas when shadows rise to the light, when the groundhog surfaces, also raises the Platonic light: the Form of the Good..

Radiant Spirit

My tall trees, flamboyantly greenless, so loose
in their limbs with frost, having worn night lightly,
allow the sun to filter through their fingers.
Tree-shadows vanish across the farmer’s fields
as if to tip their hats at sweet maiden day.
My shadow walks between them, skating with ease
on sheets of ice the dark spent hours creating.
He has found his way back from perdition’s fold,
this shadow, and is careless of old dangers
to his being, such as cloud and fog and nightmare -
even that death which will steal his dawns away.

There is more sun than we need in half an hour -
shadows grow diffused and climb up into thought:
where is the radiant spirit in my mind
who can subsist without planes and surfaces,
who can describe conditions without solids?
And higher still the sun will subsume all shape -
mind admits a presence it barely conceives:
the Form of the Good, reflecting its own light.
Arguments, philosophies, doubts dissolve there -
reasons for inaction, motives for delay.
Fantasies shadows tell in their own enclaves.

But that Form chooses to wander shadowless,
ringing inaudibly between human beings
like the perfectly-cast side of a bronze bell.
It will come back for us all one day, and soon -
shadows whisper of this as well and light fires
deep below that they might flicker to the end.
Why do hearts grow light, and eyes, and even trees? -
because their roots and causes will be gathered
in a mind that never stopped being sun to sun.
Its truths peal and fall, peal and fall, timelessly -
we need to hear with our wholeness, see with self.


Best wishes, today,
Jay Landar

©Jay Landar 2013. All rights reserved
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One Response to “The Allegory of Shadows”

  1. Maya Harper 09. Feb, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Thank you Landar. That is a lovely description of Aquarius and I am so glad it is not merely Water -man!

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