Lately, I have been having a hard time listening to the news, as I’m sure many of you understand. It feels like darkness is winning, not just in the seasonal sense, but socially, politically, and personally, as well. But last night, when I was fiddling with my handheld device rather than winding down, I had an epiphany. I have Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Inspiration Oracle Ap downloaded, and I regularly click into it for a goddess to think about in the evening. Yesterday, I pulled Amaterasu.


I know the story of the golden throne mother of Japan pretty well: the primary deity in Shintoism once locked herself into a cave in anger at the destruction her chaotic brother had been causing. The world was deprived of light, and, predictably, things began to die. All the gods and goddesses gathered outside the cave to persuade Amaterasu to bring her light back into the world, but she remained where she was. Until, that is, the goddess Uzume kicked up her heels and performed a sexual, ribald, ridiculous dance for the gods. They laughed and hooted, and Amaterasu was curious. She peeked out of her cave, and, as Waldherr notes, “balance was restored when Amaterasu was lured out by laughter.” There’s a similar tale in the myth of Demeter, that laughter was one of the first things that broke her all-encompassing, all-punishing grief.


So, with Amaterasu and Demeter in mind, I’m going to try to ignore the darkness. More than that, I’m going to look for the things that bring me delight, and I will make time to laugh today. Perhaps, if we insist on filling our hearts with joy, we can lure the goddess back into our lives and find that chaos and darkness do not endure in the face of laughter.