Earlier tonight I got into a discussion with one of my magical partners about meaning. I'd noted that what makes any kind of relationship important is the meaning that people invest into those relationships. This is true whether it's a relationship with another person, your spiritual beliefs, your cat or dog or rabbit, or anything else. The meaning we invest defines the relationship. The permutations and labels of the relationship come later and can't exist without the meaning. I was asked, if the context of the meaning was different, would the relationship be as important?
In this last year's work with the element of love, and even just two weeks into the emptiness working, I have learned so much about the value of meaning regardless of the context. If we attribute value to only what we want, we can miss out on what is truly important, which is being open to what we can learn from each relationship we have. This is why the saying, "love is blind" is apt, because the search for love can sometimes blind us to what we have in front of us.
Lupa, my wife, taught me a lot about meaning this last year. She helped me realize that the superficial trappings of a relationship can sometimes catch us up so much that we forget to look at the meaning we invest in the relationship. We focus instead on looking at what we don't have, without realizing that to really have anything in a relationship meaning has to be invested and earned to make the relationship really bloom.
So my answer is that while the context can certainly describe a relationship and some of the ways the meaning is expressed, the context shouldn't replace the actual meaning derived from the relationship. If something or someone is important to you, then they should be important regardless of the context. I will admit, that this understanding is something that long eluded me. It's only been over the course of this last year that I've even approached meaning in this way and I owe most of that to my wife.
And so we come to the last question, one not asked by my magical partner, but one that I've asked many times over, both to myself and to those people who I consider dear to me, though how I've asked it comes in different shapes and forms. What does meaning have to do with us, with magic, with anything?
Everything and nothing. Meaning is potential...what we do with meaning is up to us. Meaning provides potential by providing us a vision of what we feel is important. We acknowledge this importance by saying such and such has meaning...yet for the potential of meaning to be realized, action needs to be taken. That action can be as simple as writing a letter or email, or as elaborate as a year long elemental ritual to emptiness. The potential of meaning is made by the actions you take to realize it.
Meaning what? Meaning whatever you make of it, good sir