Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Boundaries And The Spirit Of Place

The Earth is a place where each species, tribe, or group creates new symbols of its values.  Groups have territories. Mountains and rivers create natural boundaries, but so do language, symbols, and rites. The mountains, rivers, and valleys themselves are often given names that reveal their spiritual essence.

Culture works in a dialectic. All types of cultures circulate vital force and consciousness in different ways.  The thesis of a culture is its identity, how it distinguishes itself in tools, languages, and art.  The antithesis is the tension created by differences in identity between cultures.  The synthesis reveals how these tensions are resolved and integrated into a medley of values and cultural ways.  A fourth phase, which I call paradox, is reached only where the values of a culture reach beyond differences, or even resolutions, to the source, the One.  Whether expressed in sacred art, rite, or political action, paradox is a sacred act, a realization of the gift of a culture's endowment.  It is a reciprocation that brings streams of renewal and creativity.

Territory, or earth-mapping, is expressed through a dialectic as well.  Territories can exist in isolation - such as a village in a desert or wilderness - or they can be tangent to each other, marked by political, racial, or cultural boundaries.  The antithesis always emphasizes separation, the tension of differences.  The spatial synthesis of a territory is in the concept of a commons or shared city-center where boundaries overlap.  People of diverse nationalities and races may meet in a shared environment to which they all contribute.  A paradox is revealed wherever the sacred is recognized as the real ruler of the land.  This is called spirit of place.

The spirits of place reveal the specific qualities of subtle energy in the landscape - how the dragon vein flows.  They abound in rivers, mountains, trees, and caves.  Their presence is felt in native, archaic, and ancient mythology.  The Eskimos tell of Sedna, the Sea Spirit in charge of all sea creatures.  The spirits of the Earth and sky were invoked by the Iroquois, and through this invocation they found the wampum bird.  The sylphs and gnomes of fairy tales, the devas that weave subtle energy and light into elemental energy and states, can wait out human mismanagement and direct the recovery of the world.  But if we are to participate, we must ask them to share their power, and then listen.

One way I envision the way to invite them to share their powers is to simply create a sacred circle, and invite them in to share, and above all, as stated, LISTEN.