Archive for the ‘the divine’ tag
This is a photo I took yesterday while wandering through Fish Creek Provincial Park which is located within the city of Calgary. Even though the weather was quite wintry, it was an enjoyable walk with my wife and camera. After two days of analytical sessions, I was ready for a change of mind and scene, so nature was what I needed. I am fortunate that this provincial part is only a short two kilometre walk from the place I am renting.
I use images as my way of honouring the unspoken and unseen aspects of my inner self as well as searching for ways to connect to Gaia, Mother Earth and to other humans at a level of collective depth. This little fellow, a squirrel in the park, knew I was there and was accepting of that up to a certain point. As long as I remained as a nonthreatening presence (as perceived by him), I was able to remain in a presence even if that presence also held a certain level of tension. The image of this squirrel evokes more than the fact of the squirrel; it is a dynamic image, pregnant with a vitality that connects me with a larger reality.
“Images can manifest in words, movement, plastic arts, science, architecture, or any other form of cultural or personal expression. In other words, anything that can carry the imprint of divine energies can be a temporary vessel of the mysteries, or the gods.” (Hollis, Tracking the Gods, p. 12)
“Temporary vessels” – it is vital that I remember this. The image itself isn’t numinous; what is numinous is the temporary presence within my consciousness, even sub-conscious state, of an attitude that is willing to see yet another sign and face of the divine. Once that moment has passed, the image returns to be a photography. It could easily said that for a moment, the Divine manifested in the image as a way of talking with me. Then with that dialogue finished, the Divine leaves the image which then becomes perhaps a piece of art or simply a snapshot. It is the Divine that chooses the time, place, space for dialogue with the soul.
As Hollis tells us, we can sometimes find the presence of the Divine in a song, in dancing, in an act of painting or building. The Divine can become manifest in any thing, any doing, and especially in our moments of openness to the Divine such as when we are asleep through dreams. But one must not expect the presence of the Divine every time we sing, dance, create, make. The Divine is present, but at those moments when we cannot evoke the Divine, it is because we attempt to contain the Divine in all of these things and these acts. The Divine can’t be contained for that reduces the Divine to being a servant of ego.
As I walked through the Reserva Santa Elena on the mountain within Monteverde National Park, I found a number of different plants and a few birds. This fiddlehead was much larger than those I have found in the wilds of Québec, Ontario and Saskatchewan. In Canada, the fiddleheads were delicate things that promised a good meal if gathered in sufficient quantities, a special delicacy to be enjoyed at rare moments. This fiddlehead was huge. At first glance, it appeared to be branches unfolding on a tree.
In search of the symbolism behind the spiral and the fern, I came across this:
‘The spiral can be symbol of creation, however it is also a potent symbol of dissolution into chaos. The spiral spins both ways. Downward spirals represent the forces of entropy that are constantly working to instigate chaotic collapse.
Inevitably, these two spirals—the generative and the destructive—turn out to be one continuous cycle. Fiddlehead ferns dry up, fold in on themselves, and collapse back into the earth.”
Walking through the cloud forest with a light rain falling, it definitely felt like I had found myself in a place of both birth and death. There was no feeling of meaninglessness. I was taken in by the pregnant fullness of the place as though I was in a cathedral.
“Jung understood the collective unconscious to be nature itself but a nature in need of its greatest creation, the ego and its consciousness, to function on behalf of humanity. (L I, p. 283; L II p. 540; CW 5, par. 95, p. 62). It is often overlooked that in equating nature with the creative unconscious and understanding consciousness as its needed offspring, Jung is effectively containing within a vastly extended psyche both the totality of what is or can be as well as the human cognitive capacity to experience what is or can be. Needless to say this containment would extend to humanity’s experience of the divine. All of this is made explicit when he writes, “Not only does the psyche exist, it is existence itself.” CW 11, par. 18, p. 12. (Dourley, The Foundational Elements of a Jungian Spirituality, 2006.)
Nature as the creative unconscious as an unconscious source of all that is; this can be understood as a face of what we know as the divine. And I, and we as humans become the conscious expression of that divine. It is only through consciousness of its parts that the whole can come to consciousness. For me, it begins to make sense that the divine also embraces polarities. All that is light and all that is darkness, the conscious and the unconscious; all that is, was and all that isn’t yet – all are embraced in the divine. My experience of the divine becomes part of the divine. Perhaps this lies at the root of my pull to search, to write and to wonder.