Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Earthrise and Living the Symbolic Life

"Myth is actually a framework of meaning, a set of collective fantasies that story our relationship to each other, the world and the cosmos. To tell a myth is to tell a culture's dream about its inner workings and truths."   
 Craig Chalquist, Ph.D. "Earthrise: A Mythic Image for Our Times."

    Earthrise is still a powerful image after almost 50 years (the crew of Apollo 8 took the photo on Christmas Eve Day, 1968), even after seeing the amazing images of the cosmos we get almost daily from the Hubble space telescope.  Our universe is vast, mysterious, a bit scary as well as breath-taking, but there's something hopeful about that image of our beautiful Earth shining in the darkness of space that touches my heart and soul.  Do you feel that way too?

     I've been drawn to that photo ever since the first time I saw it back in 1968.  I put it on the front page of our college year-book; it's on the cover of my book of seasonal fairy tales, Stories of the Earth, and for me at least, it is connected with my vision of Lady Wisdom.

     This photo of our Earth recalls what the Ancients called the 'Anima Mundi' or 'World Soul' the idea that there is an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to our world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body.  (Perhaps the philosophical link with Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock's Gaia theory.)   When we look at this picture of our home planet, we can sense the truth of that belief.  There's only one world shining out in space.

The idea originated with Plato in the Timaeus.  

Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence ... a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related. (Timaeus:29/30)

     Joseph Campbell felt that the image of Earthrise was a symbol of the new myths of the future.  I believe it, because the image has worked upon my unconscious to open me to the mystery of Lady Wisdom.  Perhaps in this astrological month of Aquarius, we need to meditate on this picture of our Mother, the Earth and remember that we are indeed all connected. 

     The Cosmic Story is calling us back to re-work the soil and tend the plants that were seeded in the 60s.  At the square (90*) between Uranus and Pluto, we find ourselves at a crossroads.  Will we let the powers of repression and domination continue to hold power or will we undertake the Hero's Journey and bring back a new way of life?  

     We are indeed creating new myths for the future, myths that can teach us to be inclusive and caring, conscious and creative.  

'If myth is a storied way to feel out our place in the world, then we can grasp the significance of Earthrise by considering what it rode in on. The Environmental Movement, ecopsychology, Systems Theory, the Internet that joins us across the globe, global structures of finance, the Goddess movement, the push toward sustainability, organic agriculture, Brian Swimme's inspiring cosmological reveries: these and other worldly-circling matters grew up in the light of Earthrise. This image did not "cause" these movements so much as announce them as they swarmed into collective consciousness.'   
 (Craig Chalquist, Ph.D. Earthrise: A Mythic Image for Our Times.

     There is also a Heroine's Journey women are especially called to.  It is an inner journey that can free us from the patriarchal corsets and straightjackets we've been shaped by.  And the gift we receive and the treasure we bring back will be Wisdom--the wisdom to find solutions to the personal and collective crisis that face us.  

     There is an image of the Return of the Divine Feminine that corresponds to this image of Earthrise

And a portent appeared in the heavens: A woman, clothed with the Sun, standing on the Moon, crowned with Stars, in labor...giving birth to the Savior.


     Images are not owned by any one religion or corporation.  Symbols are universal and they come to us pure in our dreams and through synchronicities in our waking life, and through true myths, music, art and stories.   Of course, patriarchy consciously uses images to capture our attention, but that way lies manipulation and control.  When we look at an image and let it speak to us--just as we can with this image of Earthrise or that of the 'Woman  with the Sun'--we really can learn something about what Spirit or the Anima Mundi wants us to do. 

     So before this Aquarius New Moon on Thursday, January 30th at 1:38pm PST/ 4:38pm EST/ 9:38pm GMT, sit down and meditate on this image of our mother, our home, our source.  And listen to what She tells you.     

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!

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