above & below

All the water below me came from above.
All the clouds living in the mountains
gave it to the rivers,

who gave it to the sea, which was their dying.

And so I float on cloud become water,
central sea surrounded by white mountains,
the water salt, once fresh,
cloud fall and stream rush, tree root and tide bank,
leading to the rivers’ mouths
and the mouths of the rivers sing into the sea,
the stories buried in the mountains
give out into the sea
and the sea remembers
and sings back, from the depths,
where nothing is forgotten.

~David Whyte

how do we perceive what is real? what is “true nature?”

inquiry for today~  maybe the day can shapeshift into your own imaginal truth….

Through the ecotone where the contours of the known world shapeshift into the mundus imaginalis, astonishing or fateful encounters may await the imagineer. Blue deserts, crenulated caverns, or dark-veined forests may suddenly appear, populated with devas, spirit bears, green angels, embryonic music, beasts that goddesses never invented, geniuses loci, inexplicable images or presences. In the imaginal world, anything and everything is – or could be – vividly alive, suffused in intelligence and agency. Poems might have legs. Wind might ask questions. Myths might enact themselves.  Seasoned or intrepid explorers of the imaginal might return to the everyday world with images or experiences that make no sense to the ordinary mind, but which nevertheless become guiding, even life-altering, encounters. Carl Jung’s The Red Book documents his explorations in the imaginal – his “fantasies”– from which he wove his life’s work.

The imaginal world is breached or reached through the organ of perception called imagination – a mode of perception that lost value as the Western world privileged rational thought. Imagination as an organ of perception is a Western idea that figures prominently in the scientific method of renaissance man, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – poet, playwright, polymath.

Engaging intentionally with imagination can re-awaken access to the imaginal world, and may be a portal for re-awakening perception of the imaginal’s close cousin: the animate Earth.  The imaginal and animate worlds are related, if not wildly the same. Perhaps the animate Earth is woven with the planetary body – while the imaginal expresses anywhere, any dimension, anytime.

Of course, concepts for imaginal world and animate world may not be necessary for more traditional peoples, or for a more-entwined-with-Earth psyche. Then, animate Earth is simply the world. One antidote to the colonization of the mind is the wild imagination. Cultivating the extraordinary human capacity to imagine alternate possibilities is, I believe, at least part of an essential navigation strategy for our times of multiple crises and ecological peril.

Intentional, ecologically-coherent enactments of imagination can help us not only decolonize the mind, but also revive animist perception – a perception that seems to weave through indigenous cultures, perhaps including the perceptions of our own distant ancestors.  Persons for whom the world is ensouled, for whom the wilder Others are suffused with agency and intelligence, are more likely to resist the on-going corporate, colonizing agenda.

Notice what shifts in the phenomenal world, and also attend what shifts in perception. Notice what images or other impressions might come, perhaps pawing out of the shadows and into awareness.  Perhaps, just perhaps, the images or impressions that arise are Earth or the wilder Others speaking- not through the ears, but through the organ of perception called imagination.

~Geneen Marie Haugen

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