In a recent visit to the ethnographic museum in Stockholm I was inspired by the many artefacts representing animated mundane objects from all over the world. Masks, amulets and everyday tools created by different indigenous cultures, expressing soul-like qualities they must have encountered in their environment and made visible through these artefacts. So many indigenous cultures around the world clearly held/hold an animated world view, seeing the manifested physical world as possessing soul qualities. This recognition of the ensouled qualities of nature is what allows indigenous cultures the world over, to be in such intimate contact with their environment. Recognising the quality of their nearby river, mountain or tree and responding to it, brings them into an personal relationship with Place.
Speaking to many people from different backgrounds who work closely with nature and earth energies, I hear a similar understanding emerging relating to our Times; the devas, elemental beings, and causal levels of manifested life are needing to be recognised once more. The soul of the earth is eager to meet us in new ways, a new conversation is beginning, one where we see not only the wisdom principle of the earth but also the soul life of the earth.
In one of the site specific performances we did with a group of storytellers at Emerson College, I had this feedback from participants: ”The forest was ready for us. It knew what was happening, and it welcomed us.” This type of experience is very tangible once we are able to open up to the possibility of experiencing nature as a living system possessing an inner self.
Here is an image to explore this theme with: Imagine the earth turning inside out. The outer landscapes becomes the inner core of the earth and what was previously the inner becomes the outer crust. With your imagination try to envision different species that you know – plants / animals etc, orienting themselves toward the new surface. Find pathways for manifested life to reach the inner qualities of the earth that have now become visible on the surface.
This paragraph from Marko Pogacnik’s GEA CULTURE MANIFESTO speaks beautifully about this:
“Community of all beings
It is not possible to live in peace with the Earth as long as we relate to and manage other beings of the Earth as inferior, as inanimate or without consciousness. The various manifested forms of life – plants, animals, and minerals, including their elemental consciousness – are not destined to be our slaves, to be manipulated or destroyed as if they have no intrinsic value or life or consciousness. These beings represent different archetypes of life that are an integral part of the evolving life and consciousnes of the Earth. All these beings represent creative potentials through which Gaia intends to communicate and collaborate with us and with our global culture. Instead of economic, political and social institutions and conventions thatfunction only among humans, we are faced with the challenge of creating, supporting and nurturing new attitudes and practices to embrace an enlarged family of beings, and of providing each member of the emerging geaculture with a respected and protected place within the global community.”