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Marimekko fabric patterns based on the magical Sampo or mill from the Finnish saga the ‘Kalevala’

The ‘technology’ of our consciousness has the extraordinary ability to grow meaning. And it can do this because of the relationship between inner and outer ‘worlds’ or between the implicate and the explicate. The generative nature of consciousness is what makes it possible for us as human beings to see the world differently, and come up with original or newly synthesized forms. This is where our creativity begins, and what lies behind our great art — in all its aspects — and why we value it.

The British abstract sculptor Barbara Hepworth spent half her life in the small fishing village of St Ives on the north coast of Cornwall, the westernmost part of Britain. Anyone who knows that coastal region, particularly the wind beaten rounded moors of West Penwith, threaded with the parallel lines of telephone wires and stacked with weather- or neolithic-man-smoothed stones and the ruined engine houses of tin mines cannot miss the forms and atmospheres that helped give rise to her…


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Illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries. Image courtesy of Wiki Commons

Although scant archaeological evidence of Soloman’s Temple has been found, its probable design can be formulated from accounts in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Its layout was based on the portable, tent-like tabernacle carried through the desert by the children of Israel en route to settling in the promised land of what is now Israel and the West Bank. Both structures contained an inner sanctum called the Holy of Holies connected to a slightly larger room called the Holy Place. Outside the Holy Place was the Outer Court and around that was the wider encampment or the city:

“ And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars. And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; “ Exodus 40:17–19. …


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A full size model of the Ark of the Covenant

Humankind is made up of men and women. Or at any rate of male and female, because teenagers and children are also a part of the mix. And, according to the first chapter of Genesis, we are made in the image and likeness of the creator, who is/are also plural, and male and female:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …

“So God created man in his own image, … male and female created he them.”

Additionally, my decoding of the symbol of the ‘vesica piscis’ in terms of the similarly-shaped Egyptian glyph indicates that we both inherently are ‘the forces that are the creator’, and that our capacities of heart and mind, represented in Genesis by Eve and Adam, replicate and draw on these forces. And all this makes the temptation by the serpent rather ironic, because it is promising a fake version of what already…


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If we learn to stay true to ourselves, to feel when new insight lines up inside, or in Emerson’s words, ‘to detect and watch that gleam of light’ when it flashes across our minds, we are less likely to become controlled by others. We get a ‘feel’ for when something is right for us, or not. While we maintain our alignment, the ‘relationship’ of mind and heart, Adam and Eve, remains harmonious and effective. What is happening inside us is that we have taken on the identity of a creator — some one who authors and shapes their own world. …


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Society has set up many systems to try to regulate or control the behaviour of human beings. The most successful are those which know how to persuade people on the basis of their already-existing beliefs. But even when the would-be persuaders’ policies and intentions are mostly worthy ones, some one else’s ideas about what the right action is at any given time may or may not be right for us as individuals. Ultimately, direction and behaviour must stem from inside a person. The clearer we become about our inner self, the less easy it is to persuade or manipulate us. Equally, our own inner clarity ensures that the actions we take will be creative as opposed to destructive. This is because right action is inherent in the operation of consciousness itself and the deeper level or whole identity. When Adam and Eve, or mind and heart are in agreement, ‘lined up’ with the flow and therefore with one another, they are able to express the quality of the whole in which they participate. …


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drawing by Gustave Doré

You stare through stale eyes

at the furious waves of nature

your past hopes now fixed belief

hang like a pall over the embroidered garden

fading its unfolding colour to dry routine.

Your heart is kind,

and it is not age that dulls your sight

but the horrible repeat

of a formula that is watertight

and will not rot away.

If we grow blind to the currents of heaven

we coagulate in earth,

ensuring our own decay

by the grip of self-preservation:

and those whose marriage gifts

would stir old roots to new growth

are censored by the past and turned away. …


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Adam and Eve, the Serpent and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil Image: Wikicommons

The skewed identity and its over-involvement in the manifest world opens up the meaning of one of the most seminal texts in the western religious tradition, namely the account of the fall of man found in the opening chapters of Genesis.

One way or another the Genesis story, with its potent symbolism of Adam and Eve, garden, tree of life, river, serpent and forbidden fruit, has formed the nucleus of a thick tangle of religious and moral belief systems. The Book of Genesis is, after all, the first book of the Bible and therefore seminal to both 5000 years of Judaism, 2000 years of Christianity and 1500 years of Islam (or also 5000 years, depending on how one interprets the origins of the Muslim religion). And, because of this, it can be difficult to view the story except through the lens of either those belief systems and traditions — or our reaction to them. But if we look at this story with fresh eyes and peel off all those layerings of interpretation what we find underneath is an original masterpiece. …


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Becoming switched around, trapped in the crystal cave, we lose not only the sense of the living world around us, but the expanded sense of ourselves.Our identity is diminished. We become vulnerable to those fragmented self-images, prone to corrosive beliefs.

In Hans Christian Anderson’s story of ‘The Snow Queen’, the little boy Kai gets a splinter of the troll mirror lodged in his heart. The mirror fragment distorts reality, making what was beautiful seem ugly. When we get switched around, it is like having a splinter of this same distorting mirror lodged in our heart. What was formerly lovely to us, can seem jaded. Kai’s character changes from a happy, affectionate boy into some one uncaring. His heart has frozen over, so that he comes under the influence of the snow queen. If we start to feel fractured and disgruntled ourselves, our attitude to others can change. We tend to blame people in our lives or conditions created by others further afield (the commuter traffic, the unfair tax laws) for our discomfort. Or we grow distrustful. And then, we may try to find further ways to alleviate our discontent. …


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Becoming switched around, trapped in the crystal cave, we lose not only the sense of the living world around us, but the expanded sense of ourselves. Our identity is diminished. We become vulnerable to those fragmented self-images, prone to corrosive beliefs.

In Hans Christian Anderson’s story of ‘The Snow Queen’, the little boy Kai gets a splinter of the troll mirror lodged in his heart. The mirror fragment distorts reality, making what was beautiful seem ugly. When we get switched around, it is like having a splinter of this same distorting mirror lodged in our heart. What was formerly lovely to us, can seem jaded. Kai’s character changes from a happy, affectionate boy into some one uncaring. His heart has frozen over, so that he comes under the influence of the snow queen. If we start to feel fractured and disgruntled ourselves, our attitude to others can change. We tend to blame people in our lives or conditions created by others further afield (the commuter traffic, the unfair tax laws) for our discomfort. Or we grow distrustful. And then, we may try to find further ways to alleviate our discontent. …


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Credit: wikicommons

Everything is consciousness. That is one way to summarize the Buddhist understanding. Or, everything emerges from different declensions of consciousness. Govinda’s languaging of the ‘vesica’ symbol suggests that all three segments — the universal, the empirical and the field of awareness — are different declensions of the same thing:

About

Diana Isabel Durham

British/American poet and writer who draws on archetype to explore our identity. Author ‘Coherent Self, Coherent World.’

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