Category Archives: nature symbology

Dreamtime

Up earlier than dawn on a cool, crisp Autumn morning, I quickly pull on my breeches and a long sleeved ‘T’, eagerly anticipating a ride into the richness of another morning. I can hear Morgan whinnying in the barn — music to my ears. She knows I’m on my way. Always, at my first sighting of her, I feel a thrill at her beauty. Dark brown coat with a striking black mane and tail, well-toned muscles rippling at her slightest move, head held high, she is a perfect portrait of magnificence.

My first task is to brush her velvety smooth coat. It’s a way of silent connection and conversation between us. Morgan’s soft, brown eyes emanate kindness – unless, or course, someone takes her by surprise. Then the iris periscopes in and her look might start you thinking that it’s time to leave and quickly. We’ve been buddies for a quite a stretch of time and long ago I made the decision that I would set her free from harness and collar and ride bareback.

We exit the smell of hay in the stalwart old barn and start slowly down a steep, rocky hill to the forest path. A multi-colored collage of autumn leaves covers the trail and muffles the sound of rhythmic hooves. The smell of sweet earth rises as the day begins to warm and time dissolves into mist. As we trot along in silence, my body begins to respond synchronously with Morgan’s movements. I become conscious of a symphony of birdsong, of the silent rhythms of the forest surrounding us and of the wind whispering through the leaves. Everything in the forest seems to respond to our movement with song and sound at surprisingly appropriate and syncopated moments.

A horse is an amazing creature. Discipline along with freedom brings out their magnificence and their loyalty. I give her boundaries but don’t imprison her spirit. In such an environment, her unique and complex character has space to unfold at the same time that she learns to be responsive and dependable. That’s the reason I threw out her harness. It’s a sign of gut level cooperation between us. She is a faithful friend now, willing and happy to be a partner in any enterprise whether it be work or play.

We exit the forest into a softly rolling, flowered meadow. A sense of exhilaration begins the flow of adrenalin and Morgan’s pace quickens. I feel a cool river of wind flow over us as I braid my hands into her mane. I’m hunkered down on her back, legs gripping her sides, as if I were part of her skin and feel thrilled with the sense of both of us, now as one, flying effortlessly through the air. We rise together. Like Shamans riding the flying horse, Pegasus, Morgan and I enter into the mystery of worlds beyond worlds. I know where that myth comes from. I live it every morning.

Pet Rocks

A Psychic once suggested to me that I get my hands on a Shiva lingam — that it could change my life. I had never heard of a Shiva lingam so I researched. A lingam is a symbol and represents, among other things, the Hindu god Shiva, divine generative energy, the human subtle body and can be a catalyst for greater intuition and a Kundalini awakening. Dr. David Frawley, internationally acclaimed Yoga scholar and author says, “The Shiva linga represents the ascending energy of consciousness and life in nature.” It all sounded interesting so I went on a lingam search.

Apparently lingams can be a variety of different objects including columnar or oval stones or crystals. As a result of my search, I now have two ovoid stones. The first one I found was as smooth as a river stone, brown with gray, and gently piqued my interest. The second, a lapis lazuli, blindsided me with its beauty. Like trying on shoes, I enclosed each one into my fists. Each fit wonderfully snug into the palms of my hands. One felt like an egg, the other a sacred temple. Unexpectedly, the second felt alive – it really grabbed me. I’m told it might be a ‘talking’ stone. Who knew? The stones live with me now and insist that they belong there in my palms … as natural a part of me as my hands. They comfort me. I guess you could call them my ‘pet rocks.’

Stones can contain a lot of power and these two do! I hold the stones, one in each hand, each with the same shape and of comparable size. Although they are both similar, each has a clear-cut and potent affect on my hand and my gut. Travelling from my hand to my gut, I feel the laser like energy of a profound attraction or calling coming from deep within the center of the lapis stone. A far stronger calling than a piece of chocolate cake. I don’t know how this is happening but I can hardly resist this calling. I want to swallow the stone so I can own that power and it will radiate from within me. Quite an unexpected effect!

The lapis lazuli, my temple stone, is the deep dark blue of the sky just before night falls. Lapis has a reputation for conferring truth, enlightenment, intuition and inner peace. The mysterious, magnetic blue draws me to a part of my own being where mystic feelings reside in the mystery of silence and the upwelling energies of prayer. A sense of serenity pervades.

The other stone, which I think of as my river stone, is a warm earth brown holding soft, mellow energy with a shadowy subtle gray figure emerging — a happy Mexican spirit, a dancing figure with a sombrero. It reminds me of a carefree life in some unknown Paradise. I want to bask in it. I look at it and imagine sitting on the banks of a cool bubbling brook, my feet dangling in the healing waters of Mother Earth on a balmy, sunny day, just as the trees and flowers in Spring are beginning to blossom. All this from a rock? Hmmm…

Each of these stones is encircled with an oval ring. How curious! Does it mean anything? I don’t know. The Temple stone is ringed with a thin line of sparkling flecked gold, which enhances the splashes of blue-gray that live throughout its dark blue ocean of mystery. Within that ring emerges a vague figure resembling a whale ascending from the deepest ocean. The Mexican stone also has an oval ring, this one of gray that frames the arising, dancing Mexican. Perhaps the figures indicate the emergent Spirits of each stone and describe their essence, a certain vitality of consciousness. I begin to imagine that stones might be home to myriad creatures — angels, elves, owls, sleeping prophets. A cornucopia of beings emerging to talk with and advise me.

Everything on earth is an energy system. Every material and non-material item has an energetic frequency. Stones do, electricity does. Some have chaotic energies, others coherent. Some are higher frequency and obviously alive. Others are lower and appear dead. But everything has intelligence and is alive. Stones are very alive even though they appear to be inert. Whether we are aware of it or not, each human system is affected by the frequencies of other energy systems. As someone once said, when a butterfly flutters its wings, the whole world is affected. A Shiva lingam could change your life.

Animal Frolicking

As I continue to study and practice the wisdom of the Eastern healing arts, I am impressed at how they so ingeniously connect humans with Nature in multidimensional ways. This includes not only healing arts like Acupuncture but also movement disciplines from China like Qi Gong in the Five Animal Frolics, and from India, Yoga through nature-based and animal Asanas. Movement is expressive of qualities, characteristics and emotion. The treasure filled Nature symbology embedded in Eastern arts is rich with meaning based in a profound understanding of humans and Nature. By practicing and understanding any of these movement disciplines, you can connect to Mother Nature and your own essence at a deeper and more intricate level. Since I am a Yoga practitioner, I’ll talk about Yoga – but you don’t have to be a practitioner of anything to get this.

Let’s take ‘Hatha’ Yoga. The word ‘Hatha’ is about duality. Ha means Sun: Tha means moon. The practice of Hatha Yoga is about balance through uniting opposites as represented by the sun and moon. The friction of opposites is part of our everyday life: warm-cool, male-female, good-evil. Understanding the metaphors of Yoga asanas and practicing them can facilitate harmonizing your physical and psychological opposites and bring you into greater inner balance.

Yoga asanas (postures, movements) are named for animals, plants, birds and even geometrical and geological structures. Each Yoga posture is like a hieroglyph. It contains nuggets of meaning related to its named entity. As with any movement, it can express associated qualities, characteristics and emotions. When you embody a particular Asana, you open yourself to change and challenge in that constellation of your nature. You deepen your understanding of yourself and even change how you express your life and being. Choose a posture and notice how you feel in that position. What comes up for you as you hold and breathe?

Try the Asana called “Cobra.” (If you aren’t familiar with Cobra, see: http://www.cnyhealingarts.com/2010/12/24/the-health-benefits-of-bhujangasana-cobra-pose/). What do snakes represent? Snakes bring up and symbolize many issues, especially fear. The Cobra opens the chest, which can hold many feelings and emotions including love, grief and fear. As you slip into the posture and hold for some time, you might begin to experience physical and/or emotional discomfort. If so, you are beginning to catalyze change in your inner status quo.

Whatever comes up, allow yourself to be with it, especially your fears, without denial or aversion. Instead of being a slave to fears, accept them as allies or teachers. “To stay alert and act wisely in the face of fear is to force that fear into the service of wisdom and power (Penny Kelly).” The practice of holding with awareness will take you on the path of renewal and resurrection, which is symbolized by the snake shedding its skin. Snakes are the essence of transformation and fluidity.

Study the movements of Yoga or Qigong. Think about the qualities and characteristics that you would like to strengthen, expand or have take root in yourself. Choose an animal movement that represents them; or create and explore movements that would embody these characteristics and qualities. Notice how you are affected. Feel yourself beginning to embrace Mother Nature at fresh and uncharted levels or your being.