Saturday, March 22, 2014

This weeks blog on  Connection With Metaphors, Archetypes, and Signs is the fourth in the series of the How To's of Wilderness Rapture with three more to go before the talk April 12th (see events.)

Kabir talks only about what he has lived through. If you have not lived through something it is not true.

1)  Receptivity and Intent 
2)  Fear and Stress 
3)  Sacred Space and Special Environment 
4)  Connection With Metaphors, Archetypes, and Signs 
5)  Primal, Primeval, and Primitive Experiences 
6)  Humility and Subordination of the Ego 
7)  Peeling Away The Levels of Consciousness Leading to Self Awareness, Peak Experiences, or Moments of Transcendence 

Connection With Metaphors, Archetypes and Signs
If one can be propelled into a profound meditative state just by looking at a flower, how much more so when we are involved in the exquisite beauty of a completely functioning ecosystem. Metaphors, archetypes and "signs" all seem to be more prevalent in wilderness than in any other environment. These signs that arise in wild places seem to be woven into the archetypal journey of the hero/ine. Because of a heightened awareness or altered state of consciousness the meaning of this sign is usually quite clear. It is only when the individual merges with nature that it is likely to appear, or more accurately, that the sign when it does occur will be interpreted as meaningful. It is part of the unconscious and the spirit world and will speak to us in that language. It does not arise cognitively but is a function of a more symbolic and intuitive expression. This sign, be it a metaphor or archetype or something else can offer a solution to one's problems and become a guide to the perplexed seeker of wisdom. Native Americans have a sophisticated understanding of psychodynamics. In order to facilitate the process wilderness was used as the vehicle and fasting, solitude, pain and sometimes mind altering plant substances were added to the medicine of nature. They recognized that it was usually in the outer wilderness that a sign could emerge that would speak to the inner wilderness of the soul.
Frequently the sign takes the form of an animal which brings a message of clarity in awake time or in a dream. These animals have been called "power animals". The power or totem animal is not necessarily a grand animal that you would like to be, such as a mountain lion or an eagle, but rather the animal one needs to emulate. For example a mouse;  if this means one requires more humility. 

The dung beetle a powerful metaphor for shoveling shit and turning it into manure

The attributes and qualities of a power animal can help us along our journey. During and after trips into wilderness we should be especially cognizant of any animals that cross our path and what they might mean to us in terms of their archetypal energy. It is interesting that the power animals in the West are often predators possibly because we attach strength to an animal like a lion or a hawk. In Eastern tradition spirit animals are more often water birds of a more gentle nature.
After being in wilderness for several days one can truly "be in the moment" in a Zen-like sense and metaphors pop up as signs that have profound meaning for problem solving. Something complicated and insurmountable may become extremely simple in the wilderness environment when looked at in the context of metaphor. This can be profound and occur as an "Aha" type of revelation or it could simply be a subtle change in awareness that will alter the way we work in the world.
The Native Americans believe that during the vision quest when one merges and becomes fused with wilderness, a sign, dream or vision will arise that is critical in determining one's journey. This could include connection with an animal, a spirit guide or guides. This clarity may create wilderness rapture or a "peak experience." The signs will present themselves and the psyche will decide whether they are vital and where to fit them into one’s life context. After being in wilderness with correct intention there is often a shift in consciousness which is key to the experience. In this state we are able derive an interpretation from a deeper level. 

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