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Bhopalgarneshmaking IMG_0215

The idea that we live in something called “the environment” is utterly preposterous…. The world that environs us, that is around us, is also within us. We are made of it; we eat, drink, and breathe it; it is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.

– Wendell Berry

The Navaho see creation as a sand painting. A catholic may relive recreation in the eating of the body of god, and the logos John says all things exist.  The Hopi world describe the weaving a microcosmic  womb of the spider woman.

Throughout history various traditions have described chaos turned to order.

It seems to me the universe was described a multi-layered, with both a celestial over world and a chthonic underworld, with appropriate spirit rulers and other denizens. there are also rulers of the principle directions or quarters. The levels of the universe are connected by a central axis, the axis mundi which appears as a sky ladder or world tree. Much as Jacobs ladder ascended and descended to heaven.

It is via this central axis that the shaman gains entry to all the levels of the universe.

IBhopal Lakes Fstival

With this in mind, I am considering the rose. The traditional rose and not the hybrid multi pedalled equivalent. Five petals and five sepals identify the  Rosaceae familly including apples, pears, quinces, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, raspberries, loquats, almonds and strawberries.

The rose may smell as sweet by any other name, yet still its it’s prickles are  the wounds of love or evil.

Red roses? Like blood?

The Apache Indians red ochre the earths  blood,  coral is teeth, rock the bones, opal  its fingers, nail and teeth,  and abalone the sclera of the eyes. A dark cloud is the hair that later turns white.

In Jewish Kabbalah  the heaven as mans skin, the constellations are to the skins configuration, as the 4 elements to mans flesh, and the internal forces of the universe are angels, servants of god, to men’s bones and veins

For scientist and thinker David Boehme, the  whole body signify heaven and earth, the body cavity or bladder relates to air,  the heart  fire,  blood or liver is water  and the arteries course of the stars and the intestines wasting away.

I wonder if we have lost our connection to the earth behind a mask that distances us from life.

Old City BhopalA mask is a democratic space that on level at least convinces us we are not part  hierarchy , But infact,  increasingly dependent on technology there are new rulers and surfs. The present level playing field is as much   a colonialism as the world post 1492. We have just changed the name.

We have become detached from our bodies unable to listen to the yoga of life or the intuition of nature.

We call them myths.

The majesty of greatness is not known to small souls, just as the moon is not known by a mushroom that dries up by midday, or the cicada that dies before it sees spring.

But we should know.

Whether as crow or coyote , Trickster was the violator of taboo and also power of creativity. Of course, you probably don’t believe that. Which is OK. But do you dismiss it as a pagan or stupid superstition? The common alternative is to kill off nature as dead and uncaring,as emotionally distant   as some distant uncaring god in heaven.

 Do we hear the music of the earth blown through trees ad valleys like hollow reads, and the quiet creative song of heaven?

I would rather admire the geometric cell like plants that float in fluids angles  and the higher organisms which show the highest regard for their offspring.

We seem death to nature’s appeals.

Perhaps we would be better to once again see the Universe is a green dragon: green with life, an embryonic,  cosmic egg, and mystical like a dragon.

Fishing Bhopal

Or like Geothe to describe the essential plant as human potential described in terms of potentials. The Seed is the sum of all previous qualities contracted, the fruit expansion, and the plants exual organs are divided :  stamen – contraction; Corolla – expansion; Calyx – contraction. The stem is expansion and it is in the cotyledons  that duality appears

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari even suggest a “mechanic phylum” of space and its domains. A system of clouds, flames, rivers and phylogenic linage of living systems  of  living and non living systems

To us nature is dead, and life is made ou to be a rare accident.  We – especially the Christian West, except perhaps for Saint Francis – have seen ourselves above and superior to nature.

We as a society have a spiritual heart disease.

Why must we see life as dead? Why not live life as art.

We could see myths of breaking and recreation as did the poet Yeats : “the foul rag and bones shop of the heart.” We can listen to the rhythms of their “canonical formula” (a:b::c:a-l)., an archetypal rhythm that reaches deep within if only we let it.

We could instead ask what is the deeper archetypal yearning a tradition calls from us. We could recall to life the Medeavel festival of fools and offer a second life for the masses. Then taboos were recognized albeit regulated . Now social conformity enforces an  apartheid of wealth that risks imprisonment of those who do not fit the mould.

The West boasts of its Grecian heritage. Of course, the Greeks were obsessed with the patterns and ratios of beauty. So why cant created objects be  somehow sacred? Perhaps this is why I find a sculpture not of form but of belief but a passion.

But alas, like so many others, I allowed the ritual of bookwork, of study  – my mind – to destroy my passion.

I am not suggesting we carry Bibles down to  the church peasants adoring some wayside chapel , bent in adoration of some wayside crucifix.Nor do I ask you to sit in lotus reciting endlessly the Gayatri, Om mane padme aum or the names of Krisna.

Bhopal Old City

I arrived in India with a prefabricated metaphysics.  There was great romance in Mumbai’s  neo-gothic train station.  In sacred enclaves it is easy to admire a hernmetic code, a Buddhist, Hindu even a Muslim theme. But is the red Sindor only Hindu? Is the colour before me a Krisna or an advertising blue?
I arrived in India with a prefabricated metaphysics.  There was great romance in Mumbai’s  neo-gothic train station.  In sacred enclaves it is easy to admire a hernmetic code, a Buddhist, Hindu even a Muslim theme. But is the red Sindor only Hindu? Is the colour before me a Krisna or an advertising blue?

Perhaps I am unable to translate the experience. Perhaps Bhopal  triggers  personal memories  in the  recesses of my being.  Have Freud and Lurian kabala pooled into colours of mind that have distorted my vision.?

What I read as a historian is from a philosophical structure,  much like a wax work video new virtual surface that spirals into new forms.

What I do know is that there is beauty in the  mad painters claiming to be prophets  that offer themselves a sacrificial lamb in cultural mayhem .

Chaos and  somehow flows in a way only India could.

It is more than a tangle of primitive chaos. Even more than a fissionary art caught in possibility of social fright.

 …and through it I am learning to listen and I hear a profound symphonic order.

As the flat sound of my chappals on cobblestones echo a powerful slap, I think I would rather be initiated into the art of god