| The Marriage of Earth and Sky: A Myth For Our Time: by John Finn|
|20 Jan 2002 @ 14:43, by John Finn|
The distance between our intentions and experience of marriage on one hand, and the reality it presents on the other, indicates how far removed from consciousness and reason marriage can be. Marriage has less to do with conscious intention and will than with deeper levels of soul. In order to gain insight into marriage and its problems, we have to dig deeper than the familiar therapeutic investigation into parental influences, childhood traumas, and illusions of romantic love. The soul always reaches deeper than we expect, especially in marriage, which lies far beneath matters of communication and even interpersonal relationship, touching areas of absolute importance to a meaningful and soulful life. We approach its soul when we understand that marriage is a mystery, a sacrament, as some religions say…a sacred symbolic act.
In order to grasp this sacred symbolic level, we need to set aside the modern penchant for scientific social analysis and instead look to sacred stories for instruction. Scientific analysis and therapeutic theories leave out the sacred dimension, and therefore they always come up wanting in the portrayals of marriage. But stories that evoke a mythic imagination, however simple they may be, offer us an opportunity to look at the soul's role in what is sometimes treated merely as an interpersonal structure.
Thomas Moore: "Care of the Soul".
Once upon a time not so long ago there was a soldier, who had fought in many battles, throughout several wars. Now, in a time of peace he had put down his weapons and became a weaver. He would spend hours at his looms. Tossing shuttles, thumping reeds, and carefully checking warp and weft. Weaving colourful fabric for garments and durable rugs for polished wooden floors. For a time this occupation nourished him. But, then he began to dream about creating a complicated tapestry. A wonderful grand tapestry that would be hung for all to view. It would tell the story of the many difficult passages one has to make to find one's place in the scheme of things. It would be his gift to the world. Oh, such a dream was this that he could hardly contain himself. He would spend much of his time whilst weaving imagining this great work.
Meanwhile the soldier's reputation as a producer of good fairly priced products had begun to grow. People desiring his work would come from afar to place orders. At first this was good, the soldier sold much and prospered. As much as a weaver could that is. But after a time, his dream of a tapestry began to fade. If he was to create a tapestry he thought, he would not be able to keep up with his orders. Anyway, he had not in fact thought of the overall design as yet. So he carried on working long days, and often long into the evenings. Some years passed. The weaver had much work and it did not seem to make a difference how hard he worked he could only produce a certain amount of weaving, and this was rapidly not enough to meet demands. The weaver had reached his level. He thought that he would employ somebody to help, but in fact that would not work, because it was his work that was in demand.
During this time, in the land that the soldier lived, there ruled an ailing King. King Fergus was not an evil human being, but he was enamoured by his own reflection. And would it was said, spend long periods of time in front of his mirror in deep consultation. He ruled fairly, it was often proclaimed except he was not that interested in other people's views on what needed to happen in the Kingdom. His sole adviser was himself, of which he considered wise, as he was the highest authority in the land. "Who better to advise me, than the King", stated the King on numerous occasions? Thinking he very clever on all counts.
It came to pass that a magician sought refuge in the Kingdom. The magician made application to the King to hear his case. The King feeling somewhat magnanimous on that particular day decided he would hear from the magician. The magician a rather slippery fellow, named Gilfred told an amazing story of persecution in his own land. Fergus was not really a compassionate man, but on hearing Gilfred's story he decided to allow him to stay in his land. It could have had something to do with the magician's ideas of how to transform lead into gold. This concept had been a temporary deviation from the main thrust of the magician's story, strategically placed into the narrative. The King had taken the bait, not because he was a greedy man, but because he said to himself he could do a lot of good with the gold. So the magician was not only granted asylum in the land he was offered an honorary placement within the King's court. The job description would it was decreed be worked out at a later more convenient time.
The King had a daughter, well, in fact he had three daughters, but this story mainly concerns his youngest, Gloria. The other two daughters were promised in marriage, to, two rich and famous knights. Gloria was as yet not promised to any man, and this was a situation that greatly disturbed the King. He thought that it wasn't right that she should remain single. Gloria was not concerned, she was content to work as she always had in the Royal gardens. She loved to plant, harvest and appreciate the patterns of the seasons as they made themselves apparent in the gardens. Many of her co-workers thought that Gloria was a fraction eccentric, as they would observe her talking to the plants and animals that inhabited the gardens. She was known to believe in the 'tiny folk'; unseen beings that were said to help Nature in its manifold task of decomposition and creation. Not only that, it was said about Gloria that she would meet with these 'tiny folk' for guidance and wisdom. This although considered abnormal was more than tolerated by her underlings and peers as she was possessed of such a kind and loving temperament, and she did such an excellent job. Gloria was truly a princess, and loved by all. Well, almost all.
Time went by in the Kingdom. The characters in this story grew older and the King became frailer. The King's two older daughters duly wed their respective knights and went to live in other parts of the Kingdom in castles that were wedding presents from the King. In the meantime the soldier who was now a weaver carried on his work, providing what he could, now, just sometimes dreaming of his great tapestry.
Gilfred still without an official job description was at this time finding plenty of work. As yet he still had not managed to change lead into gold, but had convinced the King that it would be soon that this miracle would happen. Some of the other courtiers were also taken in by this fantastic idea and were waiting for the momentous occasion like carrion waiting for a kill. Gilford's other work was meddling in the affairs of State and he had devised an ingenious way of doing this. He had one day discovered the King consulting with his image in the mirror and conceived of a plan. It was a simple plan really. He would hide behind the mirror during the King's meetings with himself and speak as if he were the mirror. It worked a treat, the King in his frailty was susceptible to such a strategy and had been half expecting that such an event would occur. That is, he had hoped that one day his mirror image would respond of its own accord. So in a very short time you can guess what happened. Yes, you are right! It was not long before Gilford was more or less managing the Kingdom. At first it didn't matter because Gilford's instructions did seem to make sense. But then after a time some people began to worry about what was happening to the king that he could make such outrageous decrees and polices. For instance the King under the clandestine instructions of Gilford decreed that he would sell the royal forests. There was nobody in the Kingdom that could afford to buy them, so they were sold to a King from another kingdom whom decided that he wanted to harvest the timber to make boats for his navel fleet. Which he did, and this was rapidly rendering the forest into a wasteland. On top of this it was discovered that the forest beneath the trees was rich in numerous saleable commodities such as peat, moss, semi and precious stones, and even a deposit of silver ore was discovered. This however gave little benefit to the Kingdom as it belonged to another King. Who cared little for the people of this Kingdom, and was delighted at his good fortune.
Whenever anybody of influence voiced their opposition to the King's policies the King would declare that their mere opposition was an act of treason, but he would not punish them, because he was a good King. He instead offered the highly placed 'opposers' a position in his newly composed Government (an idea of Gilford's) that was created to process and act upon the now daily announcements of policy and acts of State. The lowly placed were merely publicly shamed. This newly formed government the King gave duly constituted and named the 'Polisapality' on how to act in matters of importance. Who you and I know was receiving daily instruction himself.
During this time of restructuring the Kingdom, many people shared in the profits of increased enterprise. However, unfortunately most people did not. Most people found that they in fact had to work harder for less returns. They were getting less for providing more. A situation that suited the King's supporters. Who curiously had once been opposed to his new ideas, were now speaking out eloquently in defense of the King's new ways. Their story was that in this Kingdom in the past, everybody had been lazy and dull. Now with the new ideas which were beginning to be known as 'fergosophy' or 'fergosism' people needed to wake up, work harder, and come up with ideas that benefited the Kingdom.
One of the new ideas that was popular with the whole kingdom were the Royal games. These were public displays that attracted large crowds of spectators who paid to be able to see great feats of strength and courage. Knights and prospective knights would joust against one another and champions became the people's heroes. The games were always extending to include more spectacles, more and more events. Profits form the Royal Games after large taxes and profit shares paid to the King were making some people rich. It was decided that this was good. It was decreed that this was good. In fact a Royal newspaper was started and from its pages were printed accolades of the King's ideas. Teacher's and scholars spoke intelligently of the King's new ideas. News of the King's reforms reached other lands, and visiting dignitaries would come to observe. If they said good things about the Kingdom they would be reported in full, if they said good and not so good things, only the good things would be reported. If they had only not so good things to say the newspaper would say nothing, as if they had not even been there.
The princess observing the new ways was not at all pleased with what was occurring within the Realm. She was annoyed by the wave of what she called 'greed' that was sweeping the Kingdom. It was almost more than she could withstand to see what was happening to her beloved land. One night as she was walking in her garden, feeling depressed by all that was transpiring. She stopped by a rock that she had not noticed before. As she was considering how she could have failed to see this rock before. The rock spoke. It did not speak out loud. It spoke inside Gloria's head. The rock asked Gloria to place her hand on its surface, which she did and immediately felt a power enter her body. No surprise to Gloria, a magic rock. Gloria felt herself become energised, all her senses became more acute. She scanned the gardens and perceived all before her as her, she and the gardens felt as one. It felt as though she was as all else, just energy. Thinking, feeling, and imagining energy. Her body was seemingly weightless. For a while she just enjoyed the experience, of being merged within everything. Then she heard the voice of the rock calling to her. Requesting that she return to her body, as she was needed to perform an important task. The rock who told Gloria his name was 'Roc' said that Gloria was to listen carefully to what he had to say. "Firstly, what you just experienced is something that is always available to you. You have merely experienced your true place within Nature, you are not a separate being contained in a bag of skin, organs, blood and bone. You are in fact energy. However, you are within the Earthly realm and as such you live within the conditions of that realm. Which means you have a body, and the body's needs will influence much of your actions on this plain. This is part of your learning, to live with limitation. Allow your inspiration and imagination to be influenced by connecting to Nature as you have just done, this will provide the strength you will need to fulfil the task I shall set before you. Remember always your true self, that which is one with all. Come again to this place tomorrow night."
Gloria was not disturbed by this experience, some part of her had already known all that had just happened. Although she had never experienced it as she just had. The Princess mostly felt humbled by the magnificence and beauty of the power, she perceived as Nature. And was now still feeling to some extent surging through her body. "Thank you Roc", she thought and then decided that it didn't fit to say that. "Love you Roc", worked better but also was short of the mark. However, she was going to continue with sentiments such as these until she found some other way that felt more appropriate.
The princess returned to Roc the following night and received these instructions. "Make your way to the wildest place still remaining in the Royal forest. There you will take off your clothes and bury yourself in the forest floor with just your head left uncovered. In this place you will be visited. Be strong be brave." Roc was then silent. Several days later Gloria slipped out of the palace without anybody noticing and walked carefully in the light of the full moon for five hours. Until she had made her way deep inside the forest. She then as instructed removed her clothes. It was cold, but she did not seem to feel it that much. Burying herself in the leaves and humus of the forest floor she lay and waited. The first thing she noticed was that her rate of breathing started to increase, she must be scared she thought. Then she felt a pain in the pit of her stomach. The pain increased along with her breathing. Inside her stomach seemed to be on fire, breathing deep eased the pain. Closing her eyes, she had visions of the forest being destroyed, she cried out in pain. She felt the pain of the forest, the trees, plants and animals were crying out and she was not only hearing them but feeling them. Her body shook, racked with pain she screamed. The visions were becoming clearer. In her mind's eye a stag walked towards her and said that he and his tribe were endangered by what was happening nearby. Behind the stag were other animals, groups of them lined up ready to speak to her. The princess heard them all one by one. Each animal spoke plainly without blame. They were confounded by the behaviour of those who they referred to as the 'two legged ones'. All the time her body was experiencing waves of pain, she would respond by screaming or crying. Gloria heard from many of the animals, an assortment of plants, and numerous insects. Their stories were similar their responses varied; "where were they to go," "don't the 'two leggeds' know that they not only need us but we are interdependent?," "don't the 'two legged' feel?", "don't they think, about what they are doing?" A bee wanted to know where will the flowers grow if the top soil is washed away. The bigger animals wanted to know where were they to run. An owl said that he was having to fly much longer distances to find food and that if this continued he was unsure he would be able to survive. Gloria felt as if her heart was being wrenched from her chest. Just as she thought that she would not be able to endure anymore, the visions subsided, her mind cleared and she was again in the quiet of the forest, meditating on her experience. After a time she removed herself from her internment making her way to a nearby stream to wash. The stream was just deep enough for her to lie under the water. It was cold and refreshing. Gloria lay allowing the stream to wash her. It felt like the water was penetrating her pores and purifying her body. Arising from the stream she wiped herself with her hands removing most of the water. She stood for a moment enjoying her nakedness in the forest. Almost reluctantly she grabbed her clothes and dressed. The moon was high above shining directly at this part of the forest it seemed. Considering the drama of what had just happened Gloria was feeling exceptionally good. In fact she was filled with an exquisite sense of well being such as she had never felt before. Returning to the castle in the early hours of the morning Gloria went to bed and immediately fell into a deep sleep. Dreaming dreams of untouched forests, snow capped mountains and rivers flowing through pristine valleys.
The soldier who was these days a weaver of renown was now after some years of continuous work considering a holiday. He had managed to save enough money to take some time off his work. His work which was once a source of joy and pleasure had become an arduous daily routine. Seldom did he think of his one time wondrous notion of a tapestry. His life he felt had become mundane. Once he thought that it could have been extraordinary. Weary and burnt out he decided that he would travel to the outer reaches of the forest whilst it still remained. Mindfully packing a bag with provisions a change of clothes and a set of carving knives that had been given to him by his father many years before. Then in the early hours of a Saturday morning as his village was preparing for the Royal games he set out towards the forest. He was enjoying the walk, the sun was indiscriminately beaming its warmth over his body. The sky was blue as blue could be with some fine wisps of clouds high and semi translucent. Before he knew it he was humming a tune and picking up his stride. After a while he reached the edge of the forest. On one side as far as his eyes could see the forest had been destroyed, to the other side was what was remaining, perhaps a quarter or maybe a third was left. The weaver entered the forest, somewhat heavy-hearted at the sight of such destruction.
It was not long before he was deep within the remaining forest's embrace. The tress gently animating their massive arms in response to the warm breeze high above the weaver's head. Birds were singing tunes to each other, the odd furry animal scurried into the under brush. The weaver stopped and rested on an ancient fallen tree. He noticed that there were sapling/children of this tree spouting all around. Different heights and thickness of stem. Some may have been his age he mused. His gaze settled on a small plant that was in front of him. He recognized it as a local weed, which some folk used medicinally. The weed seemed to shimmer with a light of its own. As he stared he noticed that the weed began to emanate a faint light. Which after a short time became stronger until in moments it was as bright as a lantern. What was this? As he thought, he heard a voice inside his head. "What does weed mean to you it said?" "Weed describes a plant that is of little value and mostly a nuisance," he responded without considering who he was talking to. "That's sad," replied the weed. It then dawned upon the weaver that he was actually talking to the plant before his eyes. He was at first surprised by this occurrence, but then his curiosity got the better and he listened for more from the voice. "My name is Drumbell, and I am a plant with many uses and am far from being a nuisance. Not only do I provide food for the forest critters, I provide nutrients for the roots of the magnificent tress that presently shelter us. Without my kind and me this forest would not be. And if you really knew me, you could find healing from my body fluids". The weaver considered what had been said and related to it. A curious thought entered his consciousness, he was in fact describing how he felt about himself when he had described what a weed was. He thought that he was now of little value and that he was a nuisance to himself. Oh yes, he produced fine work; the more he produced the worse he felt. For years what he really wanted to do was create the tapestry of his dreams, but instead he bothered himself with the demands of continuously producing the same or similar items. The weaver began to sob. He cried over how he was feeling about himself, but he mostly cried over not fulfilling his dream. The tears flowed down his cheeks, he was sobbing uncontrollably. Just when he thought he was going to stop crying he would think of something else that he was sad about and his sobbing would, intensify. After a time his awareness came back to Drumbell. Drumbell spoke softly inside the weaver's head, "You are sad about many things. This is very good. Life is not about feeling good or feeling bad. It is about whether you feel at all. You have cried about your life and its unmet expectations for you. This is good. I ask you now to go deeper into your feeling, allow the depths of grief to emerge". With this simple encouragement the weaver felt his body merging into the Earth beneath his feet. It seemed like his body was like a nail been driven into the forest floor. Just his head above the ground. A fire ignited in his belly, and he yelled not in pain but in rage. He raged about his own sense of powerlessness to do anything about his life. He raged about the dream that he had all but discarded. More rage came, about his working so hard and not really being appreciated. Then from the bottom of his rage was what was happening to his country, and what was happening to his beloved forest. The weaver had been so focused on his own hectic life that he had not even realized that he felt this way. He bellowed out his rage, and felt no shame. This was true, this was real, he was more alive than he had ever felt before. This was good!
The weaver came to, lying on the forest floor next to Drumbell who was again speaking to him. "What you have experienced is the wisdom of your emotions, you can blend this with other wisdom to make your way to your ultimate purpose. I will help you to do this. You have not been chosen especially, for all are chosen. You have listened to the call, and I have been instructed to guide you on this part of your journey. First you must give yourself a name to mark this turning point in your life." The weaver was now back to his normal reality and was starting to question the validity of this event. He could not deny that something had happened, but he could think that it was just a bout of vivid imagination. However, he liked the idea of a new name. So instead of dwelling on all the questions that were arising in his mind, he began to contemplate on a name for himself. First name that came to mind was 'Dove' he liked it because he thought once he was a warrior, now he was a man of peace. No, 'Dove' would not be suitable it was too soft, his recent experience of rage would not allow such a name. His new name came in a flash of insight, he would from now on be known as, 'Cede'. Yes, that was his name. It meant in the old language surrender to the Gods and Goddesses.
Cede and Drumbell spent a little more time together. Drumbell gave some more instructions; "You are to cease weaving and come to live in the forest, where you will spend some time with your fathers gift of tools to you, carving. During this time you will discover your purpose. Go well, be strong, be true". Drumbell's last instruction was rather strange. He directed Cede to pull him out of the ground, boil his body in water, then to eat all of his body, except his roots, and when the water cools, drink it. Drumbell's roots were to be dried and carried in a waist pouch. This said Drumbell is the way I can be with you always. Cede did this in the early evening just beyond dusk. Then he went to sleep on the forest floor dreaming of war, heroes and Gods.
Cede awoke early in the morning to the cacophony of the birds voices. Feeling good in his body, but decidedly astonished by the events of the preceding day. Nonetheless, he was resolved to do as he was directed. Deep within himself he knew that this was his destiny coming to meet him. For several days Cede stayed in the forest, and started to prepare a simple site for his sojourn. He found a place that was sheltered and had a stream close by. Then he returned to his village, went to his workshop, grabbed a few essential items; a bedroll, assorted tools, paper and matches. Speaking to no one he returned to the forest, arriving at his campsite at dusk.
Back in the Kingdom things were the same. Constant change. Gilford through King Fergus had a firm grip on all matters of State now. The King would sometimes spend several hours a day in consultation with his mirror. Occasionally the King could be seen having stand up arguments with his mirror. Yelling and cursing at one thing or another, however he had long ago lost any power and would soon capitulate to the voice of the mirror. Which through time had become bolder and bolder in his audacious schemes. Gilford's latest project was to have the King decree that there would only be one market in the Kingdom and that would be the one in the largest village. Which just happened to be right outside the King's castle gates. Any subject wanting to trade would have to trade at that market as it was made illegal to do otherwise. The rules of trade were altered to. Before anybody could trade with anybody else there was only one rule; it had to be fair. Now only licensed traders were allowed to trade. To obtain a license, one had to apply to the King, who would only grant licenses to those whom his mirror saw as fit. Gilford had that one stitched up. Pay Gilford via an intermediary, get a license. This was just one of the many arrangements that Gilford had organized in his dishonest and exploitative program. Gilford's agenda had become so extensive that he had needed to take some co-conspirators on board. He did this by forming a secret society that became known as the "Chosen Ones", by many of the kingdoms citizens. These so called Chosen Ones were the most greedy, most dishonest, and least caring personalities the Kingdom could muster. They would not have said that about themselves. No they would have described themselves as reformers, the delivers of a new age, of prosperity. Heroes of commerce. Innovators, courageous investors, and many other such euphemisms. They would sometimes meet at a round table and there discuss strategy and propose commercial enterprises. Their meetings were followed by extravagant feasts, and lavish entertainment's. All funded by the 'Polisapality' and budgeted as 'cost of Consultants'.
Ailing King Fergus was now a mere figurehead of State. Wheeled out amidst much pomp and ceremony to sanctify this or that new project, always these projects were for the good of the Kingdom. You may ask at this point, what were the ordinary people of the Kingdom doing. That is a good question. What were the majority of people who were not benefiting from the many projects and reforms doing? There are two answers to that question "The Royal Games", and "Mucho"! Masses of the people lived for the Games which were held every weekend for the whole weekend. Fortunes were made and lost gambling on who would win at the numerous events. Gambling became the Kingdom's most favorite preoccupation. 'Mucho' was the newly formed Polisapality operated lottery, a weekly event that made one or several members of the realm rich every weekend. 'Mucho' attracted the people who did not consider themselves gamblers, as well as those that did. It was Gilford's stroke of genius. Every weekend somebody would get rich through 'Mucho', but it was kept secret who that winner was. That way the wider population never knew what happened to somebody that suddenly became rich. Everybody just assumed that it was the very best thing that could happen to anybody.
There were in fact many people of the Realm that were not at all impressed with what was going on. Mostly though, they remained silent, unable to give voice to their discomfort, and afraid of the consequences if they did. Only a handful of subjects who held various criticisms and opposed the reforms were becoming vocal in their opposition . They were not organized, did not even know each other in many instances. They would write letters to the newspaper that were sometimes printed, but these were treated by the new ruling class, as ranting from lunatics on the fringes of 'normal' society. The new ruling class were a rapidly constituting body of citizens united by the truth that they were becoming more and more affluent, and thus believing in Gilford's 'reforms', as what was good for them, was good for everybody. Sometimes a few 'malcontents' would get together to protest about the deforestation, or some other such misconceived schemes. They were quickly dispersed by the Royal guard, and the newspapers would print stories about how these weird people were standing in the way of progress. It was a melancholy state of affairs, for those that held alternative views to those in the seats of power, namely Gilford and associates.
It wasn't until the King proposed to transform the Royal Gardens into a vast model vineyard that Gloria realized that her position was impossible. Wine making had just become very lucrative, and wines from this Kingdom were proving very popular in other Kingdoms. Gloria pleaded with the King saying that he had enough wealth, he didn't need anymore. "Oh, its not about wealth" assured the King. Its about creating jobs for his subjects, he may even loose money by doing it. "No, Gloria I must be seen to be doing the right thing, an example you know. Besides what's good for commerce is good for the Kingdom". That had been one of the many incantations of the new order. Gloria was devastated. She at that moment resolved to leave the castle and go to live in the forest, what was left of it that is.
Before Princess Gloria could make her movement into the forest and another life she reasoned that she would need to consult with Roc. So that night she made her way into the Gardens and stood beside Roc. (If you have read this far that's amazing, you will have to contact me for more....)
20 Jan 2002 @ 15:30 by : More please.
You have been busy. I am going to go rest a bit, but I will be back.
20 Jan 2002 @ 17:08 by : Changes in the Kingdom
Finny, I am so pleased that I can read this and come to a lighter place of being. Subtle like a sledge hammer!! A story of delight, looking forward to more, I can see it all but want to read your words, tis our story after all! Blessings, looking forward to meet you in the sacred spaces.
20 Jan 2002 @ 18:21 by : trouble in the Kingdom
Thanks Max! I written quite a bit more. Its my effort to mainstream deep ecology. A transpersonal experientcial tale that isn't that suptle. Then neither is that which is happening to our beloved Earth.
21 Jan 2002 @ 08:02 by istvan : Conclusion
Beautiful and more.---
From here on. instead of posting the rest,you could make it a challange for all of us to write a conclusion to this tale.It would be fun and we could get to know each other more and laugh. It could become a continuous story. Remamber the "Newer ending Story"? Those who previuosly read the story would have to discqualify ,or even they could make a parallel conclusion. Just a thoght...
21 Jan 2002 @ 14:44 by : The marraige of Earth and Sky
I have actually written a lot more already! What I have presented here is only a fraction of the story.
Other entries in Myths
19 Sep 2002 @ 16:18: What!