Saturday, March 18, 2017

Open Midnight part 3

From the book Open Midnight, pages 93-99 these powerful passages about deep silence, time, connection, Celtic views, including anima loci and thin places.

Sitting there, the bright sun causing me pain, being arrogant about my openness was actually closing me down...."Conscious evolution"--how can this happen? First make the decision to sub-speciate, and then choose divergensis over convergi.

I shut the engine off and heard a voice echoing in the back of my head. "You're making this up as you go along."

I got out of the Ford, shut the door behind me so Rio [his dog, a central character in the book] couldn't escape, and took one full step forward.  Thick silence flooded in around my feet.  I turned to see if the San Rafael Reef was actually a massive wave from an ancient sea breaking across the valley where I stood.  The flood rose around me and I felt myself beginning to float before it retreated as waves do, stripping me of my old dead skin, killed by the morning's meeting, the politics and animosity, killed by Guy [an county official with whom Brooke has been meeting].

Free from the dead skin and the deep silence, I moved toward the gate, hearing in my head that the gate was a portal between worlds......

Time loses its form in unchanged places.  It's no longer linear.  It no longer progresses.  It may be circular, but sitting there that day, I thought about time spiraling.  As time moves, it revisits wild places. A thousand years passed between the time the people who made the rock art were camped there and my visit. ....

I've long envied Navajo and Hopi people I know for their ceremonies and rituals and the sacred dimension they see in all life.  Mainly I envy their ancestral relationship to places I've come to love and want to protect. Connecting with people from another time has always been a key element of my wilderness experience.

For a long time I wondered how much more connected I might feel standing in an ancient Celtic stone circle in western England or eastern Wales, where my ancestors were born....To traditional Celtic people, places have a soul, a spirit or personality.  They have a phrase for this place-soul: anima loci.  Celtic beliefs and traditions are expressed spiritually through the landscape, which is filled with places where spirits are present. They believe that each time we experience a sacred, spirit-filled place, we're encouraged to make an imaginative act that personifies that particular place to us.  That personality is its anima loci. Anima loci, a powerful forces, makes places sacred. ...

All wild places may be thin places.

To my Celtic cousins, thin places are those where the distance between the sacred and the secular, heaven and earth, the spiritual and the physical, is small.  Wilderness may be as close as many ever get to places where this great blending is still possible: heaven with earth, the spiritual with the physical, the past with the present. Civilization thickens the divider, increases the distance. 

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