Archive for June, 2012

Spirals In Nature… and Our Lives

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Daisy Spiral

(Spirals have great spiritual and mythical significance, a graphic show of limitless unfolding drawn directly from the natural world….  The harder we look, the more examples we see of the great spiral, and the more we may see our personal place within it.  You can download the original article in the Summer 2012 Issue of Plant Healer, the “Magazine Different”. Click here for more info.)

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Walking The Spiral:
Fern Heads, Replicative Patterns, Conscious Participation

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Anima School and Sanctuary

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We exist in a world of patterns that we are an unending part of.  I don’t mean just the patterns of individual and cultural behavior we call schedules and habits, the patterning of apartments in building or houses on blocks.  Notice or not, all around us are natural shapes and forms patterned according to design repetition and balance, and a thing’s gifts and functions, purposes and propensities, none of which are obeying some “laws of nature” or “laws of physics” so much as inhabiting and playing a part in systems of replication and enhancement.

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Under the intuitive eye of the mystic, the artist, the aesthetic, these patterns have always appeared manifest and childishly obvious, a clearly sequenced repetition of forms that interlock like puzzle pieces, building bridges of content, beauty and meaning between the supposedly dissimilar, and between the micro and macro.  From the scale of the stars in the sky, down to the  repeating shapes that make up the landscape, the balanced eruption of branches from a tree trunk, the mountain and valley texture of its bark and the composition of fingertips and fingernails when viewed really, really close.  They cannot help but sense or assume, that this trend continues down to the invisible, down to fluctuating but largely predictable and wholly amazing arrangements of minute organic cells, sensed molecules and imagined atoms.  And now, these patterns are revealing themselves to the discerning scientific eye as well, as fractals defining the replicative roughness of expanding borders, mathematically measurable, mappable, extendable and therefore to some degree extrapolatable; as natural forms to be copied by human inventors in a process they call biomimicry; as time-lapse captured lightning mirroring the patterns of veins in one’s own hand; and as mysteriously similar galaxies, whether summoned to view through the ocular of an electron microscope. or the polished lenses of a telescope racing through space on the nose a satellite.

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The organic blueprint that all things follow, is that of rivers making their way through the mountains to the sea, the patterns of turbulence witnessed in the roiling of bubble-laden streams and the swirling of sunlit smoke in the morning’s air currents, the topography of coastlines and radiating petals of flowers.  Because these patterns are ever growing, transitioning, evolving, moving, we might better describe their pinnacles and valleys, peaks and drops, their waxing and waning, build-up and climax in the terminology of music, the patterns of motive visual forms themselves being rhythmic.  All rhythm, no matter how complex, involves a repetition of patterns that could be drawn out as leaf shapes and snowflakes, coastlines and twisting vines.

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Rhythm made visible to the eye, is symmetry… the correspondence of exact or similar parts facing each other, or extending from a measurable center or axis.  And is the propensity of energetic nature to symmetrize.  The ubiquitous fractals are geometrically symmetric, as can be mandalic plant blossoms and crystal formations, but there is also a symmetry expressed in curling wisps of cloud, the lime green coils of a plant’s outreaching tendril, and especially in the spiral… the spiral fern head and spiral snail and sea shells, the inner ear’s cochlear nucleus vortices and the spiraling of Earth’s atmosphere as seen from space, all spinning out from a common center “eye”… a mystical “golden spiral” suggestive of a dance with no possible beginning or end.

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“It is only slightly overstating the case, to say that physics is the study of symmetry.”
-P. W. Anderson, Nobel Laureate

The “known” universe is also repeating a pattern, as exhibited by its discernible elements, and moves or unfolds in a spiral orbit, with repeating patterns resulting in ever greater superstructures that apparently repeat themselves infinitely (Joseph, 2010).  The search for a “theory of everything” could be likened to the search for a unifying symmetry, in which repeating, spiraling patterns help connect us to, thread us into and propel us through an infinite universe that may well prove as eternal as it is limitless.
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The perceiving and experiencing of this micro and macro patterning can lead to a feeling of rooted connection, of a kind of immortality by extension.  It can help us recognize the motion and direction of individual and species’ intent, and to find beauty and purpose in what might otherwise have been dismissed as ordinary and purposeless.  It can be a tool in our healing of ourselves and others, by helping us recognize and visualize patterns of constitution, energetics, gifts and challenges, perception and direction.
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For several years now, Kiva and I have been developing our Anima Medicine Wheel for use in energetic understanding and diagnosis.  More like the Chinese five-element model than the Native American Wheel, it features not only the four cardinal directions or “sources” but also a fifth in the center.  While it makes perfect sense to us conceptually, when I’ve tried to draw it out on paper there has always appeared to be something lacking.  Everyone begins their life embodying the energies, gifts, challenges and propensities of one of the five “directions” or points, yet usually we are moving at one speed or another towards or through other directions as part of our integration, growth, and becoming whole.  This motion, we realized, might be best conceptualized as a three dimensional spiral rather than a two dimensional circle, in which form and being are forever reaching back to their source point, origins and earth, and simultaneously reaching outwards in progressive or widening arcs that weave together as they encompass.

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Ancient Mogollon Spiral - Anima Sanctuary NM

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We naturally exist in and are inevitably factors in the patterning of the world.  And it is impossible for us to remain securely immobile and unchanged no matter how much we might try.  If we are not integrating and moving forward on the spiral, then we are sliding down it.  How much better it is, then, to walk the spiral consciously, deliberately, purposefully, taking in the lessons and crafting our effect, not only participating in but helping design our contribution, a song worth repeating, a pattern worthy of being extended beyond not only our immediate beings but our finite lives.

It is to honor both spirals and plants that we share with you these photographic images of natural, human and botanical spiraling, visual reminders of that beauteous pattern of corporeal as well as energetic continuation that no amount of dying can ever remove us from.

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(RePost and Forward Freely)

Supergirl, Reverse Sexism and Glad Primitives

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Supergirl, Reverse Sexism and Glad Primitives

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Introduction: Every so often we get a blog comment or email from an irate reader, usually reacting to something Wolf wrote, since he likes to “stretch” us as he says, but also sometimes they are aimed at me.  The difference is that I can take it personally and have my feelings hurt, and Wolf only hurts when he’s been wrong.  The more reactive comments and emails are usually from either ultra-conservatives or ultra-politically correct, as Wolf mentions in our reply to one such letter, copied below.

As a woman who has been physically abused by men in the past, can credibly say that what we teach at Anima is not perpetuating a patriarchal paradigm, but challenging all paradigms, systems, and dogma – including that of herbalists, environmentalists and feminists… with what we hope most of you recognize as healthy humor.  –Kiva Rose

(The italicized lines are what was sent to us, what we sent to her appears in regular font.  The easily offended may wish to forego…)

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Hi Anima:

Hello Amelia, from all of us here.

Really enjoy receiving all of your e-mails, whether regarding the fire or the school and teaching.  However, I’d really LOVE to see you grow up…

Not in our lifetimes, we have to say.  Why?  Because adults are often uptight and self righteous, whether pushy right wingers or pushy politically correct left wingers, and apparently can be devoid of humor… attached to being regularly mortified, disgusted, aghast.  Non-adults are more often playful and full of mischief, taking themselves less seriously, finding things to laugh about no matter how sober the subject, with little time for convincing or appeasing.

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Instead of “Supergirls and Daniel” how about WOMEN embodying their natural selves?  You know, it seems odd to see an allegedly progressive place like yours still refer to women as girls.  None of those pictured in your pictures are “girls.”  Oh, yes, there ARE girls, those under around age 13 and/or before menses.  The rest of us, however, are adult women and I would appreciate you coming into alignment with those facts.  A bit nauseating.  Does Daniel OWN the girls like chattel or animals?  Are they his servants as in ye days of old patriarchy?  Is that what you promote?

Apologies for having stressed you out so.  We hope you have been able to calm and ground some since writing, assisted either by your karate chopping through two-by-fours at practice today, or else simply sipping a good nervine tea.

Dan is acting as foreman and teacher, giving the instruction that WOOF volunteers come for.  If it was a female foreman/forewoman/foreperson with young men working for her, they would still be her “crew.”

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This daniel/supergirl stuff is all worn out.  Okay?  Cringe.

We are sorry, again, to make you cringe.  We prefer to only do that deliberately, not accidentally, though indeed usually only to people who need to loosen up, and not to reasonable correspondents.

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In fact, in pre-history (which simply means BEFORE men wrote down their ideas of things), Women, through their spiritual higher evolvement and wisdom, directed the activities of males in constructing what was necessary for the higher evolvement and good of the whole.

Wow.  If we substitute “Aryans” for “Women” and “NonAryans” for “men” in your sentence above, this could be a quote right out of Nazi eugenic propaganda.  Women come in all types, from “highly evolved and wise” as you say, to greatly unwise and utterly unjust, always a mix of strengths and weaknesses.  Sounds kind of like men in this regard… or more accurately, humans, people, folks…

Hearing such an angry case for “higher evolvement” truthfully makes us all the gladder to be evolutionary throwbacks and earthy neo-primitives.

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Your presentation lacks that knowledge.  Really disappointing to see you re-inforcing the idea that males make the plans and “supergirls” just obey the directives of males.

The term “Supergirls” comes from an old comic book that for some inscrutable reason didn’t name its heroic, butt kicking lead character “Superwoman” instead.  We used the term to acknowledge two gals (pardon the term) who are out away from the comfort of their parental home for the first time, breaking stereotypes and bravely seeking real life experience here in the wilderness, and whom Dan taught to use power tools and empowered to build a roof all by their selves, on a day he wasn’t here.

All ass backwards.  Please update yourselves.

We will never downplay the very serious issue of women being trivialized in this society, but nor will we start capitalizing “Women” and not “men” like you do, being a clear case of reverse sexism.

Not sure how I can recommend you if you do not.

Then we fear we shall have to do without your recommendation,

in light,
amelia

There can be no form, nor art, if there is only light without dark.  Thank you for providing some of both today.

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