There were some things in the book “The Divine Life of Animals” by Ptolemy Tompkins that I could not completely agree with. These were made up for though by a few really profound statements.
One of these was that the Paleolithic world was another world. He talks about “our fall out of that world.” As I understood it, this was not meant metaphorically or as a simile. He did not mean that it was “like” another world or just that human consciousness was different then. He said, and I believe he meant, that the Paleolithic was quite simply, another world.
This seems to make absolute sense. Consciousness creates the world. Hindu tradition talks about four ages, the yugas. We are in the last—the most decadent and despair-filled. While the accepted chronology for the four ages may be quite different than what I imagine it to be, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no valid connection at all between these various concepts.
The concept of the earth having several ages or several worlds is present in many traditions—with varying chronologies—or no chronologies.
Was the first world an ethereal world—one with forms, but no matter as we know it—an earth of light and beauty?
Did the Paleolithic world come next? Was the Paleolithic a world of magic?
The rock art all over the world depicts magical creatures, gods, spirits and spirit-beings. There are some who may be angels or ancient astronauts (is there a difference?)—beings from other dimensions.
All things were alive and conscious—the rocks, the clouds, the sun, the moon, the rain, the storms, the rivers, the drought. Animals were killed for food, but they did not die when they were killed. They were prayed to and their souls journeyed on.
All things then were alive and magical. There was fear, even suffering, wonder, and awe, but there was no death. All was filled with the life of the Great Spirit. There was art, beauty, worship, and if there wasn’t much science, it wasn’t much missed. There was though, in fact, highly developed mathematics, astronomy, and engineering—the evidence of which can still be seen in the alignments with the stars of the great megaliths scattered across every continent.
It was a world of magic—and, truly, an altogether other world.
The Jomon people were the earliest inhabitants of Japan. It is thought that, when later people arrived, perhaps from Korea around 2,000 years ago, they intermarried and became Japanese. There is no indication that the Jomon people were killed. Some may also have been driven to the north, where they are today the Ainu.
The earliest pottery in the world was created by the Jomon, and has been dated to 16,500 years ago. They were long thought to have been simply hunter-gatherers, but they appear to have made a transition from that stage of culture since permanent planned settlements have been found extending as far back as 10,000 years ago.
Graham Hancock mentions evidence that they were growing rice as early as 12,000 years ago.
Off the coast of Japan, underwater, have been found many extraordinary formations which look like giant temples. Archaeologists and divers are quite unable to decide conclusively whether these are man-made or natural. There are, on land, stone circles, megaliths and a number of stone structures left by the Jomon which, rather than being either natural or man-made, seem to be both—they seem to be natural rocks, placed and arranged by people.
Interestingly, this almost reminds one of Japanese rock gardens, and the art of arranging nature in a way that brings out its inherent grace and beauty, which is uniquely Japanese.
Apparently, huge stones are still revered today and are called iwakuru. Busloads of tourists still visit these stones in Japan, I guess with cameras in hand.
The Jomon seem not to have left their ancient islands.
The only reality is the lights of heaven, like the starlight and the presences of the great beings who illuminate eternity, eclipsed though they may be by the lights and atmospheres of the day, yet they are always there. When the mundane cracks a little, and chips, or even disintegrates, they shine ever more brightly, magically, through the gaps.
Photo: Ian Poole / Dreamstime.com / Wildebeeste at dawn in South Africa
The earth is a sacred being—along with all aspects of the natural world.
All ancient peoples (and tribal peoples today) knew this. The early inhabitants of India, the seers who wrote the Rig Veda, (the oldest book in the world) knew this and worshipped the forces of nature—Vayu the wind, Indra the storm God, Agni the God of fire. Narayana, in ancient temples and inscriptions, is the God of the sea, Ganesha is the elephant God, and Hanuman is the monkey God, who brought the armies of monkeys to fight alongside Rama.
To see the earth as sacred, one need not look at it from a purely Hindu perspective, though Hinduism offers a lens with an especially crystal clear view. As I see it, and all of these are only my own perspectives, nothing more, there is truth to be found in all spiritual traditions.
In Christianity too, and in all faiths, one can find windows to the sacred nature of the earth. Sometimes one has to look a little more intently though, and sometimes more and more layers of obfuscation have been laid over the top of the original truth. So, to get back to Hinduism, which seems to have a clearer glass to look through…
The two first incarnations of Vishnu were the fish and the turtle or tortoise—both are sacred beings: Matsya the fish and Kurma, the tortoise. Matsya saved all the creatures of the earth by pulling through the sea the great ark holding the animals at the time of the flood. Kurma supported the mountain of the earth on his back so that it didn’t sink during the churning of the oceans.
It is not just the animals and the elemental forces of nature that are sacred, but also the plants. Every temple in India has a sacred tree. Generally the tree was there before the temple. People pray to the tree, who grants their wishes.
The mountains are sacred too and emblematic of Shiva—the power and presence of the Cosmos.
To see the presence of God in nature is not a primitive way of looking at things. (Though it is a way that we in the west have mostly left behind us.) That we have left it behind does not make it primitive, nor does it make us more “advanced”. It simply means that we have taken a wrong turn.
It means that we in the west have traveled the farthest down the wrong track, having left behind the life-sustaining principles of the universe. This wrong track has led us to where we are today, with the air polluted, the forests half gone, the animals dying and disappearing, and the great ecological catastrophe in the Gulf. The rest of the world sadly follows suit.
Now today, we stand by on the sidelines, watching horrified as BP takes over American coastlines and airspaces, and, unhindered, kills American wildlife (on the Fourth of July). Not that it matters in the slightest whether it’s the Fourth of July or any other day.
When we no longer see the earth as sacred, when we see the natural world, the land, the oceans and the animals as resources, rather than as spiritual beings, then we do not see them as they are.
This lack of reverence leads to desecration, to the destruction and annihilation of all that is sacred—to handing over the fate of the planet to those who will, inevitably, destroy it because, in looking at a mountain, they do not see the presence of God. They see only a wealth of coal and minerals, so the mountain must be destroyed to get to those.
It is sometimes said that science and technology are neutral and can be used for good or ill, but there is a problem with this. Accepting a neutral stance is a denial of the sacred nature of life and the soul. It is like a tone-deaf person listening to music—it is missing the point. A tone-deaf person may just have a disability and may be fine in other aspects of life, but when we are missing the point of the spiritual nature of the natural world, that is much more serious, it is a fatal point to miss.
(Yet the great heroes of the past, and even the present, do use technology in the defense of what is just—so clearly it is a complicated topic.)
In looking at the sea though, when we do not see the face of the divine, but see only a resource under the waves, when we only notice that with technology, we can get the oil to keep our houses warm or cool and our cars running, then we are missing the meaning of existence.
Like shadows in a dream, we watch our species destroying the earth, and this predicament stems from elevating our human selves, our greed and our needs, to a divine status—to worshipping ourselves, our technology, our science, and our power to dominate all that stands in our way. Nevermind that this is the way to death, and that it brings death to all the gods and to the earth herself—which may be, in fact, the underlying intention. Still, we cling to our “way of life,” which is only a way of death.
There is another truth though, on another level, beyond the physical destruction of the planet.
Though the physical dies, only the physical form can be killed, the sacred is eternal, living from eon to eon, cycle to cycle, world to world, along with the souls of all innocent creatures, who are blessed, on truer levels, with lives of peace and freedom.
The soul of the seas, the rivers, the trees, the sparrows and the pelicans, the gods of the wind and the mountains dressed in mist do not die, but live on from world to world, epoch to epoch, because their soul, who is the one, eternal soul, is living and is life itself.
Only the physical form is killed, and those who are expressions only of the physical, the walking dead.
Yet the soul of the wind, the pelican, the sea turtle, the moon who lights the sky, the sun, the shining rain, the trees, are all aspects of the sacred, single soul who rides, with grace and magic on the glad clouds of eternity—all are expressions of the one single great soul.
As for ourselves—the part of us which is absorbed in our unique, personal lives will pass away like the burning smoke in the winds.
While the part of ourselves which works for and cares only for the innocent beings who are the essence of God will fly away one day with them on the wind-enchanted wings of the spirit.
Many wise people in India today feel that this age that we are in will last still many thousands of years. Perhaps they’re right, they’ve often been right before, but I’m not so sure…either that this age will last a long time or that it will be a good idea if it does.
Indeed though, both views are true—the prophecies of doom, with the coming end of time, and also the prophecies of a new heaven and a new earth—magical and eternal. And on what time scale these events may take place, who really knows?
Photos: Sharon St Joan
(Please be reminded that, as this is my personal blog, it has no connection whatsoever with, nor do the views expressed reflect those of, any other individual or any organization.)
The Memorial Day Concert this evening, aired on national TV, expressed many moving remembrances of heroes who have died in the service of our country.
A video was shown of a gathering of widows paying tribute to their husbands, and during this event doves were released, one woman saying that she felt a sense of peace as the dove flew away.
Unfortunately though, each dove released was another life sacrificed. These are domestic doves raised and sold specifically to be released at weddings, memorial services, and other occasions. They have never been in the wild, and they cannot survive in the wild, since they lack survival skills.
Please ask people you know to never buy and release doves. (If you wish to help a dove, consult a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or domestic bird rescuer.) Please don’t release baloons either, which endanger birds and other wildlife.
Let’s just leave the sky as it is, and that will be a more fitting memorial.