Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wandering with Intent (An Eostre Blog)

         Spring has come, and over the last month I’ve been going out-of-doors as much as my schedule permits, wandering and seeking out new experiences in Nature as well as in my Imagination.  It is time for “Emergence,” for breaking with our Winter-long practice of “Enclosure.”
Tonight is Eostre; an old Pagan name for the night of the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox—and I long for a night hike!  To be out in the light of the Full Moon is a naturalistic experience that I’ve long valued; it is linked symbolically with the source of creative Inspiration and with Poetic Praxis—the creation of stories and poetry out of living dreamed scenarios.  As I wait for the skies to clear and the Moon to rise this evening, I find myself reflecting on the nature of ‘wandering’ from a spiritual and philosophic point of view.
The themes of journey, quest and ‘perpetual wandering’ have long been found in human literature, music and art.  They complement and augment the themes of dwelling, homesteading and the idea that we find meaning in places where one’s family or one’s ‘people’ have lived for a long time.  These are all spiritual themes, having to do with deep rooted experiences of our species.  To explore them is to discover touchstones of more personal disciplines, such as “Enclosure” and “Emergence” (which I have discussed in earlier blogs).


Caves have long been a theme in human spiritualities.  Almost any tradition you look at will have some mention of caves and the role they play in personal transformation and spiritual self-realization.  In the traditions of the West, caves have been used by spiritual communities and individual seekers since the Paleolithic (between 40,000 and 11,000 BCE).  Some of the earliest members of our species to venture into Europe, used caves for what appear to be rituals pertaining to hunting, initiation and spiritual rebirth.  As some of the first known examples of human art are preserved in these same caves, questions about the origins of art have long been tied up with questions about human ritual and religion (if you would like to explore these caves and their art, see Randall White's Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind, 2003).