Do you see what eye see

I started writing this article a little while ago, and thought I’d return here for a respite before going back to war.

After I finished writing The White Heart of the World, the thoughts & feelings that arose at that time stayed strongly with me. A description from Out of Antarctica, the book by Robert Argod around which I based much of that post, stuck in my head.

“A serpent surrounds this cave, engulfing everything with slow but all-devouring jaws; never ceases the glint of his green scales. His mouth devours his back-bending tail as with silent movement he traces his own beginning.”

Argod saw this as a description of the sea that flows a thousand times more forcefully than the Amazon River – the sea that encircles the land of Antarctica.
Now I loved this book, but I felt at the time that that description may have been a little too imaginative.

However as the slow digestion of ideas continued, I was reminded of other unlikely transformations.
There was the pole in Matthew Delooze’s recent article that changed into a snake under the influence of Ayahuasca and many a shaman tale with similar such transformations & I got to wondering about the whole realm of mythology.

A few weeks ago, as I returned from a walk I nearly stepped on a silver snake. This was quite remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that there are no snakes in NZ. I am short sighted, so you can say that I simply saw something that looked like a snake & got a fright, but I can’t agree with you on that – for a few moment a silver snake lay coiled before me.

There is a book called The Wish List in which a girl called Meg dies and gets stuck in limbo because her good and evil deeds are perfectly balanced. She gets the opportunity to return to earth and redeem herself.
What I drank in deeply from this tale was the fact Meg could ‘see’ energy.

“She tried watching TV. But it was no good. Her supernatural eyesight picked out very electron on the screen. Focusing on the pictures took real concentration.”

“And the crowd went ape, especially when Cicely Ward dropped a hand over the dapper old gent’s shoulder and kissed him back. It was fantastic, stupendous. An ethereal ray of white light exploded from the point of lip contact. It bathed the pores of every man, woman and spirit in the studio. Of course nobody realised that. They just knew that for a single moment everything was better in the world.”

We are all schooled in the ways of scientific energy, we all know the mushroom clouds of atomic bombs & we all know what E equals.
But… emotional energy, ‘soul’ energy, these are the realms for fantasy or imagination.
At this time, in this world we can only ‘feel’ energy and we use the terms feelings & emotions. Some people experience these energy currents deeply, while others who we may refer to as ‘bastards’ don’t seem to feel them at all.

I’ve been wondering if we have lost the ability that Meg has in The Wish List. The ability to see energy, and if we could see it how would we describe it?

Shakespeare (or whoever wrote his words) describes very picturesquely the energy of a tyrannical person;
“She speaks poinards, and every word stabs” – a poinyard, of course being a dagger.
Now if we could see that energy, would we perhaps see something akin to shell fire burst from that harpie’s mouth, it might be glowing as if red hot. I wonder what we would see when it reached it’s target.

If we could see such energy then so much that goes unquestioned & unchallenged in this world would be a thing of the past.

So I’ve been wondering if our ancestors saw these things that we can’t. Not only do we live an incredibly different life to them, we come from generations upon generations of peoples who have been controlled & dominated in one form or another. Are we are so overstuffed with education, chemicals, religion, science, rules, time & fear that we have lost the ability to see what was once visible.

Why should the ancients go to such extraordinary lengths to describe such strange people & events.

Perhaps we’ve got this round the wrong way. Instead of trying to explain away giant snakes with reasoning we should be seeking to unlock the truth of our mythic inheritance by learning how to see again.

What if an ocean current, really can be viewed as a snake. Just this evening as I browsed through a fantasy picture book I came across a description of a ‘Serpentine Sea’ and sure enough the artist has depicted an ocean lit by moonlight that creates a serpent-like image. With my overly civilised eyes this is probably as much as I can expect to see.

What if the autumn leaves that are appearing around me are aflame. Looking at the deepening colours I can’t help think of a burning bush. What if our eyes have been slowed to one speed? Could it be possible to view life faster or slower & in so viewing, that which is before us would present a different image. If you could watch the seasons in fast motion I expect the trees in Autumn would look like they were on fire. When I play with this idea I can’t help seeing the similarity of the phoenix, burning up and being reborn, with a deciduous tree.

We live & move & have our beings in an essentially two-dimensional world. Flat surfaces abound in homes, tvs, computers, roads & books – all the fundamental elements of this world. The media which sucks up so much of our awareness is in effect a one way channel – no participation is required. Actually that really covers it, in this world our participation is not required. We are required to follow the rules & prefabricated lifestyle, but being a part of this world is actively discouraged.

I remember reading somewhere that children raised in round homes ie teepees, develop in quite different ways to those raised behind straight walls.
How might a people who were raised in a world without the longstanding vibrations of repression develop.
A little example.
All of my family apart from my younger brother were born in Ireland. We moved here when I was very young. My brother was born after we had been here several years.
He is different to us.
He has far more of the kiwi about him, he is taller, more rugged in appearance, outdoorsy, sporty. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is a difference. I would say he absorbed the energy of this land and that it flows through him.

What was the energy of the land like when the myths & the legends were born. I really do not think that we are not living in that energy now.

I have a feeling that if we could return to storytelling we could regain some of our vision. I am quite sure that stories, myths & legends are meant to be heard not read.
For many y-ears now I have taken my stories in audio form. Initially as a mother at home with a young child, they were dear friends who warmed many a lonely day. I don’t know how to describe the multi-sensory delight of having someone read you a story. It is an intimate & sensual experience because listening is intimate & sensual, the music industry would not wield the power it does if this was not so. I know I cannot listen to someone whose voice does not please me.

This world now is very visual, our others senses take a back seat. I have read that many of the US presidents of old would have a hard time getting elected these days because of their unsavoury appearances.

We think we see, but do we really? Perhaps if we started ‘seeing things’ that would be a sign that we were getting our vision back.
When Neo asked Morpheus in the Matrix why his eyes hurt the answer was “because you have never used them.”

If energy can’t be lost, only transformed, then is it possible that our vision was transmuted into a different form. Could the plants used by shamans to stimulate vision, in actual fact be our lost sight in a different form. Taking this a step further, could both the emergence of life forms & the extinction of others be directly linked to either our re-animation or our shutting down of innate abilities. I’m not suggesting we are the only important species, but we do seem to be fundamental to the direction the future takes.

May 1, 2008. Uncategorized.


  1. annemarie replied:

    “I am quite sure that stories, myths & legends are meant to be heard not read.”Hear! Hear! ;) ;)Do you see what I hear? That is one of the best essays I’ve read in my life. Honestly, I’m at a loss for words, I’m so moved by so much that you wrote here. I’ll be back … in a day or two.Thank you. :)

  2. aferrismoon replied:

    I enjoy reading FINNEGANS WAKE , in which the last line flows into the opening linesGets me thinking that the great sea = a great story

  3. wise woman replied:

    Annemarie – I hear you. We just have to speak from our hearts as much as we can and let the magic go where it’s willed. Thanks.’Ferrous man’ – I’ve not read Finnegans Wake & if I went by Wiki, I never would – totally confused me – but ourobouros did spring to mind. I think stories are vital to our wellbeing – a vitamin or mineral might be a good analogy – there are most definitely stories that nourish me. Thanks

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