Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Circle of Time

Just who is God?  Billions of people throughout time believe God is the Universal Creator, the One from whom we came, and to whom we will eventually return. So God is home.  Living in our physical body therefore is a time of intense separation, often sporadically in communion with the One, but more commonly in yearning for union, or reunion.  Being born, nurtured, living human lives, we all have moments when we search for meaning, for purpose.  But maybe, just maybe, this yearning is purposeful? Perhaps our life journey is designed precisely in order to enhance the yearning for home?

Imagining is really important!  It's a way we open the door to discovery.  Poets find unique, creative ways to share their perceptions.  Scientists watch the world, and their analysis helps explain how things work and how new things could work.  Even historians piece together memories of events and try to make sense of it all.  So what does it all mean?  Why are we here? 

 the circle of time, the wreath of evergreen, the vinok
Even in the deep recesses of time, the hands of our forefathers pointed to the earth and sky, tenderly caressing the shapes and figures of the animate and inanimate, trying to understand the relationships that bound, and which do not invite. Their awareness, the considerable energy they spent trying to survive, meant checking on the sun, moon, stars, water, earth, and planets.  Observing all the clues they could gather in the natural world they used scientific processes! 

They passed their revealed truths on their children, their tribe, their people. They explained themselves through their art, their language, songs, architecture, myths, and folklore. They poured their life-experiences into artifacts which expressed the hopes and dreams they had for their children, with the fervent plea that this codex of knowledge would ensure their progeny's survival. It was all about survival. Or was it in anticipation of something greater?

While immediate survival was crucial, essential to this journey was that one was headed somewhere, and that somewhere was better than here, and understanding would come "over there". And their future children would benefit from a code of thought, a method of expression, valuable intellectual inheritance symbolically encoded in its physical artifacts, myths and language. How does one understand this inheritance? How can one use this intensely hopeful message from the past?

When you look at the art, weaving, pysanky, embroidery, pottery, carvings, and tools that come from the Ukrainian heritage, even if they are stylized and seem contrived, they are actually remnants of that amazing past.  These are the collected hopes, dreams and yearnings of people, who much like us, wanted the best for their children, for their progeny, the future.  That's why if you read the symbols and signs, there is actually a lot of faith bound up in the code that is our culture.  Information that some person, a long time ago, felt was essential for survival, has been passed from hand to hand, being replicated in each successive copy of some artifact in history.

It dawned on me recently, all these messages are yearning to be understood, begging for a receptive mind to see the person behind the art form.  And the ultimate goal is to heal that sense of intense separation from the One.  That has to be the most amazing thought.  These hands were all speaking to the future about faith, hope and yearning for God!

The next time you see or participate in any aspect of Ukrainian folk culture, consider the "artist".  What did the "artist" intend?  Then, with humility, consider that the art has survived thousands of replications and is still beautiful, still holds meaning, still yearns for the One!!  Vichnaya Pamyat' Eternal Memory! of them, for us, for our future. 

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