Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Spirit of the Grove

The symbol of the seed which has to die if new life is to come forth, can be understood in a number of the passages that speak of the significance of death. Creation evolves out of the primal chaos—the Spirit brooding over the waters. But out of this first creation, there emerges the Psyche, which embodies the energies of Creation, and evolves towards consciousness. It is like the onion, which has many layers. As you peal off the different layers, you gradually come to the heart, which is the essence of the plant. It is from this centre that a new sprout breaks forth. In Indian thought these layers, or envelops, which constitute the human psyche, lead ultimately to what is called the ‘Ananda Maya Kosha’, that is the covering of pure bliss, that is the essence of all that the psyche embodies. This is the centre of the labyrinth, which it is necessary for the seeker after wisdom to travel.

The symbolism underlying the theme of the garden or the sacred grove reminds one of the Creation story at the beginning of the book of Genesis. The waters of life are both extensive as in the image of the vast oceans, and also intensive, as in the figure of the spring, or enclosed pool at the heart of the grove. This enclosed pool is like the opening or gate to another dimension, a kind of inner cave which is the vortex from which the spiral of life begins. It is also the eye of the Creator, watching over the primal couple.

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