There have doubtless been many books written on the study of symbolism and the meanings of symbols. I have a couple of such books myself, although their use has been very limited in my experience. There are some symbols that tend to be universal of course; we are one species after all. However, I believe that no matter how general or even universal a symbol may be, or appears to be, in the end it is the task of the individual to discover for their own selves what lies hidden behind a symbol, assuming the task is considered to be one worth undertaking. For me that task certainly is worth the effort, but that alone is not enough. More than that positive effort of discovery is needed before the task can be completed. A state of open receptivity is also required, and that can only be achieved by putting aside all preconceptions.
Jesus was reported to have said, "Seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you." He didn't say that the answers would come immediately, by the end of next week or even by the end of the month. It may take years. One must be constantly open and alert for that which we seek. I like to think that perhaps the parable of the 'Ten Virgins' (Matt. 25:1-13) refers directly to this state of affairs. From the fountainhead of Truth (the Kingdom of Heaven) and brought to consciousness by means of the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch (the virginal, as yet unfulfilled, areas of receptivity), spiritual truth in the symbolic form of the Bridegroom, or even the Druid in my case, will eventually come. On the other hand, if the five senses are allowed to fall into a state of slumbering and sleep, like the foolish virgins, truth may come but pass by unnoticed. One must be prepared for the long haul and take sufficient oil for our lamps.
Let us now turn to the journey up the mountain to the meeting with the 'wise person' described in my previous post, "Voice of Authenticity". The first thing to notice is that the whole scene is bathed in moonlight. That is to say, enlightenment comes from a state of receptivity, symbolised by the moon, traditionally a female symbol. In addition, the mountains are arranged in a ring which again is a female symbol, but also a symbol of the eternal. Now that enlightenment comes not easily; the darkness of the unrevealed needs to be persuaded from his cave, his hidden place, by a willingness to listen and to learn with an open mind. Unless the mind is open and a willingness for purgation of all else expressed, nothing is able to enter it. It is significant also that truth shows no face, no personality or ego. It is above all that. Yet this was not the first time in my experience, nor would it be the last, that an abstraction such as truth would show itself as something living, as something alive. That experience always makes me tingle with excitement.
Before leaving the mountaintop it is worth considering the inner geography of this place. One talks from time to time about the 'Higher Self', the 'Lower self', and so on. Now whilst I agree that talk of such selves can get in the way, can interfere, nevertheless there is some justification for talking about those states in that way, so long as one doesn't fall into the trap of assuming them to be separate, discrete entities. This particular mountain or high country stands out from all other mountains in the area, thus underscoring a sense of relativity about the Druid's cave. In a previous post, "A Walk in the Hills" (posted 25.5.2013), the high place was a ring of hills, not mountains, rising from a flat, surrounding plain. This sense of one thing in relation to another is typical of my inner journeying. Thus one can indeed speak of a 'Higher Self', or at least a higher state of Being-ness within one's Self, but with caution.
Now we must retrace our steps down the strait and narrow way to the place where I stopped to look at the gift that truth had given me. The amethyst is still worn by Catholic Bishops, or so I am given to understand, being called the Bishop's stone and representing piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom. Well that's all very well, but is it really me? Would I have applied those meanings to my Self? Much as I might like it to be otherwise, they would not be the character traits uppermost in my mind. Rather, I see the amethyst only as an amazingly beautiful jewel, a so wondrous gift. Yet at that previously experienced higher level within my Self, this gift was just ordinary, run-of-the-mill stuff, rock chippings. Is that not a staggering revelation? There is so much that is beautiful and wonderful inside us that it is almost commonplace, the normal. Yet as a species we seem to spend so much time searching 'out there' for treasures when there is so much that lies hidden in plain sight 'in here'. As perhaps an afterthought, I must add that there is something about the colour of amethyst, particularly when combined with emerald and white and/or gold, that rings a spiritual bell far down in the deeps of my being. There are yet exciting, extraordinary journeys still to be undertaken.
Within the depths of the amethyst, and after a great deal of loving exercising, appeared a gold ring. Once again, much has been written on the symbolic significance of gold, and gold rings. For me a gold ring represents something of precious union. "Union with what?" one might ask. Union with God, or whatever that word may be a synonym for, the nostalgic longing of all mystics, the union that already exists here and now. How could it have ever been otherwise? And at the very heart of the jewel and the ring lies the diamond, perhaps a symbol of my mystic centre. Would that be what is referred to as the soul, I wonder?
On this visit to the Higher state of Being-ness, the source of Truth, two positive actions were carried out. The first was the ridding of all preconceptions, to allow an opening of the mind to receive what was on offer. The second action was to exercise, with loving willing-ness, the gift thus received. Truth needs to be used and exercised, not returned to some dark place of unknowing. Without Truth offered through contemplation, without a constant renewal of inner life, the soul will wither for want of spiritual sustenance. This I believe.
Finally, and as I continue on my inner journey, a question comes to mind which arises from my search for meaning and truth,
"Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom, are these not also part of the spectrum of Truth?"