Epiphany: Awakening to Nature, Spirit, and Soul
“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
“When they saw the star, they were filled with wild joy.”
When I am out in a wild place with my daughters, or wandering a neighborhood park or open space, I never cease to be amazed by their astonishing capacity for epiphany. I am struck by Webster’s definition of epiphany, “a usually suddenmanifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something… an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking.”
This definition touches a simple yet striking thread that we have largely lost access to in our western, industrialized technocracy. The first, is that meaning is essential to nature itself, which speaks a language much older than our own. Second, that perception and intuition are two primary windows or modes of participation in the essential nature and deep meaning of the world itself of which we are an expression.
In The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram says that, “at the most primordial level of sensuous, bodily experience, we find ourselves in an expressive, gesturing landscape, in a world that speaks… As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished.”
During Advent and Epiphany, I am reminded that the way the Bible speaks of the Creation as a mother in birth pains is not to be understood simply metaphorically. The prophets, mystics, and especially Jesus speak of what they have overheard through the language of the Creation, from a deeper place of participation — a perception that is both mystical and ordinary. It is ordinary because it is fully human and deeply more-than-human. This is the epiphany of cosmic intimacy:
“in a very real sense we are engaged in a courtship with the world in which we participate, a courtship expressed through the deep perceptions and movements of the soul. This includes a recovery of the divine feminine including the erotic energies which celebrate full bodied life to the fullest of all creatures and bioranges. By virtue of our creaturely humanity, and our capacities of soul, the depths of our inner nature is rooted in a greater conversation with the whole realm of nature itself. In other words, we are not only 'enculturated' beings, creating and being created by our cultural environment. We are not merely 'human' beings separate from other species. What makes us truly human is that we are ‘incarnated’ beings - sharing in Christ, the ‘fully human and fully divine’ One,” and the body of the universe, the Deep World, is itself this primordial conversation made flesh, the Incarnation in which we participate [Excerpt from my blog article, The Indigenous Christ]
WilderSoul seeks to rediscover the treasures of our own spiritual perception from within the wild and sensuous ‘world that speaks’, to return the Book of Scripture to its original context of meaning within the Big Book of Creation. The story of the Magi symbolizes an active epiphany, the dance of the light of epiphany and the darkness of mystery. The place where the innocent child and sage of the East meets the beloved magician of the West. In Wild Mind, Bill Plotkin speaks of the East and West axis of the Self as the place of transpersonal perception within each of us. Childlike imagination is a doorway to deeper participation in a world which speaks, the Deep World whose voice offers invitations to our greater purpose.
Intro to Seminary of the Wild 102, Epiphany: Awakening to Nature, Spirit, and Soul offers sabbath rest and renewal in the nurturing community of fellow pilgrims in Creation as we participate in the winter rhythms of inner and outer nature during this season of Epiphany. Rediscover your own innocence, wonder and wisdom as well as your deep capacities for imagination and artistic vision mirroring the inner terrain of soul and outer landscapes of the land. Through parables, poetry, and contemplative practices you will learn practices from the Celtic and indigenous Christian traditions for accessing and cultivating treasure hidden in the field.