Once upon a time something need not be literal to be real and meaningful, and myths were not falsehoods. The passage of time snarls into unwieldy knots and on rare occasions smooths into deliberate plaits. The hands of the weavers include the profound influence of Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) which place extreme importance on the historicity of their spiritual stories which they have fixed from the fluid wreath of oral teachings and rich imagery into the written word; dualistic perspectives which seek to divide and conquer, and nary shall one of the subjugated seep through the barriers to associate with another; and the cool, detached scrutiny of science. Through their hands and those of others the tapestry of our consciousness has changed. The shimmering beneath the surface of ideas, of tales, of the membranes of water, skin, stone, and leaf which threaded the world together with significance is either denied or demonized by prevailing viewpoints: those hands who would weave in their own favor.
Only what is repeatedly verifiable in controlled environments is real, they say. Only what coincides with our interpretation of holy text is true, they say. They have been saying it for so long and with such persuasion that we believe it. Their rhetoric saturates deeper than we can imagine and with profound repercussions. And then we forget that there ever was another way to perceive and relate.
Deprived of a context to make sense of that shimmering beneath the surface, we may mistake it to be a manufactured glitter we tucked under the rug in order to avoid a stern scolding for the lack of neatness and conformity in our abodes. There is a brief tolerance of so-called "magical thinking" in children, but even this is only a temporary respite until the powers that be educate the enchantment from the world:
It is said that some people retain a vivid memory of the passage from earliest childhood and its magical, fluid world to an awareness of the discrete and ordered adult world. Visual, tactile, and other sensory impressions mark such children so profoundly they forever seek to reexperience or re-create them, to keep life sensuous, mysterious, and whole, perhaps to the point of changing appearances and meaning. Perception rides on watery ripples, "real" life refuses to stay within the lines. Storytellers and artists mine these veins, Reality masks a different language, beauty its antecedent and far, far closer to instinct.1
Despite the long-standing (and largely successful) attempts by the major forces of Western culture to eradicate, ignore and dismiss the wisdom of ancestors, artists, shamans, and mystics who say that Otherworlds permeate our own, the mortal soul still hungers for that interaction, a relationship which in the past was seen as an integral part of being human.
Footnotes and Bibliography
) Meloy, Ellen. The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
. New York, Vintage Books, 2002. 61.ISBN 0-375-70813-8.