the Virgin and Mother Earth
by Juan Antonio Revilla
Our immediate experience of the sky on an clear day is that of an infinite, open expanse without borders. When we look at the ocean we see a similar infinite expanse, but with a very clear two-dimensional border defined by the water surface, and we cannot see down through it: the open sea is an "unknown below" which doesn't yield its secrets openly to us, in it we seem to get lost into something primordial. But when we look up at the clear blue sky, we see all through it into a dimensionless immensity that --unlike the sea-- opens itself completely: instead of the dreamlike feeling of loss and the self-extinguishing, waving, hypnotic motion of our soul when we contemplate the ocean, the blue sky is giving itself to us in all its depth and evokes feelings of humbleness and devotion.
The horizon where the sky and the ocean meet is the unidimensional infinity where the immense and dense below and the immense ethereal above become one another. One can feel the water rarifying and disappearing into the primordial sea of light, and the light becoming the salty wavering motion of the primordial expanse of the dense sea below. Now picture the earth's landscape below the sky instead of the sea, with its mountain, lakes, and fresh water streams, or even --perhaps-- the extension of human habitation in cities and roads. The darker blue or white mountains at a distance meet the lighter blue of the sky over the horizon, but the feeling we obtain is now different. How can we characterize this feeling, compared with the feeling of the line that intersects the sea and the illuminated sky?
The most obvious difference is that earth presents to us a living landscape of organic forms, colors, and shapes, unlike the surface of the open sea and the blue sky which are all the same, the earth shows a great variety of forms and we feel very strongly the idea of time and development. As the sky makes our soul soar towards timelessness and eternity and the surface of the open sea makes our soul "rest back" in self-extinguishing primordiality, the earth takes our soul inside of time and development, zigzagging through the ages like a serpent; its developed organic forms contain a story, a script, accompanied by a sense of fullness. When we look at the mountain ranges or the rock formations disappearing on the horizon, we can feel the forces that gave birth to them, like living monuments.
The organized development of forms that stand as monuments of the forces that created them, the feelings of fullness and development, the serpent-like motion of time zigzagging, the echoes of venerable bygone ages, of wisdom accomplished and of love fulfilled... all this is the earth when we look at it. Unlike the ocean and the open sky which feel like something "other", the earth with its accomplished forms and monuments, with its plants, animals, mountains and streams, with its cloud formations, is there for us, we "have it", we inhabit it, like we inhabit a lover or a spouse. The earth presents itself to us like accomplished wisdom and fulfilled love that come from the stream of time. This "earth" that our senses perceive directly is not an abstract thought, it is not a picture of the earth from space, it is something more familiar that we call "the land".
This landscape presents itself to us as forms and their corresponding formative forces that are in a state of development or organic becoming. The formative elemental forces cannot be perceived at first through the eyes, in the same way that human feelings cannot be perceived directly at first, but with time and practice they can be directly perceived. Here exactly the same principles that were outlined in the example of "praying to the virgin" apply. There can be a "time lag" or delay before we become aware of what we have experienced, in which case the formative forces begin to appear first in the pictures we have formed of the experience, and these pictures acquire in our soul a life of their own, which we must quietly observe without attempting to reach conclusions or form opinions.
Like the pictures in our imagination, every part of the landscape or of the land has a life of its own where each form has its corresponding formative force. And everyone of these parts has a correspondence to a process in our own soul, every natural process is also (or can become) a process in our soul.