The Cave of Being

Humans begin their lives in a watery cave, the womb. That is where the individual’s consciousness is initially formed. In some ways that consciousness is lost as the daylight world begins its play, makes its demands, and tricks the mind into literal interpretations of the stories that a person lives.

Many cultures believe that carefully designed initiations are necessary for a soul to remember what it knew before entering this earthly play of light and shadow, form and spirit. From prehistoric records in cave drawings to the Greek, Dionysian, Eleusynian mysteries and the rites of Orpheus, to practices of shamanic and indigenous initiations all over the globe, the importance of these rituals are a ubiquitous part of human history.

In my own life I have been drawn to study many of these cultures and their rituals. And I have observed that the psyche so needs these rites that even if they are not provided, as modern cultures generally fail to do, Nature herself, working on behalf of the psyche, will create them for the soul that wishes for initiation.

Caves are an important location for many of the rites of passage. They provide a withdrawal into seclusion, into the subterranean worlds, into the world inside the world, and into the darkness beyond solar limits. As Rilke says, “You darkness of whom I am born, I love you more than the flame that limits the world to the circle it illumines and excludes all the rest.”

I submit that Nature can and will create cave initiations without the need for a physical cave. It can submerge the spirit into a cave-like dwelling where light does not penetrate. There is a cave inside our being, the deep memory of the time inside the womb and what came before that, and the awareness of spaces where light does not reach that inform the soul of the truth of its being. I get drawn into these caves and find it hard to emerge. The events occur as part of an illness, a struggle with depression and PTSD, but they are part of  the fulfillment of my soul’s wishes too. There is a huge tension to hold in this.  The facility to pass between these worlds gracefully is my quest now and I believe it is coming. I am grateful for what I am learning.

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