In the legends of Excalibur and the Holy Grail we find more than just a focus on mystical and unusual objects of a singular purpose and formation and origin. We find themes of rise and fall, light and dark, good and evil, a sense of something won and also of something lost or of something missing.
These themes, of the interaction and interplay of opposites, drive us every day. We do and do not, we rise and we go to bed, we walk and we stop, we drive along the roads and we come to a traffic light. We find some things and we lose other things.
During the holidays it is easy to become focused on “things”, that which is tangible and material, that which we have made artificially and which serve us, machines and electronics and cars, phones, computers, and automated tellers. We focus on that which we get and what we can give but which must be purchased with another thing, money, tangible forms of commerce in paper and metals. We have interfered enough in the workings of the Earth and its atmosphere with our human inventions, and we realize this because of the impact had on our natural resources.
We see the scoured ground, the polluted ground, the acid rain and the effect of the noxious fumes upon our skin and eyes. We rise into smoggy skies, taste chemicals in the water, replace lead pipes and tear up the ground in order to find gold and diamonds to satisfy our egos for beauty and “precious” things. We can easily become saturated in things material and overwhelmed with the stimuli of “have to have” and “I gotta have this!” There come a time when we just must throw it in and toss-up our hands and call it enough already. Then we see the dregs, the trash, the piles of waste clogging the infrastructure of nature and the roads and sidewalks we use to get to those very malls and shops that help us produce all that waste and trash and chemical pollution.
How can we overcome this overpowering ego – materialism and what results from it – everything from clogged streams to mental illness of depression and obsessive compulsiveness? What is there to do that will heal our sense of loss and the eagerness to find short- term solution in the human -made? How can we step aside from that which is not “us” and regain the high ground of that which is truly us, the real you and me and all with which we feel comfortable and good?
In a previous article I mentioned that we can look up and watch jets fly over to lift our spirits, but as marvelous as planes are they are still made by people to cater to people.
There is more out there… way out there, and those are the galaxies, stars, and quasars, the comets and the planets and the other features of the universe, over which we have no influence and cannot manipulate. We can dig deep and yet get supremely elevated by looking into a clear, starry sky, or if we are confounded by clouds and storms we can turn to online images or photos in a book of universal objects that have inspired people for centuries. These are objects of incredible energy and elemental interaction on a grand scale and in high speeds of collision and creation.
We are galaxies within our very selves, deep and rich with elements, brightness, and the grand seeds of creation. Did you know that the elements, the atoms and molecules and all that composes your body and everything you use on a daily basis came from that which surrounds you in the universe? You are one living, walking, breathing Periodic Table of the Elements! Oh how beautiful you will be when re-presented your True Self shall see!
This famous display is the Eagle Nebula, or M 16 in the Messier Catalog of astronomical objects. These are known as the Pillars of Creation, and within this frame you can see clouds of gas and dust and glowing new stars in their brilliant red cloaks against a mottled backdrop of dust, gas, and the light of brighter stars. This is a relatively close object at 7000 light years, but just as people have areas that are close and far away in our memories, so the universe includes objects that like the Eagle Nebula are close by but also displays for our studying pleasure galaxies that are ancient, billions of years old and so distant that their way from us is measured in billions of light years.
Human beings are a mixed – up bunch, carrying around within us signs of order and chaos, formation and release, building up and letting go, living and sensing dilemmas of energy coming and going. We spiral and grow and evolve, shedding and gathering as we have done for millennia. We are young and we are ancient. Our powerful universe is also such a place, on a grand scale, as shown in the following image.
The history of this image is well worth your time to read about on the Hubble Space Telescope’s Image Archive, from which all the universal images in this article are supplied. Every object that looks like a galaxy in this image is a galaxy and there are thousands of them. Gaze deep… just look at it. Realize the profound, energetic, creative spectacle that is our universe, and realize your special place in it.
Divi Logan, Chicago 2016.
- ESA/ Hubble & NASA. “Best Image of Bright Quasar 3C 273.” Image Archive: Quasars and Black Holes. 18 November 2013. ESA/ Hubble. https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1346a/
- ESA/ Hubble & NASA. “Seeing quadruple.” Image Archive: Quasars and Black Holes. 23 January 2012. ESA/ Hubble & NASA. https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1204a/
- NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team. “New View of the Pillars of Creation – visible.” Image Archive: Nebulae. 5 January 2015. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team. https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1501a/
- NASA, ESA, and S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team. “Hubble Sees Galaxies galore.” Image Archive: Galaxies. 9 March 2004. NASA, ESA, and S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team. https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0406a/.