Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just to Create, Just to Imagine


One day as I was looking for information, I ran across an article that talked about an island in the Galapagos. It was uninhabited by humans, but explorers quickly discovered that following the giant tortoises on the beach would lead them to sources of fresh water on the island. One look at a picture of those giant tortoises, and you can almost feel the gravity of their presence, the aura of protection and wisdom. This made me think about the tortoise and how it is often represented in religious and spiritual context throughout the world. Suddenly, after seeing those tortoises and picturing myself on that deserted beach looking for fresh water so I could survive the rest of my voyage, I understood on a more visceral level the love of the tortoise. I imagined that if there had been humans inhabiting that island at some point in time, they would have had rituals or ceremonies honoring the tortoise. I even imagined that they might attribute the creation of their island to one of those creatures. . . and the Tortoise Mother was born in my mind. It isn't that much of a stretch, since tortoises and turtles have often been associated with fertility. In fact, you might be able to google "Tortoise Mother" and find she already existed, I don't know. What I know is that I can begin to see why and how there are so many themes and symbols that cross the borders of religion and cultures to spread throughout the world, throughout time. Archetypes, ideas that will not perish because there will always be another person to do what I just did, imagine them into existence yet again.

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