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TAPPING INTO SLOVENIA'S MORAL CORE

SACRED GEOGRAPHY IN THE CROSSROADS OF EUROPE

Slovenia not only lies at the crossroads of Europe (5), as allegedly does the Czech Republic (see Chapter 12), but also, in one of its most renowned old tales (6), bears the image of a giant fish – Faronika – carrying the world on its back. To that extent Slovenia not only, politically and economically, through being the prime instigator of self-management in the former Yugoslavia, had an important role to play in Europe, but also culturally and spiritually, has symbolic importance. One of us, Marko Pogacnik (7), as a Slovenian conceptual artist, designed his country's coat of arms in 1991 when Slovenia, splitting from Yugoslavia, became an independent country. One could call him a "sacred geographer" of worldwide repute, digging more deeply into Slovenian

soil, together with that of other places worldwide, including the Middle East (8), which has a bearing on our final chapter.

Marco Pogacnik's first steps (9) into earth healing, as a sculptor at the time, were taken in the mid-1960s. Together with the poet Iztok Geister he founded an art movement in Slovenia called OHO, which was concerned with the processes of transformation in art and culture. It was an attempt to change the fundamental principles upon which our modern human-centred culture is based. With the help of conceptual art performances, as well as street-and-land art, they tried to open up ways to perceive the world around us free from human projection. At that time their tools were limited to artistic techniques.

The next step came at the beginning of the 1970s, when together with his wife Marika and a group of friends Pogacnik started a rural community at Sempas in Slovenia, north of Trieste. They left behind the urban environment and settled on a deserted farm in the Vipava valley to enter into conscious and loving communication with earth and nature. The Sempas Family functioned simultaneously as an self-sufficient organic farm, art group and spiritual centre.

Pogacnik's true work with earth healing started in the mid-1980s when he developed his sculpture work into a kind of earth acupuncture which he called lithopuncture. The name derives from the Greek "lithos", the stone, and the Latin "puncture", for a stitch. To balance a place or a town structure, stone pillars with sculpted cosmograms would be positioned on chosen "acupuncture points" of the place. The vital role in lithopuncture projects play cosmograms, visual signs used to address the consciousness of the place and through this initiate the healing process. Pogacnik proposes, in his modern "Geomancy", or indeed "Sacred Geography", five dimensions of an all-encompassing reality:

• The most subtle dimension within a given landscape is the dimension of eternity which is beyond practical experience. It gives a sense of sacredness to holy places of nature and different cultures.

• Secondly follows the soul dimension which can also be called the archetypal dimension of reality; an expression of Gea, the soul of planetary creation. Practically this dimension manifests on the Earth's surface in the form of landscape temples and sacred sites of nature.

• The third dimension of this multidimensional reality may be called the dimension of consciousness. The dimension of consciousness covers a great range of manifestations, from mental to emotional consciousness, from intuitive to rational. The elemental consciousness of mountains and oceans, rivers and forests, plants and animals is an important part of it.

• Approaching denser extensions of multidimensional reality we arrive within the fourth field of the vital-energy dimension. There is no form yet but an intense flow of life forces, what the Hindus call “prana" and the Chinese speak of as “chi". Nowadays the expression bio-energy is the most common.

• Fifthly and finally we have arrived at the ground level: the material dimension which finds its manifestation within the functions of linear time and physical space.

CARRYING THE WORLD ON ITS BACK: FARONIKA AS A SLOVENIAN SYMBOL

In one of his meditations on archetypal images of the Slovene tradition in September 1992, Pogacnik was taken deep down to the primeval waters within the Earth arriving at the entrance of a cave, and saw a grey leaf-like fish. He looked into the eyes of the fish and recognized it as Faronika. A famous Slovenian folk ballad tells of her:

Jesus is swimming in the sea, in a deep sea.

A fish woman is following him, it is Faronika.

“O wait fish woman, wait fish woman Faronika!

We want to ask you what is happening in the world."

“If I flip my tail then the world will be flooded.

If I turn onto my back then the world will perish."

“O don't do it fish woman, fish woman Faronika.

Think of the little children, don't do it,

And think of all women in childbirth."

Following the experience, Pogacnik realized that beyond our rational organized world there are powers and forms of consciousness that make the existence of our reality possible. Archetypes presented in the language of different traditions are not mere images but a memory of the basic powers of life that represent a reality behind the known reality. In the case of the fish Faronika mythos he afterwards could find practically, within each landscape, explored acupuncture points of balance related to the fish Faronika archetype. On a deeper level the fish Faronika represents the Earth Soul, the identity of our home planet.

The ancient culture from which the Faronika mythos derives its origin knew how crucially important it is for a sustainable society to keep alive communication with the gigantic consciousness that is usually called Gaia, the Mother of Life – a knowledge that is largely lost to modern civilization.

In the ballad cited above, even Jesus, as the supreme representative of the Christian epoch, who has been incorporated into the poem, is trying to develop a dialogue with Gaia, the Earth Soul. But how can this be developed nowadays? The ancient rituals of Slovene people have been forgotten. As a result Pogacnik is currently developing a set of body exercises, in effect a set of body cosmograms, that would enable us human beings to come again into touch with the core of our planet. He calls them "Gaia Touch" exercises.

Besides the fish Faronika myth there are other archetypes in Slovenian folklore (as in the traditions of other cultures) that can be interpreted as a link to potentials hidden within the folk soul of a nation. These potentials lie dormant within the subconscious of the country. If awakened they could represent a source of inspiration and energy to fuel a country's development and even economical blossoming. As such, Pogacnik also describes his dialogue with the archetypal being called beautiful Vida (Lepa Vida), in Slovenian folklore, carrying the regenerative power of pure water as her gift to life, set against the degradation of water systems caused by environmental desecration.

 
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