THE TRINITY OF KNOWLEDGE
Many years ago, a wise old man spoke to me about how all things in nature are marked. Instead of looking at what things mean and represent on an abstract and symbolic level, we should seek out marks, which are in the things themselves. He called this "reading the book of the world".
All things in nature do seem to be marked in specific and sometimes strangely profound ways.
In traditional folk medicine, plants are often viewed as being marked with subtle signs and resemblances in their shapes, colors and other properties, which can reveal something essential about their nature and usage.
The Ginseng plant, which looks like a human being, is a widely known adaptogen and all-around human tonic. Equally, the walnut, which resembles a human brain, has been discovered to aid brainfunction. Other plants that have a protective nature, such as the stinging nettle, have been found to improve the immune system.
These marks can also act as warning signs, in the form of specific patterns and bright colors often found in reptiles and insects. The northernmost snake in the world and the only poisonous species in Finland, Kyy (the adder) has distinct, sharp saw-like patterns on its back, whereas the non-poisonous snakes are more plain in color.
Same is true of human beings in many ways. Often meeting with a person face-to-face will reveal more about them than any number of their words ever could divorced from their speaker. The body is a temple of the ideals that dwell within. The body has its own language that seldom lies. And the human face is often marked with patterns of life lived, its tragedies and victories written all over it. "As within, so without".
And we as human beings are treefold like trees, with our roots hidden in the murky underworlds, our spines vertical as trunks, and our branches reaching skyward for the sun, the stars and beyond.
In all of nature there are reoccurring patterns and ratios, and the balance of these patterns and ratios is often what we perceive as harmony and beauty. This harmony and beauty we recognize as something timeless, both in raw nature and in our own creations that express these very same ratios.
Beyond abstractions and symbolic constructions, all of life can be "read" by its marks. To find and reinforce the connections and subtle nuances that speak of a larger whole is central to many traditional paths of knowledge and wisdom. In the West, this is the tradition of magic, hermeticism, alchemy, et al. In the East, this is yoga, ayurveda, chinese medicine and many other traditions.
A few days ago, my partner and I were collecting Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris), a plant I have had a special relationship with for a long time. It is a classical magical plant hidden in plain sight, used for its dream-enhancing qualities. Its leaves are trident, algiz-rune like in shape. Indeed, it is known as the "Trident of old Shiva" in Nepal. I ingested the mugwort plant every monday for a year in tincture form that I had prepared. While doing so I kept a dreamdiary, as the spirit of the plant was clearly acting as a guide for me in vivid, remarkably acute and often darkly violent dreams. As part of a musical group, we recorded an entire album guided by the plant and put a dried stamp of its shape on the cover. When I first met my partner, I discovered that she had been listening to this very record for three years every day, using it for her morning practice and yoga lessons.
What all this tells us about is that life and nature are interconnected as they spring from the same source. As all life is brewed literally in the same cauldron, things are subtly connected and resemble each other. Finding and reinforcing these resemblances, correspondences and connections, we come to learn more deeply about the trinity that is the world world within (subject), the world outside us (object), and ultimately the realization that these two are not separated but a union reflecting each other.