Tuesday 30 October 2012

The Road to Tipherah: Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces

"The first step in finding beauty is to see it. There is beauty in all things." ~Grimr

Beauty is a hard thing to find, not because it's so rare, but because it's so common. It is everywhere, in all things, both in the wonderful and the horrible. It is everywhere, but we don't see it because it's everywhere, we are numbed to it, so therefore blind to it. A young child sees it everywhere. This is Innocence. But we lose our Innocence along the way, we cease to see beauty because we forget it's important. We see only ugliness, getting lost in the qlipoth, the empty shells of what we first knew.

At the core of the trunk of the Tree of Life stands Tipherah, Beauty, the balance of all things. Above it are the Three Minds. Da'ath, Knowing, spanning the Abyss, the Dark Bridge. Binah, Understanding, the Deep Sea. Chokmah, Wisdom, the Deep Well. Beyond is Kether, the Crown, the root of the Tree. To the right of Tipherah is Chesed, Mercy, Lovingkindness, complete openness, complete acceptance, unlimited expansion, unlimited loosing. To the left is Geburah, Judgement, Severality, complete closeness, complete denial, unlimited retreat, unlimited binding. Below are the Three Manifestations. Netzach, Victory, on the right, emotion and passion, conquest and force of arms. Victory by advancing. Hod, Glory, on the left, intellect and cunning, magic and planning. Victory by retreat, by holding back. Yesod, Foundation, in the middle, sex and subconsciousness, instinct and intuition, the foundation of Action. And below, Malkuth, Kingdom, Manifestation of Manifestation, the Three Manifestations becoming Action. The playground of the soul.

Beauty stands at the centre, if it is lost, the whole Tree is lost. This is the lose of Innocence, and results in separating us from the Root. We become a branch or a twig or a leaf, drying and dying without the sustenance that can come only from the Root. And, as the dying leaf, we see only darkness, only ugliness, only decay. We can't even see that even the darkness, the ugliness, and the decay contain beauty. For there is beauty, truly, in all things.

When people look at the Wasteland, they see only ugliness. Walk in the Sonora Desert that spans the United States and Mexico. People see the lack of water, the lack of shelter, the lack of life. They focus on what isn't there, on the negative. But walk in those sands and look carefully. See the form of the saguaro cacti, each stove pipe reaching to heaven like the trees of the Pacific North West. See the lizards and snakes, how they move, their skin protecting them from the environment around them. Watch the waves the wind creates in the sand, so much like the beaches of Florida that many find so beautiful. Look at the mesas rising in places, as majestic as the Rocky Mountains. The desert holds much beauty.

Walk in the High Plains of Wyoming. People see the cold and wind, the dryness and flatness, the barrenness, the remoteness. They see what's not there, not what is. They see the negative. Look closer. The plains roll, with valleys around rivers with trees, with wet spots and dry, thick vegetation and thin. Look at the old growth sagebrush, almost five feet tall, older than the oldest tree in the Pacific Northwest, ancient and strong, able to survive the freezing winter, the pounding heat of the summer, the persistent wind that scores the mountains and hills, but the sage still stands. Watch the hawk soaring on the wind, diving for a rabbit or rodent. Watch the pronghorn antelope run faster than most cars, bounding and tearing across the plains. The High Plains abound with life. And with beauty.

People will point to the worst of mankind, of the qlipoth and dying leaves, and say, no, here is a place there is no beauty. Take rape for instance they will say. There is nothing beautiful about rape. There is pain and suffering, hurt and no hope. But they're once again looking at the negative, to what is lacking. The human spirit is strong, and beauty can rise from that ugliness. As healing comes, the victim, though scarred, will move on. They will reclaim their body that was stolen. And they might be able to help with the healing of others. Yes, there is nothing beautiful about rape, but it only stays that way if beauty is not looked for. Even from the ugliest ugliness, beauty rises from the ashes like the phoenix.

The first step in finding beauty is not to look for it, it's to see it, because it's already there. We don't see beauty when we look at what's lacking, not what's there. Sorrow is only meaningful as a lack of joy. Fear is only meaningful as a lack of courage. Pain is only meaningful as a lack of comfort. Suffering is only meaningful as a lack of peace. Ugliness is only meaningful as a lack of beauty. But these things don't exist without their opposite, for it's not truly an opposite, it's two ends of the same thread. Sorrow and joy are not distinct, it's a matter of where you are on the thread. Every Yin contains Yang and can be further divided into Yin and Yang. Every Yang contains Yin and can be further divided into Yin and Yang. There is ugliness in beauty, but there is beauty in ugliness.

Finding beauty is the reclaiming of Innocence. And it is found purely by opening our eyes and seeing clearly the beauty that is before us, all around us, in everything. And with the return of Innocence, and the return of Beauty, Tipherah, the Tree of Life returns and we are connected once more to the Root, nourished by that Source from which all things spring, and to which all things return.

So look! Open your eyes! Let he who has eyes see, let he who has ears hear! The beauty is around you and in you. Look and see it!

~Muninn's Kiss

*The subtitle comes from the album from Seether, released after the suicide of the lead singer's brother. Many of the songs are him working through that pain and sharing the good that could come out of it.

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