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The voice of the animal whispers within, it is who we were born to be, coming back from a forgotten void to dance in circles around us.
This dance demarcates the space, traces the circle that is entranced with the dance, that whisks away this reality and opens a door into the abyss of the enveloping earth.
Sinking into waiting arms, cradled by the succumbing soil, deeper into a tunnel that steers us further inward, the worms massage the skin and remind us of where we began.
As the shaman continues his wild dance, lost in the ecstasy of communion. The shaman screams, and that scream echoes the howling of the wind as it caresses the mountains that have incubated our people for millennia.
Deep within these mountains are caves that run like capillaries, these caves that are analogous to the deepest recesses of our minds, that snake and spiral ever inward, that bear untold secrets and unknown wonders, that perhaps have never seen the light of day nor been explored by modern man, existing unto themselves for the sake of their darkness.
And on the walls of these caves are the paintings of our ancestors, paintings that celebrate the gods marauding in animal form, ready to release their power to the skilled hunter who knows the gods’ language and walks with the gods’ very footsteps.
Now the gnarled hands of those prehistoric hunters reach up to grasp us around the ankles, as these forgotten gods reach down from the sky to pull us up toward their lands.
The shaman grins.
We are torn in half.
We exist to seek out these crypts, that we might know better our origins, to know fully the animal from whence we came, to know fully the animals we are.
We seek to call forth the more-than-human world that lives within and without us, to engage with the totality of life, and thus to engage with the totality of ourselves, allowing every aspect of our beings full expression.
We seek unbridled immersion in the soils of life, unmediated animism, a trance state from which all is radiant and beautiful and tragic, all collapsing inward under the weight of a world so infused with spirit.
We seek to see beyond the matter and see the obscured powers that swirl with the toss of the shaman’s hair, that radiate outward from where we stand in an infinite spiral…
Running screaming through the woods,
all exploding outward from the pressures of spirit,
exploding from the animal within.
Photographs by Justine Murphy, http://www.photicphotographic.com/