Category Archives: Stone

In Heidegger’s Temple

By Gabriel Hartley

templeNOTE: This piece is a bit more academic than my usual blog posts, given that this is my draft for a roundtable presentation at Ohio University in October 2014.

I do not yet know whether and how this essay will figure in my writing projects, although I imagine it will. I am here taking advantage of this chance to present these ideas and experiences to you in order for me to come to terms with them. Even so, I consider this to be some of the most important writing I have ever done, for in it I use the essay form in its root sense as a mode of trying to articulate things that remain suggestive but relatively inarticulate in my own head and heart. In a sense that I hope will become clear as I continue, I see this essay itself as a temple of sorts—a space brought into being by a certain dwelling in the world that steps back and lets things simply be as they be, shine as they are.

Dwelling in the Works of Heidegger

Perhaps the primary thing that I am trying to bring to fruition in this essay is a crucial aspect of my reading experience in the works of Heidegger: my sense that I am intuiting on a primal, familiar, interactive level the things that Heidegger brings into being through his writings. I have always had a sense that I am entering into an experiential or phenomenological space that Heidegger opens up and that I somehow occupy that space with him. In fact, I often feel as though I always occupy these spaces, and have done so for many lifetimes, even when I read a work of his for the “first” time. There is a sense in which I am there in his works, watching the world glow in increasing clarity as I pass from word to word and sentence to sentence. There is a very real sense in which the world that Heidegger discloses is a world I am integrally familiar with and which I know intimately from the inside. And this feeling happens most intensely when I enter into Heidegger’s temple.

I am speaking, of course, of Heidegger’s description of what he calls the temple-work in his essay “The Origin of the Work of Art.” What I have realized over the years is that when I read this description, I enter into the building of sacred space that he describes as the mode of dwelling that gives place to the temple, the sacred site—in this case, the Greek temple, where neither Heidegger nor I have ever been in this lifetime. [I was later alerted to the publication of Heidegger’s travel journals in which he gives accounts of journeys to the Greek temples very late in his life—long after he had written the material I am discussing here.] And given my work with sacred sites around the globe during the past three years especially, I now see that the building of the Greek temple that Heidegger enacts in his “Origin” essay is true to my own experience and understanding of the building of sacred space.

In other words, in this essay I hope to begin my in-depth exploration of a certain mode of attention or apprehension that Heidegger models in his writings that I will impertinently characterize as mystical, visionary, or shamanic—although none of these words in their usual understanding does justice to the experience I am pointing to. And rather than appropriate the customary dualism in the West that separates the mystical from the scientific—an opposition that itself falls prey to the very objectifying aspect of Western thought that Heidegger seeks to uncover and move beyond—I hope to enter into a mode of engagement that allows for the things and experiences we encounter to appear to us in a more open spirit than the typical Western mode of comprehension. I will characterize that western mode as an attempt to dominate all that we encounter by imagining all things as mere passive objects for our imperial vision—our attempt to see into the heart of things in such a way as to render everything as a discrete, determinate object. I will characterize Heidegger’s mode of thinking, alternatively, as an attempt to let all things be as they might be without attempting to determine the grounds of that being ahead of time. This is a shift from “Let me see” to “Let it be.” And this openness to the genuine essence of Being as it unfolds into or withdraws from our interaction, I suggest, allows for a more sustainable foundation for human behavior in the more-than-human world. And I will explore Heidegger’s description of the temple-work of the Greek temple as a privileged scene allowing us a glimpse into the dynamics of this mode of letting be. In this example, Heidegger offers a sense of what might be involved in the shift from what he calls ordinary consciousness to what I would call, perhaps inappropriately, superconsciousness.

Heidegger’s Description of the Greek Temple-Work

I present two paragraphs from “The Origin of the Work of Art” concerning the Greek temple here before working through this passage afterwards in detail:

[L]et us select a work that cannot be ranked as representational [darstellenden] art.

A building, a Greek temple, portrays [bildet . . . ab] nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of a rock-cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment [Verbergung] lets it stand out [hinausstehen] into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. This presence of the god is in itself the extension and delimitation of the precinct as a holy precinct. The temple and its precinct, however, do not fade away into the indefinite. It is the temple-work that first fits together [fügt] and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape [die Gestalt] of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation [Bestimmung].

Standing there, the building rests on rocky ground. This resting of the work draws up out of the rock the mystery [das Dunkle] of the rock’s clumsy yet spontaneous support. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple’s firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. The steadfastness of the work contrasts with the surge of the surf, and its own repose brings out the raging of the sea. Tree and grass, eagle and bull, snake and cricket first enter into their distinctive shapes and thus come to appear as what they are. The Greeks early called this emerging and arising in itself and in all things physis. It clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling. We call this ground earth. What this word says is not to be associated with the idea [Vorstellung] of a mass of matter deposited somewhere, or with the merely astronomical idea of a planet. Earth is that whence the arising brings back and shelters everything that arises without violation. In the things that arise, earth is present as the sheltering agent. (“Origin” 41-42)

So let me begin walking through this temple passage line by line. To begin: “[L]et us select a work that cannot be ranked as representational [darstellenden] art.” The key to all of Heidegger’s work is seeing this move beyond or outside of representational thinking. “Representation” here is the translation of darstellen, the typical term in reference to artistic representation. It suggests an aesthetic staging before an audience, a putting-on-view for viewing and appreciation. The problem with artistic dependence on the notion of darstellen lies in its root, stellen, which makes it kin to the even more disturbing tendency in Western culture to emphasize another form of representation—vorstellen. For Heidegger, as can be seen throughout his works, the whole problem behind Western Metaphysics since Plato and Aristotle, but especially since Descartes, is the question of the German verb stellen, which means to place, to position.

This positioning (or positing) is the fundamental activity and perspective behind all traditional Western thought and still dominates today. It implies the act of placing an object before a subject in order to lay it out for inspection. This is a kind of mastery, objectification, and exploitation, as Heidegger explains in several places. Vorstellen, in particular, is the dominant sense here, where we “represent” an object by “presenting” it to ourselves on the lab table or the cutting board. “Vor” means “before” in its spatial sense as in “lying there before you.” Vor-stellen, then, is a positioning something before yourself in order to submit it to your analytical gaze, so that you can find out “what it is” (the key question for metaphysics). We, as good Westerners, want to know what an entity (Seiend) is. In the process we blind ourselves to the fact that we have not yet asked what its Being (Sein) is, the way it presences, the way it shines forth, as in Heidegger’s turn to the Greek word “physis” as the self-emergence of entities in nature.

With the temple, then, and unlike his famous example of Van Gogh’s painting of shoes, Heidegger here deliberately turns to an example of a work of art that is in no way representational (either in terms of darstellen or vorstellen). “A building, a Greek temple, portrays [bildet . . . ab] nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of a rock-cleft valley.” This work of art is not trying to stand in for something else but simply to stand there in our vicinity. This example immediately defuses our Western tendency to read art as symbolic and instead forces us to enter into a different kind of relationship with the work. It forces us to step back in order to stand there with it in the rock cleft valley and to attend to other events rather than representation. And this, I suggest, is the first move in opening us up in our relationship to things in the world in that we must let go of our metaphysical desire to define the thing (the work of art) and instead simply let it stand there and be what it is as it is.

But what is the temple, as a temple, doing there in the rock-cleft valley? “The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment [Verbergung] lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico.” This artwork is also a temple, after all, so by definition it has a relationship of some kind to the gods. But curiously the temple does not make the god appear but instead, in its enclosing aspect, allows for the concealment of the god—a concealment that itself allows the god to stand out in its very concealment, its absence, an absence that makes the god all the more present, to stand out all the more as the being whose absence is now present and emanating from out of the holy precinct into the world beyond through the open portico. The temple creates the space of the sacred by consecrating this otherwise undefined plot of rock-cleft landscape. “By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple.”

What Heidegger offers here is a shift away from representational concepts of art to what could be called a performative participation in the art-work—performative in the sense of bringing to presence for us the presence of the gods. The gods are not here thought of as already-present subject matter for art, which the artist then re-presents, but rather the end result of the bringing into presence that the art-work is as it clears the space for the presencing of the gods. Nor is this space itself merely some calculable plot of land that in its emptiness becomes available to such presencing. This space itself is created as the space of presencing by the temple-work. Presumably raw calculable space is thereby transfigured into a sacred place. Now, then, this “presence of the god is in itself the extension and delimitation of the precinct as a holy precinct. The temple and its precinct, however, do not fade away into the indefinite.” In other words, the sacred space opened up by the temple does not disappear once the gods arise within it; the gods are able to arise as the result of this opening up of the space of their possibility as a feature of this space. And as a result of this holy transfiguration, the nature of human being, this newly illuminated human world, can then present itself within this divine matrix in its historical context:

It is the temple-work that first fits together [fügt] and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape [die Gestalt] of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation [Bestimmung].

But the divine-human aspects of the temple-work in no way exhaust the nature of the experience of this opened space. If the meditations made possible in the first paragraph of our passage led us to a sacramental engagement with the unfolding of what Heidegger has referred to as the world, the next paragraph leads us to an equally unfamiliar yet infinitely suggestive recasting of our relationship to what he calls earth. For the temple located in the rock-cleft valley draws our attention to the grounding nature of the earth as well. It allows us, in other words, to enter into a sacred relationship to the earth. Again, I will work out these implications as I work my way through the second paragraph of our passage.

To begin: “Standing there, the building rests on rocky ground. This resting of the work draws up out of the rock the mystery [das Dunkle] of the rock’s clumsy yet spontaneous support.” As he says in a later passage, in this temple-work the rock is not used up but is instead set forth in the clearing of truth. Here we see how the work “draws up out of the rock” the mystery or opaqueness of its support. The stone from out of which the temple is built is in an active and spontaneous rapport with the stone upon which it is placed. Through the space opened up by the work we are able to encounter a dimension of the rockiness of rock that we rarely experience in daily practical activity. But we do not in our aesthetic dreaminess imagine such a drawing up and out of mystery; the work itself sets such a reciprocal relationship in motion as it sets forth [Herstellung] the integrity of the rock. And the integrity of the environment as a whole: The violence of the storm, the light of day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night, the invisible space of air, the surge of the surf, the raging of the sea, the distinctive shapes of the plant and animal life in this natural surrounding: all “thus come to appear as what they are” because of the standing temple’s stability, luster, firm towering, steadfastness, and repose. In short, all that is around us enters into the manifest nature of the truth—the unconcealment—of its being by way of the work.

“The Greeks,” Heidegger writes, “early called this emerging and arising in itself and in all things physis.” (I will have reason to return to this notion of physis or primal emergence later.) Physis “clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling.” For Heidegger, the notion of dwelling captures the essential nature of human being, as he explains in this passage from his essay “Building Dwelling Thinking”:

[I]f we listen to what language says in the word bauen [or “building”]we hearthree things:
1. Building is really dwelling.
2. Dwelling is the manner in which mortals are on the earth.
3. Building as dwelling unfolds into the building that cultivates growing things and the building that erects buildings. (148)

Building as dwelling, in other words, engages us in primal human activities such as the cultivation of nurturing plants and the erection of buildings such as temples. Dwelling is our mode of setting things “free into [their] own presencing” (150). So to repeat: Physis “clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling.” And, according to Heidegger, “We call this ground earth. What this word says is not to be associated with the idea [Vorstellung] of a mass of matter deposited somewhere, or with the merely astronomical idea of a planet. Earth is that whence the arising brings back and shelters everything that arises without violation. In the things that arise, earth is present as the sheltering agent” (“Origin” 41-42).

Truth Happens, or, the Performative Presencing of the Gods

One day I was trying to explain to my students at Ohio University what I refer to as the performative function of the temple-space within Heidegger’s Greek temple. These lines were the occasion for such a need: “[T]ruth does not exist in itself beforehand, somewhere among the stars, only later to descend elsewhere among beings. This is impossible for the reason alone that it is after all only the openness of beings that first affords the possibility of a somewhere and of a place filled by present beings” (61). I found myself for some unknown reason—since I do not consider myself a Christian in any recognizable sense—quoting the statement of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew in which he says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I explained that on a literalist level we might imagine two or three people gathering together in Jesus’s name and then his sudden miraculous appearance to them there. But if we follow the performative logic behind this statement, what Jesus is saying is that it is the coming together in my name that is itself the manifestation of the Christ being. Christ here is the result of an action that comes to characterize that action itself. In Heidegger’s terms, just as truth “does not exist in itself beforehand, somewhere among the stars, only later to descend elsewhere among beings,” neither does Christ. The “coming together in his name” opens up the sacred space within which the gods can manifest.

Another lesser-known example from the Christian texts is in the Gospel of Thomas, saying 77, in which Jesus says, “It is I who am the light (that presides) over all. It is I who am the All: it is from me that the All has come, and to me that the All goes. Split a piece of wood: I am there. Lift a stone, and you (plural you) will find me there.” Jesus in this instance here is the particular manifestation of the All, the One whose indeterminate universality is mediated and particularized by Jesus. But again it is important not to simply read this on its most literal level, wherein Jesus claims to be the All and that therefore all (including sticks and stones) find themselves in Him and Him in themselves. The performative logic we have examined before suggests rather that it is in the splitting of the wood and in the lifting of the stone that Jesus can be found—not as a material or spiritual constituent of the stick or stone but as that communal spiritual nature that becomes manifested in plural actions guided by spiritual intention. In other words, when we lift a stone, our act of lifting makes us like the Christ Being, for in this act we recognize before we even begin that the All is in all. Our act of splitting makes us like Christ, again because such actions are carried out in the foreknowledge of the divine unity of all existence. These acts are devotional acknowledgements of this knowledge and ritual re-enactments of the moment of Creation itself. We find the Christ Being in our consecrating devotional actions, not in some external entity who blesses us for performing those actions. We are the Christ Being when we consciously and ceremonially perform such actions of re-creation.

How I Find Myself Dwelling in the Temple

As I have already expressed, the most intriguing element of my reading of Heidegger’s temple passage is that in it I find an understanding of the relationship of human activity to the manifestation of sacred space that feels very familiar to me. I am at home in that temple experience so described. In fact, I would say that my reading and teaching of this passage over and over in a very profound way prepared me for my own sacred site activity. I began to recognize that the description of the temple-work very much fit my subsequent experiences at places such as the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings with their ceremonial kivas, Serpent Mound and other ancient ceremonial mounds here in Ohio, the earthen barrows and standing stones at Avebury, and the Newgrange complex of underground structures in Ireland.

What I find as I encounter each of these sacred sites is that when I enter into the mode of consciousness that allows for the suspension of the typical Western demands for representational thinking and Metaphysical structures of causality and thinghood (demands which also inhere in traditional expressions of the dominant Western religions, as Heidegger frequently points out), I experience exactly the process of the opening up of space—a textured and energized space, in fact—that allows for the presencing of the gods and daimones of the place that Heidegger describes. The question remains, despite its ultimate irrelevance, whether Heidegger himself had such experiences.

APPENDIX

The pages that follow contain other extended sections, notes, and quotations that I will ultimately work into a much longer version of this essay. I include them for anyone wishing to see other dimensions of the story of the West that I am telling as the complement to the creation of sacred sites such as the ancient Greek temple.

The sections here include my initial overviews of sections from Heidegger’s book Parmenides, including his interpretation of the early Greek notion of truth (alētheia) as unconcealment, as well as a his explanation of the Roman translation of the Greek notions of unconcealment and concealment (alētheia and its opposite) into our contemporary notions of truth and falsity. My larger point is that this discussion of the Latin imperial translation of Greek into Roman culture helps us to understand the difficulty most readers, even sympathetic ones, have in taking Heidegger’s discussions of the opening of sacred space seriously—that is, as more than simply a poetic or nostalgic symbolic reference to the mysteries of the gods.

What is That?

Western metaphysics. What is a thing? Ordinary thinking

Hypothesis, hypokeimenon, Voraussetzung

patient on an operating table

Alētheia and Lēthē

Given that the Greek term for “truth,” alētheia, begins with the privative a- prefix, making the term negative (a-lētheia), Heidegger explores the possible senses of the root word lēthē and its relationship to the Greek notion of truth. One possible literal translation for alētheia is “non-forgetfulness,” a sense reinforced by Plato’s discussion of truth and forgetfulness in the “Myth of Er” segment of The Republic, where the River Lethe figures prominently as the cause of our forgetting the signs of truth we saw before being reborn into our current bodies. If we drink too much water while swimming across this River of Forgetfulness as we transit from the interlife plains of Er to this earthly existence, in this life we will experience a greater degree of forgetfulness of the nature of truth. But according to Heidegger, the more proper translation for capturing the original Greek sense of truth is “unconcealment” [der Unverborgenheit], where lēthē now suggests concealment and a-lētheia suggests truth as un-concealment.

In his lecture on Parmenides, Heidegger emphasizes that the “oppositional,” conflictual nature of the early Greek experience of truth. He explains that “unconcealedness is wrested from concealment” (Parmenides 17). This conflict, however, is not something that can be imagined as a struggle between humans and the barriers to truth but rather a condition internal to truth itself: “It is unclear who is struggling here and how those involved are struggling. It is important, however, to think for once this conflictual essence of truth, an essence which has been shining for 2,500 years in the faintest of all lights.” And this shining light of truth is further concealed for us in the west ever since the Roman translation of this struggle between unconcealedness and concealment into our “ordinary” opposition of “truth and falsity” (veritas et falsitas), a translation that extinguishes and flattens out the essential shining that for Heidegger is key to the early Greek notion of truth.

As I delve into the fruitful complications that Heidegger wishes for us to consider, I want to take a look at the implications of Heidegger’s description in Parmenides of these linguistic turns. For if we pay close attention to his approach to language and allow ourselves to be carried away in the movement he offers, we might find ourselves in a space of disclosure that offers us a way of imagining an alternative to our various current modern modes of imperial domination. Already above we have seen an example of Heidegger’s approach to truth (and to Being itself): “It is unclear who is struggling here and how those involved are struggling.” This lack of clarity is not the fuzzy-headedness of the subject who just needs to get his or her head clear. Truth is not subjective. But neither is it objective, for truth stands prior to the whole subject-object distinction that becomes the characteristic dualism of western thought since the Roman translation of the Greeks into Latin and the translation of concealment—the opposition inherent in unconcealedness—into falsehood. The struggle is one of truth, not for truth. Our job should not be to find truth but to let truth itself disclose itself before us.

Heidegger goes on to say the following concerning translation: “But if we translate ἀληθεία by ‘unconcealedness,’ and thereby transport ourselves into this word’s directives, then we are no longer constrained within linguistic significations but stand before an essential nexus that engages our thinking down to its very foundations” (P 26). Let’s look carefully at this expression. By translating ἀληθεία as “unconcealedness,” we “transport ourselves into this word’s directives.” Just as we are not seeking to track down truth and lay it bare in our subjective dominance, neither here are we pinning down the sense of the word but rather transporting ourselves into its own directives. Again, we are completely outside of the western subject-object duality. We open ourselves up to the opening up of the being of the word; we let it do its work on and for us. “In this way, Heidegger continues, “we hope to experience something of the primordial essence of truth in Greek thought.” We do not determine truth; we experience it—primordially. And we do so under the name of the goddess Áληθεία. We will have more to say about her later.

The Imperial Roots of Falsity

For Heidegger, key to understanding the inescapable connections between truth and domination in the modern age is the Roman translation of truth’s opposite as falsum. “The stem of the Latin word falsum (fallo)” he explains, “is ‘fall’ and is related to the Greek σφάλλω [sphallo], i.e., to overthrow, bring to a downfall, fell, make totter” (39). The power dynamics inherent in this falling become clearer in Heidegger’s elaboration: “The realm of essence decisive for the development of the Latin falsum is the one of the imperium and of the ‘imperial.’ We will take these words in their strict and original sense. Imperium means ‘command’” (40). And “command,” Heidegger continues, is the “basis of the essence of domination.” From out of this notion of command as domination comes the sense of domination as iustum (“ the ‘to-be-in-the-right’ and the ‘to have a right’”), a sense of justice very alien, Heidegger contends, to that of the Greeks. This dominating command involves a sense of superiority, a “constant surmounting of others, who are thereby the inferiors.” And in this surmounting lies the ability to oversee: “veni, vidi, vici—I came, I oversaw, and I conquered” (41). “The properly ‘great’ feature of the imperial,” then, “resides not in war but in the fallere of subterfuge as round-about action and in the pressing-into-service for domination . . . ; the falsum is treachery and deception, ‘the false.’” The imperial roots of the notion of falsity as the opposite of truth interject this scene of seeing-as-domination into the conquest of truth in general, wherein the Greek opposite of truth, not σφάλλωbut ψεῦδος (pseudos), gets lost in the shuffle of imperial conquest: “The Greek ψεῦδος, by being translated into the Latin falsum, is transported into the Roman-imperial domain of bringing to a downfall.”

What is decisive is that the Latinization occurs as a transformation of the essence of truth and Being within the essence of the Greco-Roman domain of history. This transformation is distinctive in that it remains concealed but nevertheless determines everything in advance. This transformation of the essence of truth and Being is the genuine event of history. The imperial as the mode of Being of a historical humanity is nevertheless not the basis of the essential transformation of ἀληθεία into veritas, as rectitudo, but is its consequence, and as this consequence it is in turn a possible cause and occasion for the development of the true in the sense of the correct. (42)

Despite all appearances, in other words, it is not because the Romans were imperialists that they sought a dominating definition of truth but the reverse; their dominating sense of truth became the essential ground for their approach to everything else—not simply the imposition of imperial political domination the imperial domination over all relationships: “the basic comportment of the Romans toward beings in general is governed by the rule of the imperium” (44). Through an evolutionary chain of term shifts such as adaequatio, ratio, rationalis, rectitudo, veritas, certum—prepared in advance by Plato and Aristotle’s association of ἀληθεία with ὁμοίωσις (homoiōsis or similitude, resemblance), the “entire thinking of the Occident from Plato to Nietzsche thinks in terms of this delimitation of the essence of truth as correctness. This delimitation of the essence of truth is the metaphysical concept of truth; more precisely, metaphysics receives its essence from the essence of truth thus determined” (50). And from out of this chain comes the metaphysical adherence to the notion of truth as representation. Representation (Vorstellung) becomes the mode of imperial conquest extended into all conceptual relationships between subjects and objects in the west.

QUOTATIONS

That into which the work sets itself back and which it causes to come forth in this setting back of itself we called the earth. Earth is that which comes forth and shelters. Earth, self-dependent, is effortless and untiring. Upon the earth and in it, historical man grounds his dwelling in the world. In setting up a world, the work sets forth the earth. This setting forth must be thought here in the strict sense of the word. The work moves the earth itself into the Open of a world and keeps it there. The work lets the earth be an earth. (46)

 

Ein Bauwerk, ein griechischer Tempel, bildet nichts ab. Er steht einfach da inmitten des zerklüfteten Felsentales. Das Bauwerk umschließt die Gestalt des Gottes und läßt sie in dieser Verbergung durch die offene Säulenhalle hinausstehen in
den heiligen Bezirk. Durch den Tempel west der Gott im Tempel an. Dieses Anwesen des Gottes ist in sich die Ausbreitung
und Ausgrenzung des Bezirkes als eines heiligen. Der Tempel
und sein Bezirk verschweben aber nicht in das Unbestimmte.
Das Tempelwerk fügt erst und sammelt zugleich die Einheit jener Bahnen und Bezüge um sich, in denen Geburt und Tod, Unheil und Segen, Sieg und Schmach, Ausharren und Verfall – dem Menschenwesen die Gestalt seines Geschickes gewinnen. Die waltende Weite dieser offenen Bezüge ist die Welt dieses geschichtlichen Volkes. Aus ihr und in ihr kommt es erst auf sich selbst zum Vollbringen seiner Bestimmung zurück.

Dastehend ruht das Bauwerk auf dem Felsgrund. Dies Aufruhen des Werkes holt aus dem Fels das Dunkle seines ungefügen und doch zu nichts gedrängten Tragens heraus. Dastehend hält das Bauwerk dem über es wegrasenden Sturm stand und zeigt so erst den Sturm selbst in seiner Gewalt. Der Glanz und das Leuchten des Gesteins, anscheinend selbst nur von Gnaden der Sonne, bringt doch erst das Lichte des Tages, die Weite des Himmels, die Finsternis der Nacht zum Vor- -schein. Das sichere Ragen macht den unsichtbaren Raum der Luft sichtbar. Das Unerschütterte des Werkes steht ab gegen das Wogen der Meerflut und läßt aus seiner Ruhe deren Toben erscheinen. Der Baum und das Gras, der Adler und der Stier, die Schlange und die Grille gehen erst in ihre abgehobene Gestalt ein und kommen so als das zum Vorschein, was sie sind. Dieses Herauskommen und Aufgehen selbst und im Ganzen nannten die Griechen frühzeitig die (I)”I1L~. Sie lichtet zugleich jenes, worauf und worin der Mensch sein Wohnen gründet. Wir nennen es die Erde. Von dem, was das Wort hier sagt, ist sowohl die Vorstellung einer abgelagerten Stoffmasse als auch die nur astronomische eines Planeten fernzuhalten. Die Erde ist das, wohin das Aufgehen alles Aufgehende und zwar als ein solches zurückbirgt. Im Aufgehenden west die Erde als das Bergende.

 

PASSAGES FROM “THE THING”

179

This appropriating mirror-play of the simple onefold of earth and sky, divinities and mortals, we call the world. The world presences by worlding. That means: the world’s worlding cannot be explained by anything else nor can it be fathomed [180] through any- thing else. This impossibility does not lie in the inability of our human thinking to explain and fathom in this way. Rather, the inexplicable and unfathomable character of the world’s worlding lies in this, that causes and grounds remain unsuitable for the world’s worlding. As soon as human cognition here calls for an explanation, it fails to transcend the world’s nature, and falls short of it. The human will to explain just does not reach to the simple- ness of the simple onefold of worlding. The united four are already strangled in their essential nature when we think of them only as separate realities, which are to be grounded in and explained by one another.

The unity of the fourfold is the fouring. But the fouring does not come about in such a way that it encompasses the four and only afterward is added to them as that compass. Nor does the fouring exhaust itself in this, that the four, once they are there, stand side by side singly.

The fouring, the unity of the four, presences as the appropriating mirror-play of the betrothed, each to the other in simple oneness. The fouring presences as the worlding of world. The mirror-play of world is the round dance of appropriating. Therefore, the round dance does not encompass the four like a hoop. The round dance is the ring that joins while it plays as mirroring. Appropriating, it lightens the four into the radiance of their simple oneness. Radiantly, the ring joins the four, everywhere open to the riddle of their presence. The gathered presence of the mirror-play of the world, joining in this way, is the ringing. In the ringing of the mirror-playing ring, the four nestle into their unifying presence, in which each one retains its own nature. So nestling, they join together, worlding, the world.

181 When and in what way do things appear as things? They do not appear by means of human making. But neither do they appear without the vigilance of mortals. The first step toward such vigilance is the step back from the thinking that merely represents—that is, explains—to the thinking that responds and recalls.

The step back from the one thinking to the other is no mere shift of attitude. It can never be any such thing for this reason alone: that all attitudes, including the ways in which they shift, remain committed to the precincts of representational thinking. The step back does, indeed, depart from the sphere of mere attitudes. The step back takes up its residence in a co-responding which, appealed to in the world’s being by the world’s being, answers within itself to that appeal. A mere shift of attitude is powerless to bring about the advent of the thing as thing, just as nothing that stands today as an object in the distanceless can ever be simply switched over into a thing. Nor do things as things ever come about if we merely avoid objects and recollect former objects which perhaps were once on the way to becoming things and even to actually presenting as things.

stellen = to position, to set, to place (something)

aufstellen = to set up

ausstellen = to exhibit, to display, to expose

bereitstellen = to provide, to allocate

entgegenstellen = to counterpose, to set against, to oppose

erstellen = to build; to draw up

darstellen = to represent, to depict, to portray

feststellen = to determine, to establish, to fix

Fragestellung (noun) = questioning, interrogation

herstellen = to produce, to make, to prepare, to establish

Sammelvorstellung (noun) = accumulative representation

verstellen = to shift, to block, to misplace

vorstellen = to represent (in an image or an idea), to picture (in one’s mind)

wegstellen = to put away

zurückstellen = to defer, to reserve, to put or set back

Zwischenstellung (noun) = intermediate position

 

 

Wir bedenken zunachst den Namen der Gottin ‘AA~~EdLaus, heißt die Unverborgenheit. Sicherlich wissen wir dadurch, daß wir zur Kenntnis nehmen, die sprachliche Bezeichnung fur >>Wahrheit<lacute im Griechischen >>&hfi8~ian<och, nichts vom Wesen der Wahrheit, so wenig wir uber das Pferd belehrt wer- den durch die Angabe des lateinischen >>equusccA. ber wenn wir M46~1adurch >>Unverborgenheitccubersetzen und dabei iibersetzen in die Weisungen dieses Wortes, d a m halten wir nicht mehr bei einer sprachlichen Bezeichnung, sondenl stehen vor einem Wesenszusammenhang, der unser Denken von Grund aus in Anspruch nimmt. Wir gehen den vier Weisungen nach, die uns der Name ‘Ahfi8~~inader Obersetzung >>Un- verborgenheitcc gibt. Wir erfahren so einiges uber das grie- chisch gedachte anfangliche Wesen der Wahrheit.

Zum ersten verweist die Un-verborgenheit auf Verborgenheit. Verbergung also durchwaltet das anfangliche Wesen der Wahrheit.

Zum anderen verweist die Un-verborgenheit darauf, daß sie der Verborgenheit abgerungen und mit ihr im Streit ist. Das anfangliche Wesen der Wahrheit ist streithaft. Zu fragen bleibt, was hier >>Streit<be<sagt.

Zum dritten verweist die Un-verborgenheit gemaD den vor- genannten Bestimmungen in einen Bereich von >>Gegensat- zencc, in denen >>dieWahrheitcc steht. Weil von ‘dem >>gegen- satzlichencc Wesen der Unverborgenheit aus ihr streithaftes Wesen zunachst sichtbar wird, mussen wir die Frage nach dern >>Gegensatz<ci,n dern die Wahrheit steht, eingehender bedenken. Im abendlandischen Denken wird als einziger Gegensatz zur Wahrheit die Unwahrheit in Rechnung gestellt. Die>>Unwahrheitccistgleichgesetztder>>Falschheitccd,ie,als Unrichtigkeit verstanden, das einleuchtende und aufdringliche Gegenteil zur >>Richtigkeitccbildet. Der vorwaltende

 

Kivi Sky and the Magic of Stroud’s Run

By Gabriel Hartley

November 9, 2014

IMG_2154

We’d been feeling called back to Stroud’s Run State Park for some months now. It is, after all, only about two miles from our house as the crow flies and on the same energetic line that runs through our property straight across Dutch Creek and Scatter Ridge, dropping down from the ridges to Dow Lake. And this energetic line is something else! But with the beauty of gardens to plant and grow and harvest and so much work to do at home, not to mention the constant magic in our own forest right here in our backyard, we just didn’t get back to Stroud’s for awhile.

But this morning, two days after Kivi Sky’s due date, we just felt that it would be right to go, to hike, to get ourselves charged and situated for the upcoming birth. So we drove the five miles or so it takes to get to Stroud’s by road, traveling through some of the most picturesque scenery in the country, parking at the head of the horse trails in the little lot off of Scatter Ridge Road with the beautiful late-morning sun filtering through the mid-Autumn trees.

Hiking_Trails

We initially started a little way down the first trail we came to, Amaretto Trail, but quickly realized that this path drops down to the lake rather than up and over the ridges to the (unacknowledged) sacred ceremonial stone center we were planning to visit. So we walked back to the dirt road and up to another trail that we thought would take us directly to the stone center.

As way led to way, however, we found that this trail took us far to the southeast of where we had initially planned on going. Instead of being on the high point of the Sundown Trail, we were at the conjunction of the Sundown, Hank, and Indian Mound Trails. It felt as though we had been unconsciously transported to this spot somehow, as though this was one place we were supposed to be but which we never would have chosen to go to on our own. In fact, this was the spot I had at first suggested hiking to, but the parking lot nearest to this spot was closed for construction (probably for fracking).

One beautiful surprise in finding ourselves unexpectedly in this spot was that we were now at another very sacred stone center in the park. This short trail connects the Indian Mound Trail to the Lakeside Trail and drops down from the ancient mounds to the lake shore while passing through several very enchanted fairy abodes. A few summers ago we brought some of my students here on what I call an Akashic Field Trip and this was the first time in a while we had come to this spot together, despite its being one of our favorites.

There are several massive trees that seem to have been exploded across the path, as though blown up by some enormous energy at their base. This has always struck me as an outward sign of the immense energy that shoots through the earth and sky at Stroud’s. Today we found many more trees crossing the paths as we hiked.

Blasted Trunks Across the Path

Blasted Trunks Across the Path

So we gave in to the pleasure of being where we hadn’t planned on going and greeted the fairies below us down the embankments from the path. This particular path took us down to one of my favorite spots, a rock outcropping protected by a series of massive exploded trees. In this particular outcropping one of the main boulders has a beautifully precise split down the middle which we are always drawn to, feeling so good just standing over the crack or stepping down into it.

IMG_2121

Sacred Cleft

Anna’s power seemed to magnify as she stood above the crack, taking in the stone energy that had drawn us there this day to celebrate our oncoming stone/sky boy, Kivi.

IMG_2131

Super Mama-to-Be!

I was drawn to lie down in the crack in a warm bed of leaves with the sun shining in my face.

IMG_2136

Taking in the Earth Energy

As soon as I got comfortable, the Stone Beings started talking to me. They told me that this particular spot contained an immense amount of earth energy and that lying in between the two boulder halves like this gave a person a massive energetic charge. My aching back (sore after throwing it out several days earlier) immediately felt comforted by the energy rising from the earth.

As we dropped down to the path below the stony outcropping, we stopped to take more photos and just take in the scene before us. I was thanking the Stone Beings for this gift of energy and communication when they said, “Well, this is all for your boy about to be born. It’s only appropriate that we Stone Beings welcome this Kivi boy into the world this way!” I then realized why we had been led down this way to this particular rock outcropping and let go into a swirl of thankfulness for being in this universe at this moment.

IMG_2134

As we followed the path we turned onto the Lakeside Trail that follows the north edge of the lake.

IMG_2142

Trail Markers

I had felt especially drawn to the lake this day, in addition to the various rock groups, and was thankful to be walking along the lake shore taking in the Water Energy. The lake expresses itself in a very different way from the Stone and Sky ways.

IMG_2149

Dow Lake

Taking in this water power, we then turned up Haley Trail in order to round around to the northwest to the sacred stone circle, now a couple miles away, that was our original destination. As we passed up along Haley Trail we came to another beautiful stone outcropping that I didn’t remember.

IMG_2144

Haley Trail Stone Group

I was again greeted by the Stone Beings as we approached the cliff face. As I marveled looking upward from them through the tree tops into the sky, they again emphasized that this was a day for greeting Kivi into the world.

The next mile or two proved to be rather wearisome, my back aching more and more and Anna’s pregnant belly feeling the weight and the miles. But the Stone Beings kept reminding us to draw our power from the stone. So we steeled ourselves and marched forward in a mixture of pain and bliss as we turned off to the west onto the Sundown Trail.

As always, arriving at the Sacred Stone Circle was very magical. I could see the Altar Stone—an extremely powerful and predominant stone set off by itself next to the Sundown Trail—glowing in a brilliant etheric light through the hills as we had been drawing closer and now seeing its brilliance face to face was very comforting.

IMG_2154

The Altar Stone

I noticed on this trip that there was a wedge cut into the corner of the stone and felt drawn to lie in this niche.

IMG_2155

The Niche in the Altar Stone

I immediately realized that this niche had served in ancient days as a space travel device of some sort and that the Altar Stone itself was a type of spacecraft (in addition to its other powerful features). I suddenly knew that ancient astronauts had lain in this same groove in order to travel into distant worlds and distant times.

IMG_2157

Anna then lay in the niche herself and took off into the skies.

IMG_2162

The Altar Stone the whole time continued to give off the most comforting energy I could imagine—an energy that felt so primal and so familiar.

IMG_2166

Stony Love

IMG_2167

Happiness

After fifteen minutes or more of communing with the spirits of the place, we climbed up the bank to the rock face above that stands guard over the Altar Stone below.

IMG_2169

Guardian Rocks

 

From here we walked up to the high point of the ridge, a spot that has always revealed itself as a meeting place for humans and Sky Beings. We spent five or ten minutes taking in this new configuration of energy.

IMG_2181

On Top of Kivi Sky Peak

As I was lying on the ground, both to comfort my back and to feel the earth energy throughout my body, I was told that this was the climax of our journey for Kivi.

IMG_2178

Getting Close to Mother Nature

This is the true Kivi Sky point where earth and the heavens meet. This was the dragon-power spot that our Kivi Sky is named after, the unification of earth and heaven.

IMG_2186

End of the Hike

By the time we got back to our car we were quite dizzy, exhausted, and exhilarated! What a miracle this world is! How communicative it can be if you just take the time to listen and to learn. We drove back along Scatter Ridge, dropping down to Dutch Creek—where we came across a small herd of orange long-haired Scottish cattle who greeted on the roadside—as we drove through the magical hills back to our house, listening to Neil Young on the CD player and feeling so beautiful and so full of life.

IMG_2190

Scottish Cattle on Dutch Creek Road

 

Elk-Buffalo-Mastadon Vision

June 3, 2014

My shamanic journey yesterday (Monday, June 2, 2014) proved to be quite provocative, and I will try to recall the details and significance of it here.

elkAfter our usual preliminary chants and pranayama exercises, Anna and I went off into our own visionary and energetic experiences. I immediately felt the energetic rush that signals the address from a spirit entity with whom I might communicate. As I melted into the energetic communion, I noticed that this communicative experience was not simply a verbal and energetic exchange—my usual experience—but a dreamlike visionary one as well. I saw and felt myself walking or floating through a mountain meadow surrounded by steep spruce forests rising up at least a thousand feet from the high meadow valley. The meadow was a rich grassy plain.

I noticed that I was walking along with some other creatures of some sort but was not trying to make out who or what they were as the guiding voice narrated the significance of my experience. The voice said, “You are surprised to find that the foundation stone of your practice is still here beneath you when you thought you had melted it into your being.” At this point I saw a stone rectangular slab about two feet by three feet wide and a foot tall, the kind of stone slab that serves as the front doorstep for many old farm houses here in southeastern Ohio, stones carved out of the local landscape.

I suddenly shifted out of the dreamlike flow, telling the being speaking to me that this must all be too dreamlike, that I should snap out of this dream and gain better focus. But the voice told me that this dreamlike experience was exactly what I needed to experience rather than some more purely intellectual verbal exchange. So I relaxed into the dream vision and let the spirit voice continue.

He went on with the narrative. (I have a sense of the entity being male, but I had not yet sought the being’s identity other than my recognition that he gave off an atmosphere of calm assurance and comforting wisdom.) “You are surprised that you have not yet melted your foundation stone into your being and your practice, and you find yourself standing on this stone, comforted by its stability.” With these words I saw myself standing on the stone, yet the stone, curiously, was moving along with the procession through the high mountain meadow as if carried by some liquid or airy flow. Perhaps the stone was suspended on a magnetic field that allowed for its hovering motion.

The voice added, “You see around you the antlers of thousands of Elk,” and once he said this I noticed thousands of white sticklike things rising up from the ground. I only now recognized them as antlers rather than old tree branches. “You are walking through the ancient Elk graveyard, which is very sacred ground, and you are re-establishing your ancient connection with the Elk Spirits.” Aha, I thought, this is exactly what I feel, although I had not before now been conscious of this strange yet familiar feeling of belonging and kinship in this cemetery landscape.

antlers“You are happy to be reunited with your Elk family, and it is here that you find yourself still drawing from the power of your foundation stone. Your Elk family are in fact Buffalo, and you now see your ancient connection with the Bison Spirits of the Planet.” As my Spirit Guide said this I saw the elk transform into buffalo as I walked among them in the procession.

buffaloAt this point one of the large buffalo in front of me turned and faced me in a gesture of recognition and address. I acknowledged the buffalo and then felt myself morph into a buffalo, my head growing large, long, and heavy, my eyes dropping to the sides of my skull, and my nose dropping down to form a long, low snout. (I had had this same morphing experience about five years ago in another visionary experience, which was my first shape-shifting experience that I can remember.)

I realized then that it was the Buffalo who had been speaking all this time. As he spoke I felt the comforting assurance of being in the presence of an ancient soul connection. The Buffalo continued, saying “I give you your pearl, your precious Inner Gift,” and he slowly handed the large pearl, the size of a mango, over to me. As I reached out to accept the pearl I saw that it was emanating an intense and comforting light and energy. But before my fingers even reached it I saw it transform into our Taos Stone, the sacred stone we had retrieved two years ago on a previous spirit venture. The buffalo spirit said, “This is your sacred Foundation Stone, the inner pearl of your being, and you are now ready to reacquaint yourselves with its power.”

As I took the stone from the Buffalo Spirit he transformed into a mastodon and said, “Of course, your true path lies with the mastodon spirits, those with whom you walked this earth so long ago.” I then saw all of the Elk-become-Buffalo of the procession now shift into Mastadon spirits and I felt a deep soul memory of knowing this spirit plane very intimately. I remembered my Mastadon vision of two years ago in northwest Missouri and realized that this, too, is a deep part of my soul memory now making itself available to me on this current spirit path.

mastadonI embraced the Taos Stone, knowing that very soon it will begin to unlock its secrets and I will once more know its powers and its purpose in our lives as Anna and I move forward on our path. I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging and purpose and began crying in gratitude for this precious gift of myself back to myself. The Mastadon Spirits and the sacred terrain of the mountain meadow retreated from my visionary space and I was once more sitting with Anna meditating in our living room, thankful for this moment of what Carl Jung would call sacred individuation, the homecoming of a crucial part of my being that has before now lain hidden in my unconscious field of experience.