I own this beautiful 800 page book called The Book of Symbols from Taschen which explores and reflects of the archetypal meaning of different images. I find it fascinating and intriguing how different images and motifs hold meaning and I find this book so helpful in unpicking some of these meanings and sparking my curiosity.
In the preface the book’s Editor, Ami Ronnberg, quotes the words of Meister Eckhart, a German philosopher who died in the 1300 hundreds:
“When the soul wants to experience something she throws out an image infront of her and then steps into it.”
I love the thought that images can help us to reach new understanding, new meanings, perhaps provide illumination for things which can not be easily articulated, light houses for our soul.
When I am looking for inspiration I often open a page of this lovely book and see where it leads me.
Yesterday I randomly opened the book on page 110 which explored the symbolism of 'valleys’. Now, when I think of valleys, I instinctively think or ruts or troughs, the low to the high, the opposite of peak. I found the book’s description of valleys to be so much more nuanced and enlightening, so much more considered than my own:
“It is often an area of plentitude, amassing rainfall and providing rich earth for vegetation, a longed for destination after rugged treks. The valley is associated with the earthy, the humble…linking us with the way and oneness…”
I just thought this was such a lovely sentiment, that it can be the valley or low ground that leads us on our way to the higher ground, the valley where we collect the rain which helps new growth burst into life.
It chimed with me because I’ve been thinking about the pattern of my own creativity, the peaks of achievement and valleys of uncertainty where I am not so productive.
I mostly like to strive, to reach higher, to look for the peaks and feel uncomfortable when I’m not climbing.
Perhaps opening the book on this page was a reminder that the space between peaks, the lower times of quiet observation, the restorative times where I’m collecting my rainwater are a valid part of mine and everyone’s creative journey.