They Used to Bow: Nature Archetypes and Deep Ecology

Discussion in 'Ecology & Environmentalism' started by Arboreality, 24 September 2018.

  1. Arboreality

    Arboreality Member

    (Credit to Hibbary for the artwork)


    As many of us like know already, a big part of our Involution is manifested in our relationship to the natural world itself just as much as it's also manifested in the way we treat ourselves and each other. We have damaged our environment in a wide variety of ways whether through depletion, pollution, or extinction. This trend occurred in more mild forms in the pre-modern era but the "Enlightenment" era and Industrial Revolution are where it really took hold. The next handful of decades onward will see the brunt of the consequences of these abuses.

    Today I'd like to talk about a specific aspect of the Traditional world and how it has been perverted/removed from the Modern world. As you could likely guess from the title, that aspect would be the various traditional Nature archetypes. This is something that is perennial, it's seen across the world, the archetype of the Lord of Nature, Guardian of the Forest, Mother Nature, The God of Growth, etc. Naturally, they tend to embody the physical features of Nature, the flora, fauna, geography, and even the astrography of their surroundings.

    For example, the Celtic goddess Abnoba was specifically associated with forests and rivers. The Kartvelians worshiped the goddess Dali, linked to the ibex, deer, and mountains. Mesoamerica, most notably the Aztecs, worshiped Xōchipilli whose name translates to, "Prince of flowers" and is seen to be embodied in that very form. However, Nature archetypes are also attached to more metaphysical concepts, fertility, beauty, ferocity, respect, and unpredictability. They demanded to be admired and respected, and promised the safety of their worship if they uphold this.

    Today we are going to be focusing specifically on one archetype, the kappa, a kind of 妖怪 yōkai (specter). It's a figure depicted in the above painting and in the Japanese 民間伝承 minkan denshō (lit. private transmission). It's essentially a part of their folklore, their oral history, and is tied to their traditional Shinto. I'd like to focus on the kappa specifically because it demonstrates in a streamlined way how nature archetypes are tied to the maintenance of Deep Ecology in a Traditional existence. We can also realize what happens when this and other archetypes are made to be absent.

    First, we'll explore the kappa itself and see what revelations come our way.

    The Meaning of the Kappa
    The kappa is, as previously mentioned, a creature in Japanese folklore. They were classified as yōkai, a grouping for legendary creatures that inhabit the physical world. They can be submissive or aggressive, intelligent or dumb, animate or inanimate, human-like or alien, and everything in between. The specifics tend to vary, especially when it comes to kappa, but certain details tend to stay the same no matter where or when you look in Japan's long history.

    The name itself depends on the time and region. For the sake of convenience we will be mainly referring to them by this. The physical appearance of the kappa varies, but can be limited to a semi-humanoid turtle-like creature with a bowl on its head called a 皿 sara (dish/bowl) that carries water necessary to the kappa's movement and health. Water is quite literally not just their home, but also their life force, their entire vitality. Therefore their home can only be in or near plentiful bodies of water.

    Kappa are often associated with rivers leading to one of their names being 川虎 kawatora, (river tiger). In this sense you could consider them to be an equivalent to the, "pond imp" described in certain local Scottish traditions. Such beings vary from cheeky helpers to deceitful scam artists. In any case, they are very intelligent and unpredictable, fitting for an entity tied to the archetype of water, especially rivers with strong currents and/or depth that are hard to determine, even then there's more to it than that.

    The sara on their head is their greatest weakness as it keeps them from travelling. If the sara becomes empty they must be able to flee back underwater. In a sense this is also a trait of bodies of water themselves, they are static compared to the humans that are around them. Nonetheless, the parallels don't end there, because exploiting their weakness is exactly how one endures a troublesome kappa. They are known to be very predictable in one regard, they are unusually fixated on traditional etiquette, no matter what, it's a reflex for them.

    If you are confronted by a kappa who means you harm, what you should do is make a deep bow to them. Manners demand that they instantly return your bow, draining the water from their sara and giving them no choice but to retreat so that they can refill it. Of course, in some stories the method differs, making a kappa spill its water in some other way works as well, but this is the common and certain way to do it, the one that requires the least amount of skill. Some accounts talk about taking advantage of the kappa's big ego.

    Similarly, refilling this spirit's sara for them ensures their loyalty to you. This is the most important comparison we can make between water itself and the legend in it. To avoid trouble with both, you must show respect to them, by treating the water as it is meant to be treated, giving a gesture of goodwill to its spiritual guard. In the legends, kappa often did good for people, as long as they were treated well. They occasionally help farmers irrigate their land, navigate in water, repair drinking wells, help fishermen in times of famine, and help people with sickness/injury.

    Notice that all of those functions are related in some way to what water itself does for humanity. The kappa is a means of personifying and transmitting a sacral Aesop, both the risk/obstruction that water poses along with the utility/support that can come from water. Crucially, if you want to survive and gain from water, you must treat the water in a certain fashion, with respect, awareness, and self control. These three concepts are enshrined in any Traditional society, Japan is no exception. Their wheel of archetypes makes sure that the future generations can compartmentalize and maintain a path of truth and virtue.

    What happens when this lesson is lost to us, as so many have been lost to Modernity?

    The Loss of the Kappa
    As you likely guessed from the featured painting, one way or another people have stopped bowing, and thus stopped respecting the physical water itself. The specific belief in a turtle-like spirit with a bowl on its head on its own is not the issue. The problem is viewing the natural world through a lens that can only see the world through its material components, not the immaterial whole. The kappa or tantamount icon is not a physical part of water, no, but it is a metaphysical part of what water is in the gestalt sense. Archetypes transmit a usable image of the latter for Realization.

    The primordial man had no need for archetypes because he understood these things intuitively. It's a mark of our Fallen status that they're so vital. Despite the rationalist/empiricist insistence that parables and myths are sub-standard Aesops at best, we need them. Anything else is, ironically a sub-rational approach. Even though some modernists claim to be on the side of Nature, they fail to articulate the reason why in a way that can be understood well, much less perpetuated to our descendants.

    Anti-Tradition can be summed up as making it harder to center on the most primal metaphysical truth and virtue. Materialism is anti-Traditional in this way. The average person Nietzsche famously remarked that God is Dead, slaughtered at the hands of Modernity. The kappa and all their manifestations are being thrown into the mass grave as well. We can see the modernization of Japan today, even if it's not quite as bad as what's happening in the West, the influence is still there, a cruel, creeping teleology.

    This Dark Epoch is no stranger to it. This is how Modernity cuts off the metaphysical first and the physical second. It annihilates the connection with the truly spiritual and ruins Man’s relationship with Nature. That which is in opposition to what transcends life, ultimately will always end up in opposition to the domain of life itself, especially non-humanity. We all know the humanitarian and human-centric streak that the Modern world has. The core of Deep Ecology is seeking to view Nature beyond just human-centered utility and especially human profit.

    Deep Ecology counters the belief that water is merely something to be shackled to a dam, confined to a bottle, battered with plastic waste, and so on and so forth. We defend that which has essence and through Modernity is reduced to interchangeable matter and energy. According to these Challengers-Forth, Nature won't be allowed to stand on its own, or stand at all. The water that flows naturally is actually flowing uselessly or even, "chaotically." and should be utilized in a way that empirically serves the System, whether the System serves the bourgeois or the proletariat.

    The Bringers-Forth grasp it very differently. We do not reduce, we illuminate the emergent, sacral nature of, well, Nature. These natural archetypes are the tools, limited as they are, through which we revive a worldview of Tradition, a worldview with a metaphysical center. We see the immanent hierarchy and order within Nature that, unlike the Modern realm is not slowly crawling towards chaos on its own. It is nothing less than the Men whose nature is corrupted that corrupts Nature. For that which is inward is correspondingly outward. The man who doesn't bow doesn't get bowed towards to, simple as that.

    This is why I'll always reiterate the importance of righting the inner world before the outer world.

    Ultimately, we can recognize the importance of Nature archetypes in the Traditional world, and the disasters of their absence in the Modern. Through understanding this we can understand the degenerate attitude that so many modernists have with the natural world. Environmentalism, even when it occasionally pops in the Left under their vulgar egalitarian aegis, is a Traditional position in its most pure state.

    I plan to talk more about that and things like it in the future. I hope that this post inspired something or somethings in you. For now, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Besides the ones I mentioned, what other archetypes can you recall from other Traditional worldviews? What are your experiences with the sacral aspects of Nature that go beyond materialism? I am looking forward to discussing them all with you. Thank you for reading.
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  2. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    Interesting post. I have long been very fascinated by nature deities and spirits. Herne, Cernunnos, Viđar, Ullr, Pan, Tapio and so on. More so the positive kind. Being more than a little sensitive to the so-called supernatural, I thoroughly enjoy light places where the energy is positive and stay far away from dark, damp northern slopes or other places where negativity generally rules. I usually call those places "troll forest" (trollskog in Swedish). Any Swede outside the cities would understand the term. I have had many strange experiences in the forests, good and bad. Troll forests are a lot alike when americans or canadians go look for Bigfoot, beings I would call trolls rather than apes. This is why they are so hard to catch, they can fade in and out of our 3D world like ghosts. They are that unseen threat that you feel when you are alone in the dark forest at dusk or night. They are what makes every hair stand on end. They do not like humans, generally speaking. Here in Scandinavia, folklore says they hate christians above all else.

    As for positive experiences, they range from simple peaceful moments of beauty to more profound states which a Christian would call Gnosis, I suppose. My first undeniable spiritual experience was in a forest, it changed my life forever. I have described it on here long ago, but it might be removed at my request, back when I left LB for a couple of years. The whole thing defies explanation. If I were a materialist, I could write it down to something like a fugue state induced by dehydration or some other type of hallucination. Drugs perhaps.

    I won't go into extreme detail openly, but let's say it convinced me personally that while God or whatever god I spoke to is very powerful and limitless, like a force of nature, he is also a being with a personality. This is a concept that I had until that point viewed as silly superstition. I was 17 years old at the time and an ideological atheist/leftist to boot. This is also a point of divergence between me and many other pagans, including Varg. I don't think the gods are a way to describe thermodynamics, gravity and such. The gods are either several actual sentient beings on a mind-boggling scale, or all faces of one God.

    Conversing with this being was telepathic, I simply thought and received answers. Not just words, but the profound instinctive understanding of the matter. The distilled essence, the thought from beginning to completion and its place in the whole, received inside of a split second. I spent the entire day asking questions, from around noon until supper time. The being was "driving" me quite safely on autopilot while we spoke, I did nothing except thinking consciously at the back of my mind. I was walking around the entire area, climbing and running, jumping etc. Completely without effort or clumsiness. Every movement was perfect, and despite all this time in the forest, I did not get a single splinter, scrape or such. I was not exhausted either. All mosquitoes stayed away from me. If you knew Swedish, Alaskan or Canadian boreal forests, you would know that not being crowded by the bloodsuckers is rare indeed. Some folks have told me that this means that I shapeshifted and became an animal of the forest, for a time. Which would explain why we communicated more in images and instinctive understanding than in words alone. It all felt very primal and golden.

    It can be imagination, hallucination or such, perhaps. But I was sober, no drugs or alcohol. Hadn't hit my head and I had eaten. Exactly two footlong subs and two bottles of dr. Pepper, to be exact. I was ravenous, like a typical teenage boy, previous to going out into the forest. But I remember things from that day rather vividly. Everything was strangely beautiful from when I entered the forest until the day drew towards evening. Far more intensive greens, light rays that looked like they were animated rather than reality. More like the perfect idea of a wild forest than what they are usually like. Well, that day it was perfect.

    The conversation or thinking session lasted for about five or six hours. I simply thought something and it was explained, thought and felt to completion. Basically, the modern world got destroyed and I was no longer blind. Questions about typical things like equality, egalitarianism, homosexuality, relationships, gender roles, society at large, hierarchy, democracy, the meaning of life and so forth got met with answers much like those I now call my own. The nature of the answers were much less eloquent, more like the transfer of understanding between a small mind (mine) and an infinite mind. The answer on things like homosexuality and other similar perversions were met with a ferocious hatred that is hard to give words to, more like a snarl. The gods, or God if they are all faces of One, really, really does not like the unnatural modern behaviors. Like the one I spoke to wished to destroy it all with fire and cleanse it from this world. If I had been guilty of those, I don't believe I would have been scooped up and spoken to, rather burned to ash on the spot.

    I still do not understand everything I was told, exactly. It wasn't much like words. Sometimes I think I was imagining it or that I want to believe so much I have made it up until I believe it myself. But I know that it really did happen, when I start doubting. Even if it is far removed from the boring everyday life. Even if it was not exactly dramatic when it happened, either. It felt completely natural and good. It sort of connected a lot for me and changed me. It is still changing me, for that matter.

    This is anecdotal and I can't prove any of it. But it made me reasonably sure that reality is far bigger than the material world we can see and measure scientifically in everyday life. I sort of skipped faith and went from active disbelief to knowing. Not knowing exactly what, and I still don't, but knowing that the divine is real. That evil, too, is real. If I were a christian, I would call this something appropriately christian. Only it said nothing about Jesus or anything like that. It was far more nature-centric than anthropocentric. Neither was it about me, it was more about right and wrong, natural and unnatural, and of understanding the nature of things. More like the feeling conveyed by the Unabomber's or Hitler's words than those of the bible. I believe both of those men consciously or unconsciously drew from that same source, by the way.

    As I often say, either I belong in a mental institution, or the universe is indeed marvelous. I don't think I am crazy. I have suffered two major depressions in my life, for good reasons. But who doesn't at some point? Never even went to a psychologist and took no meds, simply worked through them with meditation and let time work its magic. Otherwise, no known afflictions or dtug use. Smoked weed a few times as a kid, but I seriously doubt that had anything to do with it.

    One thing I wish I had asked is if it is God or gods, or if that is irrelevant. I strongly suspect the latter and that humans would never comprehend the real answer anyway. Having experienced the vast difference between that omnipresent mega-personality and that of my own self, I have no illusions about the limitedness of the human mind. It was more than the difference between a Raspberry Pi mini-computer and that of the largest supercomputer in the world. Or perhaps the Earth in relation to the entire universe, which really is endless. Speaking of which, the being taught me the meaning of endless. After this encounter, I understand deeply that universe and existence has no beginning and no end. It is all round and cyclical. Creation is in itself not a one-time deal, but an ongoing thing and often a battle between creation and destruction. Positive and negative. Good and evil. Order and chaos.

    I walked into that forest like a typical semi-spoiled academic middle class whigger brat, afflicted with atheist and leftist indoctrination. I exited wildly confused and internally changed. It was like that Someone activated my brain and blew away the lies and rot and cobwebs. While I persisted with many behaviors for some years and still retain some, this day and that meeting changed the course of my life.

    It all ended when I was told to find the spring and quench my thirst, which I then realized was great. So I went to a cold spring I know of nearby, put the bucket down into the well, drew it up and drank at least two liters in one go. While doing this, the divine presence went away and left a calm, but also a loneliness. It is after all the only time I am reasonably sure I was not alone within my own mind.

    God is to be found everywhere, but particularly in nature, in my experience.
    Last edited: 25 September 2018
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  3. Arboreality

    Arboreality Member

    This is an amazing story, I am certain that the experience you had was authentic, just based on the way you described it. I had similar experiences when I was younger, but they were far more gradual realizations over time. I was raised in a family of staunchly liberal atheists, but for much of my life I've never felt like that was truly my view. I've always felt a connection towards Nature and also a connection to things associated with spirituality and virtue. It was through my experiences in nature, hiking and such, that I began to develop in this direction over time.

    I learned many of the things you did, but through communing with the various aspects of the wild beings who lived in my area. Each feature, organism, and action of the landscape carried a unique emanation of Nature, therefore an emanation of Divinity, and therefore an emanation of Truth. They each contained their own unique lesson that was open to those who would listen and meditate on it. Through doing this enough, I saw both the microcosm and macrocosm, the individual elements that make up an emergent whole. Nature was primarily metaphysical, and its physical existence was secondary.

    Nature deals in success/failure, health/sickness, instinct/aberration, ascend/decline, and in the end, natural/unnatural. Of course, the Nature we see today is actually corrupted compared to what existed before the Kali Yuga, mostly due to the ecological and supra-ecological consequences that the unnatural humanity has caused over time. Yet, Nature has adapted to far worse, and anything that is unnatural is always unsustainable in the long run. This broader Dark Epoch is natural in that it's a relatively brief phase that occurs in cyclical existence, but the default state is not what we experience right here, right now.
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