A Goddess of Depth, Overcoming Nature, and Flying Home

Welcome to our newsletter, dear readers,

We begin our monthly selection with an intimate account, almost an “ethnological meditation”, of the myth and rites of the goddess Paiditalli, in Andhra Pradesh, southeast India, elaborating on the fluid dynamics of the Telugu cosmos of the kingdom of Vizianagaram, which she inhabits and enlivens and where she is cultivated. It is also a prolonged reflection on the interpenetration between polity and sacred kingship at its deepest cosmological level: how a kingdom is grown in tandem with the “growing” of its tutelary deity.

Change is the condition of depth. What is often referred to as ‘wilderness’ in India, supposedly on the peripheries of ‘civilization,’ is where depth exists in its natural cosmic condition. Put differently, wilderness is a greater concentration and intensification of depth. In or close to regions of greater depth—seas, lakes, streams, and forested mountains full of caves—are the abodes of depth-specialists: fishers, hunters, healers, and of course, goddesses. Depth-specialists are experts in transformation, entering depths and there joining with the interior dynamics of cosmic process.

• Next we present a chapter from Titus Burckhardt’s Alchemy, “Nature Can Overcome Nature”, where some aspects of the dynamics of inner and cosmic transformation are illustrated and explained, using the language of alchemy and its analogous symbols from various traditions.

The spiritual will is a vibration coming from the center of the being, a spiritual act which breaks through thought and which on the plane of the soul effects two things: a broadening and a deepening of the “sense of being”, and a clarification and a stabilization of the essential contents of consciousness.

Taichitu diagramas

• And we complete our monthly selection with a brief chapter from our own anthology of Kabbalistic stories, The Living Palm Tree, by Mario Satz, affording precious insights into the traditional master-disciple relation.

When there is no master to guide the way, birds know only a tiny parcel of heaven and earth. But if they have a guide, even by night they can read the maps of the stars, and far in the distance they can catch sight of the eaves under which their fledglings will sleep. When a master of the flight leaves, it seems as if there is no frame or direction in our own wings, but soon enough a new swallow comes to take his place, and once more it is possible to return again and again to where you have been.