Excerpt from Chapter 16: Stone Beings & the Imaginal Realm
Stones, and all things in the world--from atoms to elephants to galaxies--express and embody the fundamental consciousness at the root of everything, and all of them have their own identities. Whether they have individualistic egos like we do is another question, but we can say that every center of consciousness, expressed as any self-organized object or creature, is a “self.” From this understanding, we recognize that both we and the stones we work with have selfhood--both human beings and stones are centers of consciousness. This is why I call them Stone Beings.
The underlying selfhood of all things, including us, can be designated by the word “soul.” Although soul pervades our whole being, the Seat of the Soul, as Novalis said, is the space of awareness “where the inner world and the outer world meet.” This is the subtle or imaginal realm, which partakes of the qualities of both matter and spirit. In the human body, this corresponds most directly to the heart. The intelligence expressed through our hearts is the intelligence of the soul. Although we also have a mind and a body, and are connected to the Divine in our spirit, the soul is where the spark of Wisdom exists in us. This is where our sincere and “heartfelt” intelligence comes from.
I hold with the insights of the alchemists, the Gnostics, the Sufis and a variety of other spiritual traditions that there is a Soul of the World. In the Alchemy of Stones, we follow the tradition of using the name Sophia to designate the World Soul. We remember that Sophia is the ancient Greek word for Wisdom, and we understand that Sophia is the living Wisdom who is expressed in what we perceive as the intelligence, beauty and harmony of the world. Sophia is a vast, yet intimate, intelligence who is embedded within every object and process in the world. Our own souls can also be viewed as emanations of Sophia, even though we are, at the same time, individual selves. We contain a holographic spark of Sophia’s divine wisdom, while still existing as our “separate” human identities. (To me, this is one of life’s greatest and most wonderful mysteries!)
When we work with the Stone Beings, we could say that we are working with Sophia’s “angels.” Angels have been traditionally conceived as being divine messengers, and the stones carry the sincere and benevolent “messages” of Sophia to us when we turn our attention to them and invite them into us. These messages are experienced as what we call the energies or metaphysical qualities of the stones. When they reach us, we may sense them as currents of vibration, heat, emotion and feeling, as images, sounds, scents, tastes, words, and even as imaginal figures in human forms. Each of these modalities is real, symbolically expressing the “message” of that stone, and can be enhanced through meditative practice.
Because we are operating in the realm of soul, we center ourselves in our hearts when we work with the Stone Beings. The practice of engaging a Stone Being through the heart can easily be synchronized with our breathing. On the exhale, we offer ourselves for relationship with the Stone Being, with a benevolent inner gesture of appreciation and well-wishing. With the inhale, we open our hearts in invitation, holding the intention that we trust the Stone Being, and that we appreciate the opportunity to receive whatever it offers. Setting the stage in this way lays the groundwork for genuine and helpful relationship between ourselves and Sophia, through her angels, the Stone Beings.
We may feel physical bodily sensations from holding a stone, but stone energies are not quite physical. They are patterns originating in the realm of pure Spirit, which we experience in the world of soul--the imaginal/psychoid realm of subtle matter-energy. We must use our own attention, intention and imagination to enter into rapport with the Stone Beings in this realm. Sometimes our connection can happen as quickly as picking up a stone and holding it. But this establishing of rapport--this attunement--is nonetheless what is going on. We are linking with the Stone Being through our subtle body, within the soul/imaginal/psychoid realm. And if we are well-enough attuned, we notice the “vibes” or other manifestations of our connection with the stone.
This is why I am sure no mechanical or electronic instrument will ever be able to measure what we experience as stone energies. The realm of soul is much greater than the purely “physical” world, and physical instruments cannot measure something that exists in a higher level of reality. Electromagnetic energies, and all phenomena we designate as “physical” exist within the much vaster world of the soul--the imaginal domain. They are secondary phenomena within the primary realm of True Imagination. Our perception of stone energies is a direct experience in the subtle/psychoid/imaginal/soul realm. That is what makes this work so unique and exciting. Soul-to-soul contact nourishes and enlivens soul.
Why do we find our contact with stone energies so compelling? Why do we bother to meditate with them and try to understand their spiritual qualities? Because we aspire to fulfill our own entelechy--our own encoded intentionality--through receiving what the stones’ energies offer us. And there is more to this. By engaging with the Stone Beings, we can help them fulfill their purpose--their encoded intentionality. This mutual nourishment is what the Activity of Blessing looks like in regard to our relationships with stones. It is yet another example of the co-creative feedback loop symbolized by the oroborous.
As we approach the idea of co-creation from this direction, we find ourselves yet again facing one of the mysteries of the universe: The more attention we give to beings in the imaginal realm, the more real they become! And this is not simply our “fantasy” becoming more vivid. It actually happens, and manifests in a multitude of ways.