The word “earth” is a commonly used word in every
Language, and yet the word itself carries many
different meanings. When we use the word earth, we are
intuitively aware that we are speaking of something that is
essential and primary to the experience of life itself.
The Hebrew word for planetary Earth is VAT. VaV ALePH TaV.
Its first glyph is VaV ו, the seminal fertility of Creation, the Divine insemination of matter and energy.
VaV is expressed in the next glyph ALePH א , the pulse of life emanating from the Divine, creating and fulfilling Creation’s forms through their evolution, the history of their receiving and giving, and their letting go.
VaV and ALePH enfold into TaV ת, the cosmic resistance of all that is form and identity to ‘death’. It is the praise of the eternal worthiness of being. Together they are VAT, Earth, the exaltation of the living- form’s vision of eternal Life.
In Classical Chinese medicine we are given an analogous picture of VAT, an image that draws us from the mind to the eye. The quickened strokes of ink and brush lead us into a vision of the reality that makes up the planetary environment of life.
The Chinese character for Earth which corresponds to VAT is T’u. 土
T’u is written with two horizontal strokes penetrated by a vertical.
The two horizontal strokes show us Man’s horizon—the Earth below as fertile Mother from which all things arise, and the ever-present Heavens above. These two horizontal strokes by themselves are the word erh, meaning “Two” ‘二’, the sacred number of the Earth, signifying that earth is in reality Earth-Heaven. Inseparably touching one another, each with its fulfilling promise.
The vertical stroke reveals the mystery in this sacred Horizon. It is the stroke of Divine Unity penetrating the Two, making of them One. From this meeting stream the cosmic energies of Heaven moving downward to fertilize the Earth. At the same time, the breathing Earth radiates its wealth, the living breath of all that is, upwards to the Heavens. There is no true above or below, only fulfillment. This is the Kingdom, the heart of Creation, pregnant with the one desire—to Be.
This is man’s Earth, the Earth of
Filled with the Creative Immanence.
Man’s earth, the Kingdom.
Yet it is hard for man to
see the Kingdom of
for it is hidden within the closeness
veiled in its plenty, and
overlooked in the common.
VAT, clothed with the simple dust of soil, rock, and field becomes AReTZ (Gen. 1:1), the Earth man calls his body—the Earth of all bodies. The sustaining Mother of all things. Here, the Divine presence of ALePH א is found hidden in ReSH ר, the cosmic container of the universe, the warp and weave of energies and matter, creating a flashing web of particles, atoms, stellar clouds, planets, and cells- to emerge and dissolve again into thought and energy. All of this manifests in TZaDY, ץ as Earth Body, the place that is experienced as life, as relationship, as the womb in the first dawn of conception.
It is mountain and river, the wind in the trees, and the song of all creatures.
This dust of the ground and clay of the fields is the crucible from which man is formed with the living memory of the galaxies that breathes in his cells.
In the Chinese ideogram Di we find the mirror of AReTZ. Here again the heavenly Earth becomes the earthly Heaven. Di is a landscape. An image of Heaven-Earth that has become visible to the eye as the clay of life, Mother Earth, the Earth that nourishes.
The character Di 地 is written with three radicals or primary images. Here again is the radical T’u 土, but now it is smaller and almost hidden besides its companion images that bring with them a new focus. Bi弋 , its second radical, is the pictograph of a ladle or spoon, filled with the harvest of Earth’s nourishing sustenance, a sign of fertility, plenitude and caring.
Above this we see K’ou 口, the image of a mouth.
All that is born of Earth is born hungry. All creatures receive sustenance not only to live, but to be Life. For nourishment is not in reality a matter of nutrients alone, but is the mystery of Life recreating itself, that which is called meta-bolism—the transmutation of Earth to living Being. K’ou, the image of the mouth, reflects this. It is not only receiving of Earth’s bounty, but is also the myriad of lives that are transforming Earth into Life within themselves, the life of thought, cells, and tissues. Thus the humble process of digestion, meta-bolism, becomes the sign of the Divine Presence. It is ALePH, the pulse of death-life which we call anabolic and catabolic metabolism, hidden in AReTZ, the nurturing Earth providing for all that is Alive. It is Di, the Mother, the Sustainer.