#6. Replace Star with North Star

Gull sails up
on spinnaker wings returning
starfish to Orion

This haiku of mine was recently published in the latest Cosmopoetry Project of Andrei Dorian Gheorghe. Andrei’s cosmopoetry projects combine cosmopoetry from around the world with astronomical images, this time in honour of El Gran Telescope at La Palma in the Canary Islands.

Cosmopoetry, sometimes termed astropoetry or astrohumanism, is a genre of poetry focused on the stars and the cosmos and our relation to astronomical phenomena. Underlying cosmopoetry is the belief that our petty human-scale strife and quarrels are diminished to near invisibility (or at least irrelevance) when viewed against the enormity of the cosmos. Indeed, cosmopoetry seeks to find that which unites us rather than divides us.

In terms of the Taoist metaphysical symbolism of this 6th movement of our Liuhebafa practice, the North Star (not actually located in Orion – excuse my poetic license 😉 ) holds a pre-eminent position in Taoist cosmology as well as internal alchemy. In the macrocosm (nature) it represents the underlying reality of the Tao because it is stationary in the sky (eternal, unchanging) while all other stars travel around it, representing the temporal and fluctuating nature of material existence.

In the microcosm (our internal universe), the North Star represents our original self. (The last Chinese character in this movement’s name is literally “the Dipper,” which is understood as “North Star” because the dipper points to the North Star in the heavens, locating it for us.) When we replace star with North Star, we are replacing the dizzying and chaotic wanderings of our minds and lives with a stable, central pivot point, bringing unity and coherence to our being at all levels. We are cultivating stillness.

I experience this move as looking inward, not outward, for answers – as recognizing that I already possess what I need. This move makes me think of the Zen saying: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” which refers not to literal homicide, but to turning away from external values and systems of authority so as to discover a deeper and more authentic Truth within.

May you be swallow skimming water,

Kim Goldberg

Text and photos (c) Kim Goldberg

About Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg is an award-winning poet and journalist and the author of 7 books. Latest titles: UNDETECTABLE (her Hep C journey in haibun), RED ZONE (poems of homelessness) and RIDE BACKWARDS ON DRAGON: a poet's journey through Liuhebafa. She lives in Nanaimo, BC. Contact: goldberg@ncf.ca
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