Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Goddess and the Volcano

Archangel Michael, Peruvian Icon, Oil on Canvas

In many traditions around the world, volcanoes are considered to be manifestations of the Goddess, particularly in Her terrific or destructive aspect.
In Hawaii She is known as the indomitable Pele. In Amerindian mythology Mt St Helens is the form taken by the maiden Luwit, and Mt Fuji in Japan is presided over by the goddess Konohana Sakuya Hime. 
The blood-like lava flows, the black smoke, the grey ash reminiscent of the cremation ground, the lightning and destructive fury, are all suggestive of the Hindu goddess Shri Mahakali, the terrifying destroyer of negative forces.

This painting depicts not the Goddess Herself but the Archangel Michael, who presides, with Shri Mahakali, over the left, lunar channel of the Subtle Body. This channel (also known as the Ida Nadi) has the universal quality of Tamas, the cold, dark energy of inertia, which acts as a brake to the overactivity of the solar channel of Rajas. The Icelandic volcano certainly applied a braking force to European air travel.

People who doubt that human activity has a significant effect on global warming often point to the huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emitted during volcanic eruptions. However, volcanoes also emit ash and sulphur, which can remain suspended in the atmosphere for several years, partially shielding the planet from solar radiation. This cooling effect is known as the haze effect. Volcanic eruptions enhance the haze effect to a greater extent than the greenhouse effect. Observational evidence shows a clear correlation between historic eruptions and subsequent years of cold climate conditions. Volcanoes have a net cooling effect on global climate.

No comments: