Creativity is about flow. Wildness is about unpredictability.
Saraswati is the goddess of both.
She rides a swan and never leaves home without her veena (an Indian string instrument). She sings, she dances, she writes, and she paints. Her name means “in the current,” “possessing water” and “fluid.” She is the river personified, gracefully poised on the edge of perpetual emergence.
She is constantly in the state of becoming a new version of herself. Saraswati is one example of a powerful archetype: the image of the maiden river goddess. They are the keepers of beauty, the bestowers of blessings and the embodiment of grace. This archetype teaches us the value of wild feeling, imaging the unprecedented, and venturing into the vast landscapes of the unknown within ourselves.
A river creates her own pattern. She starts with a few drops of curiosity in one direction, followed by a trickle of play in another, and eventually the route is engraved for greater surges of creativity and streams of delight to follow.
Serpents of currents form over the land in patterns that may seem random, but these currents follow the law of their own hidden memories. The river these memories create feels her way along the earth’s surface, finding the way of least resistance, of acquiescent texture, and in this way she actualizes herself into the landscape as a sculptor, a painter, and a storyteller.
Artists learn to live on, dance on and surf in the wild wave of unfolding that greets us moment to moment. Artists feel deeply and magically grasp the intangible, catching snippets of the unseen and bringing them life, form, and meaning.
Bringing formlessness into form is a sacred service, one of the gifts that humans carry uniquely. It is valuable beyond measure.
“Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.” -Audre Lorde from her Essay “Poetry is not a Luxury.”
But our culture, which by and large values objective measurements and monetary success over subjective value and personal fulfillment, often makes it difficult for artists to find their place in the world.
It became popular in the industrialized world to consider it wasteful to allow a river to continue on her natural path, so the leaders wrote policy that protected profit and proudly erected dams to harness her energy.
It would outrage one’s sense of justice if that broad stream were to roll down to the ocean in mere idle majesty and beauty.’ Said the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (1881-1899) A few years later, President Theodore Roosevelt noted that we must save the water from wasting into the sea.
But beauty is never wasted, and majesty refuses to be tamed.
Oshun is another embodiment of fresh waters who teaches us to value the wildly creative within ourselves. She is a maiden river goddess, like Saraswati, who is often pejoratively called little sister because of her innocence. But her youth is her strength. She is not jaded or calloused; her perspective is always fresh and her outlook always emerging. She finds ease and fluidness in any situation. Creativity moves through her as wide as a river rushing to the ocean.
Stay tuned for part 2 of more of Eila’s insights on Goddess Oshun and the ties to being Wildly Creative.
More About Eila:
Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008. Check out more of her work at: http://www.eilacarrico.com. The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.