What is a human being? The question seems simple and straightforward on its surface, but actually becomes hard to define when trying to describe who we are. I really started to contemplate what it means to be a human during my brief time studying the Feri witchcraft tradition. I still have questions, I am still seeking a resolution to what this all is. Here are my thoughts on what it means to be human.
Understanding humanness as states of consciousness
We are made of the same thing the earth is made of — physical matter and consciousness. We are animate, along with the plants, animals, objects, the unseen, spirits, all of it is alive and living, erotic, decaying, transforming, dying, changing. I had a dream last night where I was knocking on a door and saying “wake up the dead.” I woke up in the middle of the night confused. I was trying to figure out where my soul had been during this dream. What realm had I accidentally slipped into? There were beings present that felt unfamiliar.
Waking up, as my consciousness drops or raises back into my physical body, I re-orient myself. Here I am. Myself back in this world, having traveled to other spaces while other parts of me were asleep. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not. There is a comforting presence about my humanness, a familiarity in waking in my body, being near my stuff, my books, my altar, and plant friends.
There is a sense of belonging and safety when interacting with other humans, getting into a routine, setting a boundary, eating a meal, looking at the clock, finding a rhythm. I am most familiar with my waking state, the most at home or at least the most in my element as far as I am aware of. So this makes me ask the question, what is really going on as we move between the states of consciousness; sleeping, waking, trance, linear and non-linear time.
I know that being in different states of consciousness is a natural part of being human. I also know I am in a body, I came from other humans that came from earth. I have human emotions, dreams, layers to my soul, and an understanding of society and expectations within consensus reality. I also know there are more unseen spiritual layers, an interconnectedness, a liberation and ecstasy in exploring outside of this consensus reality, and a constant mystery in my seeking.
But then describing what it means to be human is still very difficult for me, despite having set things that seem unmistakably human. It’s like describing a color where the language to articulate the color’s existence in words is hard to explain.
This makes me wonder if it possible for something to be able to describe itself, or does a being outside of that being need to be created to witness and assist in helping the being know itself. And maybe this is an explanation for the differentiation of beings within this earth. So we can all see and know ourselves, being mirrors for each other, including God being able to experience herself through all of her selves. This line of thinking makes me think of a saying from the Feri tradition that first drew me towards it. That is:
“God is self, and self is god, and god is a person like myself”Victor Anderson
Centering the earth: the shape of a torus
Is the earth able to articulate itself to itself without knowings its parts; humans, animals, weather, plants, spirits, mountains, landscapes, the underworld? I am thinking not. So then are we able to know ourselves without knowing all parts of self? Like the shape of a torus or a fractal, life force keeps looping back in on itself, infinitely creating and transforming through the destinies of all beings, including the earth.
Here we are trying to see ourselves through the things that we believe define us, our experiences, our practices, our existence. I feel, the more we center knowing the earth in our experience, the more understanding and the deeper the connection starts to travel back through and into itself. The path forever unravels and ravels. To the point that the sky feels below and the water feels above, like mirrors of each other — the earth in-between.
Learning your natal chart earth placement as one pathway to understanding humanness
I wrote an article a while back on the earth in astrology posted on my other website mysticaastrology.com and the importance of discovering where the earth is located in the birth chart. I think astrology is not quite complete without mention of our home planet. It is what we are closest to and the deepest way we can connect into and understand our humanness.
The zodiac sign the earth was in at the time of birth (the sign opposite your Sun sign) is the physical unfoldment of our sacred being, bodies, and soul. This is a practical way to engage in understanding this part of your psyche.
Understanding at least the zodiac archetype sign that the natal earth is placed in can be especially illuminating. Showing what energy you are weaving with the earth itself. This information can help you know more deeply what your body wants to be doing and how to better align to the natural flow of your humanness.
Beauty in the mystery
Our sacred embodiment is part of what makes us human, the parts of soul that align, move, and work through this vessel is another constructed layer of meaning. But there is still that elusive mystery in being that feels outside of my understanding and is unable to be articulated in a meaningful way. I am learning to embrace the mystery in my human vantage point, at least for the moment.