As David Bowie once sang, “Run for the Shadows!”. The image above is from Jacob Glines Intimations. I think it’s a superb example of what is currently known as ‘Shadow Architecture’ wherein we build environments, artistic and real around the concept of shadows. I think this may be the way the great cathedrals of Europe were designed, albeit in a semi-conscious, subliminal way, to enhance the secrecy of God, and the holy spirit.
there’s something about shadows and the idea of living in a shadow-land that appears to my soul, – it’s an idea that’s deceptively simple and conceals its occult and complex concept. Shadows are the constant reminder of the man layers of existence. The shadows cast by a great building, a masterpiece of architecture, are as much a part of its design as are the walls and windows, the buttresses and pillars. In the shadows we find the mind of the architect revealed, much as in our own shadows we see the passive side of our own potential for both life and death.
It is in the Great Christian Churches that we see the the art of light and shadow brought to its highest and most sublime form. Take a look at the great church of Notre Dame in Paris, here.
No one can doubt that shadow is woven into its form as much as any arch or portal. In many ways, the shadows define churches such as this and provide us with deep insights into the minds of their architects and creators. Their Christ was a spirit of unbearable brilliance who shone with a fierce and blissful light, yet they also knew that God is found in the quiet hours, in the shadows and corners of life when we confront those things we fear and call on God for guidance and help.
In may ways, all humans a re creatures of shadow, for it is only in the shadows we can confront our deeper selves, for fear we might be recognized by both kindred and opposing spirits. We are of this earth, and yet not! We are creatures of Spirit yet not! And so we seek our own secret hearts amid the shadows of the night, in dreadful foreboding of our inevitable death. For we are always of the shadows and to shadows we must return.
This is no comfort, this doctrine of shadow and death, and yet look closer - does the shadow not live on when the light is extinguished? Indeed it does, for once the light is withdrawn, the shadow becomes the ALL, and it is i the lands of shadow that we find or life eternal. So this is no counsel of despair, but a foreboding of ultimate truth, of the ultimate triumph of the dark. This is the message of science – that the light must burn bright and die, leaving only the shadows of potential and memory in its wake. So fear not the dark, nor take heed of Dylan Thomas great cry ‘rail Rail against the dying of the light!’ No – fear not the dying of the light but only yearn for the dark of the shadows, for the promise of eternity in all its dark Glory!