I’ve changed the picture today and ‘look’ today – the photo now shows the Long Man of Wilmington – our local sacred site.
This figure conveys wonderfully the ideas I’ve been exploring in earlier posts (on Antinomianism and Having Your Cake and Eating It). The figure isn’t having to choose just one thing – he or she is saying ‘Yes’ to both choices – to be in this world and yet aware of its delusions, to fully experience desires and yet also be detached from them, to know and yet to allow not-knowing – to seek the security of a faith, however irrational, and at the same time to be unattached to concepts and beliefs, to drink at the well of tradition and to be totally contemporary.
And in the midst of all these apparent opposites the figure stands – powerfully and implacably – not separate from these choices, but holding them in either hand. Empowered.
The Jains have an image called a Siddhapratima Yantra which is a cut-out or silhouette of a man standing. He has attained liberation so the image is portraying him as ‘not-there’ yet there. Like the long Man.
The following example of a Siddhapratima Yantra comes from The Victoria & Albert’s websection on Jainism which is excellent, yet which doesn’t always appear on web searches. It has good video clips too here.