Whenever you engage long enough in any practice that involves working with metaphor, you’ll eventually run up against your models of reality, and run up against them hard. With divination, and its emphasis on cause and effect, that happens fairly quickly.

One thing that vipassana meditation has made very clear to me is that our models of reality will always be inadequate. You can never pin down reality. Metaphor is like a living bridge that helps us to move within the chasm that lies in between our incomplete models and representations of reality with a mysterious living reality. Metaphor is what allows us to experience the excitement and discomfort of holding the tension between things like fate vs free will, spirit vs matter, body vs mind, magical thinking where the world is imbued with meaning vs a meaningless, chaotic universe.

There are two dangers with metaphor. The first is forgetting that metaphor is a metaphor. It’s not reality. It’s not the mystery that it’s directing you toward (and in doing so, perhaps taking you farther away). It’s not a mere prop for your superstitions. The second is forgetting that metaphor is not separate from the matrix of reality. It is not a shifting pomo layer of floating signifiers detached from the signified. Metaphor is not just an image, just a turn of phrase, just a gesture. If metaphor was only mere pictures, mere words, mere movements, it would not be able to contain the power and energy that it does. This is more or less the paradox that we work with when it comes to metaphor: it is not and is not not reality.

My sangha teacher is opposed to magical thinking. I am opposed to any static, stable version of reality that claims to have settled the paradox of metaphor.

Interesting post from Dreamspeak about metaphor

A different, much older take on this paradox from this blog: The Virgo Posts

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