Kazantzakis 10 - The Earth

Curriculum Focus

How do I Serve
My Interior Council
Body Vessel


Kazantzakis, Nikos, The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1960. p 81 84.

Fourth Step: THE EARTH

1) It is not you who call. It is not your voice calling from within your ephemeral breast. It is not only white, yellow, black, generations of humanity calling in your heart. The entire Earth, with her trees and her waters, with her animals, with her people and her gods, call from within your breast.

2) Earth rises up in your brains and sees her entire body for the first time.

3) She shudders; she is a beast that eats, begets, moves, remembers. She hungers, she devours her childrenplants, animals, people, thoughtsshe grinds them in her dark jaws, passes them through her body once more, then casts them again into the soil.

4) She recalls her passions and broods upon them. Her memory unfolds within my heart, it spreads everywhere and conquers time.

5) It is not the heart which leaps and throbs in the blood. It is the entire Earth. She turns her gaze backward and relives her dread ascent through chaos.

6) I recall an endless desert of infinite and flaming matter. I am burning! I pass through immeasurable, unorganized time, completely alone, despairing, crying in the wilderness.

7) And slowly the flame subsides, the womb of matter goes cool, the stone comes alive, breaks open, and a small green leaf uncurls into the air, trembling. It clutches the soil, steadies itself, raises its head and hands, grasps the air, the water, the light, and sucks at the Universe.

8) It sucks at the Universe and wants to pass it through its bodythin as a threadto turn it into flower, fruit, seed. To make it deathless.

9) The sea shudders and is torn in two; out of its muddy depths a voracious, restless, and eyeless worm ascends.

10) The weight of matter is conquered, the slab of death heaves high, and armies of trees and beasts emerge filled with lust and hunger.

11) I gaze upon Earth with her muddy brain, and I shudder as I relive the peril. I might have sunk and vanished amid these roots that suck at the mud blissfully; I might have smothered in this tough and many-wrinkled hide; or I might have twitched eternally within the bloody, dark skull of the primordial ancestor.

12) But I was saved. I passed beyond the thick-leaved plants, I passed beyond the fishes, the birds, the beasts, the apes. I created humanity.

13) I created humanity, and now I struggle to be rid of it.

14) I am cramped and crushed! I want to escape! This cry destroys and fructifies the bowels of the earth eternally. It leaps from body to body, from generation to generation, from species to species, becoming always stronger and more carnivorous. All parents shout: I want to give birth to a child greater than I!

15) During those fearful moments when the Cry passes through our bodies, we feel a pre-human power driving us ruthlessly. Behind us a muddy torrent roars, full of blood, tears, and sweat, filled with squeals of joy, of lust, of death.

16) An erotic wind blows over Earth, a giddiness overpowers all living creatures till they unite in the sea, in caves, in the air, under the ground, transferring from body to body a great, incomprehensible message.

17) Only now, as we feel the onslaught behind us, do we begin dimly to apprehend why the animals fought, begot, and died; and behind them the plants; and behind these the huge reserve of inorganic forces.

18) We are moved by pity, gratitude, and esteem for our old comrades-in-arms. They toiled, loved, and died to open a road for our coming.

19) We also toil with the same delight, agony and exaltation for the sake of Someone Else who with every courageous deed of ours proceeds one step farther.

20) All our struggle once more will have a purpose much greater than we, wherein our toils, our miseries, and our crimes will have become useful and holy.

21) This is an onslaught! A Spirit rushes, storms through matter and fructifies it, passes beyond the animals, creates humanity, digs its claws into its head like a vulture, and shrieks.

22) It is our turn now. It molds us, pummels matter within us and turns it into spirit, tramples on our brains, mounts astride our sperm, kicks our bodies behind it, and struggles to escape.

23) It is as though the whole of life were the visible, eternal pursuit of an invisible Bridegroom who from body to body hunts down his untamed Bride, Eternity.

24) And we, all the guests of the wedding processionplants, animals, humansrush trembling toward the mystical nuptial chamber. We each carry with awe the sacred symbols of marriageone the Phallos, another the Womb.

Reflection Questions

Read one of the lines from this reading that caught your attention.

How have you experienced yourself to be the end-point of evolution; that what you see in the mirror is the result of all of the evolution of the cosmos (1)

How do you experience that life lives upon and proceeds through death (3)

Read 4 10. What of the evolutionary journey is being described in this section How have you ever been or do you now feel personally connected to that journey

Read 11 24. Who or What is this Someone Else that proceeds
How have you experienced this dynamic in your own life

How might I live my life differently because of the awareness provoked in this material

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