Icicles and Mysteries


Trapped inside, feeling ambivalent about the frozen outside, I received a freeing gift.  A video clip came my way.  It gives a glimpse of a longer video made by Antonella Adorisio, called Mysterium, which she describes as:

‘A video that developed almost on its own, based on direct observations of real life.  This “diary of images” slowly became a video to be shared and to convey experiences, arouse emotional resonance and lead to reflections on the personal manner in which each person lives his or her own spirituality…..The filmed images almost generated themselves, as if I were viewing a dream of the unconscious.’
Do watch it if you are seeking several minutes of escape or refuge from the commercial build-up to Christmas, or the relentless bad news of public sector budget and job cuts that is hitting us like a torrent – matched now by the severity of this winter.  It will lift your spirits.

Mysterium DVD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_L0bQHIGm0

Beautiful images accompanied by original music.  I take away hands outstretched, flowing, reaching out but not grasping – hands receiving.  And eyes.  And water in motion, icicles unfrozen.  Waves crashing over flickering flames bringing the elements together with the potential for alchemical transformation.  And the concluding images of zebras and gazelles moving with grace over the land, moving forward, who knows where?

Receiving this gift at the end of this year brings together well some of the themes that have emerged for me over the last few months since starting to write this blog, around finding space, the wisdom of the body, the complex close connection of body and spirit, and music as a connecting energy.

As Tina Stromsted, Jungian analyst and dance movement therapist, says in the video:

‘The body is a sacred instrument, it must be strong enough and flexible enough to receive spiritual energy, to contain, express, channel and live it.  Embodied spirituality is the experience of being at home in the body, a feeling of vital resonance with the universe.’

Watching this video clip resonates hugely for me with a year of wonderful Scaravelli-based yoga and movement explorations led by Giovanni Felicioni.  I arrived at the final day of a week of these workshops recently and found a series of flipcharts that had accumulated over previous days on the walls.  Some of the quotations speak directly to Antonella’s video:

‘What are the thousand faces that signal the appearance of an action?’

‘How can we make a sensitive and vulnerable journey together, and in solitude, …. to inhabit a place without words (while also using words and symbols) where the roots of habitual movement live…where the pre-conscious and unknown root of action germinates?’

As a counterpoint to the video, I also offer you a poem by Mary Oliver which has been the soundtrack for Giovanni’s workshops:

Wild geese

You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

I love this poem.  No matter how many times I return to it, it speaks to me like the first time I read it.  It is very simple, deceptively so.  The images are powerful and linger in your mind.  It is like lying down on the floor watching clouds pushing, or being pushed by, the wind at high speed; and feeling yourself both observing and being part of the world.  There is a freshness and a cleanness to it, like the world outside after a day of rain.

Describing the call of the world as sounding like wild geese – ‘harsh and exciting’ – is just so evocative and so right.

I feel 2011 beckoning.  Well wishes for a new year.

This entry was posted in connections, Jung, music, yoga. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Icicles and Mysteries

  1. Madhu Sameer says:

    Hi Karin,

    Beautiful poem. Nice video too. I have been meaning to buy, but right now have at least 100 books that I have been collecting in my greed over the last few months, but not read yet. Self discipline.

    Images….yes….are the only language that the psyche speaks. Like ET, it conveys thru, and only thru symbols, of which words and language forms but a very small part….

    Snow! My destination isn’t mysterious ! I will be at a 10 day meditation retreat….it often snows there…

    Warm regards.


  2. Karin says:

    Hi Madhu
    I no longer have an urge to buy or collect….I absorb what comes my way and that seems to suffice at the moment – but I must say I am tempted by this video and may buy it as an exception. Too many unfinished books, I am staying with a few ideas and lines of thoughts that develop.

    Images are very nourishing and liberating – probably they allow the right side of the brain to flourish and give the left a welcome holiday.

    Just about to set out for another long walk in the snow before the new flurries set in. I am starting to accept the physical immobilisation that is happening this week. Not sure I will be as calm about it tomorrow though!

    Now you have me guessing about the whereabouts of the retreat – though it is what happens inside that really matters.

    Warm wishes

    • Madhu Sameer says:


      This is just my opinion based on observed and analyzed facts so it may be more of a correlation than anything more, but I think the left brain is brought forth in trauma, out of the necessity to live, to survive. The more severe the trauma, or the struggle for survival, the more developed the left brain will be. So it is adaptive.

      The right brain is still in time. It is primordial. Collective. Hence healing, like a return to the womb.

      About the retreat, I’ll email the link. 🙂

      Warmest wishes.


      • Karin says:

        Madhu, your comments on the left brain and its development through trauma make a lot of sense to me. Using somewhat different language, very left-brain behaviours seem to me to be often associated with a defended personality or psyche – sometimes for very understandable reasons too. Your description of the right brain as ‘still in time’ is lovely and links with ‘the still point of the turning world’.
        Comment amended and other deleted as requested.
        Looking forward to the link.
        Warm wishes

  3. Hi Karin,
    this is a wonderful gift for me and I hope also for many other people! Thank you so much, you described the video Mysterium in an amazing way, very moving, I also like very much the poem, the winter photo and the snowing. What a great connection!
    Best wishes Antonella Adorisio

    • Karin says:

      Hello Antonella
      Would you be able to share the background of what inspired you to make the video and what some of the images mean? It would be wonderful to hear more.
      Many thanks

  4. Karin says:

    Many thanks Antonella for your comment and the video in the first place. I feel your video transports me to another place. Yes, it is a great connection!

  5. Thanks so much Karin for your question. The creation of Mysterium has been a long process and it started from a time of mourning and grief. I have been using active imagination through writing and/or dancing to dialogue with my unconscious and a few years ago I felt called to give shape to inner images and emotions also through images I had filmed with my movie camera over many years around the world. As it is not easy for me to use thecnology, I had to develop a great patience to learn the editing program. At the beginning I did not think at all to show the video to anybody; it was a sor of personal “diary of immages”. During the editing process I felt guided by the inspiration of the moment and I did not follow any given plan. The interior image that most frequently and spontaneously appeared was the image of flowing water which covered and uncovered things. The voice of the water swept away the old, telling me that life is continuously renewed. At times I would see fire appear in the water, a spiritual fire that does not burn and that can co-exist with matter. So powerful was the intimate and transpersonal need to make these inner motions of the soul visible, that the filmed images of the water and the fire ended up in the computer together with wind, earth, waves, leaves, children, elders, dancers, rituals, ceremonies, animals, eyes; pleading, praying, imploring, receiving hands; imprisoned hands and hands clasped together in solidarity and sharing. This “diary of images” slowly became a video to be shared and to convey experiences, arouse emotional resonance and lead to reflections on the personal manner in which each person lives his or her own spirituality. Mysterium has now expanded to include beautiful original music, the testimonials of Jungian scholars, of Buddhist and Yoga teachers from different countries in the world. The whole video last 57 minutes and it is a donation for the children of Alice Project School and for the education of a little Lama in India.

  6. Karin says:

    Thanks Antonella. I find this personal history very interesting and am sure others will too. I’m particularly interested by the importance of the fire-water conjunction, as that is what struck me most watching the video, as well as the hands. It is also personally satisfying to seeing the happy combination of Jungian scholars and yoga teachers, as this brings together two important strands for me.

  7. Mmmmm, thought pauses with the lyrical sounds of a piano. Images pass through the eyes that evoke associations and feelings. The listener notices that attending to the sound enables mind to resist naming what the eyes are seeing and, in this moment of writing, the listener now feels grateful for the pausing of thought. Then, arrested by poetry a welcome thought arises that “spirit likes to dress up like this, ten fingers, ten toes”….

  8. Karin says:

    Lovely. The listener has captured well what is so soothing about this video clip – yes, the pausing of thought. And yes, the spirit ‘dressing up’ – exactly! Thanks to the subtle listener.

  9. Pingback: Tweets that mention Icicles and Mysteries | Well House Words -- Topsy.com

  10. Viv says:

    I intend to watch the video and comment on the post when I am stronger, both physically and emotionally, but thank you for posting it, and I echo your wishes for next year.

  11. Karin says:

    I will look forward to your comment when you feel up to it, Viv. Maybe the video will also help you to feel better so perhaps watch sooner rather than later. I think it gives a sense of our place in the world, and a feeling of connectedness in a vast landscape of images and elements which will in no way leave you feeling tiny.
    Karin x

  12. Viv says:

    I did watch but it didn’t seem to touch me as it did others. But:
    It brought back one memory I thought I had hidden deep enough never to see light of day again and that is something to work with, so I guess what work it did for me is enough, even if it differed from how you and others experienced it.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Viv,

      You’re not alone – the video didn’t do it for me either. I was disappointed as I had waited for a while to view it (continuing computer problems now resolved). Some of the images were great – faces, eyes, hands, flames and the sea but as a whole I clearly missed what others had experienced. But I loved the poem. Hope you’re feeling better on all fronts.


      • Viv says:

        Hi Chris,
        It was the faces that were my problem. I have a weird knee jerk reaction to pictures of kids. Other women go “Ahhh….!” at pictures of kids. I don’t. My bad, I guess; perhaps I lack a certain humanity.
        I am slowly feeling better, as long as I don’t do anything much at all. Thank you for asking.

      • Karin says:

        Hi both, I was just writing back…’I guess these things never affect the collective Us in the same ways. It’s probably the mix of dimensions that works so well for me, as it’s striking a number of chords.’ Now that I’ve read your follow-up comment though Viv, I have to say I react to pictures of children just as you do! I have wondered if I lack that same certain humanity at times. I think that feeling got swept up in the bigger context on this occasion. And for me everything else was beautifully resonant.

  13. Viv says:

    I reacted on a cerebral level only, except that memory I mentioned. We are all different.
    I have never been terribly keen on kids or babies; very long way from that even when mine was small. My mum goes soppy over babies completely. I have a moment or two where the sheer wonder of a new baby awes me, and then I pass it back before it pukes on me!!
    Now kittens, on the other hand…..

  14. Anthony Wilson says:

    Antonella’s movie is available, I think the price is US$30, from Spring Publications. I ordered it months ago and am still waiting for it to arrive in South Africa.

    Go to


    The whole movie is 57 glorious minutes long. The experience of watching it is likely to be one of those peak moments for you if you let it. But take care to be kind to yourself when, and after, you watch it. Allow yourself space and time. Allow the movie to affect you. Allow it to settle you. You might want to mediate to pray afterwards and it would be a pity if life and circumstances did not allow this.

  15. Karin says:

    Thanks, Anthony, for the details and for your comment. I can feel from the way you’ve written how much Antonella’s video has affected you, and just a tiny after-effect or reverberation comes through your words. Good to see you here, do come back.

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