“For many centuries roots have been pictured as living in absolute darkness, hidden from sight, and therefore wonderfully mysterious. There is a least some mystic justification for this concept. There is also the growth of scientific correction. By human standards, roots usually dwell in darkness – at the very least, in comparative darkness. But we are learning that they are profoundly influenced by light and that soil, or even subsoil, however rife with mysteries, is not a phenomenon of total darkness.” ~ Charles Morrow Wilson Roots: Miracles Below 1968
I believe that, like roots searching for water, our unconscious mind searches for ways to show us the basic truths of who we are and reveals these things to us through various channels. I often find new ways of understanding this in unsuspected places, like in a book about plant roots. As I read the opening paragraph of chapter 9 in the book quoted above, metaphorically the soil became the dark and hidden depths of the unconscious and the roots whatever means we have of tapping into that.
We tend to think of the unconscious as a frightening, primitive place in ourselves that often brings us confusing and undecipherable dreams, complexes and other unwelcome things. This is where our shadow lies – those aspects of ourselves that we don’t want to acknowledge. The inner workings of our psyche seem hidden in the dark.
It’s somewhat true that there is no light in the depths of the unconscious and the messages we receive from it are not spoken in our language – we’ll never totally understand it or have access to it. But if we pay attention to what the roots bring us – in our sleeping or waking dreams, the things we express creatively , the things we are drawn to without thought, actions that we take instinctively – we might have a deeper understanding of who we are and what we need to grow and be able to shed some light on those shadows.
People take cues from the light just as plants do. I often find that my life grows sluggish during the winter – that I feel tired and sad. In my outer experiences and productivity, I seem not to be growing, but taking a lesson from nature I can see that despite my outer appearance I’m also working deep inside and my own growth is taking place. Outside the trees are quiet now, but deep underground the roots are busy at work. As spring grows nearer I feel my own blood quickening like tree sap and hope to see new leaves soon.