“It is impossible to overemphasize the paradox represented by every hierophany, even the most elementary. By manifesting the sacred, any object becomes something else, yet it continues to remain itself, for it continues to participate in its surrounding cosmic milieu. A sacred stone remains a stone, apparently (or more precisely, from the profane point of view), nothing distinguishes it from all other stones. But for those to whom a stone reveals itself as sacred, its immediate reality is transformed into a supernatural reality. In other words, for those who have a religious experience, all nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmic sacrality. The cosmos in its entirety can become a hierophany.”
– Micrea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane. p. 12.
The stones of an iron-age burial ground in weak midwinter light; a tree trapped in ice; a crack opened in a cliff by streams of clay dislodged in summer storms; mountains disappearing into mist; the verticality of bare trees reaching for the sky; and rags, ruined, petrified and stained grey in grey by layers of dust… These are the places and moments captured by the photography of Liam Sprod. Places where our profane understanding of the world wears thin, where thought must release itself, let go and open up to something deeper, where darkness and the unknown gather, and where the gods creep forward making the world anew in their very presence.
Everything remains the same, everything has changed. The photograph mediates our relation to place: projecting from its inner blackness and painting the world with its dark obscurity. The gods mediate our relation to nature: the stone in no longer just a stone there for our exploitation and ruin, it is now a manifestation of the holy, carrying the force of poetry, re-ordering order itself, and silencing all movement. In that silence there is room for quiet contemplation, for looking deeper, thinking deeply, a gaze into the inner emptiness where gods dwell. Emptiness is openness and stillness, where a single breath encompasses the world, the taste of iron in blood, the bite of frost, the dark glimmer of a secret heart that beats throughout the cosmos.
Take that breath, feel that pulse. Here, on the path through the forest, the wind soughs high above you, the stones lie beneath, there is a time beyond us all, but here we must still draw breath.