The Ancient Modern

The CMB  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

This afternoon, I again became intrigued by the Cosmic Microwave Background mapped by the Planck Space Observatory between 2009 and 2013. The CMB is claimed by many to be the “residue” left over from the Big Bang, and Planck was designed to measure it as accurately as possible.

But as I pursue articles, graphs and explanations of Planck’s findings, what strikes me most is the strange and difficult sense that in looking at maps of the universe, I am somehow looking at a map of my own beingas if the Planck Observatory X-rayed and revealed some aspect of myself that I was never told of, or had forgotten was missing.

Some of the digital renderings of the CMB look like elongated Yang/Yin symbols, as if the two halves of the CMB, above and below the cosmic axis, are masculine & feminine, heaven & earth principles, still engaged in the care and formation of our planet.

I had again the inescapable impression that the Universe is a Body, perhaps a feminine body, nurturing the fertilized cell that is Earth. Memories of myths and origin stories that describe all life as emerging from a Cosmic Egg come to mind.

Where exactly am “I” in all these colors, lines and dots of Planck data is quite a mystery. I can only speak to the impression that my “self” must be both local and non-local, both individual and communal, both centered and scattered.

The Axis Mundi is a great Staff striking the rock of the Cosmos.
It is a hidden Spear.
It pierces everything.
It draws both blood and water.


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2020 by Joshua Alan Sturgill

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