When you think of Ireland, what's the first thing that usually comes to mind? Guinness? The color green? Getting really drunk on March 17th?
Well, that's not all Ireland has to offer. In fact, for those of you connected to your more spiritual side, Ireland also has special parks that cater to adherents to eastern meditation - although they go about it in a strange and, seemingly, terrifying way.
The Indian Sculpture Park in Victoria's Way, which is located near Roundwood, Ireland, is an intriguing outdoor gallery which offers visitors both a spiritual and macabre experience. Although many of its sculptures reference figures of Hindu and eastern lore, it also contains several terrifying statues that seem completely at odds with meditation. However, in reality, there is more to each sculpture than meets the eye. Here are some of them:
The Split Man
Although this seems a grotesque scene, the statue in fact represents the terrible mental state of the undecided. It further illustrates how the inability to dedicate yourself creatively or spiritually to one goal can result in unhappiness and depression. The man's creative impotence is further symbolized by the statue's lack of penis.
Dark Night of the ‘Soul’
This statue of the emaciated Buddha illustrates another obstacle to achieving spiritual enlightenment. In order to reach nirvana, devotees often must pass through what is termed the 'dark night of the soul' - a period of emptiness and despair that must first be traversed before arriving at contentment. At some point during this 'dark night', a small glimmer of hope and light will present itself. Only by pursuing this light can people become truly enlightened. However, many people are too scared to enter this 'dark night' and so will never attain real satisfaction.
Awakening or Birth of Consciousness
Awakening attempts to illustrate the purity of first experiences by showing the emergence of an infant who is first impacted by reality. Since the infant's responses are undeveloped, the infant is overwhelmed by the sensation and feels the impact in an incredibly 'real' fashion. The idea behind this is that first experiences generate the truest and most 'absolutely real' responses - whether it's someone's first love, can of beer or car. This tremendous surge of energy is essentially enlightenment.
The decaying fist represents yesterday, the moments that have passed that are now experienced as relative and imperfect. The infant represents tomorrow, those experiences we are yet to have which offer the promise of absolute realness and perfection.
The Ferryman's End
The Ferryman's End essentially represents being stuck in a rut - and the depression and sorrow that can result from this. The Ferryman's boat represents his ability to create difference, however it is now sinking into the mire. Because of this he is unable to touch reality, to sense realness and release energy into the world. This loss of connectivity and contact results in feelings of un-realness, loss of identity and increased unhappiness.
Create or Die
Similar to The Ferryman's End, Create or Die expresses the idea that we can only be happy and exist if we create difference in the world. It is only through creating difference and variation that we can be 'touched' and ultimately satisfied. In order to make a difference and create we often need to give up 'sameness' and the familiar, which is essentially what you are right now. Eastern thought expresses it thus:
"Or, as the Man said, in order to live (i.e. to be what I want to be) I have to die (to what I am right now)."
The Gate to Victoria's Way, A.K.A Turing's Gate
The gate to the park, which is dedicated to British cryptologist and mathematician Alan Turing, is designed to represent the idea of a vagina dentata - which is exactly what it sounds like.
The concept of the toothed vagina comes up several times in Hindu lore, especially when Adi, an asura, takes the form of Parvati, the goddess of love and attempts to seduce Shiva. The plan is then to kill him with a toothed vagina, but instead he is slain by Shiva.
The symbolism of the gate at Victoria's Way is a little bit more positive. Officially, it is described thus:
"On the other side of Victoria’s Gate you can enter a timeless, form-less world, a virtual reality wherein potential (meaning your potential) has not yet relativized and actualized. There you can, if you so choose, revert to your, indeed, to any possible being to be made true.
In short, this side of the gate you experience your actual, albeit relative true being, true because you are the outcome of all the ‘best’ choices you made. On the other side you can experience your virtual true being, virtual and absolute because no choices have yet been made."
Victoria's Way Park is still open to visitors, so if you ever find yourself feeling unenlightened and in Ireland, make sure to drop by for a visit.
What do you think of these statues? Inspirational? Or terrifying?