Written by Mrs. Darth Vader
Keynote: Austere initiation, underworld and journey into the unknown.
Caves, due to their darkness, are a symbol of the underworld and initiation. Here cave has some commonalities with the swamp. Caves are enclosed unlike the swamp. Caves are more austere than swamps. The testing and initiation you get in the cave is more like that in the Mithras religion. In the Mithras religion, they used pitch black mazes, haunted house like imagery and bats as their test and initiation into the mysteries of Mithras. A later development of the Mithras religion was the Norse religion where the hooded God Odin was who used to be Mithras. This too is a tough religion. Not as tough as the original Mithras though. Mithras is a tough religion and not for the faint hearted. Here you have the mysterious hooded figure like Palpatine in ancient Persia. The Mason equivalent is the scary degree expressed in "Porch and Middle Chamber" by Albert Pike. Here "Terrible brother" guides you. This is a Sith path testing your courage. The Mason version is tame compared to the Mithras version. Bats live in caves and are usually the main totem one gets in a cave. Bats should be studied for those with cave as a totem.
Cave also represents the unknown and unfamiliar. It is also a safe hiding place. Sometimes caves represent a hiding from the real world, the old bury your head in the sand, but the cave is the container for hiding. A cave can symbolize protection from a real threat outside. Our modern man made caves are called Bunkers. They protect us from when bombs are dropped on our cities. On the other hand, in the book of Revelation, man runs from God (the Force) in a cave, on the Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord. Caves also keep secrets, secret. They are dark, enclosed and concealing so secrets are safe in a cave. Here the ancient cave is like the modern "Smoke filled room" where plots are hatched.
Caves are hollowness inside a mountain so there is some overlap with cave and mountain. Inside this cave is a more meditating spirit than that of the open mountain top. Caves are considered the land of the dead. Here again cave has an ominous feel to it. The Army of the dead in "Lord of the Rings" series lives in a cave up a mountain Arogone comes to the Army of the Dead with the reforged sword. Everyone else who entered the cave was killed and became dead themselves. Arogone being the chosen one could not only enter the realm of the dead but also recruit the Army of the Dead. This cave is loaded with symbolism.
Then there is the cave that went downward in which Luke Skywalker was sent down on Dagobah. Here Luke had to face his worst fear, Darth Vader. Here Luke failed some cave style vailed test. Luke kills this dream image of Vader to see his own face looking back at him. This no doubt terrified Luke and because out that fear he did not learn that Vader was his father in the cave as would have happened if Luke were calm, relaxed and feeling the Force. He failed at the cave. It was then up to Darth Vader to tell Luke " I am your father.". Luke's cave went down and was dark and creepy so this was a cave of facing your own darkness with in you. Cave here was a testing zone and a stern warning. This cave was also located in the swamp of Dagobah. This was symbolically speaking a doubly creepy place of stern tests and initiation because of being both in the swamp and in a cave. Here we miss the power of this terrifying symbolism due to the more gentle PG rating If you were to meditate on the duel symbolism of both cave and swamp in EP V then you would catch the significance. If this were an ancient "Movie" they would understand the stern tests, initiatory symbolism. Our modern world mutes these once powerful symbols.
Remember as with all totems when you receive any totem only you can know what it is saying to you. Others can guide you and help you in the thinking process but in the end it is you and your intuition that determines its meaning.
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