Valley Spirit

The Valley of Flowers, in northern India’s state of Uttarakhand

The valley spirit never dies;
It is the woman, primal mother.
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil barely seen,
Use it; it will never fail.

– Tao Te Ching, 6

The Valley Spirit is deathless,
It is called the Dark Mare.
The door of the Dark Mare,
Is called the root of heaven and earth.
Continuous, it seems to exist,
Yet in use it is inexhaustible.

— translated by Ellen M. Chen

( I like this use of “Mare”, which could be a female horse or Ocean. It brings in the image of the dark ocean, open and receptive, which really fits into the idea of the Tao. Interesting. )

“Taoists use the metaphor of gu shen, “the valley spirit.” A valley supports life, feeds the
animals who live there and provides fertile earth for agriculture. It can do this only because
it is empty. It accepts the flow of the river because it is most low and most humble. It
receives the warmth of the sun because it is wide and not filled with anything to block the
light. It brings forth life because it supports all who come to it.”
– Deng Ming-Dao, Scholar Warrior, p. 182

“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”
— G. K. Chesterton

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?” — Kahlil Gibran

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley.” — Joel Rosenberg