“Tapetum Lucidem,” a.k.a. Eye-Shine…


“Tapetum Lucidem,”

literally meaning “Bright Tapestry,” is the technical latin term used to describe the phenomenon more commonly known as “Eye-Shine.”

This is the reflective layer that exists behind the iris of certain (mainly nocturnal?) animals that absorbs and refracts sources of external light, thus affording these creatures with the necessary trait/enviable superpower of night vision. Depending on the particular species of critter, this particular hue of refracted luminosity varies from pale blue, emerald green, coral pink, red, yellow, and pure white.

…i think it would be either extremely cool or indescribably creepy if we human-folk also had this refractive quality of vision. Like, whose eyes would glow what color, and what would this particular expression of luminous specificity perhaps reveal about an individual’s character, or mood? or! even more profoundly, would each person’s particular iridescent hue perhaps reveal some more inherent, intrinsic soul quality, emitting a light that reflects how we envision the world, or through what particular lens our perception is colored by? if we human-creatures all of a sudden acquired eye-shine, and the varying hues of the light we emitted was an expression of some heretofore hidden aspect of our inner nature, i wonder whether we’d think of this most recent evolutionary iridescent upgrade as a blessing or a curse?

Say, if my eyes emitted a green irridescence, and yours were pure white? Would the difference be due to something super-lame like blood-type? Or would the particular hue of our eyes’ refractive luminosity say something more revealing…something about our very nature, something we used to be able to keep secret inside ourselves, to hide (even from ourselves) to lose sight-of within the infinite wilderness of our souls’ boundless kingdom.

What would happen, then, if the heart of all our innermost hidden darkness were suddenly and forever illuminated?

What if we lost the luxury to hide, to hold-back, to deny and repress and silence whatever weightless echo of song (or reverberatory howl, or breathless cry) happens to be rising-up from the deepest part of ourselves, seeking an escape; desperate for the light, for exposure, to be a cathartic expression of some best-attempt approximation of what is real and honest within ourselves?

Would it be wonderful? If the whole masquerade ball were to suddenly end- and we were cast-out, blinking and unmasked in the harsh light of day?

Would it be truly beautiful? if all of a sudden we truly saw ourselves and eachother ( and saw ourselves within one another) and then, instead of instantly dying of shame, we all took a breath and realized, that how we actually felt-

was Brave??

I think the drive to create art comes from that place in our mind where the soul touches our conscious awareness, illuminating visionary symbols of an ancient language we’ve forgotten, but that still resonates with some lost, ever-watchful place deep within us that is much older, much wiser. Our soul crys-out for our attention, casting ciphers in flashes of light across the black stage of our mind’s eye; images spark for a gasp then flutter to ash, but all it takes is a single instant…

And suddenly we awaken to startling realizations, of things lost or forgotten that our soul needs us to remember. Usually it is the most infinitely necessary things that tend to slip away, slowly and silently, so that by the time they’re finally, completely gone, we don’t even notice the hollow ache of its absence. I can remember the feeling of being a kid, having such capacity for awe, feeling so safe and interwoven with a world that was a seemingly infinite source of wonder and comfort.

These are the sorts of things that slip away, and by the time we realize what’s been missing, it’s too late to turn back and search; we would’nt know what to look for anymore.

So, our soul casts its silent cries upon the landscape of our mind’s eye, and these fleeting images stay with us, lingering in that quiet darkness until meaning breaks-through, and we’re reminded to listen, to stay awake, to notice and to care, to let go of fading ephemera, and to hold-on with all our hearts to every infinite thing that makes us who we are.

Through art, i think we can give dynamic expression to the visual language of the soul; it’s the captivating visions that linger in the center of your mind’s infinite interior. The flickering shadows that won’t be ignored, as they dance upon the surface of your consciousness. These are the ephemeral, flitting images the soul conjures to shine, like ancient stars cast upwards and held, ever so briefly, by the cimmerian sky of our inverted gaze- and, ( as-is the nature of stars ) they are simply desperate to be seen, for the light of our awareness to confirm their absolute brilliance, and reflect-back some memory of the wisdom held in their beauty- to remember this ancient language that once maintained a thread of connection between the outer-shell, that warrior’s chainmail known as The Self, and the delicate silence pulsating deep within us, which is who-we-truly-are.