In Inuit culture, it is a term from the iñupiaq language that refers to a traditional ceremony. Every autumn, to honor the soul of whales, men gather to compose new songs. They solemnly come together in a ritual hut where no lamp or fire is lit, far from any superficial distraction, and sit together in silence, in the calm, or in qarrtsiluni (meaning waiting in darkness for beautiful things to take shape and emerge like bubbles from the depths of the ocean), as witnesses to what may occur.
In its original sense, the expression qarrtsiluni indicates the fleeting and gaping calm that precedes a great vision, the hope for insight, the anticipation of a new cycle. More generally, it evokes a state of patient contemplation, a moment of quiet sadness, a surge of creativity tinged with humility. It is a fruitful time of waiting when the mind is open to the emergence of new ideas, and the soul opens to the depths of the ocean of creative thought. It is a practice infused with respect and connection with nature and its mysteries, honoring the cycles of life and the importance of contemplation in the process of artistic and spiritual creation.
- “The Book of Silence” by Sara Maitland : In this book, the author Sara Maitland explores the concept of silence from various perspectives. She examines how silence can be a source of reflection, self-discovery, and connection with the natural world. The book delves into silence in its various forms, from solitary silence to shared silence with others. It offers profound contemplation on the meaning of silence in our lives.
- “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey : This book tells the story of Elisabeth Tova Bailey, who, after facing a debilitating illness, discovers a new interest in observing a wild snail. Through this meticulous observation, she uncovers the beauty of the natural world and explores themes of patience, connection, and contemplation.