“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The image above shows a goddess figure, seated on a lion. Her meditation is serene within the swirling blues and purples of the dream sea. A dusty purple flower blooms to her left, and a fish rises from the deeps to leap in the waves.
Materials: Printed rice paper, tissue paper, acrylic paint, acrylic gel medium – gloss, soft.
A mixed media piece I just finished today in my art journal, honoring the movement of the sun into the tropical sign of Pisces. Pisces is mutable, watery, and traditionally ruled by the planet Jupiter. Modern rulership has been attributed to the planet Neptune.
Under the snows, the earth slumbers and dreams of the greening to come.
Survey the expanse of land before you. See what can be seen. March to the horizon, dedicating each step to unfolding the distance within your sinews, enfolding the distance to that horizon within your muscle memory. Move as a mobile, fleshy mountain upon the earth, and claim the uneven ground as your own. You have a right to be here, as deep and ponderous as any stone. You are an organic confluence of the loves of your ancestors. As they dreamt you once, so you will dream the ones who come after you, leaving a legacy of your own path and how you walked it.
Those children who come after you will most remember the times you laughed and the sweet foods you shared. Be quick, therefore, to open up your own remembering, to let it ripen into the stories that will be told about your own cross to bear in the sinuous walk of humans. Walk lightly, carry water and music, these are most sought after in the barter of belonging. After awhile, it will make more sense to walk and give everything away as you do. This gesture will carry you like a great buffalo across the land.
Smell the rain that comes to you, coaxes green shoots from prairies, and gives rest in the late afternoon, when all is said and done. The drumbeat of water on leaf lulls you from the frayed edges of worry, back into the stillness, back into the timeless, to view your face as it was before you were born. Supple and lean and waiting for the stretching out of the sunlight again on the land.
Thinking about broadening dimensions of what can be considered liturgy, the sanctification of Life, Time, and Space. This is the symbol-making side of expressive life, put into a space/time and made bigger, more intense, more significant. Paying attention to the Icon we want to mark, to pull us into the space and heart of the moment chosen, signifying the underlying profound mystery of what we see. Icon is probably the best image to stand for this process of going within some life/time/space to draw attention to what is going on there. My teacher Wendy had said we are made for story, and liturgy seems to be this kind of story that tells us of our body, speech, and mind interacting with the Body, Speech, and Mind of the space we find ourselves in.
Outside/Inside are invoked and recognized. Like forming an alembic that will capture and condense new stories which distill out of us after interacting with Attention to the Moment we’ve chosen to liturgize. This is done consciously, as with a religious ceremony, or unconsciously, as with preparing to go to one’s job.
The quality of attention is the path to what some religious traditions term “paradise.” Focused mind can sanctify any space, for the Sage who is paying attention.