“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened”
Image making, or any creative act, can be the vehicle by which we observe the multi-dimensional aspects of ourselves unfold in this reality. It is also true that a painting can speak a thousand words and from this perspective all art is an ancient form of communication, one that bypasses the intellect and speaks through symbols and archetypes of the hidden nature of life. The tool by which we turn our ‘sparks of inspiration’ into something tangible is the imagination. It was Blake who wrote: “The imagination liveth forever” and through the images, stories, sculptures and temples of the ancient world, many memories also live on forever in this matrix of worlds. As artists or creators in the world it is our natural state to tune into this field of plenty, to open the portals in space and time. My art has been described as both shamanic and healing by many who have seen originals hanging on a wall in a gallery. I was told by several American Indians over the years that I am using the spirit of the ‘first people’ through my work. I have felt this connection when I have travelled or ‘journeyed’ into other dimensions through making art. Once you venture into the realms of the archetypes you see many correlations as a ‘creator’ of images.
The ‘wandering fool’ or ‘priest’ is an ancient one that can be found amongst the petroglyphs and rock art showing the movements of ancient peoples (see above), through to the medieval minstrel, hermit or fool in the Tarot. It is an archetype that is found within us all. It is the ‘journey maker’ who gives us the first step to enlightenment, one who travels through worlds of his or her own making. He is also a trickster as such who sits on the periphery of society, urging us to question reality. He is also a fool and a shaman who knows how to access his child within, our imagination and our willingness to explore the possibilities beyond this reality. The Heyoka clown medicine men of the Lakota Sioux (below left) also embodied the same quality. Heyoka clowns were also great teachers of humour, imagination and how we can fool ourselves into believing that the journey, our quest for knowledge, as ended. The sacred clown as an archetype is heavily connected to the teachings of ‘opposites’ and duality and something tells me that the Orion constellation is hugely connected to this knowledge. The Koshari Clown Betelguese is the ninth-brightest star in the night sky and second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. The connections are obvious once you see the connections. From the Masonic ‘black and white’ squares. to the clowns ‘black and white’ costumes, all lead to an archetype that offers a pivotal anchor for duality. The clown, the fool, the wanderer and the hermit are considering the roles of good and evil (even acting them out), and it seems that Orion offers us great insight into the illusions of separation that ‘use duality’ in all its forms. Something I will write about in more detail in other blogs.
I painted the picture below after an intense hike over 70 miles through the Cathar country of Southern France in 1995. The wanderer in my image below is also a ‘priest of Orion’ who has discovered the need to ‘move on’ and leave dogma behind. He is Osiris, or Lightning man and the dog is his companion, his connection with his ancestors from the stars (Sirius). The staff or wand he carries is the power that keeps him searching as he passes through one reality and into the next. The fire in the sky is the illumination taking place within his soul as the Earth vibrates to a higher frequency. The sun and the mountain represent a portal to the source, his initiation as he ascends the world vortex or the mystic spiral. The white castle is the place (this world) that he passes through, has he remembers the keys to unlock the vaults of time. You will obviously read this image in a different way. To some it will be a ‘saviour figure’ that moves through a world of turbulence and disorder. Some will see only a man and his dog at the foot of a mountain. To others it will be the wisdom of old age, the hermit or the magician leaving the cave for another journey. It really does not matter what we see in an image, it’s the effect it has on our soul. He also has a wife, who I will talk about in another article.
I’ve started painting these type of archetypes again in recent weeks and it feels as though the journey over the past 20 years is now reaching an ‘end cycle’, only to be once again starting over. I am also looking closely at Gnostic Creation Myths and how these relate to the above archetypes within the images I am making. After giving a lecture recently to the Research into Lost Ancient Knowledge Organisation (RILKO) in London, I realised that my power point would make a book and this is something I am interested in pursing over the year.
For us to be able to make that ‘leap in consciousness’ or ‘merge dimensions’, we have to know and feel the power of oneness and the stillness it instills within our being. This state is often felt when we meditate, make love, create, walk in nature and so forth. It is that timeless phase which takes us out of manufactured time imposed by the mechanical clock. The original calendar and clock we have inherited do not so much measure time, instead, they were designed to keep people locked within a time frame, a quarantine of the mind, body and soul. This quarantine is much more advanced now than it ever was. Our individual states of timelessness open us up to other dimensions, and while in these states we can feel and access information that would not easily filter into our (masculine) rational left side of the brain. Being in this timeless state is when we start to ‘see with our ancient eyes’. While contemplating the above archetypes and spending time in meditation I found myself journeying into the past/future scenes that show a version of the wanderer who often appears in my art and illustrations. I’ve added the scenes below. Who he is, I’ll leave that up to your imagination?
Connecting with the vast array of archetypes within us, (which are also visible in nature), and the knowledge they hold, is symbolic of a constant journey into spirit – a remembrance of what we are doing here and who we really are! When we become too wrapped up with the five senses it becomes harder to ‘feel’ the images that come out of nature, and therefore we can miss out on the mysterious forms of communication between different dimensions. Sometimes we have to be silent to move beyond words. When I have journeyed and walked in nature for several weeks at a time, this too encourages a stillness that is beyond words. The humming of insects in a dense forest, sunlight filtering through columns of pine, returning trees to their true reverence, just as stained glass light filters into cathedrals. Faces in the trees, sculptures on ancient rock all give the same effect to the senses. Nature is a living library that can open our eyes to the realms of spirit reminding us of our soul’s connection with the Creator. The following is from an extract of contemplations I wrote while walking the ancient Cathar routes in Southern France. It conveys the movement of the soul and how nature can help us contemplate and see through our ancient eyes. It is called The Journey:
“Not thinking of arrival, I undertake a journey that takes me to my heart, pulls me on my way. Like a long trek in the wilderness, to somewhere new, excitement are my first feelings. Early days are easy with much to discover. The road is here and now, stretching out before me. My mood is up, some roads take me down. The sun sheds its light, days and nights feel uncomfortable. Heavy loads some of us choose to carry.
Slowly, I am immersed in nature, forest gorge, mountain hillside. Every detail catches my eye. Ants on rocky winding paths, become silent friends. Wind in the trees rustle leaves, whispering of what is to come. Light on a mountain stream and deep clear lakes, quench my thirst, cleansing my soul. Giving time for true reflection.
After a while the journey becomes familiar, my load easier, destination nearer. The elements clarify the day. Peace with nature means peace with myself. Animals remind me of people, faces in the clouds and everything looks similar. Next observation of the self occurred. In the silence my body speaks to me. Feeling pain, tears, sweat cleanses and boundaries are broken. I recognise a priceless vehicle I own. Contemplation with myself. In the middle of a vast plain with nobody for thirty miles, I wonder, what excess possessions can do for me right now, in the moment? Then the moment spurs me on, like a power in the mind, creating an awareness that I am that journey, moving and evolving – infinite in all its possibilities.