Archive for the ‘Transformational Art’ Category

The Pervading Force and Living Structure of Compassion; Surgery as a Journey in Transformation

January 1, 2015

Initiation into Emptiness & the Pervading Force of Compassion

My first introduction into the pervading force & living structure of compassion was in 1998 during my Grandmother Louise’ death. A month prior to her death I was visiting her in St. Louis for her 97th birthday. I could see that she was struggling and in pain. During a moment we had together privately, I said to her that it’s ok if she decides to leave this world and that the family will be ok. She simply turned to me and said, “Yes, I think I’ve been around along enough”. A month later I got a call from my mother and she said come now, I think Grandma will pass and she’s asking you to be here. A few hours later I was on a direct flight to St. Louis.

Grandma Louise

When I arrived in St. Louis, my father picked me up at the airport and drove me directly to Louise’ apartment. All the family was there and Louise was on her bed and I could see that she was in the process of passing. I whispered in her ear that I’m here; she made a small acknowledgement as I took her hand. My cousin was on the bed with her and the rest of the family was in the room as well. There was some small talk but the feeling in the room was quiet. In an hour or less from my arrival, I was still holding her hand and a feeling of total emptiness & quiet came over me and I looked at my Grandmother and without thinking I said, “Grandma is gone”.

People in the home came to pay their respect and condolences to our family. One of the workers at the home that had helped my Grandmother came into the room; “Oh lord, Granny’s gone, who got the gift?” a second time she said “Who got the gift” and I said without thinking “I did”.

What was the gift? It was initiation and the unconscious experience of being totally empty of any thoughts or emotion for the pervading force & living structure of compassion to enter me during the exact moment of Louise’ passing. It was an all-encompassing energy of love that permeated my being in that moment of transition as I held her hand. There were no thoughts of “this is compassion”, or “this is love” it just was compassion. Louise had gifted me with the experience of compassion that is a family structure to bring into the world. This experience is to be the main component of the lineage of our family that I was destined to explore.

Shortly after her passing there were only three of us in the room so my middle sister and cousin could put my Grandmother’s favorite dress on here. Out of respect for this unique ritual, I turned to look out the window that overlooked the front yard of the home that had old growth oak trees and beyond the trees is the St. Louis cathedral. As I was standing there quietly looking, I felt this flow of energy like a swirl of wind quickly circle around the room and went past me through the closed window. This was the moment when my sister and cousin were putting on Grandma’s favorite red dress that her soul fully left her and went to her next phase. Here was another gift Louise gave me with her death. This all left me with a profound spiritual sense of beauty in the moment of one’s passing.

Transmission of the Ancestral Family Story from the Pervading Force of Compassion

Two years later Louise was to induct me into the next phase of viewing life from the pervading force of compassion. During this time we had a visitor, Onye, in our house from California. He was going to lead several African Village workshops at the Montessori school my daughter attended. Onye considered himself a Christian mystic and as a gift to me for allowing him to stay at our house he said he wanted to give me a “reading”. For a reading Onye goes into an altered state to allow the spiritual world to communicate. During this reading, Onye stated that my Grandmother who passed away a few years ago was in the room. He stated that she was requesting help to transition to another phase of her journey in the spiritual world. Onye said I should create an altar with her picture, her cross and a yellow rose. My Grandmother had always liked yellow roses. Once the altar was completed, I was to meditate & pray to ask how I can help her. Of course, Onye knew nothing of my Grandmother and that she liked yellow roses.

So I went out a few days later and bought a small table, put a Guatemalan weaving on it, a picture of Louise, her cross and a single yellow rose. A day or so later I woke up at 2am and felt compelled to go to my studio to meditate and ask Louise how I could help her. At that moment my studio became electrified with something I’ve never felt before. It was an electric energy that permeated the entire room and through my body with my hair standing on end. It was a visceral feeling and not a meditation experience. I asked if this was Louise and how can I help. At that moment I began to receive a visual energetic story being transmitted directly into my body and brain. This was not a story with a narrative but with images that had direct feeling attached to them. The images came quickly but not too fast and I was left with a “feeling impression” that went from image to image. These images were of people I had not seen before but the impression was that they were ancestors and the feeling that consistently moved from each image was the pervading force of compassion.

As each image transitioned to another image I was seeing my ancestors create relationships and then see the relationships fall away. Sometimes this was sequential and sometimes simultaneously. I could see relationships come together in love and some fall away into discord. As this experience was occurring, the wisdom that emerged from the pervading force of compassion was one of no judgment. The force of compassion wiped out any and all judgment because only love exists is this space. I could see & feel with the images being presented that people created issues without much awareness of the impact to themselves or in relationships. I could see how relationships played out and whatever was unresolved moved to the next generation. I was gifted this insight of what my lineage was, how it occurred, and that my legacy is to work from the pervading force of compassion to transform the ancestral family story at a soul level.

Altar painting of Louise, painted by Ann Beeching

Surgery as the Tree of Life that Emerges with Interconnectivity

I am the tree of life, on the great plaza

In the primordial sea of the pervading force & living structure of compassion

In the three stone place of the forces of nature and earth

In the three stone place of the forces of stars and cosmos

And, I flow with the forces of interconnectivity in the spaces between the earth & cosmos.

Tree of Life Sketch by Nico of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Tree of Life Sketch by Nico of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Fourteen years later I learned that I needed surgery. I began to prepare physically & spiritually with meditations to ask my spiritual world to assist the doctors for the best outcome possible. During this time I began to read again a small section in the book “Maya Cosmos” about the tree of life. The Maya used the metaphor of the tree of life in their cosmology of how they connect to the Earth and the Cosmos. They have a story of the movement of the Milky Way that places them as the tree of life in a star group in the Milky Way as it rotates through the night sky. This story is one emerging as a tree of life with interconnectivity between the earth and the cosmos.

I used this to prepare by connecting at a spiritual level to all the people and places that I would experience during pre-surgical prep, during surgery and in recovery. I used my tree of life meditation to feel the interconnectivity of it all. It was my opportunity to expand my awareness of the interconnectivity within my body to my spiritual world.

The Body as the Vehicle for the Pervading Force of Compassion

I had arranged for friends to assist me after my surgery. One friend had volunteered to stay with me for 3-4 days. I was about to realize how much this was appreciated because I had no idea that I would need the level of assistance required during recovery. The pain was such that getting in & out of vehicles, chairs & my bed was very difficult. Since I was homebound I took the opportunity to watch the DVD “The Lion’s Roar” which is about the 16th Karmpa of the Kagyu lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. I could see in this film how the 16th Karmapa inducted himself as the Bodhisattva of Compassion with the ritual of the black hat. This inspired me to research if there was a 17th Karmapa that was the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa after he passed away in 1983. The 17th Karmapa was identified according to a prediction letter left by his predecessor. One of the identifiers was the hearing of a conch shell shortly after he was born.

16th Karmapa of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism

The night after I learned this, I got up at 3am due to extreme pain and went to meditate. I did my tree of life meditation and then used the image of the 17th Karmapa and called upon the Bodhisattva of Compassion to assist my body to relieve the pain. I did this several times with my tree of life meditation. During this meditation I heard the sound of a horn three times spaced about 8-10 minutes apart. I asked my body to become the tree of life and interconnected with compassion. I had switched from focusing on the frustration of the pain to using the pain as a calling for compassion.

17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Later on that morning during a meditation with my friend, we were listening to Tibetan Buddhist chanting. The chanting seemed to emanate the pervading force of compassion as its foundational structure. I looked at one of my roses I painted and I could feel the essence of compassion as the rose. The pieces were being put together again, the initiation into emptiness & compassion from Louise, and the calling of the horn (conch shell) three times, to the meditation with Buddhist chanting & my rose painting. It was another calling to go deeper into compassion as a primary structure in which wisdom emerges from.

The House of Compassion; Intellectual & Experiential

A week after my surgery I had several dreams that were communicating the choices I had with the path of compassion. In the first dream I entered a house that had a deep green (green-blue) interior. The house had solidly built with ample windows for light to enter. The bedroom was large with plenty of windows. I turned around and saw two wood pillars and each had address numbers that were different. I looked through a window and saw a man pass with sunglasses on.

The second dream I entered a theater to see an opera and sat down next to a woman on my left. She seemed like a person I had met before and we became friends. I put my glasses in cup holder in front of me. Then the rows of seats began to move like a Rubik’s cube. I was concerned that I would lose my glasses and then a woman on my right said that this happens all the time and your glasses will be easily found. I was focused on the seats moving and anticipating getting my glasses back. I could not tell what the opera was about because I was not entirely focused on it and there was running to and fro across the stage. The woman sitting on my right spoke to me again and said, “Of all the people in this theater, 75% are related”. I looked around and saw that all the people she referred to were women and they did look similar.

The first dream is a message indicating that my house of compassion is already built. It is of the color of the heart chakra, a solid deep color but there are two addresses. The two addresses are indicating I have a choice to travel the intellectual or experiential path of compassion. The unknown man with sunglasses walking outside past the window represents the intellectual path. The house and its deep green interior represent the experiential path. The interior of the house is large, open with lots of light that brings out the depth of the deep green color.

As I worked with this dream I brought forward the experience of compassion that Louise inducted me into. I could see the two addresses shift into one and the feeling of compassion expanded and deepened. This indicated to me that me path I am meant to explore is the experiential feeling of compassion.

The second dream is a message that I could focus on many individual attributes of compassion as represented by all the women related to each other. Or if I focus on the pervading force of compassion the opera becomes clear without my glasses and I now hear the singing. It provides the foundation and is the source of my creative energy. It also provides the interconnected structure within myself to remain focused amidst all the movement and changes. The pervading force of compassion provides the foundation for the components of wisdom to emerge for a creative expression into the physical world.

Heart of Everything: the Pervading Force & Living Structure of Compassion

Heart of Everything: the Pervading Force & Living Structure of Compassion

Family Lineage, Cultural Lineage

So with my experiences with Louise, my surgery and the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism with the 17th Karmapa brings me to the connection of all. My experience with Louise came back to me through the experience of my surgery and connecting to the Tibetan Karmapa’s. The experience I had with Louise is very difficult to communicate because it was an experiential event and not an intellectual event. It was a deep spiritual experience of compassion that goes beyond any words. I have never forgotten it and keep returning to it throughout my journey.

By watching the DVD “The Lion’s Roar” of the 16th Karmapa, which shows how he inducts himself into the Bodhisattva of Compassion, reminded me of my experience with Louise. It led me to the 17th Karmapa and the understanding that the Kagyu lineage is a social structure the Tibetans created to sustain and grow the pervading force and living structure of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. I furthered my research into this school of Tibetan Buddhism and quickly realized I was not meant to study Buddhism in depth.

But rather it taught me another lesson from Louise that came from her death and several years later with her transmission. That she was passing to me our family lineage for me to take on at another depth within myself. It was for me to consciously take on to return to compassion throughout my life. It is for me to feel and be in the space of compassion to allow wisdom to emerge in all areas, family, business, relationships and creative expression. It is for me to build a social structure of compassion in my lineage. It is for me to practice returning to it whenever the focus drifts away. For the pervading force and living structure of compassion provides the foundation for interconnectivity of all spiritual forces.

Interconnectivity from the Heart of Everything

Interconnectivity from the Heart of Everything


Mayan Shamanic Encounters with The Tree of Life, the Rilaj Ma’am and Maria Kastelyana

November 9, 2014
Cave at Cerro de Oro, Guatemala

Cave at Cerro de Oro, Guatemala

I am the tree of life, on the great plaza

In the primordial sea

In the three stone place of the forces of nature and earth

In the three stone place of the forces of stars and cosmos

And, I flow with the forces of interconnectivity in the spaces between the earth & cosmos

This meditation was created from the inspiration of my visits to the Mayan ruins in Copan Honduras. There is a great plaza with large stone stela created by the Mayan Ahau Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil. The stone stela tell the creation story of this great Mayan King and his relationship to the unseen world of forces, beings, deities & angels that assisted him during his dynasty. Elizabeth Newsome appropriately calls these stone stela “a ritual in action”. I was intrigued by her definition of “a ritual in action” because I approach my artwork in this manner. This means that as we move through life we have the opportunity to create “a ritual in action”. We can take what we do in prayer, meditation and petitions and bring them into our daily activities. Prayer and meditation does not need to be a separate activity. A ritual in action can be done in a business meeting, as we speak to our children or any other activity we engage in throughout the day.

Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil, Copan Honduras

Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil, Copan Honduras 

I am the tree of life, on the great plaza

In the primordial sea

In the three stone place of the forces of nature and earth

In the three stone place of the forces of stars and cosmos

And, I flow with the forces of interconnectivity in the spaces between the earth & cosmos.

I used this meditation while working on my three-panel painting that is an exploration of the various energy textures of what my soul represents. As I worked on my soul painting my interest in the Great Plaza of Copan Honduras re-emerged. I applied and deepened the energy of my meditation with Elizabeth Newsome’s term “a ritual in action” with the above meditation. Elizabeth had stated that the Copan Stela were not prescriptive stela in that they were not stating how to create a ritual with the spiritual world. But the Copan Stela are a ritual in action. They are in co-creation with the spiritual world. The artists that created the Copan Stela were in ritual while carving these beautiful stone monuments.

The meditation I created is inspired by Elizabeth’s words that helped to clarify for me the connection that I am creating with my spiritual world. The focus, feeling and energy of being the tree of life at any moment broadens my awareness that I am connected to wholeness. I am in co-creation with something much larger that assists me in my daily acts of creation.


Small portion of my soul painting in progress. Exploring energy textures of spiritual energy.

Small portion of my soul painting in progress. Exploring energy textures of spiritual energy.

In September of 2014 I traveled to work with the Mayan shaman of Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala. The top picture is of the cave at Cerro de Oro. It has been used as a ritual site since ancient times. This site and picture represents how the local Mayans connect deep into the earth and to the cosmos. The Mayan shaman arranges the candles, flower petals and other items in the shape of the symbol of the day Nawal that derives from the hieroglyphs of the ancient Maya. A Nawal is a spiritual being or angel and the ritual petitions a Nawal to come and co-create with us in the physical world.

Ritual fire at Cerro de Oro

Ritual fire at Cerro de Oro

In Santiago Atitlan there are “Cofridias” that are typically in local Mayan homes. Cofridias are the places rituals are created so the local Mayans can petition the Nawals for assistance. Each day we would travel to several Cofridias with the Mayan shaman and participate in their ritual practice. This practice consists of setting up the candles then petitioning the Nawals to come and assist the participant with whatever need is present. Not much different than praying in a church! However, there is a real visceral energy that enters the room and it sustains throughout the day! The way the shaman interacts with the Nawals is in direct & serious communication. It is as if they are speaking to another person and have total conviction in what they are saying and doing. They expect something to happen in their relationship with their spiritual world.

One of the Cofridia’s contains Maria Kastelyana. She represents the connection with the core energy to the one source Albar or in western terms, God. The statue of Maria is contained in a small room and there was very little space for all of us to fit. Part of the tradition with the ritual with Maria Kastelyana is put a cigarette into the mask and light it. The mysterious and confusing part of this ritual is that the cigarette is actually being smoked. One can see the red ember glow brighter as if someone is smoking! This is an indication that the spiritual being of Maria Kastelyana is active in the ritual and moving through the statue. The feeling in this room and during the ritual was one of strong connection and a constant flow of energy.

Cofridia Ritual with Maria Kastelyana

Cofridia Ritual with Maria Kastelyana

One of the primary Cofridias contains the Rilaj Maam. This spiritual being is about connecting with and tying together the cords of wisdom from the “One” source or God. The Rilaj Maam assists one to connect to the various aspects of wisdom for use in one’s daily life. The Cofridia that was housing the Rilaj Maam was having a raucous celebration. There was a band and lots of drinking with people in various stages of inebriation. Needless to say but this was quite distracting, puzzling and I was not pleased with what was happening.

As the ritual was being set up to start I did my best to remain calm and focused on supporting the ritual with the Rilaj Maam. When it was my turn to meditate with the Rilaj Maam our group leader reminded me that the entire disturbing situation in the celebration was not real. I went into a meditation, narrowed my vision and looked at the mask of the Rilaj Maam and spoke with it as the Mayans do. I asked the Rilaj Maam to look into my heart and see openness. I stated that all the outer cultural paradigms that were there did not reveal the real Rilaj Maam. I asked it to show me the core energy of the Rilaj Maam. When I asked this, the statue seemed to move forward in focus and all the other people and items moved into the background. The mask of the Rilaj Maam changed expression and I saw a tear on the left side of its face. I felt a communication to the effect that the core energy of the Rilaj Maam knew that all the cultural paradigms on display were not about the Rilaj Maam and that the people had almost lost this connection due to the pervasive persecution of their culture by various institutions throughout past and present history. It instructed me at this point to deepen my connection to the Rilaj Maam core energy and connect to all the people in the building. In addition, it showed me that the behaviors that I observe in my everyday life are not much different than the party atmosphere in the Cofridia. People generally lead their life unaware of a relationship to their soul and a spiritual world that is available to support them.

Another Cofridia outside of Santiago Atitlan in San Lucas Toliman contains another Rilaj Maam. This is considered a branch of the Santiago Cofridias and a supporting Rilaj Maam. This was the last day for us to participate in rituals and we all loaded up into a truck and headed off to San Lucas. This happened to be a quiet day at this particular Cofridia. No loud music or drinking.

This particular Rilaj Maam is one wild looking dude. The statue is sitting in a chair wearing a suit, cowboy boots, long hair and a cowboy hat. But one of the most striking aspects is the black mask with eyebrows, mustache and a beard painted white. This is quite a sight for the western mind to take in and accept.

As the ritual was being set up a local Mayan man and his wife came in to petition and speak with the Rilaj Maam San Lucas Toliman. As I observed this scene, I noticed how gentle, respectful and compassionate their conversation was even though I did not understand the language. Although both the husband and wife were speaking at the same time there was a unifying feeling. It was a beautiful moment and it occurred to me that Mayan women were crucial to the Cofridia rituals and I rarely saw them participate. But I can’t help but feel that this moment was auspicious for the beginning of our group’s ritual.

When the candles were lit and the Shaman were communicating their opening prayers, a high vibrating energy entered the room. It entered into my body and everything felt charged. Slightly after that it circled around again and an energy entered my prefrontal lobe, went through to the rear part of my brain and down into and through my body. This was unlike any of the other Cofridias. Something was being integrated from the spiritual world into my energy field and through my body. It was a visceral & a strong constant tingling feeling. After this experience we traveled back to Santiago and had lunch. I knew during lunch that I did not need to experience another ritual and fortunately the next one we elected not to go.

On this journey in Santiago through 2-4 rituals per day for six days straight in the Cofridias it is difficult to grasp what the rituals are doing to my mind, body & soul. It is a constant immersion in a foreign environment and a culture that goes back several thousand years. The rituals are like nothing I’ve experienced with visual oddities that are difficult to intellectually understand. But all my explorations in meditation and spirituality have prepared me for the infusion of energy that is undeniably tangible. These rituals were a definitive experience that my spiritual world was not a distant concept as my Catholic background had taught. But my spiritual world was right here and now. It is powerfully accessible when I open my awareness to it at any moment.

Upon my return to the United States, that first evening back in my apartment, I awoke at 2am and went into a meditation. The energies of the two Rilaj Maam’s and of Maria Kastelyana were immediately present. I felt and saw the energy forms of these entities in a co-creative relationship. Maria Kastelyana is a powerful central source while the Rilaj Maam’s energy form was surrounding Maria. The Rilaj Maam was not enclosing the Maria energy but its structure was accepting the emanation of the central Maria energy. Her energy went through the Rilaj Maam and created the wisdom energy that flows from the Rilaj Maam. This is what the local Mayans call the cords of wisdom.

The meditation continued and the energy moved centrally into my body as the tree of life. I experienced my body as a Cofridia and the tree of life emerging in the form of the relationship I described of the integrated partnership of Maria and the Rilaj Maam. As this continued I connected as a flowing cord of wisdom to the core energies of the Santiago Cofridias, my family, my business life and my artistic vision.

I am the tree of life, on the great plaza

In the primordial sea

In the three stone place of the forces of nature and earth

In the three stone place of the forces of stars and cosmos

And, I flow with the forces of interconnectivity in the spaces between the earth & cosmos.

What I experienced in Guatemala is the Shamanic path of working soul to soul on a spiritual level that can influence the emergence of possibilities from the space of wisdom and love. It is a constant ritual in action and co-creative partnership in several realms at once. The energies of the rituals are meant to be used this way and the Shaman of Santiago want to share this ancient practice.

My meditation upon my return to the United States was instructing me that I can support the Shaman of Santiago in the rebuilding and emergence of their ancient culture by being the tree of life and allowing my cords of wisdom to connect with the core energies of each Cofridia. In the same way I can work with the soul of my family to nurture, heal and grow wisdom for all. This can also be applied in the same way in my business world to work with the soul of my business world to strengthen “Cofridias” of that system. The shamanic system is a method to partner and work with energies that flow interdimensionally through various realms. This is also a part of what the film “Interstellar” is trying to communicate. That we can create with the mysteries of our lives, our surroundings and with the cosmos. The Maya of Santiago and the ancient Maya of Copan are sharing their ritual method of co-creation that has been practiced for thousands of years.

Tree of Life Sketch by Nico of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Tree of Life Sketch by Nico of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Walking with Carla Cunningham into the Elevator of Light

November 9, 2013
The Heart of Paq'alib'al

The Heart of Paq’alib’al

I had a dream of Carla Cunningham prior to my knowledge of her passing. In this dream I was riding a bike on a boardwalk in a western town in the desert. I came upon Carla Cunningham lying on the boardwalk outside the store. I stopped my bike and knelt down and she looked into my eyes with desperation. She was gaunt and weak. It’s like she was imploring me to do something. I put my hand on her heart and let my energy flow into her. Our eye contact grew stronger and I saw relief flow into her eyes and body. She looked into my eyes one last time and passed away into my lap. This was one of several dream experiences I had that I call “visceral” dreams. This means there is a high vibrating energy that flows through my body. This happened as I placed my hand upon Carla’s heart and as the dream was closing and I slowly became awake with this energy flowing through me. The feeling is one of total connection and presence. I then know it was more than a dream and an actual visitation and interaction.

Sometime later after that dream I was cleaning out my garage and discovered a box with letters from Carla and friends associated through her. This was a bittersweet moment because I remembered several close friendships I had that ended when my life led me down a different path. I read many of the letters with warmth and yet with a profound disappointment that such close friendships could end. I eventually sent out a letter to one of these friends who responded to my inquiry. We did meet in St. Louis when I returned to visit family. It was then that I learned Carla had passed over a year earlier.

Sometime last year  in 2012 I had another visitation from Carla. It was a dream where in was in a theater type setting but like a university classroom. I saw Donna sitting close by but she would not look at me. I then saw where everyone was focused and it was on Carla who was teaching a seminar on creating your life. Carla looked at me and I could tell she had a complete transformation after her passing away a many years earlier. She had her unique appearance but she was emanating a compassionate joy and with a vibrant health. Carla looked right at me and telepathically communicated that everything was perfect with her and with us. She then took me to the front of the theater setting and we entered an elevator of light. We came out of the elevator and I wanted to know what I experienced in there. But there was a knowingness that the elevator of light experience was not to be revealed yet. Carla had my hand and took me back to my seat. She handed me a card that said “Mother Earth Drums” and telepathically said she will always be with me and to call upon her with I need assistance. As I slowly started to become awake, the energy of the visceral dream was upon me.

Rose Goddess

Rose Goddess

The next dream I had in the last week of October of 2013. I was sitting with Carla and a group of men were sitting there too. They were intent to have Carla’s wisdom teaching. But I said to them that it is now my time with Carla. I took her hand and we left. But she insisted that we take one of the other men. He was shy, lacked confidence and was not fully present. We walked outside and I saw a grove of trees ahead. There was a line of pine trees to the left and a grouping of the same trees to the right. I said to Carla that I created this grove of trees because the landscape deity needed my assistance to heal that area.

I’m not going to give a long interpretation of these dream visitations from Carla. But the dream world is real and relationships continue on in this mysterious way. Whatever happens to the relationships in the physical world can be transformed after someone passes away. It can continue to grow in love and the support is always there.

So with deep gratitude, thank you again Carla for your unconditional love and friendship from the spirit world. I love you.

From the Unseen

From the Unseen

Mother of God, Similar to Fire; The conversation with our spiritual world

April 21, 2012

I had a conversation with a friend several weeks prior to my Florida vacation on the “deep”‘ feminine, Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Essentially we were discussing Jung’s description of the feminine archetype. This is a challenging concept for most of us because we want to make it gender based and about someone outside of our own psyche. It took me years of exploring the deep feminine concept in my psyche with meditation and with my art. I’ll give an example in this story.

I moved to the Chicago area last August and after working long hours for many months I began to have a longing for a connection to the deep feminine. I bought candles of Our Lady of Guadalupe, began painting roses again and considered joining internet dating. I had conversations with my paintings “Rose Goddess” and “Our Lady of the Golden Flower” and reflected back on the creation of these paintings.  So, through my conversation with my friend he suggested two books; “Untie the Strong Woman” by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes and “The Hummingbird’s Daughter” by Luis Alberto Urrea. This was perfect as I was preparing to go on a spring break vacation with my teenage daughter and her friend.

Destin Beach Evening

While on vacation I spent time in the mornings and evenings walking the beach and during the day I would read and sketch. Through the book “Untie the Strong Woman” I learned of the artist George Yepes and was inspired by his Guadalupe images and his large spiritual work. I made several attempts to sketch a Madonna face and it was like I never had drawn before. After a day of trying to make something work I abandoned the sketch and started to just freeform what wanted to come out. What emerged in my sketch was a stylistic image merging the Our Lady of Guadalupe and my painting Our Lady of the Golden Flower. The release of this image created a softening inside of me that I became aware of during my walks along the beach. Here was the reminder again that I can bring this feeling into more areas of my life. A softened perception of myself, of my corporate life and of the new life I am meant to create in Chicago.

Also through the book “Untie the Strong Woman” I was led to a book on icon art of the Madonna by Father William McNichols titled “Mother of God, Similar to Fire”. I ordered this online while on vacation from the inspiration that maybe these images will help me create a series of paintings of Madonna images. I thought this may help me connect with this longing for the deep feminine to understand what it meant for me.

Once back home I prepared to venture out into the Chicago area to connect with the art community and search for studio space. I prepared in my mediations and asked my spiritual world to assist me and help me become aware of the best path for me. So on a Friday evening I traveled on the train downtown to explore a “Second Friday Artwalk” at the Fine Arts building on Michigan avenue. I went up to the 9th floor and I did not see any art studios opened. I walked down to the 7th floor and went into a studio that was shared by three women. They were very friendly and we talked at length about their art and how they really enjoy life in the Chicago area. They were very generous in offering assistance to me in connecting with the art community and finding studio space. After this fun conversation I continued through the building speaking with artists and hearing their story.

As I was walking through the 5th floor I saw an open office with a print of Alex Grey and immediately walked in. This was an office of acupuncturist Dana and I mentioned the Alex Grey print and how I saw him speak at a Noetic Science conference many years ago. I asked to see her office and I saw another print of Peruvian shaman and asked if she had been to Peru. She said she apprenticed to a shaman for ten years to learn the energies of the light body. This opened the conversation to our similar experiences and exploring energies over a long period of time. It was exciting to meet someone who could go deep into a conversation about my esoteric subjects and having shared experiences.

As we spoke I began to share about an experience in Guatemala I had walking up to an active volcano. This came up as we went from energies of the human body to the earth energies. I was traveling with a group that explored these very topics. We went to Mayan ruins and stopped in several villages to connect with the contemporary Maya, met with Mayan Shaman to do rituals and the last part was to hike up to the volcano. We walked up a path to see the volcano and as the path changed to lava gravel there was a big change from just hiking to feeling like I was walking in waist deep water even though the path was firm. We continued just up a to where we could view the volcano at a safe distance and several of us sat down to meditate. As I went deeper into the mediation I felt like I was flying off the mountain. It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. This was my first experience to connect with the deep earth energies and it would be many years later that I would begin to grasp the power of the deep feminine.


After I shared this story with Dana she pointed to another picture on her wall of a mountainous European scene and said that she had the same experience in the location of a dormant volcano in Italy. The conversation continued as I described my artwork and how Transformational Art creates a relationship to one’s soul. At that point she offered to show my work in her office which was an unexpected delight and surprise.

As I left the building I was very excited about meeting the artists, learning about the Chicago artist community and meeting someone that could share the depth of experience that I’ve had. I decided to treat myself to dinner instead of heading right to the train station. I entered an Italian restaurant on Jackson, ordered a glass of cabernet and a good meal. When I was most of the way through my meal the fire alarm went off in the restaurant. I continued to finish my meal while looking around to see if any danger existed. I asked for the check and paid just as the fire trucks were approaching and walked out the door as they pulled up to the curb. As I walked back to the train station I wondered what the metaphor was of the fire alarm and fire trucks. On the way back to Naperville I reflected on the experience of the evening and I knew I must seperate my excitement of the evening from the purpose of finding an art studio that could support me in my creative journey. I wanted something deeper in me to lead me to a space that would best support my journey.

The next day I picked up the book I ordered and quickly paged through the book as my mind decided that icon art was not for me. Later in the day I took my time with the book and could see the depth of feeling Fr. McNichols painted into each icon of Mary. At this moment it occurred to me that my story of the volcano, my experience in Santa Fe with Our Lady of the Golden Flower, my fire painting “Heart of Albar” all were created from “Mother of God, Similar to Fire”. The metaphor of the book title began to sink in. It was my communication from the unseen spiritual world that I have laid the foundation to paint and create in partnership with the deep earth energies “Similar to Fire”. And furthermore it started many years ago when I had to paint with the colors of fire for my rose paintings.

Heart of Albar

This reminded me of C.G. Jung on the subject synchroniscities and when I pay attention to the events and signs of the day that it ties into my story of emergence into the purpose of my life. There are no random events, there is an interconnectedness and wholeness tied to our soul and purpose of our story in this life. It also reminded me of the brilliant book by Vine Deloria Jr. “C.G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions” that brought together the indigenous wisdom that preceded Jung. It was again, another reminder, that if  I pay attention to all that is interacting with me and see the relation to depth of my psyche, that I can co-create with this awesome living story to live an empowered life.

"Erotic Fire"

Seeking Transcendence, Experiencing Transformation

April 15, 2012

Since November of 2011, transformative energies have been emerging through my body with the strength to shake my very foundation of my sense of self. The daily presence of transformative energies in my body challenges my intellectual mind which can subvert the presence of this energy into a story of fear, blame, shame or guilt. But through training, mediation, a good mentor, a mature re-focused awareness of the presence of transformative energies brings a dramatic shift into one’s consciousness.

Although I’ve been through this before in the early 1990’s, it was still frightening and for several months I still interpreted this energy as  a foreign presence that was dismantling my sense of self and threatening my physical wellbeing. My early 1990‘s experience on Oahu, Hawaii during a lomi lomi massage an energy emerged in my body that took several hours to move through me. During that time of intense energy coursing through my body I saw images in the surrounding Hawaiian landscape. Through later research these images turned out to be ancient Hawaiian deities that I found in indigenous Hawaiian art. Continued research after this event described more accurately as a Kundalini experience which was well documented in India. The below website link has an excellent article on Kundalini.

My rosebud painting contains the energy and artistic feeling of my experience with these emerging energies.

"Bud of Emergence"
Kundalini emerges from within the body.

During the initial beginning of the re-emergence of this energy in my body, I was confused, lost my sense of self and frightened that I was contracting some severe physical illness. I did take myself to an emergency room to have my vitals and fortunately my physical exam turned out fine.

My painting called “Nectarian Visions of Maitreyi” was a prescient art piece of my kundalini experience. The close-up of a portion of this painting is a illustrative example of kundalini.

The Kundalini fire of my painting;
"Nectarian Visions of Maitreyi"

Now, back to the present moment, through meditation and participating in the shamanic rituals of the Tz’utujil Maya in the Guatemalan highlands, my daily energy experience now more manageable. I have experiences of feeling resonant energies which is very sensitive in my hands. Many times it brings to me the resonant frequencies of the buildings I am in. It also travels up my spinal column and into my brain. In certain times of the day my brain feels expansive and my intellectual mind moves into the background. This has been a struggle sometimes in my corporate job to allow and trust this shift away from the intellectual mind.

The feeling of wholeness and interconnectedness in my painting;
"Nectarian Visions of Maitreyi"

As I have come to learn with my kundalini experience it is teaching me to move into a wholeness within my body and consciousness, and it is showing me to bring the spiritual unseen realms into my daily experiences. Since I work in the corporate world, transitioning from the hardness of the intellectual corporate masculine mind into the shamanic self has been a challenge. I’ve become more aware of my hard driving self that gets caught in the mental trap of fear, blame, shame and guilt. As I become aware of this behavior in my daily work I have to distinguish all these feelings so I can more readily move into my shamanic consciousness. When I am in this moment of distinction I have the ability to co-create from a space of fierce compassion from a heart centered sense of wholeness. When I am able to allow this transformation, the energy in my body feels intense but supportive and whole.

In addition, the kundalini experience is bringing an inexplicable feeling and longing for the sacred. I’ve been drawn to the art of “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. I’ve had dreams of feminine motifs and metaphors. As usual my mind pretended not to know what this was. But as I reached out to the Chicago art world in the Chicago Creative Expo, I began to talk about my art and its connection to Jungian psychology. I began to become re-acquainted with the depth psychology of dreams and slowly understood the feminine motifs emerging in my dreams. In conjunction with the Tz’utujil Maya ritual practice of petitioning and co-creating with the unseen spiritual world I began to see the importance of my painting “Our Lady of the Golden Flower”.


Close-up of "Our Lady of the Golden Flower" displaying the mystical union of duality.

I became acquainted with the art of George Yepes and his images of the Madonna and Frida Kahlo. His art inspired me further to redevelop my relationship to the Madonna essence and I was led to the Mother of God icons of Fr. McNicols. So now my artistic self is being led down to explore the Madonna, Mother of God from the Jungian sense to the global expanse. This is somehow leading to another experiential level of allowing the birthing of the masculine self through the “Mother of God” to the mystical union of the masculine & feminine dualities through the kundalini experience.

Creativity and the Subtle Realms

February 5, 2012

The subtle realms of energetic beings, deities and angels ready to co-create.

Emergence from New Mexico

The ancient indigenous petitioning the deities of the spiritual world. Soul companions from the Heart of Everything.

Jung & The Rose Goddess, Shamanism & Our Lady of the Golden Flower,

June 27, 2010

Tending the Living Images of Transformational Art

The Rose Goddess

Rose Goddess Song by Jennifer Patterson

At the end of 2003 I started to read Jung’s autobiography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” which is a very unusual memoir of his life as perceived from his inner realms of his psyche. I was inspired by the dialogue Jung created with what he believed were wise deities from the deep psychological aspects of his conscious and unconscious. I decided to experiment with this type of inner dialogue by taking the rose theme I was painting and call upon the deity “The Rose Goddess”. I was intrigued by the idea of accessing inner wise deities that were here to assist me in co-creating my daily life. I meditated upon the Rose Goddess, asked questions and journeled responses. It was during this exploration that quickened the restructuring of my inner and outer life. The very first time I petitioned the Rose Goddess it immediately surfaced unhealthy attitudes and behaviours within myself and within my current partner at the time. Sometime soon after this, we began a process of exploring in new ways what an empowered, integrated relationship would be like. From Jung and my previous explorations, I knew that my inner psychological world was calling for a unity and integration of polarities deep within my psyche and according to current psychological thought, these polarities were represented in the energies of the masculine and feminine forces. Eventually I began to see the incredible potentiality of an empowered inner relationship and outer relationship. It was the basis for a deep sacred marriage that was co-created together. I could sense new creative artistic pursuits that would emerge from within myself and within the outer marriage. It was feeling how a creative inspiration could be intimately connected from my soul’s story that would evolve my beingness and thinking. This could only come from an integrated, sacred marriage where the inner masculine and feminine forces would nurture and support each other to where the outer relationship would evolve into a whole new level of love. This was feeling driven inspiration that I had learned to trust after many years of exploring consciousness, spirituality and meditation.

Rose Goddess Sketch

This sketch eventually led to a large painting. During the process of painting I would use active meditation to work with the archetype of the rose within myself and the painting. When I thought I completed the painting, I commissioned Jennifer Patterson to write and record a song for the painting. Rose Goddess Song by Jennifer Patterson. I recommend meditating with this song to feel the archetype of the rose. After she created the music I realized I had to change the painting. The song had led to a deeper feeling to the painting that I wanted to capture.

As I painted more detail in the painting, it felt like I was connecting to the archetype and deities that co-create physical roses. Jung’s book led to this exploration that went beyond a meditation to achieve a quietness in the mind. It developed my meditation that led from exploring the heart center energy to petitioning the wise aspects of my psyche. I felt I had learned to achieve a centeredness with the heart energy and then take the next step to co-create with a newly discovered partnership and sacred marriage with my spiritual world. I was reaching into the unknown and allowing this to emerge through me into my art and my outer life. Jung had brought this to my awareness with new clarity and brought my explorations into consciousness into a new focus.

The Rose Goddess

The Emergence of “Our Lady of the Golden Flower”

I completed the painting “Sacrum Fire” prior to the “Rose Goddess”. I wanted to do this painting because I loved the patterns of the petals of this old world rose. The rose in the photo I used for reference was of a white rose. When I tried to paint the rose white my arm would become painful and stiff. When I switched the colors to the yellows and oranges it was a freeing experience and the pain went away. It feels now that the deity of my painting “Our Lady of the Golden Flower” was co-creating with me before I even learned from Jung about petitioning deities to assist in my growth.

Sacrum Fire

“Sacrum Fire” was part of the display in my show at the 2004  Mythic Journeys conference in Atlanta. At that show I guided a woman through an active meditation with this painting. The next day she thanked me because she had experienced an energy that moved through her body that opened her up. She told me she did not realize she had shut down herself to life and “Sacrum Fire” had opened her up to the passion of life. This painting has a powerful affect that opens the sacrum area and can be used in a meditation to feel the passion for life.

Grace; “Apparition of Our Lady of the Golden Flower”

The painting “Grace” is a companion painting to “Pool of Dreams” which are two paintings I used to explore the inner polarities of the masculine and feminine forces within myself. I was studying Chagall at the time and painted “Grace” after “Sacrum Fire” and prior to the “Rose Goddess”. The above close up of one section details the emergence of a female being among yellow/orange roses. In addition to exploring the masculine and feminine forces these paintings were also a time when I was exploring meditation with body energy in the major chakra areas.

I deepened this exploration by feeling the polarities within the major energy centers in the body during this time. The exploration of polarities at the body energy level moved into discovering the differences of what the masculine and feminine energies feel like within. Seeing Chagall’s paintings began to show me that within each of our psyches are these polar energies and feelings that can be differentiated into the masculine and feminine. His images led me to see how he painted from the masculine and feminine parts of himself. Several of his images were telling me how he had wanted to integrate the masculine and feminine parts of himself. I was inspired by this discovery from Chagall and in my meditations I began the exploration of integrating the masculine and feminine parts of my psyche. I was very curious to find out how these inner explorations would manifest into my outer life.

“Our Lady of the Golden Flower”

The Shamanic Journey to Direct Relationship with a Living Image

Detail of "Our Lady of the Golden Flower"

The painting “Our Lady of the Golden Flower” is a culmination of the previous paintings discussed above. This painting is the deep psychological and spiritual integration of the explorations mentioned above. The story evolved in a new way when I visited Luisa Kolker of Santa Fe in 2007. I asked Luisa to assist me in a shamanic journey to learn about what was most important for me during this time. She began her shamanic journey process with drumming and then singing while I was in a deep meditation. While in this meditation was a fluid visual state where I saw flowing golden colors that were extraordinary. Soon after this began a dialogue with a deity that called herself “Our lady of the Golden Flower”. The dialogue with her revealed that it was time to allow her to expand into my life with an open, direct dialogue. She was here to assist me in my explorations of consciousness and in my artistic pursuits. She made it clear that I would have to continue to surrender belief systems and thought forms that held me rigid in an unproductive space and that it was time to move beyond my explorations of my own consciousness. It was now for me to take my explorations into larger archetypes of the world and she would be there to assist me. As I worked on the painting below, I would move into an active meditation and petition the deity “Our Lady of the Golden Flower” to assist while I painted. I soon realized that this deity has been with me for a very long time assisting me to create living images of transformational art.

"Our Lady of the Golden Flower"

A Shamanic Journey with the Tz’utujil Maya of Guatemala

Heart of Albar

My journey moved into another depth when I committed for all of 2009 to participate and learn about the ritual activities of the Tz’utujil Maya. There is a phrase that is used in their cosmology that brings livingness to all of creation in everything around us, seen and unseen. This phrase “the heart of everything” expresses the integration of the belief that all things are alive with a soul. In my 28 years of exploring consciousness and meditation I had learned about the inner world of my psyche. I had learned when I was in unhealthy state of being driven from a disassociated inner world. My meditations no longer needed to be about clearing my thoughts and quieting the mental chatter of the mind. I can now bring the mental distractions into the compassion of the heart and allow transformation of old mental patterns that no longer serve me. Now the Tz’utujil Maya were teaching me to believe and feel “the heart of everything”. They were also teaching me to petition deities to assist me in my journey in human form to co-create with the deities of the unseen world. Now I am in the beginning realm Jung calls “individuation”. I’ve spent many years creating a foundation of an integrated psyche and now I can reach beyond my own self transformation an into co-creating with other archetypal forces. From my 28 years of exploration in these areas of depth psychology and shamanism, I know that this new foundation will bring forward continuous opportunities for self transformation. But now I can take this foundation into a new livingness and support to create a pathway for the mural project to emerge. Please see blog on the mural project vision.

The forces, deities & beings emerge....

Painting with the Seen & Unseen Worlds

April 4, 2010

This first painting titled “Our Lady of the Golden Flower” began as an exploration of my imagination. I had a blank canvas I put aside that had twisted stretcher strips that caused the canvas to warp so it would not sit flat on a wall. I pulled this canvas out of the closet thinking that I could throw away this canvas if my imagination exploration did not work out.

To begin the painting I decided to meditate with the canvas to allow an image to emerge that was not pre-determined. I would ask an image to emerge and flow from me, to the canvas, and back to me. I did not ask for a specific image or preconceive an image in my mind while I was doing this. I asked my soul to communicate with me whatever it needed to through an image. Once I did this several times, I held this intent as I added another layer of gesso to the canvas. I also allowed my gesso brush strokes to be free and move as I felt and not in a linear up-down or side to side movement.

From this initial exercise I did the same meditation as I mixed two tones of paint on the pallet. I put down the two tones of paint and moved with shapes & lines that inspired me. Once I put down the two tones of paint I began to see more definitive shapes that inspired me and began to put more definition into these shapes. After this stage I let the paint dry. Then I put a large piece of tracing paper over the major figure that was sketched out in the two tones of paint. With the large tracing paper I was able to see even more detail of the emerging figure and began to sketch it more fully. This step helped me to really see and feel what needed to emerge through the painting and onto the tracing paper. Once this sketch was matured, I then transferred the detailed image back to the painting.

Let’s take a journey now to Santa Fe three years ago. Yes, I have been working on this painting for three years! But while in Santa Fe I met Luisa Kolker who assists people with her shamanic journey talents. I had asked her to schedule a session for me to take a shamanic journey. I had no specific request or agenda except to allow the energies of the unseen to assist me where I needed it the most. During the hour it felt like a deep meditation with the exception of that I was seeing brillant flowing colors of gold, yellow and orange. It was a very organic movement of colors. Luisa’s deities and spirits communicated to her that I have a deity with me that has been here to assist me in my unfoldment of my authentic self. The name of the deity is “Our Lady of the Golden Flower”.

After returning from Santa Fe I began to bring more definition into my painting by adding the colors as you see in image two. I began to add the yellow and oranges to the main figure and I began to ask the deity “Our Lady of the Golden Flower” for assistance to co-create this painting with me. My first experience of petitioning for assistance was with my “Rose Goddess” painting. This idea came from Carl Jung’s autobiography when he described how he called upon his inner wisdom deity Philemon to assist him in times of need.

Images emerge after the initial tones are laid down

Mid-stage of painting

Final stages of painting

Tz’utujil Maya Fire Ritual Painting

Tz'utujil Maya Fire Ritual Photo

Fire ritual painting begins

Foundational shapes, tones & color

The forces, deities & beings emerge....

Dream of the Partnership with the Unseen World

February 7, 2010

On January 27 I had a dream that is an example of how my soul delivered a message for me to meditate on. This dream is what I consider to be a next step in my inner development for a deeper integration of my partnership with my unseen spiritual world.


I went to Austrian mountains on the border of Germany  to visit an artist couple in some type of exchange program. This couple appeared to be very neat & clean  in their appearence and they were in their late 50’s. Their house was large and open in the interior. I was sitting at their table and asked them what they do for a living. They gave me a strange look that felt they were reluctant to tell me what they do. The woman spoke up and when she did I was very surprised that she spoke english. She spoke very clear lyrical english with a British accent. It became clear that the Austrian man had married a British woman. In addition, I was surprised because at first glance she had a very masculine appearance with short grey hair and large glasses. She had an attractive appearence and wore a light emerald green plaid shirt. Her husband was dressed in a similar fashion.

While I asked what they did for a living I wondered how they could afford a large house in this mountain village on the Austrian border with Germany.  When I asked what they did for a living she handed me a book of her work published by Northlight. The paintings pictured in the book were traditional water color work of landscape and other pictures of daily life items. I asked where her work was at since their walls were bare and there were no paintings in this house. They said their new house was not ready. I looked at the book and saw water color paintings of the trusses of their new house. I asked again where her paintings were at and I looked at the book again and the paintings seemed to be very mystical even though they had a traditional nature appearence when one first viewed them. I began to see that the paintings were alive in each stroke and had a vibration to them.

I asked her if she had an estatic experience while painting them. As I said that and looked at her, she had her eyes closed and appeared to be guided by some other unseen force. Her canvas was full of wet oil paint. It was thick paint  that were in lines of color on top of each other and the final top layer was white paint. She moved a brush in a quick back and forth motion to smudge the paint together. Her movements were very consistent to bring the paint together to form unique colors and the image emerged through her painting technique.  As she did this she said it was a gift that her mother had too. While she painted I could hear two hard sticks hitting together like a clave’  to keep time for her art. It was very quiet except for the slow steady time of the clave’.

Her husband was dressed the same way and held a supportive feeling while she painted. But he was not making the clave’ sound of the sticks hitting together. She did two paintings while this was happening and the last painting was a small one of an orange. I thought that she must sell all her paintings because they were alive and felt so good and there were no paintings on the walls. I also wanted for them to give me one of her paintings while I stayed with them during the exchange visit.


The dream begins in a large open house in the mountains on the border between countries. It is a large open yet clean art studio and the male and female are neat a clean in appearance. Even though the female has short cropped hair and appears masculine, her features with the green plaid shirt plaid shirt and her lyrical voice with a British accent all have a deep feminine feeling. They appear to have a reluctance to speak about the true meaning and depth of their art.

Once I start to ask about their art they begin to open up with giving me the north light book. The published book shows what appears to be water color art that has a traditional nature and landscape appearance. After I ask them where their paintings are they respond that a new house is being built to contain them. The book has watercolor paintings of the structural elements of the new house. The new house also has a feeling of being larger so it can show all their paintings.

When I look at the book a second time, the paintings become alive and contain the unique energy of the nature subject. I become aware that these paintings are very special. They induct the viewer into the alive essence of nature and I realize how valuable the paintings are. I knew at that moment they must sell all their paintings because people want to feel an alive connection to nature.

At this point the woman is already painting from a deep estatic space with thick layered oil paint not watercolor. It is obvious she is painting in partnership with her spiritual assistant to create these unique valuable paintings of nature. She is also guided by the clave’ that keeps time while she paints. The male is in an aware meditative space that supports the rhythm of creating the paintings from a deep spiritual space.

This dream is communicating that I already have an integrated partnership with my unseen forces of nature. It is saying that I can communicate the story of my paintings with the connection to the north light of the high clean mountains. There is a rhythm to creating the paintings that appears slow but in reality it is not slow. Both the female and male are dressed in the green plaid, the color of the heart center. This is the partnership of the masculine and feminine creating together in their unique roles in a supportive relationship structure that has its foundation in the north light of the mountains.

Once I begin asking about the paintings, the couple begins to open up to communicate in a unique intuitive way on what their paintings are really about. At this point they show a complete openess in the feeling they have in my presence. This openess leads to the discussion about the new larger house under construction. It also leads to the paintings transforming from watercolors to oil paintings that are very alive with the essence & soul of nature.

From this dream I am to trust the unseen spiritual parnership that supports and co-creates with me while I paint. There also an element of becoming closing to the partnership that is deeper than the relationship I observe but I am not quite in partnership at this time. It is also saying I must really begin to communicate about the partnership I have with my spiritual world that assists me in creation of my paintings. This will create a new larger inner space that has additional strength to hold my paintings. The connection to narture is critical with integrating the north light of the mountains to publicize my work to the world that will highly value my work. My work is the portal that opens up people  to a new aliveness within the many colorful layers of  themselves and a new connection to nature.

Transformational Art; The Mural Project

January 2, 2010

I was at the Mayan ruins in Copan Honduras in the early 1990’s listening to Conrad Satala tell the story of each stelae in the main temple plaza. Each story of the individual stelae weaved into a larger story of how these ancient people explored personal & collective transformation. These stories through the art of each stelae created a mythic story common to all people even to this modern age. The myth of the Mayan culture in Copan described the inner transformative journey each human travels during their lifetime. As Conrad described these stories about the stelae, I could sense that the stelae artworks are the portals for the deities & beings to emerge through to co-create with the Maya on the daily aspects of their culture.

I returned to Copan on 2003 for another week of exploring my inner world and meditating on the site of the ruins. It was during this time that I would directly experience communication from the unseen world that was preparing me in advance for the restructuring of my life. As I would learn later from the Tz’utujil Maya in 2009, the unseen world communicates via beings and deities through the art of creating ritual space. This happened to me during my 2003 visit to Copan. The stelae and their mythic stories were communicating to me through experiences, dreams and visions. Their communication were clearly instructing me on the next area of my inner psychological world that I would need to transform in order to be prepared for current and upcoming experiences in my personal & professional life.

While I was at the Copan museum on the site of the ruins in 2003, I decided to meditate in front of an ancient tomb cover that was a burial lid for the only known female shaman. During this meditation I could feel a fine but intense vibration and I started to get very warm. There were not any images but rather a direct feeling in my body and I felt different as I walked away that was similar to waking up from a dream. Later in the week we visited a smaller museum in the center of the village of Copan Ruinas. In the museum was an enclosed display with the bones of the female shaman and the bones of a puma. This was the same person whose tomb lid I meditated with in the other museum. I decided to meditate in front of this display to see if I felt the same as I did in front of the tomb lid. This was a very different meditation. It was very quiet and still. I did not feel the intense vibration I had felt in front of the tomb lid. I walked away feeling that nothing had happened.

On the last day of that visit to Copan, we had some free time so I decided to visit a small collection of ancient structures behind the main temples of the ruins. We called this place the dreaming place and had been there several times as a group. I went there to do a final meditation in the old stone structures. As I sat down to meditate, a tour group came by with a guide. It was a very large group and very noisy. I did my best to not get distracted and to keep focused on the meditation. The group eventually left but I was feeling very busy in my mind and felt the meditation was not working. I was getting ready to leave when I decided to try again since I was alone. I sat down again and did my best to quiet my mind to meditate. At that moment I saw a hazy image of an ancient Mayan in the shape of the Maize God and it was a yellow green color. It then switched to an image of the stones of a temple but with an opening to a dark space. At that moment I opened my eyes and across from me was a small temple structure. I felt the urge to get up and look at the temple. I walked up the steps to the first level and I saw the opening to below the temple. I looked down there and felt compelled and conflicted at jumping down into this opening. How would I get out? I saw a ledge half way down there that I could sit on and I could still get out of this space. There were many insects flying around and I did not want to sit in the midst of them just to get bitten and I had no repellant with me. I knew this was my last day so I mustered up the courage and jumped down to the ledge. The insects were flying all around and did not leave. So I sat down on the ledge with my legs dangling over into the dark space of inside the temple. It felt very vulnerable and the flying insects just kept circling around me. I got quiet and focused on my heart center and asked to go deeper. I did this several times and did my best to stay focused and not get distracted by the insects and the feeling of my legs dangling into the dark opening. This time my meditation was very quiet and still. It was similar to the meditation in front of the female shaman & puma bones. I’m not sure how much time had past but as I opened my eyes, all the insects had gone. I picked up my backpack and climbed out of the opening and returned to meet the group in front of the hieroglyphic stairway. I was to learn later that this was the temple tomb of the last king of Copan Yax Pajac.

Shortly after I returned home, I had a significant dream. In this dream I was painting a puma with jaguar spots on top of its head that went down the spine and stopped at the tail. While I was painting this puma/jaguar it came alive and jumped off the canvas and ran to the screen door. It turned to look at me and said “I’ll be back”. It ran through the closed screen door and was gone. I looked out the door and I saw my car drive into the garage of a house across the street. The dream continued with my observation of the puma/jaguar running through a forest and then I was in the jaguar, running as the jaguar. This feeling became stronger and I was the jaguar and I was myself. I could feel everything the jaguar was experiencing. At that moment in my awareness I knew I was going to wake up. As I started to shift from the dream to being awake, the feeling of the jaguar intensified, and I felt I was a jaguar and nothing else. When I began to awaken even further it seemed I was automatically sitting up in bed at the same time as I became fully awake. Once fully awake I was breathing as if I had been running and I still felt I was the jaguar. It was an extremely intense and I felt the wildness of the jaguar. After a moment the feeling receded but the story of the dream was very vivid.

These two dreams are related and they led to the creation of my painting “Voices of Paq’alib’al”. This is the painting with the image of the maize god with the open heart and jaguars. It is important to note that I did not plan this painting to have its final configuration as it is today. I did not even connect the dreams to the painting while I was creating it. The figures emerged after many times of painting over previous images that did not feel right. It was only after I completed the painting did I understand how it evolved and where it came from.

This is the art of the indigenous way of life by co-creating with the beings and deities that communicate to us individually and collectively through a depth of feeling, dreams, visions, and nature. It is a unique language that manifests into this world through a work of art.

It is the vision of the mural project to activate transformational art with similar methods of the indigenous for this modern age. The mural project will explore the integration of the indigenous & western consciousness through the focus of the heart center. This is related to how each individual would explore within themselves the integration of their unconscious self with the conscious self that C.G. Jung taught. It is the basis for self-actualization. The integration of the indigenous & western consciousness is the unfinished mythic story of the Americas. The mural project will explore & develop the new mythic elements, deities and beings of the story that need to be brought into manifestation. The murals will depict images that will provide a pathway for the authentic story of the Americas to emerge.

The murals will be inspired by the cultures of the ancient peoples of the Americas such as the Maya, Chaco Canyon and Anderson Mounds Indiana; . The project will synthesize the practices of these ancient & modern indigenous cultures that access & communicate with the forces of the natural world through the heart center. This is the integration of the indigenous & western consciousness. The project will bring the foundation of Jung’s work into the murals by exploring and listening to the wholeness of the human and natural world experience. This means developing a sensitive awareness to our relationship with our natural environment, which includes the inner experiences of a depth of feeling, dreams, visions and synchronous events.

The definition of “Myth” by Joseph Campbell will be expanded and explored in that mythic elements are actual living beings co-creating and communicating to humans. The mural project will partner with the Tz’utujil Maya in Guatemala through ritual and dialog to co-create with the unseen forces, beings and deities to develop the images and story for the new elements of the Myth of the Americas. This will bring myth creation into a livingness for each individual and the collective community to bring mythic stories beyond the “Hero’s Journey” and into an integrated wholeness. The mural creation is related to Tibetan mandala creation of co-creating with the unseen spiritual world to allow an image to emerge that answers a life affecting issue or question for individuals and society. It is actively seeking and petitioning the next part of the story to emerge from the unseen world. See blog on “Creating beyond the Known and with the Unknown”;

The mural project will also begin to bring into ritual the elements of the cosmos within our galaxy that are in direct relationship with the earth. The project will specifically work with the “2012” event. As the ancient Mayan calendar predicted, the alignment of the earth to the center of the Milky Way will occur on December 21, 2012. NASA has already discovered the additional energy that emanates from the center of the Milky Way. From the Mayan view this is a beginning of a new cycle and the energy projected from the center of the Milky Way is an actual living being and/or deity that emerges from the one source. This idea continues to open up the ancient ways of co-creation of the mural with the natural forces, beings and deities of the unseen world, the earth and cosmic forces. This relates how the ancient people of the Americas would utilize the network of sacred sites at Chaco Canyon, Anderson Mounds and the world of the Maya in Central America. The mural project would embody these indigenous art forms of the sacred sites and develop into a transformative story. The Myth of the Americas would capture this story through art to fully illustrate the story as a pathway for people to live in harmony within themselves and to the earth.

John Biggers speaks eloquently about this process in the short movie “Stories of Illumination and Growth: John Biggers’ Hampton Murals” published by Hampton University Museum. In this movie, John Biggers describes how he integrates the elements from his personal life, his African heritage and universal motifs of mythic metaphors. This is a life long process to explore one’s personal story and integrate it with one’s heritage and/or passion with the larger essence of myth. It is the mural project’s vision to elaborate and expand John Biggers vision into an active process of mural creation. The transformational mural process as explained previously is developing an indigenous way of creating art with the unseen world. From this active process the images emerge to continue the story that John Biggers describes in the movie. Therefore it uses Biggers legacy as an inspiration to keep his work alive and growing into new forms, images and stories that describe a spiritually integrated people and their society. The mural project would produce images of “Illumination and Growth” for our society to see and strive towards.

The mural project will develop a core group of people that convene on a regular basis to continue the evolvement of the Myth of the Americas stories. It would be a vehicle to create and commission murals that have a positive and integrated vision for society. It would challenge cultural paradigms of European and indigenous origins for the goal of creating new cultural partnerships based on compassion for all life. These challenges would be in the form of positive illuminating images that illustrate the potential of societies to co-create with each other and with the natural forces of the earth.

The core group would embody the ideal of creating with the unseen world and have a direct relationship to the archetypes that emerge through the language of art. The mural project members would study dream images and metaphors for the development of mural stories. It would also provide a vehicle for co-creating mural stories with indigenous groups that desire to participate in the project.