I’ve had a few people tell me this Summer that they didn’t know what I did to my pieces, but they work to bring them calm, clarity or healing. I am grateful for the compliments, but I want to be really clear that this effect is not mine to claim, it is your magic. All I am doing is creating a physical focal point for that energy to become anchored, allowing it to build over time through repeated reinforcement as a part of a practice of mindfulness. Anything can become a touchstone in this way, but sometimes we need to be given permission to trust in our own powers, our own ability to heal and to manifest positive change. If permission is needed, I want to say that yes, you can do it, trust in yourself and the universe!
Soliciting input for a community folk art project: Responding to place, draw a pattern that occurs in nature using only point, line and arc.
My art practice has grown out of experience using objects like these for myself to address old wounds, overcome obstacles and achieve goals. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges to overcome along the way, but it helps to have something concrete to refer to as a path-marker. Imagery works on a different part of the brain than words, symbols are readily understood by the subconscious where text has to filter through our logic circuits before it can be absorbed. Given the privelidge of living in the developed world, we may expect that things should come to us more easily than they do. We may be ambitious with the goals we’ve set, and get confused or lost in trying to sustain the journey toward them. When we repeatedly invest a sentiment into a symbolic representation of that aim, even if there is drift over time, we can use that object like a compass to bring us back to the center of our vision – back to a state of gratitude.
A walking mindfulness meditation: collect seeds, leaves and berries from around your neighborhood and arrange them into a seasonal botanical mandala.
Another thing I would like to take this opportunity to note is that sometimes we need to protect that magic by being selective about who we share it with. Everyone has had the experience at one point or another of sharing their plans with someone who carelessly dashes them, intentionally or not. For this reason, I recommend keeping to the old adage “To Know, to Dare, to Will and to Keep Silent” about the specifics of your energy work – unless you really trust the individuals you are sharing with. That’s not to say that we can exist in a vacuum in pursuing these changes, but that we should be careful not to allow thoughtless nay-saying to interfere with our good intentions.
Drawing a sigil for self-love and acceptance at a Conspiracy of Strange Girls Art sale.
In closing, I would like to note that much of the symbolism I am working with has been gathered from folk traditions that have been assigned many different meanings over the course of millennia. To me, this is a part of what makes symbolic languages so exciting to work with – they are alive in that you can never fully know all of the connotations they may posses, and what they mean is still actively evolving over time. I have come to embrace this facet of the work. Though some may isolate a few particular characters that have been co-opted by bad actors, I say that these glyphs are too important to be given over to the haters. A part of this practice is reclaiming symbols like the runes from the hands of white supremacists, and in so doing, thwarting their ambitions to use them for negative ends. If I am ever asked about parallels to hate speech, I use it as an opening for dialogue to help educate and liberate these ancient characters so they can again be viewed with the nuance and beauty that they were originally invested with.