Art as a Spiritual Practice
When our ancestors started painting cave walls, the subject matter and placement made it clear that this was seen as something spirit filled, not just decorative. Even now, an artist often will be in an “altered state” while working. Specific images that apparently came from somewhere else (and are recognized by an unintended viewer) are downloaded into our heads. The art itself, whether painted, sculpted, musical or other forms helps facilitate others entering sacred states. Our panelists will discuss how they work and how they interact with their daimons and muses and others who direct their art.
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” This quote, often ascribed to Friedrich Nietzsche or more recently to George Carlin, whoever said it, an excellent illustration of how different perspective can give different responses.
To put it bluntly, it’s nobody’s business to tell you what should make you happy.
To some people, bliss is found in a drum circle, to others in quite by a lake with no one breaking the silence. Some find it in the second wind of a 20 mile run, others in being lost in an art project, or the contemplation of a loved one. While you might share with others how your bliss comes to you, there is no guarantee that what takes you to that special place will take them there. Or to put it another way, some like chocolate, some like strawberry, and there is no fault in either choice. Part of this is “nature”: some people have more taste buds than other people, and if you taste foods more acutely than others, it’s the luck of the draw, not a virtue. Part of this is “nurture”: the people of Iceland eat putrefied shark (hakari) on special occasions, Scots eat haggis, ancient Romans shopped garum, a sauce made of fermented fish guts to the ends of the empire, because they couldn’t imagine eating without it, anymore than most modern Americans can imagine a world without french fries and ketchup. Also your sense of smell is deeply connected to your memories, and what is familiar soothes you, which is why scent is such a powerful tool in creating rituals.
It’s sometimes disorienting to discover that something that makes you feel wonderful does not have the same effect on everyone, after all, the Golden Rule is to treat others as you would want to be treated. But sometimes someone will react to a courtesy as if you had insulted them, or respond in what seems to you an inexplicable manner, because no matter how psychic we are, we don’t automatically understand everything even about those with whom we are close. Cultural differences are trained in at such an early age, that often we don’t understand our own reactions. Dietary laws in various religions often seem confusing to those not raised to them. So sometimes we must remind ourselves that in the great and varied universe, there are many responses and that’s a good thing. When one of my friends was a child, she and her sister would pool their allowances to buy a head of fresh broccoli (something not available on their parents budget). Luckily one preferred the florets, and one preferred the stalks, so this worked out great for them. When we discover that others don’t respond the same way as we do, we can feel confused and betrayed by the common wisdom, or you look to see how these different responses can be a benefit in this situation. It probably won’t work every time, just as the “Do unto others” doesn’t, but sometimes it may help.
One of the challenges of living in the 21st century is dealing with the change. We can see changes we’d like to make: wouldn’t it be great if in the next generation people simply accept that humans are psychic? That we have the ability to connect with others on an energetic level? That we can heal ourselves? That we can connect with other invisible realms and spirits? Won’t it be great not to have to justify our belief in what we’ve experienced for ourselves, and try to prove it?
Yet, while some changes seem appealing, when we experience changes we are often more afraid than relieved. Even with divination giving us glimpses into the future, sometimes it looks like we are headed for disaster with such force that nothing we can do can change it. There are many things we can’t change- like the weather * , so sometimes our choices are simply how to react to it, whether to change how we’re dressed or whether to take shelter. But along with those practical responses, we sometimes need to remind ourselves that we attract what we focus on, and our response can shape our experience.
Sometimes, even if we can’t push the storm clouds along, we can dance in the rain, and focus on trying to change the way we feel about it to a positive one. Accepting that weather is one of the earth’s balancing systems, and maybe rain is a good thing- however inconvenient or uncomfortable- may help. These “interesting times” we’d rather not be living in may, in fact, be a blessing in disguise.
As a healer, I remind myself of how a fever may not be just a symptom, but the mechanism by which an infection is cured. Others may prefer the analogy of the grain of sand which provides the impetus for the oyster to create a pearl. Probably every discipline can provide its own analogy. Many of discomforts we are now experiencing may be the mechanisms through which the changes we wish for are being accomplished. Our job is to look for those mechanisms and help them to our desired ends.
Some of us remind ourselves that we chose to be born in these times, to be a part of these changes. Others take comfort that another, wiser force has put us here to give us the opportunity to make the best of this point in history. Or, you may feel (as Terry Pratchett’s “philosopher Didactylus it:) ‘Things just happen. What the hell.’” In which case, you may as well make the best of whatever opportunities present themselves, whether storm, drought or wonderful weather. Take what comfort you may.
* yes, some of us do seem to be able to change the weather, but that’s a different theme!
Yemaya with Lady AMber Dawn
Yemaya-Queen of the Seas: You all KNOW Her by the waves of the ocean, the smell of the sea, Her ”blue”: dress of the water and by the COMPANY She regularly keeps! For She is the Mother of all of the Orisha especially Her son Chango/Sango/Shango.She’s also the cousin of the Goddess Ast/Ausset/Isis. She’s the Queen of the Mermaid and Mermen. Stir does the sea when She dances ! She’s the Mother of fish….She’s YEMAYA !! In this class, we’ll look at Yemaya and Her influence on our modern lives; in an out of the water! Then we’ll construct a small special dance to bring forth Yemaya energies into our bodies! I’ll close the class with the exercise of making “Yemaya” water. Everyone will be taking home a small sample back home with them.
Class level: Beginner
Material fees $4.00 (for making the Yamaya water)
There will also be an auction at the end for a Yemaya candle or statue.