My commitment to chronicle the art making process requires I relate all, from the most difficult stretches, to my modest successes. The muse is fickle and I am negotiating a dry spell. Here is a belated post to let you know I’m still hanging in there
I had been working the raw umber, paynes gray and burnt sienna into a web of interwoven strokes. That night, in a dream, I saw an ancient ziggurat carved in natural sandstone and honey-combed with caves. As I looked at its golden, weathered form rising into the vivid, blue sky, I realized it was a dream. It was a fleeting glimpse of profound emptiness–the ultimate ground of reality. In that insubstantial image I apprehended the Heart Sutra’s most essential teaching: Form is Emptiness/Emptiness is no other than Form.
I don’t claim this as a great accomplishment, but I do like that the process of painting inspired dream imagery and the dream, in turn, redirected the painting.
The image was also inspired by a program about early Christianity I’d seen that night. The film showed the mountain, hermit caves where the Nag Hamadi collection of early Gnostic writings were found.
The Gnostics taught that soul is imprisoned in matter; that Gnostic experience is a return to the pure light of Divinity through overcoming demonic forces (Archons) whose job it is to hold humanity in bondage to the dense spheres of matter.
While I may not share this belief in the malign aspect of the natural world, I do believe these teachings form a part of our spiritual heritage. They have left psychic imprints upon the collective unconscious. It is not so much a matter of belief as that of experience–Gnossis.
Various reasons are put forward for the fall of Sophia from the upper spheres and her plunge into the world of matter…(in one version) the tragedy occurred when she mistook the false light she saw below for the ‘light of lights’ for which she aspired…
In some texts she represents…the stricken city of Jerusalem.