Blog #6B-D Personal Archetype

Anavami Center

Archetypes are universal, across all cultures, yet have a deeply personal essence to be explored as we often do not acknowledge, consciously or unconsciously, those with which we are most intimate. These constructions of our basic drives, foibles, and potentialities are core to human behavior. Greek myths offer classical expressions of archetypal behavior, some convoluted and dramatic and some more subtle, all have psychological truth in the context of the human psyche. In marking we are particularly interested in the archetypes that govern us and our culture as they are the currency of all the arts.

Blog #6B-D Personal ArchetypeIn the studio each of us began a practice by acausal means, like picking a Tarot card, to reveal a personal archetype specific for this time to prime synchronicity, assisting to loosen the collective paradigm as we develop a deeper rapport with the relational-field and trust alternate ways of knowing, his is a part of our on-going discussion of the overarching archetypal forest-of-art with its enchantments, perils and opportunities for transformation. We are cultivating what Josh Schrei in his Emerald Podcast on the Forest calls the “protocols or attitudes and procedures for safe passage”. We are learning that these protocols require deep attention, heart investment, commitment, care, love, work and awareness of the web of relations in the animistic universe.

The images accompanying this text may help to illustrate the protocols that developed in the creative process. The first image, a toothy non-descript animal flanked by a young girl shadowed by a red fox, with her hands on the beast’s jaws was an odd painting of several years ago. It was cartoonish and I painted over it several times, once even taking an electric sander to the surface. The icons, however, kept reasserting themselves.

Blog #6B-D Personal ArchetypeWhen I pulled the Strength card from the Tarot deck, symbol of inner strength, I realized this image had a message. It was the image of a young woman opening or closing the mouth of a lion. In my image the primal power of the beast seems to be from another dimension. It was transparent and on a different plane, legs dancing above the grass. The figure of the Red Fox is a personal daimon which sneaks into much of my work, extending like the young woman beyond the picture plane. None of this was intentional. Eventually in the last iteration a tri-fold figure was enshrined within the animal revealing itself as the Hierophant, which, according to the Tarot, is the spiritual aspect of the masculine. It emerged from the Beast signifying an intermediator or what I think of as the organizing principle or higher guidance. This was not only important to this image but shed light on several other paintings where this tri-fold image has appeared.

Blog #6B-D Personal ArchetypeThe dynamics of the organizing principle is one of the most important protocols in the forest, for it speaks to a higher principle to which we have allegiance. In an OEITH Podcast by Duncan Barford he refers to the Hierophant via Paul Verhaeghe saying, the difference between power, a two-party relationship, and authority, three parties, is that the Organizing Principle is the representation of goodness and truth and the renunciation of personal power. The Hierophant is not a figure of authority but, rather, a figure that knows where authority is to be found. Through research, reflection and physically marking, this understanding was brought home in a way that was before just conceptual. This process stimulated the important understanding from where inner strength comes. Other experiences in this endeavor confirmed that one of the perils in the forest is the blinders of personal aesthetics which can stop or stall the development of the work in its tracks. Here, we are practicing as not the sole agent but allowing other forces to work, to trust the images that arise and give freedom to become a navigation of the forest. This kind of process leads to a wealth of insights, lending flexibility and curiosity that allows the emergence of what exists. Thus, painting is not a product but a process that belongs to a greater mystery.

Majio

Click on thumbnail to see full size image.

Blog #5D & #6A: Shapeshifting through Trance Induction and Story Telling

Anavami Center
Blog #5D & #6A: Shapeshifting through Trance Induction and Story Telling

Dream of Fossilized Oyster Found in the Desert

This week we experienced shapeshifting field-trips: Robert guided us to feel into stone-ness, Marjorie had us holding a regret as we ran our finger through water offering a subliminal catalyst for release. Carolyn spoke in the first person as the tumbled rocks and shells of the tide line at the ocean and called forth the details of that rhythm. Lainie brought us through a delightful romp as a chipmunk who dashed and looked, leaped and listened, tasted and stashed gathering nuts and savoring the squirrel’s sunflower seeds.

Blog #5D & #6A: Shapeshifting through Trance Induction and Story Telling

Unreconcilable

Lucy, surprised us with her contribution by reaching back to the bard tradition as she brought us into deep participation in her story. She began by having us crawl around on the floor moving as cats, feeling the shoulders and hips initiate the movement of the limbs. She showed a short of the French tightrope walker Philippe Petit as his feet stepped along the steel wire. Then she began the story of his participation in 1987 walking aerially over the Valley of Hell between Palestine and Israel. This dramatic portrayal, 25 meters above the roaring crowd, was an occasion when there seemed to be a possible resolution between the two states. Her presentation included a lively portrayal of a confused white dove released from a piece of silk choosing to instead of fly to freedom land on Philippe’s head then the end of his pole and then walked behind him on the wire, almost mimicking his movements. All of this ended in the dove taking flight as Phillippe reached his destination.

When one actually imaginally embodies other, the experience brings emotions, information and insights very different from thinking about something. It was from this state that we undertook our Marking bringing forward powerful images from all of the journeys.  You can get a sense of that from the markings that appear after this blog.
 

Majio
 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. 

 

Blog #5C Become-like Cloud, Fear, Fingers and Raven

Anavami Center
Blog #5C Become-like Cloud, Fear, Fingers and Raven

Fingers of Fire

This week our field-trip guides who took us into shape-shifting were creative and innovative in their choice of subject and how they induced the state of mind to be receptive to becoming like something other or something we push away. Jess began with a complex hand mudra. She asked participants to gather a variety of materials and to interact with them by feel. She had us become like the tips of our fingers exploring and getting information through body sensation. My fingers became a fire gobbling up everything within touch leaving only ash of residual sensation and wispy smoke of memory.

Blog #5C Become-like Cloud, Fear, Fingers and Raven

In the Jaws of Fear

The venture that Margie stimulated was a journey into fear. She set the stage ahead of time for everyone to choose a strong memory of being in abject fear. Carol chose a more traditional journey taking us into the body of Raven with the breathing pulsing the wings in flight. Lorrie used the form of paradelle to induce the state of becoming-cloud, which will follow.

Majio
 

NOTE: “The paradelle is one of the more demanding French fixed forms, first appearing in the langue d’oc love poetry of the eleventh century. It is a poem of four six-line stanzas in which the first and second lines, as well as the third and fourth lines of the first three stanzas, must be identical. The fifth and sixth lines, which traditionally resolve these stanzas, must use all the words from the preceding lines and only those words. Similarly, the final stanza must use every word from all the preceding stanzas and only those words.” Poet Laureate Billy Collins, as it turns out fabricated the form.

Shapeshifting Clouds

Wade into a sea of clouds and swim with the Sun
Wade into a sea of clouds and swim with the Sun

I look to the sky the clouds stretch across weaving into many shapes.
I look to the sky the clouds stretch across weaving into many shapes.
Travelers conforming, changing, disappearing without beginning or end.
Travelers conforming, changing, disappearing without beginning or end.
Beginning to stretch into sky conforming the travelers or disappearing shapes.
Weaving across clouds I end many without changing the look.

So soft they appear I wish to wrap them all around me.
So soft they appear I wish to wrap them all around me.
They are wind clouds but I am enticed by their warmth.
They are wind clouds but I am enticed by their warmth.
I appear soft but they wrap me around their wind.
Wish clouds they are so enticed by all warmth I am to them.

Floating by like feathers I hug them to my heart.
Floating by like feathers I hug them to my heart.
Whiteness, softness, delicate movement I am looking at my Soul.
Whiteness, softness, delicate movement I am looking at my Soul.
Looking at my heart movement floating whiteness I am delicate.
I like Soul feathers my hug to them by softness.

The clouds are weaving my delicate Soul by wind movement so I am.
Soft whiteness stretch them beginning into shapes I appear without end.
Changing or floating across my heart they hug me to them.
I wrap warmth by softness around all travelers.
They enticed me but wish I am looking at disappearing.
I look conforming the sky to many clouds like their feathers.

Wade into a sea of clouds and swim with the Sun
Wade into a sea of clouds and swim with the Sun

By Lorrie Bogner as induction for Cloud Shifting

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. 

 

Blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

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blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

Majio’s Original Markings


blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

Lorrie’s Contributions


Blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

Majio’s Completion

This week we are taking a break from meeting in circle before we dive into shape- shifting. This gives us an opportunity to show some of the collaboration work that we have been doing between participants. The format is that someone works on a piece, diptych or triptych and then passes it to another member who works on it to be handed back to the original artist to finish it, taking notes on personal insights of process and/or content.

This adventure brings up many issues. One is completion, for it is courteous and respectful to not over-do your part. When working on another’s piece you need to stop for different reasons than usual. Lorrie and I took several weeks of looking at the piece in all stages, not to strategize but simply to take-in and trust in an authentic response. Rather than the usually slap-dash delight of random, I needed to listen intently at each stage. I carried the piece inside me during that time alert to a markings that wanted to participate in Lorrie’s piece. After Lorrie’s work, it seemed to need something very small and subtle for completion. I waited until a Xerox transfer of cobblestone caught my eye. I knew that was it. But again, I waited to see if the flirting developed into a relationship of some kind. In the end, I put it into the white space and as there was not enough of the print to fill the space, I continued with drawing to repeat the pattern with colored pastel pencils.

 

blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio
I was more comfortable working on Majio’s pieces than returning to mine after Majio had worked on them. I think that I was afraid of losing what Majio had added because it felt like my pieces needed her expression in them. Very interesting interaction. Lorrie

Lorrie’s Originals

blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

It is always a delight to work on Lorrie’s pieces as they call something new forth in marks, color and subtractions. It is like toning a new muscle or listening for a here to unheard nuance. It forces me to be attentive in a new way. Majio

Majio’s Contributions

blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

All participants are doing a collaborative exchange in three parts that we will be sharing in the blogs.

Lorrie’s Completion

Majio
 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image.

Blog #5A Shape-shifting as a means of Conjunctive knowing

Anavami Center
This week we journeyed into an old persimmon tree; first down into the roots to complete our inner vision of tree beyond what the apparent. Then we traveled up through time to budding of leaves, fruit. Through sensations in the body dropping of all the leaves and ripening of the persimmon. People had a variety of experiences and explorations depending on what was valuable at this time for them.

Exploration in how to powerfully shift perspectives, for information and insights has been practiced since the dawn of humanity. This month is devoted to marking through shape-shifting, with each participant taking a turn to lead the circle. The resources that emerge from this practice are outside of familiar ways of knowing in our time. They elicits an invitation into the kind of journey that like Jane Hirshfield’s poem Bees, expresses how do we not only refuse the invitation, but don’t even realize that it has been offered.

#5A Blog Shape-shifting as a means of Conjunctive knowing

Jess: Persimmon Tree Shape-shift

Bees by Jane Hirshfield

To every instant, two gates,
One opens to fragrant paradise, one to hell,
Mostly we go through neither.

Mostly we nod to our neighbor,
lean down to pick up the paper,
go back into the house.

But the faint cries—ecstasy? Horror?
Or did you think it the sound
of distant bees,
making only the thick honey of this good life?

#5A Blog Shape-shifting as a means of Conjunctive knowing

Marjorie: Persimmon Tree Shape-shift

In our marking circle, In-Bodying the Field, we have committed to answer the call leading to hell or heaven, which I may add that by ignoring the call both, we end up where we are. As we all well know, for the first time in the history of our planet human beings have instrumental role in the sustainability for many life forms. We are being forced to frame things in new ways, as we also find new ways of knowing. Josh Schrei maintains that shapeshifting is an evolutionary force. It is conjunctive knowing, knowing through the body that that has been normative to most of the planet’s inhabitants throughout history until recently. If we want to shift the paradigm that is not working, we as artist cannot afford to re-hash the same old stories. Shapeshifting is another way to expand how we learn, perceive and create. It takes a committed practice to go through Hirshfield’s gates and let the newspaper lay.

The Emerald Podcast Shapeshifting by Josh Schrei

 

Majio
 

Blog #4D Devotional

Anavami Center
This week’s exploration has had a lasting impact on most everyone’s attitude towards the marking materials, as well as a new connection to the animistic field. Our marking shifted materials as commodity to means of devotion. Devotion at first felt like an old unused word relating to organized religion, but as we explored it, we realized that we are all devoted in any number of things. We set out candles and incense to create a mood and instead of our regular materials we used organic colorants like turmeric, beet powder, tea, coffee, flowers, berries, powdery sand from the playa at Burningman and whatever that would leave a trace of pigment. We used these materials devotionally, as a means of appreciation, just as colored ochre and flower powders have been sprinkled on the ritual objects in ceremony all over the world throughout history.
Blog #4D Devotional

Devotional Marking with Colorants, on paper 18” X 24”


For some of us it was like sandpainting as we sprinkled powders over wet marks then brushing the excess way. For others, the colorants were in an ink-form. For all of us at first it was difficult not to use the colorants as art materials, to be under our control. The practice of conscious breathing supported the intention to participate in the act of honoring rather exerting our ideas, personality, ego. It was obvious to everyone that it was a different experience than making something. The theme of our work was to hold in our body the feeling of a special place that was safe, comforting and grounding. Honoring this place within us through the materials.

This is one of the podcasts that we took for inspiration from: Emerald Podcast, The Shape of Art, Place, Relevance, and the Living Force Between Adorer and Adored:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

In this podcast Josh Schrei infers that our experience of art has been formed fundamentally by our museums and art history format. He talks about art as the state and quality of interaction, echoing John Dewey’s stance that art is experience. Schrei maintains that art re-enforces the animate force of life as a gateway for the experience of the animate force.

From David Whyte’s book, Consolations we evoked both the sense of Maturity and Resting, which underscored the sense of selfhood. They also confirm the somatic sense of dropping into the relaxation of the moment with no goal. Our practice with marking is to hold a greater perspective through presence that includes contradictions, not knowing and risking.

Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once…Maturity calls us to risk ourselves as much as immaturity, but for a bigger picture, a larger horizon, for a powerfully generous outward incarnation of our inward qualities and not for gains that make us smaller, even in the winning.

Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also psychologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting…

The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imaginations and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves lone…one state of rest is…the sense of slowly coming home…the template of perfection in the human imagination….

 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

Blog #4C Axis Mundi

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Blog #4C Axis Mundi

Threshold, oil & cold wax with collage on canvas, 3′ X 5′

As we go into shapeshifting in the seminar, In-Bodying the Field in Marking, it is a means to explore the animate-field in which we live. As we change shapes in the imaginal realm we want some navigation tools, like a strong concept of selfhood and an anchoring in the physical body. This week we mark into the centering and grounding of axis mundi, somatically feeling it through gravity’s attraction to the center of the earth. This also gives us a sense of directionality and relationship in the cosmos. Like all our explorations in marking this is not claiming a new belief system but nudging our unquestioned one for a possibly greater perspective and insight into our relationship to life.

Our preparation for the axis mundi marking comprised of somatic exploration with guest facilitator, Carol Agnessens, as well as the evocation of several poets. Participants connected energetically to the feeling of aligning with the world’s axis relating to Emilie Conrad’s comment, founder of Continuum Movement:

It took me many years to recognize that the undulating fluid that I felt in my body…the undulating waves of primordial motion are the movements of love. Not emotional love but an encompassing atmosphere of love. A love that has its own destiny.

If that is a bit of a leap in this great time of stress and polarization perhaps David Whyte’s thoughts from Consolations would relate:

Besieged is how most people feel most of the time: by events, by people, by all the necessities of providing, parenting or participating and even by creative possibilities they have set in motion themselves, and most especially, a success they have achieved through long years of endeavor.

To feel crowded, set upon, blocked by circumstances, in defeat or victory, is not only the daily experience of most human beings in most contemporary societies; it has been an abiding dynamic of individual life since the dawn of human consciousness…

If the world will not go away then the great discipline seems to be the ability to make an identity that can live in the midst of everything without feeling beset…In this space of undoing, and silence we create a foundation from which to re-imagine our day and ourselves…

Creating a state of aloneness in the besieged everyday may be one of the bravest things individual men and women can do for themselves. Nel mezzo, in the midst of everything, as Dante said, to be besieged – but beautifully, because we have made place to stand….

This is the axis mundi that we are cultivating our marking.

Note about painting, Threshold. It is what emerged from the many months of marking pieces. The theme relates to exploration of selfhood, intimate relationship and ancestry which I am beginning to perceive as a plumbline or axis mundi. This piece came together very differently than from how I have been painting most my life. There was no planning or evaluating, but a kind of listening. I found myself using colors I was never drawn to before, like construction orange. It was more of a constant discovery. I was guided to overlay a fine netting and press it into the cold wax and then in several days later to take it leaving a texture. I still do not know where this marking work may lead in relation to artwork, but already it feels like deeper images are arising as collaboration with the field develops.

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

Blog #4B Selfhood/Breathing

Anavami Center

Exploring Selfhood through marking we incorporated our prints from last week of persona and shadow. We opened with an invocation from Undefended Love by Jett Psaris and Marlen Lyons…

Blog #4B Selfhood/BreathingBlog #4B Selfhood/BreathingIntimacy—direct, unmediated, heart-to-heart connection with ourselves and with others—can only occur when the heart is undefended. To cut through our personal differences, to reach the unveiled part of ourselves that is deep enough to express the most profound and untamed aspects of our being means learning how to love and be loved without defenses and without obstructions. It means cultivating the capacity to be emotionally present even when we feel exposed or vulnerable; learning to relinquish the many strategies we have employed to feel safe and in control; and finding the courage to love without guarantees or requirements. Through developing the capacity for intimacy in this way, we discover love is an abiding presence in the emotional center of our being, our heart and we can never feel emotionally disconnected, incomplete, or unloved.

Selfhood implies a level of maturity that identifies with a larger sphere. To guide us to this understanding we took the time for conscious breathing over and extended period showing and feeling how the exhale and inhale are distinct yet intimately a part of a whole that does not work without total union. Just as in breathing, selfhood denotes a larger container beyond cultural beliefs, national identity, age and occupation. It includes our character holding all the other selves.

We all explored selfhood in our own way, through sensing, remembering a peak experience that informed the larger self or simply by trusting our marking to reveal something that has been concealed. Most of us worked in the format of triptych which offered a sense of the temporal and/or change in space. In my own work I have found working in a series in the diptych or triptych format, where the pieces inform each other, additional nuances to appear. It is a way of add another ball to those that I juggle which focuses my concentration that often develops content vertically, as well as horizontally. It requires an attitude of reciprocal yielding and loosening of control.

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

Anavami Center

This week we investigate persona, our social role as the appearance one presents to the world. Personal is with what we most identify but have you ever watched yourself walk into a room through the eyes of others? When we see our persona from the outside with how others see us a new identifying shapes from how we are seen and how others respond to us. We explored marking through these personas with a couple of techniques that highlighted the object/subject split. We first did touch printing using both hands at the same time to print with our fingers and hands by touching the surface of a paper laid on an inked plate. The intention was to sense the face and body of our person, not depicting or representing but rather getting in touch with it, literally and figuratively.  One more sentence on results.

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

cut masks for printing

Our meditation was from David Whyte, Consolations-Shadow

Shadow does not exist by itself, it is cast, by a real physical body…it is shaped by presence; presence comes a priori to our flaws and absences. To change the shape of ourselves is to change the shape of the shadow we cast… Shadow is a necessary consequence of being in a sun lit visible world, but it is not a central identity, or a power waiting to overwhelm us.

To live with our shadow is to understand how human beings live at a frontier between light and dark; and to approach the central difficulty, that there is no possibility of a lighted perfection in this life; that the attempt to create it is often the attempt to be held unaccountable…

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

monoprints from masks

We cannot talk about persona without talking about this shadow, that aspect of ourselves that we can easily see in others but with which we do not often identify. This includes the bright shadow or that brilliant and whole part of us that is often projected onto others or into the future but which we do not embrace in the now. 

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

Print with mask and touch marking

We used printing masks to explore the shadow self and in preparation we looked at our literal shadow projected on a wall or floor with a strong light behind us. We took photos of different attitudes and postures, especially those we usually do not show to others. From these photos we made drawings the size of the printed paper which we cut out to create a mask, an area that blocks the ink when laid on the inked plate. We went with larger shapes with no ink so we could print over or into with touch markings. Following are some of the pieces from the group’s printing of touch-marking and shadow printing.
 
 
 
 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

Blog #3E Denial of Death

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Blog #3E Denial of DeathIn our adventure of challenging the current paradigm we question the man-made cultural norms that dictate our lives. More than anything else, our greatest repression is the “Denial of Death”. Pulitzer Prize winner, Ernest Becker’s book by that title maintains. Human beings spend an inordinate amount of energy strategizing to ward off recognition of our mortality. Socrates said as recorded by Plato, “the practice of dying” is a phrase that describes one aspect of how we become “morally mature.” Socrates urges us all to turn inwards and face our mortality. The Greek philosopher is among many others insisting we live with death in order to clarify our motives in life. It is surely possible that denial of death is at the bottom of our materialism, consumerism, addiction and escapism.
Blog #3E Denial of Death

Axis Mundi/Intimacy

We have been using poems by Billy Collins this month as he is an artist who plays the death card as he is coming to terms with dying, the ultimate loss, with humor. Making the life/death/life issue conscious and personal is central to other realities in life and is at the core of artist’s work, be it musician, dancer, writer or one of the artists of everyday life—chef, mother, carpenter. It also defines the different between skill and artistry. As materialists, we are used to perceiving and dealing with things like replaceable commodities, so our sense of loss seems minor in daily life. However, we all must process allowing our loss to make room to live when we feel and note loss. When not consciously felt and grieved loss becomes what Stephen Busby from Findhorn says constructs ‘the un-lived life.’

Blog #3E Denial of Death

Baba Yaga’s House

Artists in particular, on the creative edge, cannot afford to deny the exchange that is required because it will stall the process. The creative process is on the edge of the unknown willingness to risk loss. This week we incorporated two earlier participant-lead refrigerator journeys, placing them in a part of the body to access in the imaginal somatic to blend into one piece through marking. We then deconstructed that piece onto a new substrate. This was to underscore how loss of the cut-up piece became material for something new. Despite the initial discomfort, everyone enjoyed the freedom of not knowing what was happening. Several of the re-worked pieces found a deeper resonance with more revealing content.

The first image above draws on two Refrigerator Field trips-one that brought me to Axis Mundi and the other to Intimacy.  These were cut-up and reconstructed. Out of the ashes arose the image that reminded me of Baba Yaga’s three-legged house. She is the archetype witch of the transformative agent of the psyche containing the wise and the terrifying tester. This alerted me that when a threshold guardian shows up there is something around the corner.

 
Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

 

 

Blog #3D In-Bodying the Field: Fridge Field-trip & Embodied Knowing

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Blog #3D In-Bodying the Field: Fridge Field-trip & Embodied Knowing

Axis Mundi

#3D Blog: Aspects of the archetype of artist

The Japanese movie Hokusai’s Daughter conveys how passion and commitment go beyond all social customs and interpersonal needs. Katsushika Oi, the main character in the movie is like many artists- often on the edge of societal norms. This is not just a rebellious or revolutionary reaction but instead arises as an investigative state of being at the boundaries of what is known.

Look at the life of your favorite artists to see their sacrifices. They are visionaries, not in the sense of dramatic tragedy but often in loss that is consciously negotiated. The transfer of energy with the sacred is the meaning of sacrifice.

Blog #3D In-Bodying the Field: Fridge Field-trip & Embodied Knowing

Intimacy

Many artists have lived their lives on an extraordinary edge. Canadian artist, Emily Carr at the turn of the century, tromped through the wilderness to paint Native Americans. Because American artist Alice Neel worked in the era of Abstract Expressionism her paintings were ignored for decades, except by other painters. This year there was a retrospective of her work in New York at the Metropolitan Museum. Mexican artist Frieda Kahlo painted from her physical pain and anguish through a folk art tradition. Japanese artist Katsushika Oi went against all customs established for women as she developed her interest in color. It is interesting to note that sociologically the framing of the sacred trade of artist varies greatly in society’s discussion of different expectations of men and women.  Just look to art history and museums of the world to see the percentage of women. Not being recognized or seen is in itself a tremendous loss for an artist.  But there is something much more valuable that is the impetus for working.

This week in circle we marked combining disparate subjects from imaginal journeys into one piece to experience the possibility of holding dichotomies is a wider embrace. We introduced death and loss, grief and sacrifice as part of this process which we will explore more next week.

The images that follow are from participants in this six-month course. They are not depictions or illustrations but, rather, experiences of the act of doing and feeling. They are a way of resourcing and exploring, as well as, embodying the experience.

 
Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

 

 

Blog #3C In-Bodying the Field: Conjunctive Knowing

Anavami Center

Blog #3C In-Bodying the Field: Conjunctive Knowing I have been sitting in an ice-cold stream pounding kuzu fiber on a rock with a wooden mallet for hours in a small paper-making village outside of Nagoya, Japan. Why exactly am I doing this I wonder. It feels like a traditional apprentice initiation, but it is more than that. It is about conjunctive knowing, instructions directed through the eye movements of my taciturn teacher. It is part of an apprentice systems across time and place to embody knowledge by watching, listening, smelling and tasting, learning through the body.

Blog #3C In-Bodying the Field: Conjunctive KnowingApprenticeships in the seventies in Japan was very much like it had been for hundreds of years. They honored the tradition that someone who came seeking mentorship from the master would not necessarily be taken on, but they were to be fed as long as they stayed on the porch.  Sometimes this was all it took so that perseverance could be demonstrated to the master and acceptance found.  There was a sense of perseverance but also of discovery of self within that I developed during my time studying with various masters.  My pottery teacher would say to listen to the sound of the brush touching the bisqueware to know how thick to make the iron oxide. It took me two years in calligraphy to realize myself how important breath was. Once my tea ceremony teacher stopped in her preparation for guests and listened to the wind. We went outside and she handed me the rake for the first time. She watched me rake up all the leaves in front of the tea house and then stood there with the silent message that we would stand here until I finished. I looked around madly for any missed leaves. Finally, I reached over and slightly shook the maple tree. A few red leaves fell on the path and my teacher bowed and enter the tearoom.

Blog #3C In-Bodying the Field: Conjunctive KnowingAwareness of knowing through the body rather than the mind, has been one of the many gifts I still carry with me from my time in Japan. Gnosis is the kind of conjunctive knowing that in the Bible refers to sexual relations, knowing a woman. It is a union, not just taking in information but a knowing through the body. This same idea is how information and skill are transferred in the cultural arts of Japan and many places in the world. Sweeping the floor and making tea is becoming attuned to not only the master but the materials, the shop and sometimes hundreds of years of experience. It is also developing a telepathy between workers.

Blog #3C In-Bodying the Field: Conjunctive KnowingIn the studio we are using somatic practice and embodying imagination as our entries into knowing through the body as we develop conjunctive learning. We trust our hand to reach out for a color or marking implement and are developing awareness of conversation, even flirting with other elements in our field so that we can play together. This way of working is bringing in many surprising elements, especially for people who have worked from personality for decades. One thing that strikes us is that we often don’t immediately relate to the marking before us. Our old ways of perceiving what works artistically is not important. The gage through the last few years of this practice is more toward authenticity, what is evoked and felt in the body and what stays with you as an afterglow or even shadow. It is because we are in a greater collaboration and it can take a while to see it.

The following images are from participants in the In-Bodying the Field Six-month Seminar, relating journeys through the refrigerator through mark-making.

 
Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

Blog #3B In-Bodying the Field: Fridge Field-trips-Soul Boat

Anavami Center

Last week the In-Bodying Marking Circles we ventured through a refrigerator door for what we started calling a field-trip. It was an experience in the Imaginal Field felt and explored in the body with continued expression in marking. Each of our trips was unique, from a glass lemon-aide pitcher in grandmother’s fridge, to a trapeze artist in a circus, to the inside of a car. This week each circle had two guided field-trips initiated by participants patterned on their journeys.

 

Blog #3B In-Bodying the Field: Fridge Field-trips

In the Wednesday Circle, Lucy’s as guide lead me personally to the lap of the hungry ghost, that Buddhist archetype of unsatisfiable desire. This was dramatically counter-balanced in the second field-trip, led by Jess, with the delightful soul energy explored on three substrates. And so, I found myself facing the last substrate working with the energy of desperate longing and buoyant tenacity and vision of soul. Concentrating these experiences in different parts of the body is a way to hold these energies while allowing for something new to arise. This is well beyond emotional expression of playing with color and marks. The embodiment ignites a leap of insight leading into unconsidered territory. It takes time, slowing time to hold these energies in the imaginal body. This practice of seeing how the piece wants to be completed is a bit different from what we have been doing, as we have been unconcerned if a piece is finished. Considering how to complete a piece takes invites in the unknown, possibly through an acasual or synchronistic event. It is like the capping haiku line that leads to something that embraces the banal in a greater light. The third substrate resolved the contradiction with the soul being held by unsatisfied desire. The final image suggested an offfering  of a nest or boat.

Blog #3B In-Bodying the Field: Fridge Field-trips

Images of In-Bodying the Field Participants

Click on thumbnails to see large images

 

 

 

Blog #3A Imaginal Field: Refrigerator an Archetypal Portal

Anavami Center

Anavami CenterMark-marking this week continued to cultivate somatic intelligence as we access the Imaginal Field. By becoming-like other things, we expanded the felt-body response by cultivating vision into the unknown through imagination. It is an ancient portal that the age of reason has upstaged, and yet is alive in science and all the arts, music, performance, literature and every aspect of life that is carried to artistry, like architecture, landscaping, cooking, parenting or even politics.

This shape-shifting is becoming easier as we recognize how many ways we slip into each other and address other with empathy and compassion. It is an ancient way of learning, expanding perception and gaining new insights. Through Marking, we soften the demarcation of inside and outside, experiencing more and more how our defined physical body is really integral to a greater biosphere.

In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, without need to ponder why a character or event is understood. Archetype can be defined as an emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. Consider the archetypes of things around you. The chair that holds you for comfort and ease to do things like eat, work, converse or travel. It is a structure adapted to human body, a kind of a container to easily enter and leave. It has a history beyond function and culture denoting social status and even termination of life. Our inquiry is interested in the metaphor and poetics of archetypes in relation to the Imaginal Field.

Anavami CenterYour home, a safe private place, like a nest or a shell, is what Gaston Bachelard marks as the place to dream. In the introduction to his book, The Poetics of Space. Richard Kearney says, “Poetics, for Bachelard, is not a matter of anonymous floating signifiers; it signals a relational dynamic between beings, involving vital dimensions of intimacy, secrecy, desire and repose.” And later, “Imagination is at its best when it is incarnate, elemental, opening out into time and space, even when the space is elsewhere—before being, beneath being, beyond being, more than being.”

This week we explore universal archetypes as organizing principles, which unite physical matter with consciousness. We used opening a refrigerator door, that everyday utilitarian object, as the start for everyone to step into a unique Imaginal Field. My refrigerator contained containers, preserving sustenance and enjoyment. This container has a physical inner structure but also a metaphoric structure related for me to the psyche. I thought of how different the freezer compartment is from the shelves on the door or the vegetable bins. The archetype of refrigerator gave us a poetic fulcrum to investigate being in our marking.

 

Majio

 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image.

 

In-Bodying the Field Blog #2D: Reciprocity, Shape Shifting

Anavami Center

Anavami CenterShape-shifting may sound like an ethnographic study where a shaman transforms into animal, while in truth it is fundamental to our everyday experience. Shape-shifting allows for the ability to change form or identity at will. It is a part of spiritual practice, parenting, the arts and just about any aspect of life that is carried to artistry. Compassion and empathy are ways of shapeshifting.

My friend, who does large scale landscape says the way she chooses the plants is to run them through her body. As she imaginally becomes like the plants she can see if they are appropriate for the overall plan- how is she (as them) through the seasons, as size, as color, as movement. Closing our eyes is actually a powerful tool we have all used, where we have felt for a moment that we are there doing it ourselves-as we watched ice figure skating or dancing, swayed to music, “run” the track or thought through a difficult problem. Einstein mentions imagining as integral to his theory of relativity where he pictured himself riding a light beam had him gain insights that he was not able to gain through logic alone.

Anavami CenterIn-bodying Marking this week focused on becoming-like-something with which we had a natural affinity. The words of David Abram, Becoming Animal, set the stage for the exploration in this Imaginal Field:

“The boundaries of a living body are open and indeterminant more like membranes than barriers they define a surface of metamorphosis and exchange. The breathing, sensing body draws its sustenance and it’s very substance from the soils, plants and elements that surround it; it continually contributes itself, in turn, to the air to the composting earth…breathing the world into itself, so that it is very difficult to discern, any moment, precisely where this living body begins and where it ends.”

Abram’s words helped participant to have a body sense of those times throughout our lives when we have changed shapes, like playing as a child, intimate moments with a loved one and being absorbed in a book. In the current ecological crisis movies like Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life and Louie Schwartzberg’s Fantastic Fungi make it much easier to access feelings of belonging to the earth as never before.

The following marking pieces are explorations of being-like something else by participants in last week’s marking sessions. Many found a new sense of making-marks that stemmed from the new perspective. The experiences were varied but there is an embodied quality in the marks that shows through as sensing.

 
Majio
 
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