Category Archives: Symbolic journeys

Glass butterflies II

Glass Butterflies is a growing collection of photographs depicting butterflies in juxtaposition with glass: under frames, next to windows, inside glass houses…a metaphor that has deeply informed my painting, writing and thinking for a number of years. As well as taking me on a journey of deeply personal exploration, these synchronistic experiences have everything to do with releasing the Sacred Feminine from her “box” whilst learning to appreciate how that feminine aspect can be allowed to settle upon a much more equal and balanced relationship with the male-oriented, left-hemispherical “structures” of our three-dimensional reality. In a sense, the butterfly learns to work with “the box” on her terms and in ways that enhance her innate qualities; which is the very marriage of fluidity and form that underpins the art-process, taking “inspiration” through the journey of the creative act to where we have something tangible that we can interface with as a three-dimensional form of expression. As you can tell, the metaphor has many layers and continues to develop as one of the long-running themes of my experience. Continue reading

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Amsterdam – where left meets right

There’s something crystalline about places that formed along strictly organised lines masterminded by great architects…and then softened over time. It’s not the history of the places that draws me per se but the process of succumbing and melding with something more fluid, after the event of their creation, that beguiles me; it’s where they are at now that appeals. Like a cup overspilling, the colour and creativity of human life that they burst with – now – is like that liquid I refer to, although it’s not; its more energetic in nature, it’s a feeling that manifests as beauty…. Revisiting Amsterdam, having some epiphanies about what creates the unique energy of a place along the way. Continue reading

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Free press: a synchronistic tale

Across the locked-away years, we have always had those few individuals (sometimes, but not always, females) who have been prepared to express themselves in spite of how hard their circumstances made it for them to do so and Anne Frank was one such “feminine” impulse…A story of remarkable synchronicity as long-time hidden things continue releasing from their “box”. Continue reading

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Fire and water

It was just a little bit magical to find butterflies “fluttering” inside the vast spaces of the abbey I know so well, like a potent metaphor made manifest. Their colour and variety seemed to flutter new life into torpidity, as though the leaden religious narrative of so many quite massive stained glass windows had been exploded into shards then grown wings before hitting the ground; so, not the end of the world, just a fresh new beginning that had required the courage to break with old ways. Their unexpected presence there above my head seemed like a breath of fresh air sweeping through those unreachable spaces from one arched window to the other, stirring up the dust motes of heavy tradition. The reaching and arching endlessly higher and higher of all those immense gothic ceilings that speak of always striving, never quite getting there, seemed to be brought down to attainable height, their pristine stone made mortal yet in no way trivialised by fragments of coloured paper that could have been cut-out with scissors by a child. It felt like a sacred marriage to witness the two side-by side; both aspects made “better”, somehow more whole and perfect, by the collaboration of art installation and its most ideal space; in fact, I realised I had never seen the space look better than it did on this day… Continue reading

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Out of the box

Perhaps Pandora was only ever meant to be the counter-impulse to a world that became so fixated upon compartmentalising everything that it was missing the point (or denying) that there is so much more than that which can be defined or pigeon-holed by the mind. Perhaps she was our safety-catch, primed to spring apart at just the right moment to save ourselves from our own self-defeating, self-limiting intellects. Perhaps many of us have experienced the unleashing of our own internal Pandora in recent years or decades and it is the combined effect of all these boxes springing open as one (mimicking many breakdowns and disasters in our lives…but, all of them, evolutionary in their nature) that is manifesting our next biggest evolutionary leap forwards. Who knows what small (or significant) part these archetypes have played, even as depicted in well-timed artworks hung on the walls of places where we spent our formative years; who know what a painting in a college full of women did for over thirty years at a key time in history (one of many drops in an evolutionary ocean). What makes a story such as hers ebb in and out of favour across the annuls of time yet never fully disappearing, even when we have tried to bury it deep in the basement under layers of dust? Yet, not to be set back by that unpromising outcome (much like many of us…) she found her way back into the daylight. Perhaps she has been pushing forwards with her message, with even more vigour than ever; the somewhat inconvenient wake-up call suggesting we might all want to let ourselves out of that mind-box once in a while. Whilst there were always going to be those that weren’t ready to hear her, I take heart from the fact there were others who were prepared to seek her out from her cobwebs and put her back in full view where she was always meant to be….(read more).

The true story of a painting lost and refound and how the way this became woven into my own life-story helped me to appreciate and understand the opening-up of my own personal Pandora’s Box as the evolutionary process that it was.

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On the crest of a wave

A revisit to “the past” can impart a sense of wholeness, like finding an aspect of self that we, in a sense, left behind there in another portion of our life and this can be profoundly evolutionary as well as making us feel like something so important just happened, though we hardy know what. Yet, important to note, its not that we need to wind any clocks back or try to live where we once were, nostalgic as we may be feeling; since we can know that what we have just “collected” on our brief trip to the past was enough, its all we need to bring forward with us and so we can move on now in a whole new way. Its like a quantum aspect of who we were then has now merged with who we are now to create another thing entirely; a third aspect that wouldn’t have been possible to achieve any other way…which is a quantum superposition in action. Suffice to say, the way we play this can lead to our next biggest stage of evolution on the way to a previously unrealised level of wholeness and, when it happens, the transformation can be pampable. I know this…because it just happened to me! Exploring the unexpected side-effect of a thirty year reunion and how it has been a quantum leap to a brand-new sense of personal wholeness and healing. Continue reading

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When trees talk

There was an undeniable metaphor in this gnarly old lime or “linden” tree with its so-called deformities, an ugly tree you might even say; in spite of which every square inch of it was bursting with new life. Burls (of which this tree had several) are odd-shaped bulbous growths, often caused by illness or stress; though they are highly prized by artisans for the intricate beauty of their grain. This tree seemed to assert that, out of the most unlikely, distorted and tired-seeming old structures, some of the freshest new shoots often sprout. It’s as though all these shiny and bright new growths, asserting all the promise of regeneration, are super-propelled to come out through (and perhaps because of) the unappealing old structure that held them in potential; as though it is the thick-skinned distortion through which they have had to assert themselves that reinvigorated the organism’s fundamental ambition to thrive. From deep inside, all these tender new growths summons up all the necessary courage to show themselves en masse, in spite of the inclement season, and so the whole organism is renewed in exact proportion to what looked most unpromising with the eyes; as is often Nature’s way. Continue reading

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Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

Originally posted on gather:
Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who…

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Larger than life

When we believe we only have one life, the pressure to get it right can be interminable and sometimes we bow down to that weight, giving up on everything beneath our heavy grey blanket of hopelessness. We also get mud-stuck in the material world. Conversely, realising we have multi-lives doesn’t mean we throw life away as though disposable but that we act like the pros that we really are, deciphering codes, playing with patterns, discovering whole themes that we are working on and feeling like we are (finally) getting somewhere with it all. It can elevate life completely once you start seeing yourself as the main character in this vastly bigger “story” where even the pitfalls are “another go” at tackling a theme that has tripped you up before. You can even see beyond the so-called bad news when you know there is so much more to everything; and, of course, you have a much more vested interest in how things turn out and in this planet and its people in general. To miss out on this perspective is like thinking the crescent is the whole of the moon or taking the two minute teaser to be the whole of the movie; you just don’t get the subtleties or the those all-important, and rather wonderful, twists in the tale. Continue reading

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Seeing through time

When you start to see through time it such a remarkable thing that, first, you wonder why you didn’t do it before…then you realise that you did and always have; that its sides have been as flux as you ever allowed them to be and that all it took to dissolve them was to choose to see beyond its constraints. We think of time as strictly back to front yet really it operates in all directions to the pinpoint that is us making everything simultaneous. Suddenly to reach to the future is no different than to “remember” backwards and we get to jump sideways at will, to feel out other possibilities while still committed to this one…then to mix them up, like taking a pinch of seasoning from another dish and flavouring our own until we make it just the way we like it. Continue reading

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