The Descent of Sophia

The Descent of Sophia - St. Victor Diaries

The Descent of Sophia

This painting is a mirror of the ancient Jewish myth of the soul journey known as The Descent of Sophia (the Goddess of Wisdom).

As the story goes, Sophia is a perfect spiritual being at bliss in the cosmos representing the soul. But she does not recognize the beauty of her true nature so she descends to the earthly plane to experience all of life’s trials, both bitter and sweet. During her journey she travels to the depths of despair as a prostitute only to be reminded of the joy she once knew. With her newly acquired experiences she ascends back to the cosmos only this time fully aware of the bliss of her true nature. Jesus story of the Prodigal Son is a mirror of this as well. It is Sophia who has now gained the wisdom of self awareness and is the messenger of that to all of us experiencing the earthly side of life on our journey back to the realization of our true nature.

In the painting Sophia is wearing aviator headgear signifying the journey upon which she has embarked. She is dressed on the top half in a golden blouse bedecked with jewels signifying the bliss of her life in the cosmos, however, her lower half is in the symbolic attire of the prostitute signifying her lower journey on the earthly plane. She has descended down on the balloon bringing down the embodiment of conscious awareness to a humanity still in it’s early stages of evolution operating within a sphere of instinctually programmed survival mechanisms signified by the little robot. As she presents the balloon to the little robot he is united with his conscious awareness and suddenly his caged instincts are released as signified by all the blackbirds flying out of his birdcage mid-section. All that remains are two love birds gathered together within the cage in the shape of a heart.

Raised by Wolves

Raised-By-Wolves - St. Victor Diaries

Raised by Wolves

The mistake we most often make in considering the great debate is that it’s between science and religion – it is not. The great debate is between science of the 21st century and science of the 2nd century.

Religions rose in response to observation and those same observations formed the science of the early centuries. As modes of observation evolved so too did the explanations of natural phenomena as more information came available through deeper observation – thus evolving science. Religions in general remained attached to the earliest tennents as dogma was established, rules of order, penance and restitution gave rise to powerful and wealthy rule makers who could claim these directives came not from themselves but from God himself as revealed both in the natural order of 2nd century physics and biology and of course, through the private visitations to the select few chosen prophets and mediators.

Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch has a wonderful quote, “Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers.” Whether those answers are that a single deity created it all in six days, or that the universe is a mere happening and that life is accidental – they have to be questioned. Maybe we find that God is merely a name given to an underlying intelligent cosmos that continues to create and evolve and each step is the pre-curser to another step which can turn in any direction depending on adaptation for the sake of continued evolution. Maybe there is no pre-determination in the universe but a uniquely tuned response to cause and effect based on moment to moment reactions to advance this very small form of intelligent stitches we call human life in the giant fabric of the cosmos.

I said all that to say this. We are evolving and it is up to us to make choices moment by moment as to which direction we will go. It is not pre-determined, and as wave particle theory suggests, a whole new opportunity opens up the moment we recognize each choice we make as an opportunity to evolve, to change, to help, to find pathos and love.

No matter what we come from, we determine our own path – we can create our own way. This is the second decade of the 21st century. Let’s act like it.

Chaos

Chaos - St. Victor Diaries

Chaos

Is it possible to think of that word in a positive light or does the prevailing “wisdom” summon images of despair, tragedy or evil? Try this on for size – chaos is simply the instigator of evolution from an established “order” to a higher level of “order”. To do so, the established order must first be broken down so that it can be rebuilt – and this is always messy. It’s messy because the beneficiaries of the established order do not want to be broken down, because as history presents – a broader beneficiary base is usually set in its place either dethroning the previous house of power or redistributing its power and wealth base toward a greater balance. We’ve seen the messy and violent uprisings which have usurped the power of the few and expanded it to greater masses in the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, scientific discovery and the dethroning of the Divine Right of Kings. While these are by no means at a necessary cosmic balance, the movement is on and is expanding to others. And those who are threatened by it create illusions of chaos as being brought on by evil forces or as punishment by a divine judge. Pandering to and exploiting the belief systems of others has always been a primary tool of maintaining the order of the privileged few at the expense of the many. Chaos is a time-honored event that is slowly leveling and expanding the playing field. How wonderful to note that what we are currently experiencing is simply a move toward a greater balance between and within mankind and nature. Chaos is not to be feared, it’s to be studied, understood and guided. In this painting I represent Chaos as a gift as illustrated with the big red bow with Chaos sitting atop a crumpled purple cloth representing the fall of monarchies at the hands of the disenfranchised. Her striped clothes represent the cosmic tango between order and chaos, yin and yang, working together in evolutionary harmony. The tornado in the back- ground façade is the destructive force of nature which is not evil or punishment, it is simply a natural force of the planet we call home and chaos theory in the other panel represented as a seemingly unrelated series of events, equations or concepts that in retrospect reflect a highly organized pattern tied to a much bigger universal picture. She is shown with the attributes of the fertility god Pan, which was later demonized by the Church, in representing something life-giving as being condemed as evil. Above the façade we see the sunrise dawning as new possibilities and potential arising with every occasion of Chaos.

The Archer

The Archer - St. Victor Diaries

The Archer

A couple years ago I was contacted by a bright young woman who was getting her new business off the ground and wanted to talk about commissioning a painting of herself as a warrior/archer on a battlefield with her vanquished foes lying around her, symbolic of her quest and well earned victory. While it rang a little too sci-fi for me and typical of the Joan-of-Arc model, it made me think how often we see our challenge to “success” as an outside force that needs to be erradicated. An enemy. A threat to our well being, our hopes, dreams and desires. Interestingly enough, the society norm that posits an outside enemy as a constant threat to our desires, also promotes the ‘society norm’ that these same desires is what makes life worth living. I have come to believe that it is this norm of the pursuit of desire against a persistant outside threat that is the actual enemy. – the enemy of peace. And the weapon of choice against such an enemy? Gratitude.

Acknowleging the good in our lives, whether a tree trunk or a sliver, is the foundation upon which peace is built. The Buddha says “Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are, it solely relies on what you think. Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree, in the midst of them all.”

According to Eckhart Tolle, being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness. And what blurb about the essence of peace would be complete without Lao Tzu:
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”

The Archer, while acknowleging the wisdom of the ancients and the discoveries of the present, puts the power of choice in our own hands as she shoots a silver lining into the clouds. Gratitude is our gateway to peace and peace our gateway to understanding the nature of all things.

When Pigs Fly

When Pigs Fly - St. Victor Diaries

When Pigs Fly

Alice begs the question, “How far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go?”

Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationships with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of earth as a ball of rock was nonsense. From the Ptolemaic perspective – Copernicus and Galileo were crazy. Their critics and persecutors were not unreasonable. What Copernicus and Galileo were proposing, however, was a change in reason. The shift from one paradigm to another is inevitably messy and chaotic. In the end, a new paradigm is finally adopted for very pragmatic reasons: it works, or at least works better than its predecessor.

Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that consciousness creates the universe instead of the other way around. In this new paradigm, life is not just an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics or an outside creator.

The whole of Western natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory. At the same time, these findings have increased our doubt and uncertainty about traditional physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure.

This painting is a play on the phrase that assumes something is impossible. Our girl represents a spark of consciousness and understanding that makes exponential conscious evolution possible.

Lady Gaia

Lady Gaia - St. Victor Diaries

Lady Gaia

Lady Gaia is the physical manifestation of our living planet. She is Mother Earth.

Lady Gaia’s striped gloves cover the hands of creation. The black and white stripes represent the forces of dark and light, ying and yang, chaos and order which work together to manifest the metamorphism from simple organism to enlightened being as represented by the butterflies.

Her blowing hair is the branches of evolution. Evolution does not act in a linear motion, but has many branches from its varied roots, and the phases of each branch itself either dies or evolves to ever higher levels of being as represented by the dove. In this, I believe that the more ardently we pursue a higher state of evolving, the sooner we will find universal peace through love and understanding.

As her hair tumbles down the front it transforms into a waterfall that feeds the waters of our origins. In this we see the various forms of life all of which play critical roles in maintaining the ecological balance.

Underneath the dress we see the tree of life growing into Gaia from a seemingly inanimate river rock. However, all objects contain the Energy of Light which is really the only thing that truly exists, giving all life the cooperative potential of co-creation.

The many stones huddled in the background at left represent the billions of people who still see themselves as separate entities, wretched, sinful and fallen. The stones at right are the few who recognize the ancient myths of pre-scientific minds and are starting to move forward realizing that they are themselves part of the Divine, never fallen but always evolving.We are a vital part of the continuing motion of creation.

As a new Santa Fean, Lady Gaia gives me the opportunity to paint my first Santa Fe landscape into the background, but with the purpose of exposing its glorious beauty as merely the radiant flesh of our Mother.

Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams - St. Victor Diaries

Sweet Dreams

This painting is about the strength that arises from facing fear “head on.”

The wedding gown brings relationships into focus and its blossoming spread signifies the opening up to life that occurs when we water and give light to those relationships.

As her hair tumbles down the front it transforms into a waterfall that feeds the waters of our origins. In this we see the various forms of life all of which play critical roles in maintaining the ecological balance.

Keeping life simple gives us the flexibility to travel light at a moment’s notice, to adjust as a situation dictates change as signified by the ready suitcase.

The butterfly, the symbol of metamorphosis, is always moving toward the light, signifying the natural progression of spiritual evolution which comes only after we free ourselves from the bindings of co-dependence and the material world.

Waiting to Fly

Waiting to Fly - St. Victor Diaries

Waiting to Fly

There’s an adage that states, “the more we know, the more we know how little is known.” Not much more than 100 years ago, scientists had concluded that Newton was the final word when it came to physics and that we’d learned all there is to know on the subject. One theory, one discovery later in 1905 and we realized we’d not even scratched the surface of who, what and even where we are. All that we believed about the universe, the earth , time, space and everything in between was completely turned on its ear. To assume that the final word on the concept of God, the cosmos and the afterlife was established by ancient observers 2000 years ago seems a bit short-sighted to me, particularly where the big picture is concerned. But is it wrong in the smaller picture, the personal one that guides our relationships with each other? Is ‘fact’ even the point here? hmmm . . .

I was approached at a show in Seattle last year by a rather grizzled man in his mid-30’s who’d had an obviously challenging life. After reading the collection of “diaries” next to my paintings he turned to me in a distressed state and blurted, “you’re going to hell!” After 44 years entrenched in Southern Baptist Evangelicalism, I knew his state of mind well. I responded, “For your sake, I certainly hope so.” This was a different response than he had anticipated and wanted to engage me concerning the horrors of never ending hellfire and the unceasing torture of unimaginable magnitude for all those who did not believe as he did. I knew instinctively that this man HAD to believe that there were irrationally terrible consequences for his actions, that his God really created it and that there was no room for question or doubt. Fundamentalism was his only hope to surviving this life – a young soul that would only fall back into destructive patterns without the fear and the redemption of a simple and understandable God. For me to challenge him would be a step toward destroying him – and that, I believe is a sin. By taking a fundamentalist stance he had advanced spiritually from the downward spiral he was once in. He has taken flight. This process of spiritual evolution can be repeated on any number of levels. Case in point #2: two years ago I received an email from a couple who were very upset with my definition of “evil”. We spent the next several months in heated debate and the result was a bit surprising – we found that we began to focus not on our differences but on our similarities and grew into a mutual respect of each other’s beliefs and have developed a very dear friendship in the process agreeing that Love is the most important ingredient of humanity. While they still hold their beliefs dear, they have grown stronger in their relationships with Love as the distilling factor.

Defending beliefs is not the goal. Challenging them is, and growing in a direction of love and empathy to the human condition is. And sometimes this doesn’t happen without a shift in the “fundamentals”. Case in point #3: my parents were dyed in the wool Bob Jones University Evangelicals. When I began my spiritual metamorphosis, it was my parents, with love as their guide, who would walk into the mouth of the devil to bring their child home. They believed strongly that truth would become evident as they chose to study what I had studied in order to show me the error of my way and help me back on to the one true path. But another shift happened, a realization – that we all see the same light, the light that all people of the earth see and try to interpret in their own way within their own customs and stories. One river, many wells. They’d been ready to fly for years but were hindered because, like most of us, we don’t know what it is we don’t know. Between tears, my mom recently confessed that her only regret was that she didn’t discover this earlier. To summarize, I don’t believe that my viewpoint is correct and everyone else is wrong, because in the big picture – we’re all wrong (see first paragraph). But in the smaller picture, when it comes to what we as individuals need and grasp for in order to live a life-affirming and abundant existence – we’re all correct in our choices, when it is based in Love and compassion for all living things.

In this painting, the bull represents beliefs we’ve held tightly be it religious, (fundamentalist, progressive, mystical, humanist), personal (sinful, saved, alone, chosen) or civic (might is right, the earth and animals were created for human use and consumption) or any other form of belief held as absolute. The poppies represent all that we don’t know we don’t know. Beautiful and scentful they’re all around us waiting to be plucked. The balloon represents consciousness and its innate understanding that everything we know is only a grain of sand on the ocean floor of potential and its desire to rise up and evolve. The breastplate is a symbol of our evolutionary fixation on survival, a defense against the fear of loss of certainty and thus the security of living forever because we still view death as an end rather than the doorway to a new beginning. The birds indicate those who’ve taken up the challenge to evolve and are flying from the cocoon shaped trees, however – they’re not all going in the same direction, but are flying according to their own unique dreams and understandings.