Katrina the Unforseen

Katrina the Unforseen - St. Victor Diaries

Katrina the Unforseen

Since the dawn of human awareness three basic questions have burned on the tip of our collective cerebral cortex: Where did we come from, why are we here and what’s going to happen to us when we die. But there is a fourth question that soon arose as likely the result of a pterodactyl feces crashing down on the skull of a most beloved – why do bad things happen to good people.

For almost as long, the philosophical responses have flooded volumes of holy books and classrooms ranging in responses from the butterfly effect to shit happens to God is punishing us for allowing women to take off their bras and gays to marry. Of course there are a range of arguments in between these basic headers, but regardless of the reason, the fact remains – bad things do happen to good people. Often our very best. And it will continue to happen. What we need are thoughts on how to live with it ~

Katrina the Unforeseen is my way of sharing the words of Kahlil Gibran in his transcendent poem “A Tear and a Smile”.

“I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart for the joys of the multitude. And I would not have the tears that sadness makes to flow from my every part turn into laughter, I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding of life’s secret and hidden things.

A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and to be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of a broken heart; a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I lived weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the depths of my spirit, for I have seen those who are satisfied the most wretched of people. I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody. With evening’s coming the flower folds her petals and sleeps, embracing her longing. As morning’s approach she opens her lips to meet the sun’s kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfillment. A tear and a smile.

The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come together and are a cloud.

And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping to the fields and joins with the brooks and rivers to return to the sea, its home.

And so does the spirit become separated from the greater spirit to move in the world of matter and pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow and the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death and return whence it came.

To the ocean of Love and Beauty ~ to God.”

Sister Marteen of Tours

Sister Marteen of Tours - St. Victor Diaries

Sister Marteen of Tours

The Patron Saint of Gypsies

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, “Not all who wander are lost”. For much of my life I have felt a connection to this, not because I’m constantly in search of a place to call home but because it’s all home and exploring is not to be confused with searching. Searching implies a longing, a sense of something missing where exploring is a result of comfort in the unknown and a sense of wonderment at all that we are both a part of and is part of us. We are all everything that is.

Granted parts are not as pleasing to us as others and we find where our comfort and pride is strongest which is obviously empowering. By the same token however, our greatest strength comes not so much from that which empowers us, but from the knowledge that there is nowhere of which we need fear. Easier said than done, I know – but realizing, as Joseph Campbell states, that “Thou Art That” we can take the first steps to wander each new and narrow trail.

In Sister Marteen of Tours, I have combined the dark beauty of the Gypsy mysterium with the most gallant of travelers, the horse. It is interesting that it so reminds me of that rare and most beautiful of all breeds – the Gypsy Horse. It is a reminder to me that we are all one, all part of the same energetic and consciousness field, our molecules sharing dark matter and information.

We are all energy, and as such we are all receptors and transmitters of information. I believe the storehouse for that information is consciousness and retains the information from all life transmissions that have come before us, are being transmitted by us and will be shared after our current physical manifestations of energy (bodies) have degenerated with that which is born anew. And on and on. This is just a larger version of the Gypsy in our nature and I believe is simply one micro-cosmic yet the exponential way the universe / the multiverse / God evolves.

Four Seasons

Four Seasons - St. Victor Diaries

Four Seasons

Early people discovered that the systematic progression of the seasons was matched to the rhythmic motions of the heavens, and that the sky was a far more accurate indicator of these cycles than making systematic observations of the weather. People realized that the movement of the sun across the sky could fix the day and its divisions, while the changing phases of the moon established the month (moonth in Olde English)

By observing the rising or setting of a specific star when near the sun the year could be defined. And, because there were seven objects which moved against the starry background; five planets, the moon, and the sun, the popular notion of the week came to fore. Ancient cultures did not understand the true physical nature of these seven wanderers in the heavens, so it was only natural to deify them and to closely monitor their changing positions. Those individuals who became proficient in these tasks were able to wield enormous power with the populace and ruling infrastructures; so much so, that they were venerated as priests and allowed to exist as a separate, almost untouchable segment of society. They designed temples with astronomical alignments to track the extreme positions of the sun and the moon. In a sense, these structures acted as permanent calendars. Eventually, in the Middle East, a complex series of rules were devised to relate this celestial dance as an indicator of human destiny. Astrology with its many different types of horoscopes was a direct result of this synthesis. Many ancient societies, tied closely to their land, did possess notions of time, even if their ideas were not articulated or formalized in theories. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, were intimately familiar with the cycles of the seasons and the fluctuations in climate and tides; the mighty Nile River cut through their territory and it was the Nile upon which they depended for sustenance and commerce. Everything depended on the Nile – from making the determination of when to plant and harvest crops to scheduling the appropriate moment for installing a new pharaoh, the ancient Egyptians rendered their most important decisions by looking to such aspects of the environment as when the river rose and when its waters fell. There were patterns to be discerned in these environmental elements, and the ancient Egyptians began to develop a concept of time based on this succession of recurring phases, which today, of course, our culture refers to as the seasons.

We’ve been taught that time and space exist. They’re real. And that reality has been reinforced everyday of our life – every time we go from here to there, every time we reach for something, every month we pay the bills. Most of us live without thinking abstractly about time and space. Time and space are such an integral part of our lives that their examination is as unnatural as scrutinizing breathing. The question “Does time exist?” can make a person wonder about taking the time to ponder such philosophical babble. A reply might be, “The clock ticks. The years pass. We age and die. Time is the only thing we can be certain of.” Equally inconsonant is the question of whether or not space exists. “Obviously space exists,” we might answer. “Because we live in it. We move through it, drive through it, build in it.” It’s the “when, what, where” scenario: ten o’clock, coffee, Starbucks on Main. Time and space in the concrete sense are easy to talk and think about. But the idea that time and space are tools of the mind, our source of comprehension and consciousness, is an abstraction. Our day-to-day experiences have indicated nothing of this reality to us. Rather, our life has taught us that they are external realities. They bind all experiences. Yet we all instinctively know that space and time aren’t things – the kind of objects you can see, feel, or smell.

In the Oct. 2010 issue of Discover, theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow state, “There is no way to remove the observer – us – from our perceptions of the world. In classical physics, the past is assumed to exist as a definite series of events, but according to quantum physics, the past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities”. Immortality doesn’t mean perpetual (linear) existence in time but resides outside of time altogether. Life is a journey that transcends our classical way of thinking. Experiment after experiment continues to suggest that we create time, not the other way around. Without consciousness, space and time are nothing. At death, there’s a break in the continuity of space and time; you can take any time – past or future – as your new frame of reference and estimate all potentialities relative to it. In the end, even Einstein acknowledged that “the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Life is just one fragment of time, one brushstroke in a picture larger than ourselves, eternal even when we die. This is the indispensable prelude to immortality.

Gemini – Zodiac Series

Gemini - Zodiac Series

A Fable ~ The Scorpion and the Frog 

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. Frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?”  Scorpion replies, “Because if I do, I will die too, for I cannot swim.  “Frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, Scorpion stings Frog.  “You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die!  Why on earth did you do that?” Replies the scorpion: “I could not help myself. It is my nature.”

Although the origins of the fable are somewhat uncertain, the message through the ages remains the same, i.e., we can try to fight and resist it, but sooner or later we must give in to our true nature ~

Why shouldn’t we?  And what is the true nature of Gemini, the twins? (Latin Plural of Geminus “Twin”) ~

My sweet Gemini, who are you today? To whom do you seek to play? Are you filled, are you flying, are you free?

The nature of Gemini is often misunderstood by those who are windswept by the energy of the twins; our five senses limit our perception, recognizing one tangible entity with one singular identity, but this limited insight only reinforces the necessity for the twins to conceal their absolute selves; hence our resistance, bewilderment, and shock when we see a few of their other 50 shades, (not unlike Frog was to Scorpion.).

The Gemini is not a color; they are the spectrum!  One cannot cage or own the wind, but you can let it brush your skin, breathe life into you, and sail.  Acceptance is key, while denial is a merciless sentence.   Gemini is gifted with the innate ability to adapt; he is the chameleon of the Zodiac.  This does not make him inauthentic, on the contrary, the multiple aspects of Gemini enable him to identify with the multitudes in very meaningful ways, albeit in brief intervals though.  Gemini craves to be free. Do not sentence Gemini to a mundane, flat existence with expectations of ‘forever’ – if you do, forever will come quickly to an end. 

Regardless of how much dear Gemini may desire to conform, simply because he knows it would be so much easier, Gemini is painfully aware of his own nature, and Freedom is his most precious possession.

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” – a Gemini quote if ever there was… coincidently, Patrick Henry, Founding Father and 1st Governor of Virginia is responsible for the famous Freedom quote.  Patrick’s date of birth you might ask?  Why, May 29th, 1736, a Gemini of course! 

The Gemini nature is complex, the Twins are not fixed, they are mutable, they are air. Gemini is one vehicle housing a multitude, all operating in perfect synergy and graced with charm. Their acute awareness of your perception will always have them delivering what is expected; they know their role, and will own the appropriate identity for the situation.  With Gemini, our eyes often fail us when we see the one, rather than the many.

Gemini - The Zodiac Series

This piece represents the many aspects of Gemini.  Set in a Norman Rockwell nostalgic Shoppe which represents an All-Americana community, and Gemini’s desire to conform and be embraced, accepted and loved by the community, naturally fitting into the social mold. 

The subtle, Egyptian Eye of Horus and Eye of Ra (background on bar wall) is a play on the “All-Seeing”- No one is ever truly seeing all with Gemini, he often even surprises himself as he learns to expand, and discover his many different aspects.

The dogs represent the Gemini’s duality, one large, one small, one black, one white… two opposite ideas or feelings simultaneously existing. Contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, coming nose to nose.

The Hobo bag echoes Gemini’s deepest desire to be free, even if it means running away. 

Then of course, the abstract twins… the antithesis of identical who perpetually converge; the male lays across her heartline, trying to separate this aspect of himself from the young girl whom he cannot separate from.  

They must remain together in one environment even if the other does not necessarily want to be there.  It is the contrast within Gemini that is his greatest challenge, and his greatest gift.

Affair of Dawn and Dusk

Affair of Dawn and Dusk - St. Victor Diaries

Affair of Dawn and Dusk

The beauty of having a working studio in the world renown Santa Fe Plaza is the mixture of spiritual cultures that meld. Sometimes my paintings and diaries bring in the more orthodox ministers to “debate” my experiences and studies and realize very quickly that my whole spiritual upbringing was from deep in the heart of their own fundamentalist system and mindset.

After one such debate, I was left with the comment “At least we agree on one thing – that good will triumph over evil in the end.” I was struck by the fact that this is the underlying wedge that has caused such violence in the world. This being that the universe actually follows the mythology of the ancient Zoroastrians in that it is made up of two warring forces doing battle – with human souls the coveted prize.

Any clear minded reading of the Biblical texts make one thing painfully obvious, it was written based upon the beliefs of the day, from observational evidence, that the earth was flat and stationary, that the sun and stars were tiny objects in the sky that rotated around the earth, and could fall to the ground, and that heaven was an actual place just above the clouds where the gods or God lived. There are over 100 verses in the Bible clearly supporting this. Yet so many still believe it was written or inspired by an all knowing deity.

In truth, the universe is some 14 billion light years across and still expanding, there are gazillions of gallaxies with gajillions of stars, and still expanding. There is no such thing as forces of good and evil doing battle over the human souls of little earth. There is no such literal force as good or evil. Good and Evil are purely subjective terms used by one group to alienate another. The speaker is always good, the perceived threat to the comfort of the speaker is always evil. Was Adolf Hitler evil – not to Adolf Hitler nor would he have been to the German Protestant leader Martin Luther, whose ideas and convictions about Jews in his book “Of Jews and Their Lies” was the underpinnings of the Nazi uprising. Always remember – one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Instead of good and evil, we experience order and chaos – opposing forces that work together to manifest evolution, physically and spiritually. No great change comes without the disruptive influence of a powerful counterforce to trigger it. A supernova, environmental changes, relationship changes, health changes – everything that sparks metamorphosis is painful – therein lies the seeds of evolution. In “The Affair of Dawn and Dusk” we see the two forces sharing both light and dark attributes as they hover around the old world view of a flat and finite universe surrounded by waters.

The earth however is the globe shape we know today with Africa facing forward.

It is Africa, cradle of humanity, that is in dire need and is the clarion call to the rest of the world to evolve the nature of humanity. The upper right box displays the old theological mindset of a tiny cosmos. The falling leaves come from Revelations where it is said that in end times the earth will tremble so much on its foundation that it will literally shake the stars loose from heaven and they will fall down to the earth like fig leaves from a tree shaken by a mighty wind.

The cap on the head of Dusk represents the power and influence to spur change on a global scale held in the major corporations of the world. Depending on our personal stance on each issue and the directions these corporations take, the same scenario can be seen as either good or evil depending on the eyes.

Debate aside – there will always be chaos. Embrace it.

Isis Rising

Isis Rising - St. Victor Diaries

Isis Rising

Isis Rising is the flip-side, the duality, of an earlier painting “Waiting For Mr. Right.” WFMR portrays a woman who is solely defined by a man – a woman incapable of self-realization and personal growth outside of co-dependency. Isis Rising is the antithesis. It represents the dawning of a new era of spiritual evolution through the resurrection of the Goddess, the evolution of the new sensory impulse – that of intution and unity.

The Ankh represents eternal life and the roses as exhaust from the transport vehicle of the Goddess represents the blossoming of our spirit nature through numerous incarnations. The suitcase is symbolic of the karmic luggage we carry with us and add to during our spiritual quest as an evolving consciousness through incarnated experiences. The stone pillars are from the Temple of Isis. The four freckles represent the elements earth, water, air and fire. The Star of Isis (Sirius) is greatly beloved because its appearance announced the Innundation of the Nile which betokened renewed wealth and prosperity. This is represented in the tile floor where we see the water bearer pouring into the soil, giving rise to the vine and grape harvest in the coin machine. In the Wedding of Isis/Demeter (Creatrix of the Nile Flood/Grain) to Osiris/Dionysus (god of wine) we see the ancient miracle of Dionysus changing water into wine. This represented the flooding of the Nile which irrigated the land and upon its recession gave rise to the harvest and vine which was cause for much celebration. This 7th century BC festival tradition gained Western attention when adapted by the gospel writer of John as Jesus first miracle.

The Watcher

The Watcher - St. Victor Diaries

The Watcher

We’ve all heard the quote, “God laughs when we make plans” and of course, “The only constant is change itself.” We get it – change is inevitable. It’s the very nature of nature. The constant flow of creation through the process of evolution. But there is the rub – we don’t get it. Not until it gets us. As an artist, I’ve been blessed – at least by the starving artist model. Living in Santa Barbara, California in a beautiful home and garden with land for the dogs only a stones throw from the ocean seemed like the crest of what I had been working for. But yet, it was not my mission and there was much to do. The universe has a way of forcing us to change our course or die in the process. The really unusual thing however, is that the universe seems to know best and it is only after suffering and forgiveness of the unseen forces that a new vision, brighter than before, emerges on our radar and becomes our new lesson to experience, embrace and echo.

Mold. That’s all it took – the subtle, near undetectable leak of a faucet valve hidden behind drywall. We lost our home, all our possessions and my partner, nearly her life.

Nothing will ever be the same and while we could lament the loss, it is our ability to adapt and evolve that will be our salvation. To let go of all the products of desire and evolve to a state of non-attachment has had a profound effect on me. Everything is a projection of the mind. Happiness, peace . . . comes from seeing through eyes that do not judge, or want, or resent – they just observe and experience. When we let go of who we are we become who we are meant to be. Some changes look negative on the surface but we eventually realize that space is being created in our life for something new to emerge. We are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while. It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace. Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain. Echkart Tolle says, “What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion

Here we examine the bumpy road of life. No matter how prepared we feel we are to challenge every knock and pothole (the bumper car) we are never really sure of what the journey will bring — signified by the training wheels. The castle represents our goals — we know where we want to end up even though the road isn’t clear how to get there. The butterfly represents the joy and sadness along the path simultaneously rising up and getting flattened and the bouquet stands for the blossoming of spirit — all we have to do is reach for it.