Art & The Sacred Matrix
It is day 10 and we have spent the past 8 days in the topic of “Art & The Sacred Matrix” - where we are in an art space allowing source to come through us. We have a morning lecture, a power/meditation walk, then usually sketching, then forum (a community process where we show our inner processes, character structures, and thinking), then art time until dinner. We are learning that through art, we are in our own process of creation but also in community space. This is a good way to land in a time together and also for reorientation towards our creative potential and accessing life source within us when the group feels astray. We also get to witness so much of each other in creating something that doesn’t have a lot of risk but shows so much not only to others but as a reflection to ourselves of how we are in a process of creation.
My First Creation - Maiden, Mother, Crone
Sure, Art and Community makes sense but what does the "Sacred Matrix" have to do with it?
Creation and creativity comes from a life source, of impulses that come through us. In our art process, we practice perceiving. Of noticing the beauty of the world, the animacy of life, the way light interacts and shows us the life quality of the things around us. In this process, one cannot help but feel life all around, to be enchanted, to see colors and layers and depth. And we have, in a way, been kept from accessing the sacred in society. We long for the sacred and even though we may have been hurt or feel alienated from it, like relationships, we still dare to seek and allow love to enter us again.
When we allow this life source to come through us with art, then there is possibility for other manifestations to come alive once the channel is open within me. And with this arises infinite possibilities for what wants to be born to come into being through me.
I went through a process of letting it come, the frustration and conditioning around perfectionism, people pleasing, not being "enough", to allowing it to flow again, joyful transmission of colors and feelings, of the emergence of myself in a process and of an unexpected picture.
Half way through our art time a grasshopper
appeared at the door of our classroom to plant its eggs.
During this time we also received a calibration of our identities.
We were now to be "Cosmonauts" - our energetic essences - to observe what life is like on this planet in these bodies, to figure out how humans inhabit themselves and interact with the world around them and to remind each other that we are cosmic beings on this planet for a short time and to seek the sacred. And most of all, being the most fun thing, is to do our work to dis-identify - to not be so attached to who we think we are or our personalities.
Being in an art space where everyone was tasked with their creations was a beautiful way to get to know myself as an artist and also to be in connection with others without all the stories about ourselves or each other making us busy. I am grateful for the experience of landing in the course with an art space as a way to arrive to myself, a reintroduction to my vessel as one that is sacred, can perceive the sacred, and also act as a conduit of creation with the common vision among us of a healed world.
Excerpt of journal from a Power Walk with the question "How can I be a constant conduit of source?"
Letting go of my personal fears so that I can know this, develop this channel.
I already know it. It is there and always available to me but I can get easily clouded and become unclear of my aims, my path, what is next.
If ever I am trying "too hard" then it is not me. It is a projection of what I am supposed to be.
I trust that whatever wants to be born of this time will be born.
Through collective connection to source, it can come through us.
The Love Story In-Between
I write of my experiences in the course and what I am learning but I can't ignore my love longings. I have written of this love all around, in messages to friends, on this blog, and it is probably written clearly across my forehead in some moments. Its essence is young, innocent, lusty - we were each other's firsts. And here it is, present again after 10 years of no contact. My high school sweetheart. Making it a love story is irresistible and I do not expect myself to resist it at all. Yet I greet it with a sobriety and a reverence. With curiosity about why now, as I step more diligently into a path, would something as strong as love grip my heart and distract me with the longings of home, partnership, children?
I invited him to be here with me for the second half of the three months - to join an introductory course and participate in projects that interested him for some time. For a few weeks I was busy with this - wanting for him to come, so that he could understand more about what moves me, to "get it" enough to chose to walk with me on my path.
There was a hesitancy in him, money, time, tasks. All of my questions of worthiness - whether I was of him, or he of me. All my questions of effort - should I bother or let it be - if it is meant then it will happen, right?
And on the Full Moon, there was finally clarity that he won't join me. I felt both waves of grief and of relief. Knowing that it is is a blessing for me to have this space and time for my development and know that I do not have to fear loss of love. In a way that even if our contact and connection changes, love is still always available to me especially when I am ready for it. And I knew I am simply not ready for what I was asking for.
I trust that our time together unfolds as it is supposed to and that I should avoid trying to make anything happen from this place of intense self development and communitarian integration.
It is so easy to love him and feel connected to source because we were young in our sexuality. I didn't feel shame when I was with him as a teenager, exploring our bodies, our sex. It was authentic and beautiful and innocent. To be each other's first partners and to have each other for two years before he parted for college is a powerful experience and connection.
I pray for ease in connection with him and know that I have growth to do in love and knowing within myself, and so does he.
After our call where it became clear that he wouldn't join me, I joined the full moon ritual - in grief with my tears and gratitude for the illumination and clarity of the situation. We came to a recognition of a mutual prayer for self-discovery and support of each other in this and it is a beautiful place to be in now.
The World Situation
It is September 8th, 2018 and people all over the world are marching in the streets, rising for climate, praying for change.
After a week of looking at the world situation, how we got there, the systems that have come in to place and how they function in our daily lives, I have come to a sober understanding that the psychology of fascism and how it is still alive and well today, in all of us, though rebranded. This might seem like a strong statement to make, but it couldn’t be more clear after tracing the history of the past 100 years, the current structure of world leadership and development, and my own daily life as a white person raised in the United States.
I want to make clear that I am aware of my whiteness, and that I am aware that I forget to be aware about this - and that I even have the privilege of doing so. That I write from a privileged perspective that cannot imagine the experiences of people of color at this time in our history. I recognize that it is my work to do to heal my inner character structures that unconsciously function to keep me separated from people of color and to become aware of the societal structures that we all swim in that keep white people in this privileged place. I am grateful that we have a group of people who have worked with Dr. Robin DiAngelo on White Consciousness, so that those of us benefiting from a long history of oppression, or as the Algonquins and other native peoples have called "Wetiko".
Wetiko is an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit that is driven by greed, excess, and selfish consumption (in Ojibwa it is windigo, wintiko in Powhatan). It deludes its host into believing that cannibalizing the life-force of others (others in the broad sense, including animals and other forms of Gaian life) is a logical and morally upright way to live.
Wetiko short-circuits the individual’s ability to see itself as an enmeshed and interdependent part of a balanced environment and raises the self-serving ego to supremacy. It is this false separation of self from nature that makes this cannibalism, rather than simple murder. It allows—indeed commands—the infected entity to consume far more than it needs in a blind, murderous daze of self-aggrandizement. Author Paul Levy, in an attempt to find language accessible for Western audiences, describes it as ‘malignant egophrenia’—the ego unchained from reason and limits, acting with the malevolent logic of the cancer cell. We use the term wetiko as it is the original, and reminds us of the wisdom to be found in Indigenous cultures, for those who have the ears to hear.
Wetiko can describe both the infection and the body infected; a person can be infected by wetiko or, in cases where the infection is very advanced, can personify the disease: ‘a wetiko.’ This holds true for cultures and systems; all can be described as being wetiko if they routinely manifest these traits... This is the description of a disease whose vector was determined by deep patterns of history, inlcuding those that empowered Europeans to drive 'global exploration' as certain technologies emerged.
The wetiko nature [as the origins] of modern capitalism [are demonstrated in] its insatiable hunger for finite resources; its disregard for the pain of groups and cultures it consumes; its belief in consumption as savior; its overriding obsession with its own material growth; and its viral spread across the surface of the planet. It is wholly accurate to describe neoliberal capitalism as cannibalizing life on this planet. It is not the only truth—capitalism has also facilitated an explosion of human life and ingenuity—but when taken as a whole, capitalism is certainly eating through the life-force of this planet in service of its own growth. (Source)
I match white consciousness and Wetiko because colonized cultures have a clearly distinguishable worldview of understanding non-human life as meaningful, animate, alive, and that there is interdependent connection between all things. Where as Wetiko/White Consciousness/Colonizers has developed an "insatiable hunger for finite resources, disregard for the pain of groups and cultures it consumes, belief in consumption as savior, overriding obsession with its own material growth and its viral speed across the planet". It becomes easier to see how colonialism has also rebranded into "development" and "aid" projects throughout the world as a way to "save" (colonize) other cultures that are "underdeveloped"(tribal) and end up killing the local economy, setting up westernized elites, and lending money in order to grasp control of a region. We not only see this happening in "less developed" countries around the world, we see this happening also in ethnic neighborhoods of cities in the United States. It is a meta-colonization, a rebranded fascism and cleansing of our country to make sure that whiteness and capitalism prevail.
I want to mention briefly that colonization and dogmatic religion brought about world views and social structures where men, specifically, were designated to be the only ones in direct connection with the divine world thus alienated common people, but especially women, from the freedom of accessing the sacred. Examples of value changes from matriarchal/pagan/gnostic cultures include:
Communion with all ---> Fearful submission to spirits and a tamed "wildness"
Women at center of horizontal social structures ---> men at the top of hierarchical structures
Free sexual cultures ---> control and suppression of women's sex via social and spiritual conditioning where monogamy was only applied to women's sex and only women were punished for violating this social norm.
While this historical context is simplified, it is important to understand how religion influences eros, the life source within all life, across all cultures.
It has taken me a while to process this information, let it sink into my system, and then to spend a few hours formulating even this short, incomplete (but dense) explanation for you to read here. In order for us to change the system, we need to know what we are up against. And I am not free from unequivocal doubt of the possibility of change. However, I commit to having ever more consciousness so that I can see the waters in which I swim that I may never know fully and I have a community to do it in. About half of the group (which is mostly white) has chosen to do an additional study on white consciousness every Tuesday during our siesta and it is so crucial for us to take this on as we hold the questions and a vision of a healed world.
As Audrey Lorde providentially reminds me,“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
The Topics Ahead of Us