Well, in the existential department, I'm looking for direction again, so I guess I'll need to be a bit self-absorbed for a while. In pursuit of this, on the 4th of July I went to my favorite funky hot springs in Safford, AZ, and had the whole place to myself. I sat in the water watching the moon and an art project called "Numinous" plopped into my mind, numbered and indented as if it was neatly typewritten in academic Proposal format! It included 3 different components. (I didn't see any footnotes, however.) This doesn't happen to me very often when I'm blissfully bathing in hot water under the moon.
Well, actually, come to think of it, it sometimes does. I'm a double Leo, I live in the desert, and I used to be a fire dancer. Fire, fire, fire, love the stuff, except when it involves forests. And yet, it seems that water is the element that provides refuge for my soul, the creative "spring".
I remember a vivid dream I had in 1998 at Harbin Hot Springs about being given an antique typewriter that was buried in the ground. As I dusted the dirt off of it it began to type by itself, spewing forth pages and pages of stories about Goddesses. Then the pages turned into pictures, and the pictures turned into a long line of women, dressed in beautiful costumes. Women of all colors, black, blue, white, red, and yellow, stood before me like a luminous, expectant rainbow. Not long after I returned to my studio in Berkeley, I was invited to attend a meeting to plan the upcoming Spiral Dance in San Francisco. That year the theme was diversity, and the group wanted masks to celebrate the Goddess. And so I began work that summer on a series of masks. At the Spiral Dance that October my dream came true. Twenty-five women in a rainbow of colors formed a masked procession. The dream proceeded the creation and event.....and I think, when we engage with the mythic or archetypal realm, many people find what is circular and seamless.......***
Last year I went to the Holy Wells in Glastonbury, and participated in a Waters of the World Ceremony at the Temple of the Goddess. Now that was true magic.......This year I've had to stay closer to home, so I settled for "The Essence of Tranquility" hot springs, one of the better kept secrets of eastern Arizona. And, because it was the 4th of July, no one was there so I had the whole place to myself!
I've been rolling the ideas that "arrived" around in my head ever since. "Numinous"....and I plan on researching the word a bit more in a future entry. Here's what I scratched on to a piece of damp paper..........the first time I've had a vision that was so academic...........although, it's really a variation on what I've always done since the day I first walked into a stone chamber with a ley crossing in Putney, Vermont, in the summer of 1982, thanks to master dowser Sig Lonegren. I felt vibrant energy there, I watched my divining rod "helicopter", and I've been asking myself ever since: "How do we speak to the Earth? How does the Earth speak to us?"
So, please forgive me, friends, if I try to get a handle on this...........
Component 1) Masks. In traditional societies masks are "Liminal Tools". Traditionally they were perceived as being mediation tools between shamanic states, or different dimensions of being. A mask might allow spirits to participate, communicate, even prophesize and heal. They can be seen in this respect as a way to permit "numina" or the spirits of place to to communicate through the medium of the mask, and the one who wears the mask.
Component 2) Story. What might the spirit of a place, the "genius loci" say? How would "place" speak to participants? Perhaps, though visioning exercises, art process, meditation, creating handmade books, masks, or shrines that "engage and invite the numinous"?
Component 3) Vision. How might Numina be "personified" or "voiced" in contemporary terms, even as they are now "dis-placed"? *
* "Indigenous people have always known corn metaphorically in two or more of the four senses, mother, enabler, transformer, healer; that I use throughout this weaving. Although early European settlers took the grain only, there is evidence in America today that the Corn-Mother has taken barriers of culture and language in stride and intimated her spirit to those who will listen, even if they don't know her story or call her by name."
***Artist Lorraine Chapparell's amazing "Hands" sculpture also had its inception in a dream in which she saw the piece in an art history book, complete with its title "Hands". "The dreams are easy; it's bringing them to physical fruition that takes time." she said about the almost 10 tears between the dream and creating the sculpture.
Images are copyright Lorraine Capparell (www.skymuseum.com)