Saturday, January 7, 2017

Vijali and the World Wheel


Many years ago I saw Vijali Hamilton become GAIA, as she began her "World Wheel" project, a series of artworks she co-created around the world with many people.  She has been weaving the World Wheels for over 30 years now, and has founded the World Wheel Center near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I am in awe of Vijali.  As she says of the origins of her life work,  
"The motivation for the World Wheel came from an experience in the mid 70’s when my perception of ourselves and the world shifted, and the Unity of life stood revealed. The next few years were a search for a way to live within this web of life that connects all life.  Specific ideas for the World Wheel came to me in a dream. I saw myself carving sculptures out of the living rock and involving people from many cultures in a process of ritual in a giant circle around the world. The circle itself represents Unity in the sense that each spoke of the wheel has a quality that is unique and distinct from every other spoke of the wheel. And yet it is from these differences that harmony arises, from these differences that the whole is created."

Vijali as "GAIA"


I felt like sharing her work here, because of late I need to remember the visionaries I've met and known, I need to remember and honor the visionaries, period.   

Perhaps one of my favorite points on her first Wheel was when she went to India, where she met a group of Baul musicians, and ended up staying in their village, and creating with them.  

Here's what she had to say about it:

Creating A Mandala House For A Village — Falling In Love with a Village 

West Bengal, India

"In West Bengal, India, I fell in love with a group of destitute Baul folk musicians who were singing for money on the train. I kept giving them coins to stay in my compartment and eventually they invited me to their village.

They were as generous as they were poor. When the villagers heard that a guest had arrived, they spread a mat under a tree for me. Women brought spiced tea, and the children of the village put jasmine garlands around my neck and danced and sang. A full moon appeared and the night sky shimmered with stars. It was one of the most beautiful evenings of my life.

I asked them the three questions I ask in every country. They answered, "We come from the womb of our mother. We really come from the mother who is the Earth. We are part of the Great Goddess. Our essence is the Great Kali." I also asked, "What is the imbalance in your lives and in your village?" They replied: "We are exhausted and under strain all the time because we have to go out and wander so we can make money. When we come back, we don't always have enough money and food for our families." And my third question, what could heal their problem? They answered, "To really love our singing and not worry about the future. Just to keep on doing what we are doing, but give up anxiety and be God conscious every moment of our day."

They found a hut for me and I moved into the village. I became aware that the tribal village was made up of mixed castes. I kept imagining them all sitting down in one circle. Finally I saw what was needed - a communal house, a commons where they could come together, practice and perform their music, have their own pujas (ceremonies), and hold school for their children. This is how I came to build the Mandala House in the village.

At first the Bauls just watched. According to the caste system they only sing, they don't do any physical work. But as I, their honored guest, worked with the low castes in the mud, someone came to help. Then his brother came, then the father, and pretty soon someone else in the village would stop and say, "Oh, my goodness, you don't do it that way; here, let me show you." And they would help. That's how it happened."

1 comment:

Gail said...

Vijali is a true visionary - as are you. Thank you for sharing.