Dots, Trance, and Magic – Aboriginal Paintings

Songs of a Secret Country

Last week, I visited the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, the only museum in the United States dedicated to the exhibition and study of Australian Aboriginal Art.

I was the only visitor for much of the time I was there and wandered from one painting to another, undisturbed and in awed silence.

This painting was created by John John Bennett Tjapangati, and consists of dots arranged into connecting circles. When you look at this canvas long enough, the dots and circles seem to move and vibrate, coming alive.

Close-ups

A more colorful painting by Jennifer Mintaya Connelly symbolizes the story of the Seven Sisters. The U shapes and circles here are similar to the body paintings on women who participate in ceremonies involving the Seven Sisters story.

Sustaining Sisterhood

Sustaining Sisterhood

Details from the Sustaining Sisterhood painting:

This painting by Puntjina Monica Watson is dedicated to a sacred creation story associated with the snake ancestor.

Sweet Creation

Sweet Creation

Details from Sweet Creation:

These few paintings are a small sample of what the Kluge-Ruhe Collection has to offer. I hope it will give you a taste of the wondrous and magical art work that give us glimpses of the secret ceremonies and spirituality guarded so wisely by Aboriginal people

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge:  Variations.

 

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Hidden Beauty Along the River

A bit of cabin fever….                               a drive along a West Virginia river….

thin ice

thin ice

After a brief warm period, ice was beginning to re-form along the calmer stretches of the river.

The thin edges of surface ice surprised with their delicate filigree

or crumbled tinfoil reflection

But the biggest surprises we found along the banks of the river, where branches and grasses touched the rushing water

rushing river

rushing river

There were bell shapes

light catchers

light catchers

bells and blobs

bells and blobs

an ice-flower bouquet

drips and icicles

drips

drips

chess pieces

chess pieces

icicles hanging from branch

icicles hanging from branch

“architectural” structures

covered entrance

covered entrance

melting cake frosting

Well worth the frozen fingers!

line of ice candles

line of ice candles

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Happy New Year

May your glass always be at least half full.

May it be filled with nourishment when you are thirsty,
something refreshing when you are hot,
something warming when you are cold.

May you give what you don’t need to another.
May your sharing transform
plain water into sparkling wine.

May you raise your glass in celebration,
or mark your quiet times and solitude,
and sacred time with those you love.

May you discover mystery and enchantment
in the etchings of your glass.
May something new grow from within.

May you find strength and courage
to seek a fresh spring,
when your glass runs dry.

May you treasure your one glass.
May you clean and polish it
to sparkle for each new filling.

May your glass always be at least half full
even when it’s already half empty.

Happy New Year!

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Liminal Space

One of my favorite things to do in the liminal space between winter solstice and the first few weeks of a brand new year is reflecting on the year that has passed and visioning the year that is to come.

Liminal refers to that transition place between the past (what was) and entering a new space (what’s next) – a time of waiting, and not yet knowing.

This liminal space holds the promise of transformation, if we allow it to do its magic.

One of the ways of entering this mystery is through creating a collage of images. I save images from junk mail, catalogs, or brochures throughout the year.

collection of images

collection of images

Our unconscious already knows what’s waiting in the wings…

As I create my collage trusting that I will find the right images and that they will arrange themselves in just the right way into a synergistic whole, something exciting and mysterious emerges. I always know when it is complete. I may not always know the deeper meaning of everything in the collage, but it usually reveals itself as the year progresses.

This is the collage I created at the beginning of 2017:

2017 collage

I can see my anxiety reflected over political issues introducing a year of more political engagement than I have probably had through my entire life. There are images that remind me of my spiritual practices that help keep everything in perspective and balance; a tenderness for youth and innocence – yes, we are accountable and responsible for the condition of the planet we are leaving behind for our descendants; the need for nourishment, health, and self-nurture to balance out the starkness of the struggle for good; the need for both connection and solitude.

And it was an intense year, with lots of opposing forces, both on the inside and the outside, both within relationships and on a national and worldwide scale.

I will create another collage for 2018, again honoring and invoking that liminal space described so well by R. Rohr:

“…where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible… This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy. The threshold is God’s waiting room. Here we are taught openness and patience as we come to expect an appointment with the divine Doctor.” (Richard Rohr, Author and Theologian).

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

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Christmas for the Birds

Cleaning out my fridge, I found a few old nuts, seeds, dried figs and a jar of rendered beef fat. And I had orange halves left over from squeezing fresh orange juice. So – always wanting to find a use for everything, I made bird feed mixing peanuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and chopped up figs together.

After warming up the suet, I poured it over the mixture and had to quickly place everything in the fridge to harden. The liquid fat was dripping out of the holes on the sides. It got a little messy there. The fat hardened soon enough and everything was ready to be hung on tree branches outside.

Doesn’t this look delicious!?

It took a day or two to trust this colorful new feeder, but this little downy woodpecker claimed the offering and seemed to enjoy its meal.

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