I have been drawing and painting Staircase to Heaven for the last few months, enjoying the explorations it has brought forth. Not only opening and growing through the process of drawing and painting, but also becoming more and more aware of Life's inner creative process and through trusting more deeply, seeing through yet more of the many illusions present in my mind! If you have ever meditated for a few minutes then you will have an idea of what I mean! ;-)
As I draw and paint each deity and deity specific yantra I realise I intellectually know less and less about them, yet feel their beautiful guiding presence in my life more and more!
Lord Ganesh, the ‘elephant’ God in yoga, is known to be the remover of obstacles on our spiritual path. As I draw and paint and attempt to do things I’ve not done before, or told myself I ‘can’t do them’, he is there. An energy or essence present that invites me to step though self-limiting beliefs and ideas. He is there as an inner strength and force, like an elephant – strong yet gentle, loving, determined, able to tear down the greatest obstruction along ones path. All I have to do is notice the energy - often uncomfortable and easily avoided as parts of me attempt to keep me small! But when I am able to notice and when I am ready to experience what has been squashed down before, then I notice that shadow part fall away as the self-created illusion it always was. This is freedom. Like digging for diamonds – sometimes He brings forth great strength to bulldoze through the earth of energetic blockages surrounding our heart glistening jewel. At other times a gentle blow of energy from his trunk! He removes our obstacles, he aids us to peel away the layers of the onion, so to speak, that darken our glorious light. Thank you Lord Ganesh. BACK TO PAINTINGS
Kali Ma is creativity in her rawest and wildest form. We are creative beings creating every single God dam moment of every single day. EVERYTHING. ABSOLUTELY EVERY MOMENT. That is Life. Pause the judgement of how our life looks and pause the comparison to another. Kali is symbolically portrayed as dark and fierce, wearing a garland of heads, half naked and demonically killing people with no recourse! I love this in her. It feels her essence of creativity is pure impulse and her love for us so strong she will not suffer fools lightly. That probably means pretty much all humans on this planet! She shakes us to our core - not to cause suffering but to free us from our bondage. I feel the garland represents her victories through our egoic breakdown and her essence is to be expressed with wild abandon and not constrained by our conditioning and robotic like behaviours. Thank God for Kali Ma and her ability to rid us of our rigidity and fake thoughts of controlling our lives. Meditate on Kali for a while, invite her to create you anew, if you dare! ;-)
She is fierce in her love to express. She feels passionate in her quest and will not be held back by out of date stories of my mind. She tears down my rigid sense of ‘I’ and liberates my creativity. Thank you Kali Ma. BACK TO PAINTINGS
Ma Laxshmi – Goddess of abundance and wealth.
I realise I have shied away from her and squashed inside a Gollum (Lord of the Rings) type ‘my precious’ mentality, attempting to deceive myself of her existence! Underlying fears of scarcity and survival and looking out for ‘no 1’ – me and mine – are Laxshmi’s opposites I feel. I even experience digestive issues – on a metaphysical level I feel this may be in part due to resistance to the Gollum inside, for I feel we each have such a character.
So drawing and painting her and her yantra were very difficult. A lot of resistance, a lot of putting it off, a lot of heaviness. But thanks to energies of Ganesh and Kali growing within my mind and body system I had the insight to be with the uncomfortable sensations as much as possible in each given moment, and to watch the barrage of negative thoughts rather than be actively playing them out! The gravitational pull to avoid – to go eat a chocolate bar or do something other than sit and draw her was seen again and again and again. At first the avoidance tactic just happened but over time awareness grew and eventually I was able to be with the difficult energies – to be with parts of myself from the past that had been in situations that led to such stuck energy. And the funny thing is that once seen the bogie man under the bed (so to speak) wasn’t even there!
She stirred up feelings of lack in many guises – material, relational to name but two! I really squirmed under her rising energy. What is abundance and wealth? Questions to ponder on and look back at our lives and see how our ideas around them may have changed. Loss of a loved one can make financial concerns or comparing instantly irrelevant.
My fears around money, survival, how others view me, rose to the foreground – thoughts, beliefs, unfelt feelings, pain in the body. No wonder I have digestive issues seeing Laxshmi Ma is associated with the naval and our sense of will. ‘My’ will or thy will (God/divine mother) be done – now this is a question ;-)
Such relief, freedom, expansion as inner demons rose and fell. Thankyou Laxshmi Ma and the creative process. BACK TO PAINTINGS
On the other hand I loved drawing Durgha Ma – Goddess of love and compassion. She is seated at our heart and NOT the conditioned ideas we may/may not have about love. Her love can be gentle but also fierce. What would a mother not do to save her children? She would die of course. She is depicted riding a lion or tiger. Fierce, proud, strong, noble they can also roll around and purr and play as a kitten! The weapons she carries in her many arms symbolic of her love and compassion – knowing the exact way to open our hearts to deeper knowing and truth.
I heard of a story about Durgha Ma where she rode in to battle for the final blow to the ego, carrying a glass of wine in one hand. As she galloped abound her lion, in to the ethereal arena, she spilt but not a drop of the wine and at the perfect moment sliced the last ego thread of attachment to illusion for her quarry. She then raised her glass with a smile and drank!
We are not the illusions our minds repeatedly tell us we are. We are not the DVD scripted movies of our minds. Mediatate on Durgha Ma, explore your own creative process and you will see.
Durgha Ma teaches love and compassion. My realising’s around love and compassion have changed massively over the last few years in particular. The more I delve inside and grow in awareness the more I realise I do not know what love is in words. I have experiences of such warmth, love, connectedness and a growing knowing of who I really am. But ideas of love are not love. Drawing her Yantra opened up an exploration of all being one and one being all. Love – truth – the fundamental essence of all – good and bad. BACK TO PAINTINGS
Saraswati Ma – Goddess of wisdom, speech and learning. There is a saying – ‘less is best’ and many guru’s (teachers) speak little. So easily we hurt ourselves and others through thought and word and deed. We have global, societal, cultural, familial ideas and agreements about what is deemed bad and deemed good! The subtle levels to ahimsa (non-violence) feel inexhaustible. I feel Saraswati Ma sits patiently at our throat chakra, calling forth truths if only we will listen – and trust. She rides a swan – a symbol of purity, elegance and strength. She guides us to such a space of wisdom within ourselves calling on the attributes of the other Gods and Goddesses to work in unison to lift us from our illusory slumber. She holds a mala – a reminder to repeat mantra to help us ground, centre and remain steady amidst the gravitational pulls of old habits and behaviours. She prays for us to find our true voice – not the voices of old, small wounded parts of ourselves, that react in myriads of colourful ways to life situations. Stillness, purity, quiet are She. A couple of true words uttered can have a profound effect compared to reels of ego driven sentences. She reminds us to listen – to really and truly LISTEN. Not to listen in order to respond with ones own opinion and/or advice! Listening is wisdom. Wisdom is listening and hearing. BACK TO PAINTINGS
Now Lord Shiva is a mystery. My relationship with him has changed a lot over the years. This I find fascinating in itself - energies come and go - ideas come and go - feelings come and go. Who is Lord Shiva? Who am I?
He is known to be part of the triune Godhead of creator, sustainer and destroyer, and often depicted at grave yards. I love this. I love walking around grave yards too! For me this is symbolic of our own mortality, a particular contemplation often put on the back burner, so to speak! He is beyond words, lovingly seeking out those as they leave their physical body and journey on. But he is also a call to awake to truth in this embodied life time too! The hand of God inside, reaching out to catch us as the last shred of the egoic process collapses - when 'I' has surrendered completely in to the void of loves embrace. I feel he is the moment of inner union as shakti (the feminine) and shiva (the masculine) unite. The ultimate marriage in the ultimate temple of God - the human body.
I didn't think there was going to be a Shiva painting as any attempt to sit down and paint him in a similar way to the others just wasn't happening. And that felt ok. I tried several times but, nope, there was nothing there. I'd given up on painting him when I saw an instagram post of what looked like a photograph of a woman with a painted face half in the light and half not seen. Instantly I thought - Shiva. He was painted on black canvas as an enquiry in to the darkness - the void. BACK TO PAINTINGS
'Staircase to Heaven'
One of my first paintings I did is called 'Caduceus' (see below). It was my exploration of the Caduceus Greek mythological symbol sometimes used in healthcare and my growing understandings through yoga, of the subtle nerves Ida and Pingala that wrap around Sushumna, the central column of the spine.
Through purification of the nervous system, the opposing gravitational pull's of Ida and Pingala are exposed in growing awareness and fall away, having been seen as illusionary colourings in ones mind. In turn our ability to remain more centered, still and at peace grows. This is liberating.
The symbolic similarities between this and the double helix which carries our human potential in each cell of our body is stunning and opens up portals in my psyche to the micro and macrocosm of life.
The painting with all 6 yantra symbolises interconnectedness - oneness. The blank canvas was already there. What burst forth from the moment the compass first touched the canvas can be witnessed on many levels. A marriage of the unseen (intuition, gut feeling) and the seen (paint, brush) brought forth the 6 petalled flower of life, and from there an interwoven cosmic mix of colours, energies and meaning. What a matrix we inhabit - and all embodied through the human experience! BACK TO PAINTINGS
Thankyou for reading. I hope you enjoy my artwork and they touch your hearts as they do mine. If you would like to purchase or commission a piece, would like to learn to draw yantra, or fancy connecting in some way, please don't hesitate to contact me. :-)