What is it like to be a spiritually committed artist today in this beautiful/ailing world of ours?
I believe that visionary artist Gaia Orion answers that question in her recently finished painting, “The Journey,” that expresses her spirituality so well in its graphic beauty and clarity here at the beginning of this blog. But before I share Gaia’s story, I’d like to go back to a conversation some friends and I had several days ago.
The conversation began around the problem of genetically modified crops potentially causing the collapse of bee colonies in North America. As we delved into the available research, the evidence against GMO crops became more stark. Our conversation took a dark turn. I began feeling the oppression of the information, and wished that I didn’t know more about Bee Colony Collapse than I did before the conversation began, but I also knew that I had to look at the dark facts of this problem with eyes wide open and not look away. As this thought formed in my mind, I was reminded of another conversation with my cousin I’d had a few hours earlier that day. In it, my cousin had expressed her ambivalence about her daughter’s loss of innocence due to information she is learning in her Environmental Sociology course, mostly from her instructor’s outspoken, left-of-center views. My cousin Betty is well-aware of what is going on in our out-of-control corporate systems, many of which are destroying the environment, and she is proud of her daughter for taking on these issues. At the same time, it saddens her to see her sweet girl, who didn’t cause these problems in the first place, having to face the ‘hard realities’ of life.
As I juggle these thoughts, I realize that while, yes, there is a dark, greed-ridden, life-negating side to life, there is also another side that is light, holistic, and life-affirming. We are responsible to choose where we want to lend our weight. I harken back to the words of my visionary, author friend Carolyn North when she reminded me that we have opted to be here now at this pivotal point in time to help birth into the world a new paradigm of joy, unity, and partnership. That we each have our own work to do to help World Shift happen, whether it be through our writing, art, theater, education, spirituality, politics, or whatever our gifts happen to be.
Enter Gaia Orion a few days after the gmo/bee colony collapse conversation. That day I opened up a post on Facebook of Gaia holding up her latest painting “The Journey” that will be shown this March at the “Dreams and Divinities” art show in Spain. I was blown away by its enchanting birth-life-death-life motif. At the time I opened Gaia’s post, I just ‘happened’ to be listening to an Art of the Feminine podcast. Without even pausing the show, I immediately sent off this comment to Gaia: Lovely! Such a perfect Cycle of Life! At the exact same time I sent my comment, I heard Shannon Port on the podcast quote these words from a Rosicrucian text, “Art is the Priestess of Nature.” Wow! I thought, Gaia’s art perfectly reflects those words!
When I shared this synchronicity with her, Gaia responded, “Synchronicity like this keep happening to me all the time! A nice confirmation from life […] and another synchronicity, as I am organizing a solo show for 2015 in a Rosicrucian location downtown Paris!”
Further meaning of the experiences we shared became more clear when the next day Gaia sent me a beautiful painting titled “The Priestess” from the Gallery on her website. Below the painting are the words:
One of the things I wanted to “be” when I was growing up was to be a priest; but that wasn’t possible as I was catholic!
I now know that there were plenty of priestesses in ancient cultures throughout herstory. Today many people are redefining myths, creating new ways and new rituals to connect to spirit as most of our old ways have obsolete language and stories.
I was inspired to paint this image when watching a documentary on womyn. A priestess was holding two undulating snakes to a full moon and I loved the strength, beauty and message of the scene.
After generations of patriarchal worldviews and traditions, the time has come for womyn to reconnect to their power and spirit and for men to redefine their role in creating an equitable, balanced, sensitive and respectful humanity. ~ Gaia Orion
So, this is what it’s like to be a spiritually committed artist today in this beautiful/ailing world: one whose vision and commitment helps to shift the current paradigm from one of potential Collapse to one of vibrant, juicy, creative Life.
Thank you, Gaia. Your art makes my heart feel joyful and hopeful again.