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Awakening of an American Artist
January 13, 2002
As I read this material in hindsight, as well as for editing, it is so
obvious to me just how much I have changed. How everything has changed.
I have learned so much. Yet, it's even more obvious to me just how much
there is to yet to learn, for once you 'think' you know something, everything
changes again. Even still, within the constant of change itself, there
is the eternal 'Now". Perhaps this is the ultimate lesson to learn, for
no matter how much one changes, or how far one travels, no matter where
one goes, and no matter how much there is to learn,...there is always
I have thought
much about a "home" during my travels and the time since. For a Starseed,
home always seems so far away. I don't believe there is a longing on Earth
that can break a heart more. I can only find solice in the "Now". When
I am in this certain space, I picture a huge bright blue sky with lots
of white, cumulus clouds streaking from one horizon to the other. And
in the center of the sky there is a one, solitary ray of light from the
sun that parts the clouds and streams down to the ground. I stand in the
center of this golden ray of light, and no matter how fast the clouds
may past me by, I remain in this center of light. While the skies may
grow darker and the ground moves beneath my feet in constant change, there
is peace and stillness within this ray of light from the Great Central
Sun........It is my home. My 'world within a world'.
In an ironic twist of fate, I have returned to the very room, the very
space in which I first began to write almost five years ago. The focus
of the documented journals that follow, beginning in June of 1997, was
to become my invocation for passing through a threshold, re-awakening
me to a multi-dimensional, intelligent, conscious universe in the most
wondrous, magical and mystical ways. Over time, I came to learn of a term
called, stichomancy. It is the practice of seeking metaphysical insight
by reading a random passage from a book, the art of seeking spiritual
guidance through the written word. So many times the written word did
indeed guide me along, as you will see, like a voice in the darkness,
enlightening the path like a beacon of light. And now, this path is to
be shared, for I know how alone one can feel while traveling such a path
as this. But we are never alone and nothing is without reason.
A few weeks ago I began to take my first steps towards public exhibits
in an Art Gallery in Salem, Massachusetts. I have chosen a very long road
to get there. Ironically, it's a town in which I first began exhibiting
my artwork during outdoor, Saturday craft markets in a cobblestoned 'Derby
Square' over twenty years ago as a teenager just out of High School. Indeed
it's been a long, winding road. A dream of sorts, the likes that would
be difficult to explain. The exhibit is to be held at a place called 'Galant
Gallery'. The owner tells me it's French interpretation is 'The Enduring
Spirit'. Talk about coming full circle. Which leads me into a little story
I feel that may have some relavance to the following material as a whole.
One may be
well aware of the heritage regarding Salem, Massachusetts, it's history,
as well as it's present day company of witches and pagans. If there is
anyplace in America for a 'SunSpirit' to come home and roost, it is here.
Yet, there I was, fresh out of school, naive and green in many ways, yet
full of wide-eyed wonder. I had just finished taping my prints to the
brick walls in this corner square, sitting back to take in this Saturday
afternoon at the market. It was always a job and a half seeing that most
the time I would travel with back packs, portfolio's and easels draped
around my neck, half strangling myself. The best time of day was those
few hours between unpacking everything before packing it all up again.
Kicking back on a few cobblestones this one day in particular, I recall
watching this very old woman approach, complete with a cane, a shawl,
..the works. No kidding, your typical Salem 'witch' walking right off
the pages of a history book. She crossed my path and walked straight into
my booth as I stood back to take her all in. I was waiting for her black
cat to appear behind her. She never said a word, taking her time as she
hobbled slowly from one picture to the next. She would get right up close,
within inches, looking at each and every picture intently. Not once did
she look or acknowledge me, as I just sat back and watched her ever so
curious as to who she was. I wondered if she too was an artist, and yes,
I have to admit, I did wonder if she was indeed a witch. She had this
dark wooden cane, a black shawl she wore over her head and down her shoulders.
She even had the black strapped boots. After about a half an hour of passing
from one picture to the next, she arrived at the last one on the wall.
I for sure was not going to let her pass without at least attempting to
talk to her. Just as I was about to walk up to her she turned and began
to hobble towards me. She walked right up close, barely reaching my shoulders,
raised her finger in my face and in the most typical old witch crackling
"You my son,
will be famous some day".
all she said. She turned and began to hobble away, cane and all. I was
so taken back I never uttered a word. I just stood there dumbfounded,
not knowing what to say. Her beady little eyes and scratchy voice forever
etched in my memory. I watched her as she crossed out of sight. What I
would ask her if I could ever have that moment back. I suppose it's every
young artist dream to be recognized, or even to become famous. But that
was a very long time ago. After a while you come to know quite well why
even the most famous of artists struggle, for they can do nothing else.
You come to know that it is not about fame, nor recognition. You realize
that beyond the love and passion of whatever work you do as an artist,
there is nothing you would rather do, then be who and what you are,...no
matter what. You learn that success comes with acceptance, or forever
struggle in vain.
So it is
this enduring spirit who comes home. If it is to make a simple living,
to learn, or perhaps to teach some, so let it be. The nite I booked the
showing at Galant Gallery, I walked the wharf where I once pushed a cart
full of etchings and showed my friend where I played as a child. The crisp
nite and sea air felt good. We then walked into a shop called "Nu Aeon",
meaning "New Age". I asked about a book I saw in the window. I took it
home and read;
according to the Teachings, the passage of this book to those ready for
the instruction will attract the attention of such as are prepared to
receive the Teaching. And, likewise, when the pupil is ready to receive
the truth, then will this little book come to him, or her. Such is the
Law. The Hermetic Principle of Cause and Effect, in it's aspect of The
Law of Attraction, will bring lips and ear together-pupil and book in
company. So mote it be! "
And so it
has been ever since that fateful June evening five years ago now when
I picked up my copy of the 'Dancing Star' and held it in my hands.
The following story evolves around a series of journals and correspondences
that began in June of 1997. They document my personal journey and experiences
that culminate in April of 2000.
Entry- June 23,1997
Today is a
special day, for I feel that I am ready to embark on a journey that I
have waited for a very long time to complete. During this journey, my
intention is to choose and experience a special gift from what I refer
to as Spirit, or the "Divine Source". A gift in which my intentions are to
result in a series of artwork called "Faces of God". Not that I feel that
any 'divine source" is purely male energy, nor exclusive to artist. Thats
not it at all. It's just that I have felt many times that the collections
of Angel and Goddess images I have worked on over the past year would
not be complete or "balanced" without the prominent male mythological
archetypes. Like the work that has preceded this particular collection,
I believe this is something that only Spirit can touch under the right
conditions. Now is time to "create" these conditions, and bring the work
full circle. Although I do not know in which way or to what extent, I
do realize there is no way that an artist cannot be touched, changed or
altered in some way after experiencing what I intend too in creating this
series of work. I will need to listen, feel and touch the heart of "Source"
in order to reveal the many "Faces of God". I will attempt to hear the
voice and see through the eyes in order to feel and create what it is
that Source would intend to reveal. I know in my heart, I will not be
the same person when I am done, as I am today. I look forward to the change
in eagerness, in thirst and hunger, with wild-eyed anticipation for the
days that follow.
June 24, 1997-5:00 a.m.
This is an attempt to document a series of designs and concepts. It is
my intention to report on the progress, communications, transitions, creations
and outcome on a periodical basis as honestly and openly as I can. There
is a passage by Kalhil Gibran I have grown older with, I refer to it often
in times of change. Today, I am reminded of it once again....
A passage from the "Prophet"
"Almastafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn unto his own
day, had waited twelve years in the city of Orphalase for his ship that
was to return and bear him back to the ilse of his birth. And in the twelfth
year on the seventh day of Lelool, the month of reaping, he climbed a
hill without the city walls and looked seaward; and he beheld his ship
coming with the mist.
Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far over
the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of his soul.
But, as he ascended the hill, a sadness came upon him, and he thought
in his heart:
"How shall I go in peace without sorrow? Nay, not without a word in the
spirit shall I leave this city. Long were the days of pain I have spent
within it's walls., and long were the nites of aloneness; And who can
depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret? To many fragments
of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and to many are the children
of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw
from them without a burden and an ache. It is not a garment I cast off
this day, but a skin that I tear with my own hands. Nor is it a thought
that I leave behind me, but a heart made sweet with hunger and with thirst.
Yes, I cannot tarry any longer. The sea that calls all things unto her
calls me, and I must embark. For to stay, the hours burn in the nite,
is to freeze and to crystalize and be bound in a mold. Fain that I would
take with me all that is here. But how shall I?
A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that gave it wings. Alone
must it seek the ether. And alone and without his nest shall the eagle
fly across the Sun".
Time was spent on re-organizing and arranging an itinerary for the designs.
Attempts at meditations to focus were subtle, but a sense of wonder and
newness seemed to permeate. Progress was made on assembling and organizing
material for the collection, and three to four concepts were formed. Ares,
the "God of War", "Apollo", the God of the Underworld, and "Pan", the
'Trickster". Other material was arranged and reviewed for possible consideration
June 25, 1997-1:00 a.m.
Many times I will reach for a book for no particular reason. I will pick
it up, hold it, focus and meditate but for a moment. Then I will open
at a random page, knowing that whatever I was about to read was to hold
a significance. I would listen carefully to the words and like many do,
apply them to my own life. At times I find the messages amazing. I realize
they are total random messages that can be applied to anyones life, at
any time, like that of a horoscope.........
Or is there
more to it?
Introduction to Part 2
Two days ago I went to a friend and told her what I was planning to do
over the course of the next thirty days. Knowing me and knowing the state
of my life, she was pleased to say the least. Even though we had talked
about my personal course of action, nothing had been mentioned about such
personal and intense introspective. I did not know how she was going to
react but knew that I needed her help more than ever before to accomplish
it. After I told her, I think she was more pleased at the fact that I
was doing something for myself and that it would help me as an individual
more then any art collection. Such is the love of a friend. For noone
has seen and watch me wither in the past year more then she has. Such
is the result of passion and an artist who is lost. Prior to telling her
of my plans, she had gotten a few books for my birthday and had given
them to me later that evening, the same night I was to start this introspection.
The books are as follows. The Prophet, by Kalhil Gibran, hence the passage
that I opened this journal with. I had a pocket version of this book already
that I keep around my computer. I use it as a reference at times. The
one I have was given to me as a gift some 19 years ago and shows it's
age. It is beaten and torn and stained, but thats what makes old books
that much better. The next one was another pocket version called "Lifes
little treasure book On Friendship" by H. Jackson Browne. The last one
was "A Dancing Star - Inspirations to Guide and Heal", by Eileen Campbell.
I felt a particular kinship with this last book. As I held it in my hands
this evening, looking over the outside of it, again i felt it....creeping
in, that familiar feeling. That feeling one gets when the attunement starts,
like an animal that stops in his tracks and fixes his senses on his surroundings,
listening and looking intently. When one knows he's about to receive a
message. But of course, I'm only holding a "guide to inspiration" in my
hands at a time when I feel as though I need to be guided and inspired!
No magic there. But, there is a difference between knowing that you will
read something that will help, andKnowingthat your about to read
something that is going to add another piece of a puzzle, perhaps one
big corner piece. Perhaps even one that will change your life, ....forever.
I have been waiting, patiently, watching, listening to the signs. This
is the way I am. This is what I have come to understand intuitively. I
try to know better these days. Many years of doubting and fighting it
will do that to you. I know that I am not alone in what I am doing. I
realized a long time ago that I am but a manifestation of a power greater
then myself. I try to listen and trust in this power, for it speaks only
of truth. At times, I take back "my" will, a will of ego and act out of
my own human frailties and screw things up,...badly. I have also learned
that as an artist, only such a gift can come from a higher power, and
with this gift comes a responsibilty. It's the same as the freedoms we
endure as free citizens of a free world.
So I wait for the message, and listen to what it is I am suppose to hear.
What it is I'm suppose to do. I hold the guide book in my hand, skimming
the pages like a deck of cards, knowing that wherever I randomly open
and read is what I am meant to hear at the moment. The rustling ends at
the very first page as I begin to read.....
"I say to you: One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth
to a dancing star".
The words read like that of a voice speaking out to me. My hands trembled
as warm waves of energy seemed to surge up my arms. Barb, you truly are
an angel of mine, I've never doubted it. Was this a significant message
for me, now? Or was this a total random reading in which any significance
at all was simply created in my own head, seeking a path to an esacape
from a time in which chaos reigned in my own life. I just felt that something
had begun, an initiation of sorts. An entrance or passage taken that opened
this whole new doorway. But to where?
Up until now, I haven't been sure as to what I am suppose to write about
here except for the usual documentation of this process. Perhaps there
is much more to write about after all. I have decided to use quotes from
this guide book throughout this process. That way, both you and I and
anyone that chooses so, will learn of this "Dancing Star" and it's random
guiding and inspiring messages that can be applied to anyones life, at
June 26, 1997- 2:15 a.m.
To continue on with the introduction to "A Dancing Star"....
"The Nietzsche quote from which this anthology takes it's title illustrates
the exciting potentiality of the dancing star emerging from chaos....
Our lives are constantly subject to change, and frequently chaos ensues,
both within and without. Dreams, relationships, plans seldom work out
as we had hoped; disappointment, failure, illness, and finally death itself,
cannot be avoided. Suffering is part of the human condition, but our problems
are never as unique as we feel them to be. Throughout history others have
trod the same path of human experience and have had insight into how we
can rise above the circumstances we find ourselves in. At times we all
need inspiration- to make a major change in our lives, to help us deal
with some unexpected, and perhaps tragic, life event, to comfort us when
we feel we have lost our way and life has lost it's meaning. Invariably
chaos in our lives brings transformation in it's wake. Here lies our greatest
opportunity to learn and grow. With inspiration comes the necessary shift
of consciousness - and healing.
This anthology of quotations is gathered from both East and West, from
the great spiritual teachers of all religious traditions and from philosophers
and psychologist, playwrites, novelist and poets of both the past and
A Quote by Henry David Thoreau
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!......Live the life you
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; Solitude
will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness."
Introduction to Part 3: "Return of the White Dove"
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Awakening of an American Artist