Seeding the Fertile Darkness

This is one of my paintings, The Seed, the first one of a series I painted on a sabbatical in Todos Santos, MX, about 4 years ago. I had no idea how my paintings might look there, but this form sprang up, kind of a cross between a mandala and a yantra, both I had used in the past. It took me awhile to name it The Seed. I wasn’t sure for a while what it was, other than it seemed like the energy I felt where I was, Mexico. I had driven myself there, down the Baja peninsula, a older woman, alone. I was definitely on one of my once-ever-so-often solo adventures.

Toward the end of my stay in Todos Santos I did this painting, based on a real Aztec stone carving. I see it reflecting a shamanic process, the take-apart, meaning your normal order of who you think you are is undone, one way or another.

I bring up these paintings as they both refer to my topic de jour, our entrance into a time in the yearly cycle that points to maximum darkness, the longest night (Winter Solstice). Every phase of the yearly cycle has an energy, a gift for us, but this quarter might be the most challenging for us earthlings. It lacks an upbeat theme and it often seems we try to make up for it with holidays, like Halloween, Thanksgiving and the anticipation of Christmas. Each of these, in their own way, are determined by our culture to be compelling and socially significant. But are they distracting us from the real gift?

This was taken a month ago in the orchard near my house. Clearly rotting fruit (apples?) fallen from the tree above. I’m thinking SEEDS. Now seeds can form any time from early Spring through the Fall, and can come from fruits, vegetables, grasses, weeds, or trees. But Fall is the season I think of when I think “seeds.” Perhaps because I sense a tension in the garden for plants blooming late to hurry up so they can leave behind seeds for the rebirthing of themselves in spring. And so it is with us during this time. We sense the end of a cycle and the need to re-create ourselves. Here attitude is everything. Some of us relish long hours of confinement indoors focused on projects requiring long hours of concentration and focus, hard to come by among the more outwardly busy days of summer.

Being human we find ourselves wanting to expand and grow, like always, only now our attention is free to move inside ourselves. We are painting self-portraits now, not landscapes, looking for the truth about ourselves with the same interest we were just paying the annuals in the garden. We become the landscape, the map, the destination. We are engaged tourists inside our own unique world of stories, memories, aches and pains, unfulfilled longings, unrealized goals. There’s time to sort through ourselves and find some order, some peace with it all, so we can bring ourselves out again to answer the call to start from “seed” anew. And so I suggest we make our “seed of Self” during this quarter, and give it our best loving attention, as though our very lives depended on it.

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