tells us that each period in history has its sacred myth and
that these myths evolve over the millennia. The myth forever
transforms, as it must, to reflect our ever-changing psychic
needs. According to Jung a new sacred myth is in the process
of evolving and is inextricably bound to the process of individuation.
As some artists work intimately with the unconscious, they
are in a unique position to be the first to perceive these
new trends within the psyche. My paintings are a documentation
of these trends as presented to me from the unconscious. Of
course, the images are colored by the lens through which they
are seen, this lens being the individual artist. Only by their
effect on the viewer can the value and clarity of this lens
is the spiritual counterpart of the evolutionary process.
It helps the cultural mind evolve. It wants to serve cultural
consciousness by impacting it. Creative energy isnt
just for the artist but is working through the artist and
demanding access to the culture. -- Gary Sparks, Jungian
Carl Jung defines spirit as that factor which creates images
in the inner field of vision and organizes them into a meaningful
order. Each ensuing image is a progression and development.
This is the action of the spirit. Thus the spirit leads you
It is the artists task to release these images that
lie deep within the psyche and express them in a way that
speaks to and can be accepted by the viewer. The artist endures
the primordial fire of the creative process and, in so doing,
endeavors to allow others access to an understanding of the
spirit of the age in which they live. In every age there is
an unknown aspect of the spirit waiting to be discovered.
By sharing his or her experience of the spirit, the artist
provides a point of departure and recognition for those who,
willingly or unwillingly, are encountering the spiritual world.
This recognition can be essential, especially for those who
are not contained within a church or dogma.
These paintings are created over the course of many months
of receptivity to the inner world. Therefore, the images that
are received cannot be considered mere fantasy but are the
depiction of actual processes occurring within the psyche.
These processes have their own timetable that cannot be dictated
by the artist. They also have a goalto be incorporated
into the life of the artist and, perhaps also, the viewer.
main faculty of orientation to the world is intuition and
this intuition is central to my creative process. I do not
approach my subjects; they approach me. This occurs in four
basic ways: dreams, numinous experience of the object, suggestions
from the inner voice and spontaneous visualization.
concept for an image usually begins with a dream or a numinous
experience of the object. The numinous experience can be described
as a feeling of being transfixed by an object. The object
seems to exude an aura of meaning and existence beyond its
apparent worldly one. A vital connection to the object is
felt that belies its mundane reality. There is a feeling of
being caught in an electrical current, an energy that would
convey the significance of the object in the form of a feeling,
a knowing of the heart, not the head.
state of mind is essential to the process. The object is never
looked at directly, in a seeing way but is looked at in an
indirect way, perhaps best described as gazing at a thing
without seeing it. I suspend the intellect and accept the
reality of the unseen, remaining in a state of suspension
where I do not distinguish between what we think of as the
real and the unreal, the seen and the unseen. Every fantasy
is given the dignity of an object. Through the suspension
of the intellect I attempt to maintain a state of receptivity
in order that the unconscious can come in and guide me. Upon
confronting the object, my eye turns inward to experience
the response of the unconscious, to intuit where the thing
has come from, where it is going and what wants to be associated
with it. In primitive cultures this sort of experience was
attributed to the "magical" qualities of the object.
It was as though the object spoke to them.
other two ways in which a subject approaches me - suggestions
from the inner voice and spontaneous visualization - usually
occur as the work is in progress. To best illustrate the dynamics
of these four basic elements of my creative process, I will
describe the creation of The Sower. The Sower began with a
dream: Small white seeds are arriving in my mouth. Should
I eat them or let them out? They have a paradoxical nature
- they are the seeds of the seedless watermelon. They are
arriving from visuddha, the throat chakra. I envision the
seeds coming out of my mouth by their own power.
kept the dream always in the back of my mind, a kind of gentle
holding on to the idea without concentrating on it directly
so that the quiet voice of the unconscious could make itself
heard and guide my attention to the elements that wanted to
be included in the painting. Next the numinous experience
of the object came into play. A child's painting of someone
planting a seed transfixed me. Because of the naïve and
incorrect perspective of the painting, the arm of the figure
seemed to be below the level of the earth. This was the concept
that began my composition - a seed is being planted far inside
the earth, on bedrock. The inner voice suggested that the
figure planting the seed should be green. The red rocks of
the painting came from a second numinous experience of the
object. I saw this kind of rocks in a book and felt the electric
current, the signal from the unconscious that they wanted
to be included in the painting. As I was planning the composition
of the rocks, the bear insinuated itself in the form of the
opening behind the figure. This was the first spontaneous
visualization. After painting the green figure, the factor
of spontaneous visualization came into play again as, in my
minds eye, the hair took on the characteristics of a tree's
foliage and roots began to reach downward. I added these elements
to the painting also.
this final addition the painting felt complete. From a combination
of seemingly unrelated things, the painting arose as one thing.
It speaks to an unseen relationship among the objects and
conveys an unseen truth that speaks of a larger truth. Such
an expression cannot be arrived at by reason but only by way
of receptivity to the unseen. It is an irrational process
that relies on a relationship to the unconscious. One must
be creative and receptive at the same time, a process by which
something that is not wholly understandable is conveyed.
But my creative process does not end there. I then use the
inner voice to guide me to relevant texts in analytical psychology.
Jung prompts us to first create and then to try to understand
our creations. This means exploring the symbolic meaning of
the work. But why? The answer is made clear in Jung's definition
of the spirit. He tells us that spirit is that factor in the
inner field of vision that creates images and organizes them
into a meaningful order. Each ensuing image is a progression
and development. This is the action of the spirit. Thus the
spirit is the factor that leads one through life. It is the
guide on the path of wholeness. The artist is personally guided
through a relationship to the spirit but also, by sharing
his or her experience of the spirit with society through art,
the artist provides a point of departure and recognition for
those who, willingly or unwillingly, are encountering the
spiritual world. In this way the artist allows the spirit
access to the shaping of the culture and offers people the
possibility of an understanding of the spirit of the age in
which they live.
And where would the spirit lead in regard to The Sower? To
this end I look at the painting's possible meaning by turning
to Jung and other authors on analytical psychology. In these
texts one finds that the paradoxical seed (the seed of the
seedless watermelon) of the dream points to the nature of
the Self or wholeness. The Self is a union of opposites, the
seen and the unseen. The seed comes from visuddha; in visuddha
the unseen becomes a reality. The Sower plants the seed on
bedrock. Bedrock would be synonymous with the archetypes,
which form the bedrock of the psyche. So one could say that
our wholeness must be grounded in the archetypal nature of
existence. It must reach from the highest to the lowest and
encompass the entire spectrum from the spiritual to the instinctual.
The rocks in the painting represent the slot canyons of the
American southwest. A slot canyon is very deep and narrow.
It is formed by runoff from nearby mountains. In my imagination
it is a place that is like a cave but open to the sky. The
cave represents the spiritual place within where we connect
with our wholeness. In the cave we are initiated into the
mysteries. To be initiated in a slot canyon might mean to
be initiated in a more conscious condition, a condition where
one is aware of the paradoxical nature of the Self. The figure
herself is green, a symbol of the loving nature that is capable
of uniting the opposites. Her head is a tree, which is the
symbol of her spiritual development. The tree shows her spiritual
development to be rooted in the earth, a symbol for the lowest
principle. The figure bends very low, so low that her head
touches the earth, a gesture of the humility necessary to
accept the very lowest in oneself. She sows the seed of this
hoped-for inner union. It is sown under the auspices of the
bear, our most ancient symbol of the feminine. The bear is
the spirit that connects the past and the present, giving
new expression to essential things from the past that must
be carried forward. The bear is also our ferocity, our ability
to stand true to what we are fighting for.
In this sort of creative play, seemingly unrelated things
become connected and their relationship, though immediately
felt, becomes clearer through investigation of the historical
material. It is through these investigations that the fuller
meaning for our spiritual development begins to appear.