Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 60: Iris

Day 60: Iris, gouache, 8x6 in., Otto

It is the multicolor display of the iris that is responsible for its appellation.  Iris, meaning "rainbow" in classical Greek, was the messenger of the Olympian gods.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 59: Flower

Day 59: Flower, gouache, 8x6 in., Otto

Flowers are incorporated into ritual and sacrament the world over, as emblems of eros, beauty, perfection, purity, fertility, joy and resurrection. The simplest form of the flower with a radial shape is a natural mandala linking the flower symbolically with the wheel and eternal, cosmic movement around a mystic and orienting center.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 58: Garden

Day 58: Garden, gouache, 6x8 in., Otto

In almost all cultures and religions, the garden represents a sacred space, a uniting of the conscious self with its unconscious source.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 57: Yakshi - revised

Day 57: Yakshi, gouache, 8x6 in., Otto

The female Yakshi, in particular, is identified with the life of the tree...the tree draws its sustenance directly from subterranean waters absorbed through its roots and transformed into vital sap.  The sap rises, channeled and propelled up the central trunk of the tree toward the light.  As it reaches its apex, like a fountain it spills out and over into the many branches of the tree, bringing the tree to maturity in a canopy of foilage, blooming flowers and abundant fruit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 56: Kabbalistic Tree

Day 56: Kabbalistic Tree, mixed media, 8x6 in., Otto

Perhaps the central teaching of this profound symbol is that there is a single structure that underpins all things...It is ultimately about the many levels, visible and invisible, that connect the primordial unity with the reality we experience every day.  

The Kabbalah teaches that this divine system has an order and a beauty of its own, and that by coming to know and align ourselves with it, we may promote greater harmony both within ourselves and in what is around us. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 55: Roots

Day: 55 Roots, gouache, 6x8 in., Otto

...The roots of an individual extend into layers of personal and archetypal ground.  The quality of such rooting, fostered by experience, mirroring and imagination, affects the capacity to thrive, generate new growth and creatively blossom.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 54: Palm Tree

Day 54: Palm Tree, gouache, 8x6 in., Otto

Considered a grass rather than a tree despite its tall sturdy trunks, a palm ripens its kernels enclosed in fleshy rinds (dates) or in hard protective shells (coconuts).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 53: Pine Tree

Day 53: Pine Tree, 8x6 in., Otto

Of all the trees, pines are the most ancient.  Bristlecone pines of Western United States are known to be the oldest living plants on Earth.  One in Nevada (since cut down by chain saw) possessed over 4,800 growth rings; it was "the oldest single living organism ever know."
- James Balog

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 52: Olive Tree

Day 52: Olive Tree, gouache, 6x8 in., Otto

Olive trees perpetually renew themselves from their roots.  They resurrect after fire by sprouting new shouts and are able to grow back even if their tops and trunks decay...That is the olive - symbol of the quintessence that survives the dissolution of the old forms and renews itself from the roots up.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 51: Oak Tree

Day 51: Oak Tree, gouache, 6x8 in., Otto

Gathering strength throughout its span of life from acorn to spreading giant, the oak represents invincible, august strength.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 50: Tree

Day 50: Tree, gouache, 8x6 in., Otto

How we long to achieve the growth the tree fosters in itself, the reach and rootage, the sturdiness and balance between high and low, the way it meets each season, holding its ground, spare or blooming.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 49: Island

Day 49: Island, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

Islands have ever harbored our conscious fantasies and unconscious projections.  They evoke escape, solitude, refuge or captivation.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 48: Beach

Day 48: Beach, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

Psychological the beach evokes for us the daily experience of the slim shore between conscious and unconscious lapped and buffeted, shifted and changed, temporarily submerged and once again delineated in the tidal rhythms of waking and sleeping.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 47: Marsh

Day 47: Marsh, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

The marsh continues to be an apt metaphor for those developmental transitions or temporary passages within a larger process where consciousness experiences itself in the muck between the permanently dissolved and the yet to be, a space of extreme potential and extreme vulnerability, vital, slippery, unpredictable and emergent.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 46: Forest

Day 46: Forest, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

Many spiritual and psychological journeys begin, as Dante's did in the Divine Comedy, by entering the "Dark Wood" of psychic wilderness.  And because the forest has a "mysterious impenetrability...things suddenly appear and disappear, and there are no paths, anything is possible."
- C.G. Jung

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 45: Desert

Day 45: Desert, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

As a psychic landscape, the desert often exemplifies protracted periods of alienation, spiritual thirst and creative tedium, disorientation and depletion, and also mortification, purification, redemption and initiation.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 44: Salt

Day 44: Salt, prismacolor pencil, 7x7 in., Otto

The alchemists were aware of the paradoxical properties of salt:  it is necessary to life and poisonous; it enhances food and can make it bitter, it stings and it heals, it kills microbes and can destroy tissue.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 43: Cave

Day 43: Cave, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

By providing a passage between this world and the underground, or between life and the land of the dead, caves evoke the primordial functions of the earth mother as both womb and tomb.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 42: Valley

Day 42: Valley, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

The valley is associated with the earthy, the humble and also the womb as source, linking us with the Way and oneness; "Those on the way of the Tao, like water / need to accept where they find themselves; / and that may often be where water goes / to the lowest places, and that is right."
- Laozi

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 41: Mountain

Day 41: Mountain, gouache, 7x7 in., Otto

Mountains suggest arduous, painstaking ascent and sublimation, the widened perspective, the peak experience, the thin air of headiness and sublimity.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 40: Stone

Day 40: Stone, collage, mixed media, 7x7 in., Otto

Compared to our brief human life span, stone becomes a symbol of endurance; indeed it suggests the concept of eternity.  Yet the common stone surrounds us everywhere, and we give it little value.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 39: Darkness

Day 39: Darkness, collage, mixed media, 7x7 in., Otto

But if one consciously enters into the Darkness and endures its enshroudment, if catlike, one learns to see and hear acutely in its recesses, the darkness will gradually reveal the treasures concealed there.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 38: Night

Day 38: Night, collage, mixed media, 7x7 in., Otto

Like a finely woven shawl, night enfolds in the interval between dusk and dawn.  Bringing silence, healing and a cool hiatus from the sun's burning heat and light, night evokes the restorative darkness and repose, the veiling of sunlike consciousness that follows upon the tumultuous splendor and striving of day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Book of Symbols, Day 37: Sunset

Day 37: Sunset, collage, mixed media, 7x7 in., Otto

Every evening the sun sinks toward the horizon, meeting earth with heaven, and slipping under the boundary of our perspective, carries with it something of ourselves into the netherworld of imagination.