11,500 years ago, a cataclysm happened that tilted the planet on its axis and set in motion the precession of the equinoxes and the seasons as we know them…this is the premise I discuss in this week’s blog on “Scattering the Light“. Whilst the basis of my discussion is a compelling book I am currently reading “Awakening the Planetary Mind: Beyond the Traumas of the Past to a New Era of Creativity”(Barbara Hand Clow) I have been realising for some time now that, with increasing clarity, I recall aspects of those times and our experiences before that; and that those surfacing memories have been playing out through some of my most bizarre health issues and the most pressing preoccupations of my painting.
The good news is there’s absolutely no need to replay the cataclysm we have been through already, having done that throughly and got the T-shirt. If only we could get it through our heads that what we have been most fearing, at the subconscious level, as though projecting it onto some future screen is actually a video recording of what happened already!
Of course, if we really want it to happen again we get to create it as a bi-product of our own panic as, helped by all the bad news merchants, we kid ourselves into thinking that we’re already “done for” or start blaming other people for what’s been and gone. This isn’t a time for blame, its a time to concentrate upon remembering what we can of the time before and how beautiful that was, how we worked together back then to create a balance that allowed liberty and harmony to manifest through all things…our relationships with each other, the planet, other creatures and (most importantly) ourselves.
Along the way, we have learned something immeasurably powerful about ourselves; that our alignment with our highest aspect is not conditional upon anything…not the seasons or a particular tilt of the earth, not any of the ever-changing celestial alignments that occur in the starry skies, not anything other than our own inner-alignment with the fullest knowing of all that we are…both at the broadest level and as our human aspect, in perfect balance and most collaborative harmony. When we find that inner harmony, all else becomes possible though, sometimes, it is necessary to push through a layer of cataclysm to get there…and that’s alright too, its the healing mechanism in action (and can often look like it gets worse before it gets better when, really, its the last bastion of fear). As Clow points out “Most people are not aware that the shadows they struggle with come from confusion caused by the false story of the past; people feel guilty about something they can’t even describe”. To heal this hidden trauma, just like any healing journey (exactly like mine as I have healed myself from chronic, inexplicable illness these last ten years) we need to bring it to the light of our conscious understanding or, at the very least, our acknowledgment.
To return to that place is like returning to Eden only better for all the new perspective we gained since we “left”. You could say its like shining a “New Light on Eden, a “place” we get to appreciate and understand all the more for the intensity of the shadows we have encountered since we were last there. By “chance” (in case I needed a universal wink at everything I have just made sense of for myself) this just happens to be the name of my new painting.
“New Light on Eden” has been with me all summer, mostly painted in the dappled sunlight beneath the (maple, not apple) tree of my summer garden, relishing the opportunity to do that in equal proportion to how I almost dread the long-cold-dark winter days ahead. My uncomfortable relationship with the seasons is just one of the ways that my memory started to jolt to the surface aspects of an ancient trauma of “love and loss” that seemed to want to rise up and express through my paint brushes, intersected with thoughts I was already having about the archetypal “Eden”; why is it that we always imagine it seasonless…always sunny, golden and ripe?
As many layers of thought around the idea of a return to some sort of ideal state began to converge within me, this painting became a compulsion that helped me to process my own deepest layers. I worked on it for a handful of months…picking it up…putting down, the original source-point (some opportunist photos I took in a pub garden several years ago) long-since discarded and working only from what seemed to want to come through me; a distant memory emerging like a photograph taking shape in a bath of developing fluid. Already the title “New Light on Eden” had begun to suggest itself to me as I played endlessly with that stream of light and its warmth which, to me, was the most important detail to get right (and which was extravagantly turned up from the photographs I’d taken, below); also only possible to convey through the counterpoint of just enough shadow…
In total “coincidence” with all of the above – though clearly not! – I finished the painting during the first week of reading Clow’s book and this helped me to see, in good time, the full potential of what I was harking back to here and the multi-faceted ways I had been feeling my way back to my own place of “return” across all the idyllic summer months of painting it. Its completion marks a new level of understanding and – yes – of healing as I take ownership of somewhere that was not so much lost as deviated from, all the more to appreciate and recognise it now that I feel ready to build on its foundations as we all co-create somewhere even better than what we knew before.