See also:   [Sacred] (mac-2001r: Cloisters: Sacred)
                   [Art Terms]

Art is Sacred Places

On this page: {Home as Sacred place} {Directions} (and earth/air/ etc) Part of this page is to "collect together" things that I come across concerning beliefs/ideas (i don't believe, but i have a good idea ;) and their inter-working with the mental/spirtual/physical etc aspects of life and how these are (or can be) related to art work, etc. Oh, well. It's just an idea. -- Enjoy, Pizo.

Home as Sacred Place

In this section: {
Home as Hearth} {Pizo's tale of 'Office Space' Fen Schei} {Away from Home Rituals} {Irish Green Martyrdom} (ritual)

Home as Hearth

Having visited many homes in my life, and most of them being pretty much the same, i have had the privlidge to visit various homes that were "spiritually" arranged. These included a dear friend of mine, whose home serves as a temple of worship for the Buddist faith, a native american family who turned the rather mundane "fireplace mantle" into a memory tableau of their own family and friends, along with votives, etc., and a family which set asside separate shelves on a book case for each member to "decorate" as they saw fit. In each, case the home (despite its often meager appearance from the outside -- in many cases the home is "made" in an appartment) is *made* into a home by the very acts of decoration. Some thought should always be given to this when entering a person's home; ie, to observe the correct *rituals* that the family that lives there does. (The most common example is in many cultures, one removes one shoes before entering into the home, leaving the shoes by the doorsted). In her book, "Sacred Space", [ISBN 0.345.39769.X (Torronto, 1995)], Denise Linn says: "Everything around you is a reflection of your inner being. The visible realities surrounding you are symbols of your invisible world. In every moment of your life, you are a "walking forest of symbols" which are constantly reflecting your personal reality." -- Chapter 11, "Your House as Metaphor", P. 161. Indeed, even the very objects that we choose to surround ourselves are often "tokens" of our reality. For those who are especially sensitive to this (either the v. spiritual, or artistic, or thoughtful types), this is readily apparent.

Away From Home Rituals

Two examples suffice: A friend of mine whose work contract was up, had to stay around (in Dallas) a couple of extra weeks to finish up a project. Thus, he happened to stay with me. As he would go to sleep each night he would take out of his pocket a handkerchief, and after un-wrapping it, would take out some "tokens" (as i learned) each of which represented one of his children, and his wife. He wouuld lay these out onto the table next to the bed. Another friend had a rather ordinary looking scrapper used for print making, and she (by chance) lent it to a student in class. Unfortunately, he lost it. And i was able to find a replacement for it (after a bit). However, when he put it back on her shelf, she found it (the replacement) and asked about it, i told her the story. As it turns out, that old, worn out tool had been given to her by an artist friend of hers who had later died. Fortunately, the original tool *did* turn up and was returned to her.
These seem like trivial matters. But, if we "translate" these into things like "Roberts Rules of Order", and "seating arrangements in corporate boardrooms", etc. We see that indeed such things *do* matter to people. Several years, ago (long before Fen Schei had become well known, indeed before i was aware of the formal ideas of that philosophy), i was working in cramped conditions with four other people in a small office. You literally had to have some one get out of their chair to get by, to get to your own desk. (My desk, being not much more than a small table; but as always, such "odd" things suit me very well -- I used to give out info as to how to find me in the Chemistry Building at North Texas: Room 223B, "The little desk" in the corner. A desk which i "rescued" as it was discarded by throwing it out of the 2nd floor window during rennovations, back in the '70's. A bit of elmer's glue, and sand paper, and i had a very interesting "little desk" indeed). Anyway, we (the group crammed into the little office) were going to be moving to a new place. And, i had noticed that these "shared, cramped conditions" had a sort of "unifying" effect on the group. I mentioned that when we moved to the new digs, that probably the dynamic of the group would change. One woman (a fellow contractor) told me i was crazy. Sure enough, when the new room was ready, desks were arranged to "cut off" certain people from others. On of my dear friends (Dot ;) was even shoved up to the very front, her little desk (the one that i used to use in the office) was actually pointed away from the others so that she faced a blank wall. Thus, were the "hidden" dynamics that I had sensed. Oddly enough, I (being a senior consultant) ended up with my own private cubicle down the hall. Odd these things. I would thus say, that the very act of you (or yours) *choosing* to venerate or "set asside" a place as a sort of sacred place -- that act -- creates a special space. This is even true in the bitterest of circumstances. Further (i think) it is true of any special rituals and such that are used either with or without these "sacred places".

Green Martyrdom

In the interesting book "How the Irish Saved Civilization [sic]", we see the following: "Ireland is unique in reglious history for being the only land into which Christiantity was introduced without bloodshed. [Made up for later by bloody holy wars -- Pizo, sorry for the Irish intrusion] ... The Irish of the late fifth and early 6th centuries soon found a solution [to the need for martyrdom], which they called the GREEN MARTYRDOM, opposing the usual Red Martyrdom by blood. The GM's were those who, leaving behind the comforts and pleasures of ordinary human society, retreated to the woods, or to a mountain-top, or to a lonely island -- to one of the green nbo-man's lands outside of tribal jurisdictions -- there to study the scriptures and commune with God. For among the story collections that Patrick gave them, they found examples of the *anchorites* ?? of the Egyptian desert, who, also lacking the purification rite of persecution, had lately devised a new form of holiness by living alone in isolated hermitages, braving all kinds of physical and psychological adversity, and imposing on themselves the most heroic fasts and penances, all for the sake of drawing nearer to God. -- P. 151, et seq: The following poem (attibuted to St. Manchan of Offaly) known as "The Hermit's Song" [Pp. 152-153]: Grant me sweet Christ the grace to find -- SOn of the living God! -- A small hut in a lonesome spot To make my abode. A little pool but very clear To stand beside the place Where all men's sins are washed away By sanctifying grace. A pleasant woodland all about To shield it [the hut] from the wind, And make a home for singing birds, Before it and behind. A southern aspect for the heat A stream along its foot, A smooth green lawn with rich top soil Porpitious to all fruit. My choice of men to live with me And pray to God as well; Quiet men of humble mind -- Their number I shall tell. Four files of three or three of four (12) To give psalter forth Six to pray by the south church wall ANd six along the north. Two by two my dozen friends -- TO tell the number right -- Praying with me to move the King Who gives the sun its light. -- "How the Irish Saved Civilization", by Thomas Cahill, ISBN 0.385.41848.5 (New York, 1995). (Your humble prenteur appoligises for any oddity in the "interpretation" of these given by M. Cahill; but seems like the usual "re-adaptation" of older songs/myths to be syncretised and merged with the *newer* religions. So, I would encourage those of you NOT of the Xtian persuasian to freely adopt/adapts as needs may be the "Hermit's Praeyer"


In this section: {
North, South, and Elements}

North, South, etc. and Elements

To again quote from Denise Linn's superb book "Sacred Space", [ISBN 0.345.39769.X (Torronto, 1995)], "The Four Directions and Elements that I present here are base on my personal experience. Feel free to improvise in order to find meanings and combinations that work best in your life. East -- Air. The power of the East is Air. Air is lofty ideals. ... Air is new beginnings. It is allowing your spirit to soar. Light breezes, cyclones, dust devils, jest streams, tornadoes, whriling winds, warm winds and cold winds are part of the element of air in nature. In nature, Air circulates high above the land and has an overview of life. The part of you that is Air has the ability to see afar. It is that part of you that is universal. It is illumination and integration, freedom and movement. Air uplifts, exhilarates and explands. Air is your thoughts. Air is power of the mind. [Indeed as Isaac Asimov wrote in the intro to his "View from a Height", he explained his "overview" approach to learning as if he were aloft in a balloon -- getting a broad view of things rather than so-close a picture as one would have if you were traveling on foot; on the ground. -- pizo] South -- Water. The medicine power of South is Water. Water represents feelings and emotions. It is is your intuition. It is your deep connection to spirituality. It is your sacred dreams, psychic impressions and your inner knowing. It is the feamle part of your being. Waterfalls, the great fierce ocean, gentle seas, mountain streams, soft spring rains, torrential rains, the fog and mists, snow and ice are all Water in Nature. Water is fluid and soothing. Water is healing. Water is power of emotions. [in keeping with the idea that all life began in the ancient oceans; evolution, but see also
Thales, et al. Water as "mother spirit"; v. interesting concept] West -- Fire. Fire is the medicine power of transformation. It representsthe alchemy that occurs when you release the old and embrace the new. WHen wood burns, it changes form. Fire is changing old patterns and old habits. Fire is purification and renewing. The sun is the greatest embodiment in nature of the element of Fire. Forest fires, candle-light, campfires, even rust, which is a slow form of Fire are all Fire as it occurs in nature. Fire is radiance and vibrant eneergy. Fire is light and trans- mutation. Fire is power of spirit. North -- Earth. Earth is wisdom. It is grounding. It is completing. It is the powerful inner knowing that comes from being connected to nature, to the Earth. It allows you to stand your ground in times of adversity. It is your health and the food that you eat. In nature, Earth is the ground that you see, as well as the rocks and the deeply embedded stones and boulders, some of which you can-not see. Earth encompasses all of those things that have their roots firmly within it, such as trees and plants. Earth is fertility and abundance and stability. Earth is physical power. -- Chapter 16, "Circle of Life Method", Pp. 247-248. See also: [Ionian philosophers] (earth, air, water, fire, and "the other)