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Crestone, 8000 ft (2.4 km) altitude, Southern Colorado (USA)
Traveling and ‘living out of my car’ have never been conducive to my creative process. After sleeping in a deep freezer, I moved into a warm room, which has been hugely helpful to start making some changes to my life, including setting aside time to paint more. First painting since my ‘Prayers for Fukushima‘, also painted here in Crestone, in the spring (2014):
I call it, ‘The Call to End the Nuclear Era’. It’s 40 x 30 inches (101.6 cm by 76.2 cm), acrylic on canvas. (I have yet to photograph it in better light for color-correctness, but at least this gives an idea. It’s somewhat less red in real.); I’ll share a bit more below on how this painting came about, and some of its symbolic elements:
For more of my art, see the ‘PAINTINGS‘ tab.
‘The Call to End the Nuclear Era’ combines several experiences, impressions and reflections. Stuff I can’t put to words. I explore visual expression to help myself recover and move on. (And just for fun, ’cause I love to play with colors.)
One was a heart-wrenching fierce piercing ‘calling’, a calling from what felt like the depths of reality itself, ‘to bring an end to the misguided nuclear era’, experienced during a nightlong Ayahuasca ceremony on the US West Coast somewhere in early spring 2013. (For more info about that side-aspect, see my Ayahuasca Documentaries blogpost). I had set one ceremony aside to, “to purge for global radioactive contamination” and – holy wow – that set something in motion that eventually lead me to visit Japan, including even a brief visit to the Fukushima region in Japan (November 2013).
What I experienced on that beach north of Iwaki (in the Fukushima Prefecture, some 15-20 miles from the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi disaster site), where I attempted, aided by a concoction that included the same (albeit a very low dose of that) entheogenic psychotropic substance, to make direct experiential contact with the nature of, ‘the spirit’ if you will, of that radioactive mess nearby… I can’t put to words. There’s a lot more to it, but there was a moment – I actually can’t chronologically place it – of “getting hit by space itself” and becoming utterly disoriented. That experience is part of the intense energies I’ve attempted to incorporate into this painting. (Much of what lead up to this, just like several previous paintings, were part of some woowoo research into the shamanic dimensions of nuclear fission technology I had been working on. I’ve since taken a step back and quit the psychotropicaly-assisted approach altogether. I came to the conclusion that I lacked the embodied spiritual realization to pull off the inspirations without completely wrecking myself in the process.)
Those familiar with Vajrayana Buddhism (such as found in the various Tibetan Buddhist schools, as well as in the Japanese Buddhist lineages of Tendai and Shingon Buddhism) will likely recognize a few iconographic elements used in this painting. Some elements found is this painting are:
- A Samurai warrior, in flames (fiery intense wisdom energy);
- A rain of VajraKilas (‘Kila’, or, in Tibetan, Phurba), which I would describe as the energy of reality itself that pops the illusion of ideas about reality, intensified and called upon in spiritual practices that aim to relate directly with the phenomenal world without mental interference. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche [Wiki], on the practice ofVajrakilaya, states that:
“Vajrakilaya, or kīla, means something sharp, and something that pierces – a dagger. A dagger that is so sharp it can pierce anything, while at the same time nothing can pierce it. That is the quality. This sharp and piercing energy is what is used to practice and out of the many infinite, endless Vajrayana methods this happens to be one of the most important methods.”
- The diagonal “Phurba” (looks a bit more like a blue sword) contains in its center a double vajra [Wikipedia] (or, as I’d call it, using the Tibetan word, ‘a double dorje’ (Another variety is seen in my 2013 painting, ‘Amrita’):
- In, The Call to End the Nuclear Era, at the bottom is a skyline of nuclear industry and arms manufacturing. I meant to suggest that nuclear power plants (cooling tower, etc.), even if intended for purely peaceful purposes, are essentially part of the nuclear military industrial complex (sharing themes of deception, harm, and being utterly misguided). In and of themselves, massive amounts of accumulating spent fuel included, they pose long-term risks similar to those of the 2000+ bomb tests that plagued the 20th century.
- The intended-to-be-intense “electrifying pattern” (in purple-red-orange with black) is made of lines that form swastikas on their intersections, as well as in their negative spaces (between the lines). This same swastika pattern (this one I discovered staring into a fire, some 5+ years ago [sober! ;-) ]) I also used in the summer 2011 painting, ‘Shamanic Journey’:
The design of this latest painting of mine (‘The Call to End the Nuclear Era’, 2014) came together while walking around one of the Tibetan Stupas in Crestone during a short solitary retreat at the end of this past summer (2014). I sketched the basics and added the bottom skyline. Then it sat there in my car… waiting… I took it with me to the west coast during the October road trip, thinking I’d work on it along the way, but it still just wouldn’t flow. It required the local energies of Southern Colorado to come to completion. Finished on December 15, 2014.
Note: If any aspect of this painting is offensive to you, it is not intended as such. In the case of the swastika pattern, it is intended to depict something about the intertwining of constructive and destructive forces of our beautiful universe. It is extremely unfortunate that some psychopaths, obsessed with occult arts, picked ancient sacred symbols to project their power, and in the process created associations with such symbols that have nothing to do with their ancient origins.
In any case, an absolute must to hold this unconditionally loving (but including ‘wrathful compassion’ among its alleged manifestations) conceptualization-piercing energy is a radically open compassionate heart. The tears coming from the heart-eye of this warrior, as well as from the face of the main VajraKila itself, were intended to depict that. (See detail inset)
MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH.
See also my DISCLAIMER.