Story, Art & Transformation ~
February 20, 2016
In this most recent day long workshop ~ we mused into the element of water. Each woman present had a different association to water, some informing the visual decisions made in her altered book. For others this relationship lived in the far reaches of memory; dreaming of whales, revisiting the spiritual teachings of a childhood story, Alice and the Looking Glass, remembering an island home, and navigating a future trip at sea. For others this fundamental relationship was yet to be revealed.
Water is often associated with the emotional qualities of intuition, introspection, empathy, deep sensitivity and receptivity. Other times more difficult qualities such as moodiness, jealousy and cold may be associated. There are many deities in mythology who find relationship with water as well as numerous spiritual and ritual traditions that involve sacred rivers, streams and seas. Sometimes the ceremonial action is of purification; a washing away of impurities, placing on and in water or anointing in baptism. Another significant connection that we have to water is the powerful relationship between the tides, the cycles of the moon and our monthly cycles.
A River Sutra, South Platte River, Deckers, Colorado, 2001-2002
I am thinking of water, of the river as a sutra.
All rivers depict a story of the universe, both past and present. Rivers transcend the mundane and speak to matters of the spirit. They speak of impermanence. The sound of a river becomes a lamentation. Constantly moving it is symbolic of a repetitive text as in a prayer or chant. A river is not so much a lamentation but a hymn to what living demands.
A river becomes a sort of map; maps not of destinations but of directions and currents.
The river meanders, its edges being cut and reshaped, a stream of consciousness moving through space and time. Two views of the same river, the text weaving the images together making them one.
Debra Goldman, 2002