Sunday, 28 June 2009

Labyrinths & the 3 worlds of Shamanism


After the 3 Gates of Enlightenment I talked about in my last post, I come to another 3 - The 3 Worlds of Shamanism,  the Upper,  Middle,  & Lower Worlds.  The Middle World is like a Spirit layer of our everyday reality,  where the shaman  goes for help with issues that have a direct presence in daily life now; the Upper & Lower Worlds are other worlds where different kinds of help are sought, depending on the what question is being asked of the Spirit Helpers  by the shaman.  The shaman acts as a go-between between the Worlds & a catalyst for  the help, healing,  or power the Spirits bring .

When I painted this picture I was alone at home over the Winter Solstice.  I had become interested in the ancient symbol of the Labyrinth,  which I often work with as a meditation ceremony.  Walking in to the labyrinth,  following the path to the quiet place in the middle,  stopping & being there,  then coming back out to the rest of the world...   sometimes I go with a particular thought I need to make space around...  sometimes several of us gather & witness each other's walks in the sacred space of ceremony ...   sometimes its a simple thank you to the earth...  like an inbreath & an outbreath ... 

The painting grew in slow gentle layers as I sat by my woodburner in the dark  of the year.  The figure is standing in a heart-shaped labyrinth & is also in 2 more - above & below.  It relates both to the 3 realms my Chi Kung movements flow through,  the Heaven, Human & Earth realms  (yes, that's a 3rd  3 )  and the 3 worlds the shaman visits.
As with many of my paintings ,  it is on a deep sided canvas,  & so the picture goes over the 4 edges too.


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