'All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met. - The Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke
We each have a 'God', whether we are spiritually aware and awake, or religious, or not. It does not matter; we each have a devata, a living understanding of a consciousness that pervades our life and our mind, our heart and our body. We believe certain things about life and ourselves and about others and the way that they are with life and within their lives. The way we perceive living and our expectations of life and what it will bring us and how it treats us, is our devata.
Devata can loosely be translated as divine being or god/dess. From devata we get devi, devic and deity. Ishta devata is your personal deity which is alive within you and ultimately that is our purpose here on earth : to birth our own divinity. That is the focus of the spiritual life. All paths lead to that moment when you realise I Am That I Am and you can replace 'That' with any other word or name of deity.
Art is my personal devata. She is the altar through which I adore and worship Life; Life As It Is. On her altar I place my understanding of personal suffering and my devotion to those moments of Absolute Joy and Bliss. To me Art is Bhakty in motion!
God is our most intimate partner. She is beyond all dualism of matter and spirit. We see Him everywhere, and in order for Him/Her to exist, She needs to be seen! And that is our purpose as creators. When we create a bountiful herb garden, God exists as the perfume of the lemongrass, the velvety touch of the basil leaf and the pungent taste of coriander. When we participate in a fun run, God is in the fresh ozone filled air, in the hardness of the ground underneath our feet and in the cameraderie of those around us.
As an artist, I have an incredible and persistent desire to make my direct experience of 'God' legible to others. I paint portraits of aspects of the goddess or the divine feminine; I create shrines and altars (some of them huge); I alter vintage books; all of these act as messengers of the angelic worlds, speaking to our devic kingdom, here in physical reality on Earth.
At first I painted my visions and visitations during my sleep, without really understanding that these were conscious beings or beings of consciousness. And indeed, each time I put my brush to the canvas, I am transported somewhere else and She manifests through me onto the canvas. I have no training as artist and the first painting I did of Her as the Sacred Heart, I just blindly followed an overpowering need to capture the vision for all to see.
By my fifth painting did I truly Realise that these paintings are 'alive'!. Let me share the story with you.
Doves have always played a big role in my life. For about seven years I used to teach spiritual knowledge to others in a more formal setting of classes. In the summer we used to sit on my covered patio in the garden. Without fail, the doves would gather around us and one would fly over the table, through the circle of women. This became a weekly event and after a while we took it for granted that the dove would fly through our gathering. Often when I meditate a dove would appear on the window sill outside my studio and at times it would knock on the window. I have since heard that this happens to others as well.
When I painted the blue painting of the Madonna, I left the painting on the easel to dry in the dining room as it is a very sunny room. The next morning the dining room had many scattered dove feathers lying around and a dove sitting on the painting. All the doors and windows were locked before we went to bed. Also, if you look closely, you will see that the dove left its droppings on the corner of the painting, as well as on the dining room table. We all contemplated what had happened, but decided that maybe a window had been left open without us knowing. I moved the painting on the easel to my decided which is a much smaller room than the open plan dining room.
The next morning when I opened the door of the studio, a dove was sitting on the painting!! This time there was no doubt - all the windows and door had been shut! The dove had manifested in the room and left another mark on the painting. I had the painting framed and asked the shop not to clean the dove droppings off.
When I got the painting back, I hanged it on the wall in the same dining room. For three mornings after that, a dove was in the dining room. My husband politely asked me to please keep the painting in my studio as the dining room table was covered in bird droppings every morning! No-one needed any convincing that it indeed was Her Spirit and Presence that manifested the dove, her messenger of love and compassion!