Do you truly value your work?
This weekend I gave a lecture at 2nd Star Festival in Florence, OR. Originally the idea was to give my "Visual Alchemy" lecture, which looks at the history and intersection of art and magick - but at the festival itself, there wasn't much description for attendees to read besides the time and "Tempest, artist/dancer", so I decided to go off the rails a bit, and hope no one complained that I wasn't dancing as I lectured.
2nd Star is a neat fledgling festival that is a cross-section of steampunk, fairies, pirates, mermaids, and other sorts of myth/creative folk - a little of everything fantasy. Just before I took the stage, the previous lecturer Josh Kinsey was answering a question about the title/use of the word maker. I think that seeded the field a bit for the direction I went.
I started off with my basic introduction of defining art and magick, showing some slides of various kinds of art from early civilizations. Then I talked about art that is temporary - such as sand paintings, and art that is long-lived (temples, henges, etc), yet they are linked by intent and both equally important. And then I talked (ranted) about the value of art in today's society.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of today's society does not recognize the importance and inherent value of art. Art is more than something that matches your couch and looks nice, or is tucked away in a museum. It's essential for human expression and well-being. It defines and advances civilizations, building cultures. It bridges the gap between different people and finds a common soul. It connects us and teaches us.
When you, as a maker/creator/artisan/artist/master of the ephemeral exist in a society that doesn't understand the value of art, you're most likely going to have a hard time valuing your work. When the artist doesn't value their work, then the society doesn't see value in the work or the worker for that matter. It's a vicious ouroboros.
So in my rant--err--lecture, I challenged the folks present to reconsider art as something that is integral to their lives, and especially to the creators present - to re-evaluate how they see their work. If you value your own work, then others in turn will start to see the value in it. It should be priced with respect to the quality of the work, the materials, the amount of time, and true market value - versus what you think others (especially yourself, your friends, etc) may pay for it. Nor does it matter if it's what you do for a living or as a hobby on the side, the effort and the result is the same.
Just the simple act of believing and acting on the sense of value of your work causes a shift - in yourself, as well as those who interact with your work. If you define magick as the art of changing consciousness in accordance with will - then valuing your work is also a form of magick. You see value in your work, your work will be empowered, and others will respond to that shift in value, and see it for themselves.
Success in the arts is never overnight. It doesn't come through one perfect connection, but rather years of hard work and dedication. However, that sparkle of success rarely comes without belief in one's work, and a dedication to value. Go forth and do some magick.
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Do you truly value your work?
A Big Leap: From Portal Jerusalem to Little Fort, British Columbia, Canada, Population 100.
Our marvelous mind-blowing two year sojourn in Israel and the Middle East was over. September was commencing and we were back in Canada. My husband had completed his military releases in Ottawa and we had patiently traversed across Canada, now to locate a new home in the British Columbia wilderness....
Science fiction influenced me to expect that the next step in the evolution of humankind is to ascend to become a being of pure energy. That philosophy is called transhumanism, and it saturates popular science fiction.
I was born a science fiction fan; my dad was a Star Trek fan, and if I had been born male my parents had intended to name me DeForrest, after DeForrest Kelly. The classic Star Trek had several species of energy beings, and humans were on the path to becoming like them. Many of the science fictions I encountered later in life had that idea in them, too. In some of them, a very advanced human could evolve during his lifetime. In Babylon 5, a character who was a telepath turned into an energy being (and blew up, dangerously for everyone around him, but well...) Characters in Buffy and Stargate ascended and became energy beings, and chose to come back to Earth. I even wrote ascension into my own fiction. In my Punch series, a character ascends upon death. A character ascends in Some Say Fire, too, but that's symbolic; it represents the unification of the conscious mind with the subconscious and the inner child....
Last winter I moved from the city to a small, rural town, seeking a deeper and more frequent connection with nature, quiet space for introspection, and a more flexible lifestyle (as the cost of living is much less out here). I arrived on Imbolc, raw from almost two years of misfortune and disconnection, and felt Brigid's presence as I was rebirthed into a warm blanket of a welcoming home, land and a new start. I gave thanks that day, and immediately went outside into the still, white blanket of snow and made offerings to the Guardian Spirits of the land, thanking them for bringing me here, and asking for their blessings. I felt immediately that my offerings had been well received.
Almost daily I walked a few yards from my apartment into a small patch of forest where I could be alone with the Spirits, creating a path in the snow that I followed each day, and which sometimes deer followed as well (as I noted from their hoofprints). At other times, it was their path that I followed, although we never saw each other. I reveled in the clean air, the wisdom of the tall trees above me, and a place to sit in utter stillness....
The first time I traveled with Tom was October 2014, on our first trip to Front Sight. I saw tons of ravens and butterflies. One might not expect a gun club to double as a wildlife refuge, but it has a lot of open land, including large undeveloped areas where people aren’t allowed. The first day out in the open desert, I saw lots of ravens. One raven flew over the range with prey in its beak. And the butterflies! Yellow ones, white ones, blue ones, brown ones, two different kinds of orange ones, even a couple of Monarchs!
Butterflies are Sigyn’s animal messengers, just like ravens are Odin’s. I took both those signs as cosmic thumbs ups....
Last week was the 40th annual Pan Pagan Festival. This festival is one of the longest running festivals in America. This year's crowd was about twice as large as last year's and it really was a relaxing and enjoyable festival. Held at the Rising Sun Campground between Know and Winnemac Indiana, it was a time - like with all festivals to renew old friendships and make a few new ones as well. It was a continuation of the festival movement that was founded in the 1970's and continues to this day in many different expressions.
Pagans and neopagans often come from diverse backgrounds and may or may not have others to share with. There are many solitary members and often the solitude makes the ways of their believe and practice such that the lack of direct contact or sharing makes it very difficult to maintain their faith. The festival movement was created to give people a chance to share with one another and to see that a) they are not alone in their paganism/Neopaganism, and b) that one may learn unexpected things by meeting other people of a like mind....