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.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Do you truly value your work?
AP: Washington, DC
The Postmaster General announced today the upcoming release of a series of stamps commemorating the eight holidays celebrated by the vast majority of contemporary pagans.
"Pagans have been an integral part of this nation since its founding and before," said Postmaster Tamar Penrose, acting head of the US Postal Service. "It's time and high time for such a public acknowledgement."
The stamps will be released later this year on November 1, the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, celebrated by many contemporary pagans as their New Year.
The release coincides with the opening of the Smithsonian's new exhibit, "Pagan America: The First 400 Years." The exhibit will include the unveiling of the original prototypes for the stamps.
The prototypes were created by the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists (MCPA) which, since its founding in 2013, has spearheaded the mainstreaming of pagan art and culture into American consciousness. It was the MCPA that first vetted the idea to the Postal Service.
The Minoans loved color. The vibrant colors are usually the first thing people notice about Minoan art; the second thing they notice is how natural and realistic much of it is. That naturalism and realism might lead people to wonder about some of the color conventions in Minoan art. So much of Minoan art is realistic, it's kind of jarring when something is the wrong color.
If you have a look at the Bull Leaper fresco at the top of this post, you'll see that the two athletes to the right and left have white skin (not a natural Caucasian peachy color or a natural light tan, but literally white). The central bull leaper is a deep reddish tan, like a bad sunburn. This is due to a set of rules in Minoan art that says women always have white skin and men always have reddish tan skin. If you've ever had a look at Egyptian art, you'll see something similar there: The men always have reddish tan skin and the women always have yellow skin (with a few special exceptions like Osiris, who occasionally appears green because mythology)....
I first found out about Eliza Gauger's "Problem Glyphs" project through my partner Nathaniel, and I was instantly fascinated and intrigued. They had been in a band together years previous, and he continued to follow her artistic pursuits after that on tumblr and Patreon.
How it works is that since 2013, people have anonymously submitted to her some sort of problem or issues they have been facing. She in turn creates an image to ward against that problem. In her words, "These symbolic illustrations draw on my background in esoteric occultism, aesthetic symbolism, mythology, psychology, and hedge "magic" to encourage, support, and counsel the people who seek them out."
Nathaniel had anonymously submitted to Eliza his lifelong struggle with a faulty memory and its possible ill effects on his health. (I lovingly call him my goldfish.) He is a diabetic, and had a hard time remembering to take his medication, despite a variety of tactics. Eventually, his turn came and the Glyph was created. He decided to get it tattooed on his right arm, where he can see it every day, and I'm glad to say it's worked beautifully. (It was also his first tattoo, and we're working on his next one...)
The Problem Glyphs have a strong style and imagery all of their own, yet pull from a diverse mythology and encyclopedia of symbols. As an artist, designer, and sigilmaker, I love the amount of symbolism and movement she packs in to a single image, without overdoing it. It's just the right amount of linework, balanced, and clear.
Besides the effective use of line and contrast, it's the process of making them from start to finish that pulls in the magick. The querent expresses their problem, the artist considers it and carefully crafts the glyph, and releases it. The querent is not only rewarded with an image to reflect upon, but it's the core fact that someone else, outside of them, contemplated their plight, and produced a piece of artwork based upon it. Just that exercise in itself goes a long way to helping someone overcome an issue, regardless of the art itself. That someone else took the time to care, to think about THEM, and gave them a physical reminder of that process goes a long way in strengthening the spirit.
In this blog, I've talked about the magick that can be involved when an artist creates something for their own needs and visions, as well as for the Gods. There's another level of fascinating interaction that occurs when the work is created specifically for someone else. And in the case of the Problem Glyphs, we can add on the additional level as us, the bystanding audience, who upon viewing the images and their source issues become involved as well. Suddenly, we too are thinking about the querent, their issues, and our own relation to it. Which I believe adds more energy and power to the image and those who it is made for.
There is a currently a kickstarter for making a book featuring 200 of the Problem Glyphs that Eliza has created so far. Check it out here, it's almost funded with a week left to go.
Exhale your question
out and out again
into the fresh North Mountain air
See the answer
It waddles with leisurely curiosity
on the path ahead
Or drops blessed from the sky
Hear the answer
in the rolling songs
of the Aspen trees
The rhythm of tides
drumming the shore
Touch the answer
with hands, feet, heart
Earth, Water, Fire, Sky
Dancing with mothers, sisters,
Taste the answer
in tender kisses
of salty sea and tears
Ripening fruit the earth offers
Words and music on my tongue
both thanks and prayer
Embrace your question
And an answer will find you
© Andrea M. Keber 2010
Laurie Bauers (Hakalau, HI) is living the dream on an organic farm with her husband and son in Hawaii. She paints and creates often, hopefully inspiring others to live their dream. etsy.com/shop/ArtofLaurieABauers
An interviewer speaks with Eva Green about her role on Penny Dreadful and more. A stage writer best known for his work in the Harry Potter universe aims to bring the His Dark Materials series to the small screen. And tattoo artist Damien Echols talks about mixing magic and art. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in pop culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
Do you know we are all on fire? Life is literally a fire burning in our bodies. Our biology magically takes in energy in tiny increments so we don’t ignite. Still, it’s a wonder more of us don’t just spontaneously burst into flames! Beltane is a traditional time to renew, reawaken our fire—inner fire, hearth fire, community fire, sexual and fertility fire of people, animals, plants, the land.
What about when there’s way too much fire everywhere: in wars, in forests, in collapsed nuclear reactors, even freak fires in the arctic? What about depression—not enough creative fire, soul fire, wemoon fire, to bring balance and healing to offset the devastation? No way to get there from here? Today is our holy moment to quantum jump over the impossible and make love to the Possible. (If your head can’t do it, let your heart try.) Newborns of the body or imagination conceived on Beltane are “Merry Begots,” full of enough aliveness, love, joy, humor to confound the toughest logic and direst doomsday predictions.