Holy Gestures Upon A Sacred Space
There is a yearning in some of us to simply make marks. It is more than just an urge to doodle, but some drive of the hand to take up a brush, or a stick, or a stylus and scratch some small bit of our destiny onto a surface. It is a necessity for well being, almost. And when we are not doing this, our creative juices slow down to a trickle, and the doldrums of the disruptive days weigh upon us somewhat and keep the flowing of our natural happiness graphically unrealized. No fun.
I consider the sheet of paper or the blank canvas a sacred space of infinite possibilities. It is inviting me toward a gesture, a holy gesture of a stroke, a line, a swatch, a smattering. Humans have been drawn to this form of expression for 30,000 years or more. Back then it was a mark scrawled on a cave wall, but nevertheless a receptacle for some supernatural signature of humanly laid out marks that somehow connect us with co-creation.
I hold some precious things in my mind’s eye. You probably do too. One of these precious things is the entrance to Babaji’s Cave in the Himalayas. We travel there every year and go in there. It is one of the most profound pieces of Mother Earth I could possible think of. It is on fire in my mind, it is that strong. So I made some marks around that. You get the picture. Here is Sondra at the entrance of that Cave.
But there are also “things” in my mind’s eye that are not “things” in the usual sense. They do not have their shape and presence already pre-formed. They reveal themselves in the gestures of making marks. What these marks mean or not is not so concerning. What they transmit of the Life Force is something they already possess, irrespective of my motives and intentions. I know this sounds a little nebulous. But in the end it is a very concrete and exacting process. There is nothing nebulous at all about the marks I make. They come together to form a creative conglomerate of the soul, and that convergence is very specific.
For a number of years I started with an “X.” This would give me a “point” in the middle, and a very orderly division of convergence. I could explore many forms and gestures, marks and counter marks, around this convergence of the “X.” I grew to love the “X,” just like I grew to love Babaji’s cave entrance.
The “X” and the verticality of things. That interested me. And then the compost heap of everything else. Where did it all come from? Where did it all go? What was the order of all things just coming together in a kind of free form of dalliance of delight?
Holy Gestures are all around us, but we are mostly asleep to them. But some of these are so brilliant, they go beyond our missing them. One of these is the Glastonbury Tor in England. The Tor itself is of an Ancient Divine Mother origin. The tower of St. Michael on the top is the phallic symbol of necessity from later “Christian” times. All the same, together in this era they live on, and provide a powerful prominence of land that instills a sense of the sacred in anyone who sees it or steps foot upon it.
It is true. I love to make marks. Any marks. I have little books in which I make marks. I am not so concerned with their meaning; they have their own autonomy, their own “mark” of identity.
The Freedom Of Making Marks
There is a freedom one feels from making marks. Some may say, “Well, you are just making visual ‘babble’ that has no meaning. Why do that? It would be like babbling sounds with no relationship to words or sentences.” Perhaps this feeling of Freedom is the message—the fact is one can make a mark, just like one can speak an utterance. There is a freedom in this gesture, and then the meaning of it emerges over time.
There is a “Mardi Gras” of mark making that recklessly abandons reason, for no other purpose than for experiencing the freedom of Pure Joy. Even with more structured mark making that gives us the depiction of an image we can “identify,” the mark making modus operandi applies. Without the Joy of gestures laid upon the surface of receptivity, the end result will be dead and lifeless. But with this Joy of mark making, the object is infused with an alchemy that goes beyond mere “babble.” These gestures combine to form a visual communion with the creative life of glorious marks.