Some say the origin of all art is spiritual; it was a way for early humans to commune with a higher and unseen power through mark-making. Many ancient cultures embraced the lotus as a powerful image and spiritual symbol. The Egyptians used it in their art and architecture to symbolize rebirth and regeneration. They considered it a sacred flower and used it in rituals, ceremonies and medicines for its restorative qualities. In the Kamasutra, an ancient Hindu text about human sexuality, the lotus is a symbol of the source from which all life arises.
My spiritual journey has coincided with my infatuation with the lotus. It was in Bali that I first saw the pink lotus in its full glory—the most sacred color of the lotus flowers. Floating on a small pond, the lotus blossoms in various stages of unfolding captured my heart. This had a profound effect on me, as if I was seeing the Buddha himself reincarnated. In both Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus is a sacred flower and refers to spiritual awakening and purity of heart. It’s the cycle of the lotus that provides the metaphor for rebirth—with the bud emerging from muddy waters each morning and gradually opening with perfectly clean petals. Each lotus bud represents potential, and with the fully formed blossom comes Nirvana. In my meditations, the image of the lotus unfolding is my heart opening to Spirit.
The image of the lotus continues to be popular in our contemporary culture. Graphic logos offering tranquility and peace can be found on candles, yoga mats and clothing. The simplicity of form and power of idea elicits a universal message.
Incorporating the lotus into my artwork is meant as a spiritual metaphor, not just the image of a beautiful flower. Using simple graphic strokes, I try to capture the hidden aura of the plant and reveal an ethereal side of nature. Carl G. Jung said that the symbol (any symbol) is the psychological mechanism for transforming energy. Through this simple form, I attempt to transform a blank canvas into something mystical, giving the viewer a spiritual connection through my art.
Jung in his book, Man and His Symbols, referred to certain symbols as archetypal—images that all of us can tap into through our unconscious mind, dream states and the creative process. He believed that “the greatest and best thoughts of man shape themselves upon primordial images,” and that archetypes—symbols from the collective unconscious – are metaphysical in nature. On my travels to sacred sites around the world, I learned firsthand that there truly is a universal visual language that connects us all.
This text is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art due to be published in January.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your copy.