- Ask permission to enter from the Ancestors, Mother Earth, Spirit of Place and give gratitude for the opportunity.
- Enter quietly, with reverence and respect.
- Allow yourself to be in the moment and feel the essence of this sacred site.
- Be aware of the organization of space and its connection to nature.
- Try to imagine the daily lives and rituals of the people who inhabited this ancient place and picture yourself among them. Let your imagination flow….
- Connect with the mystery and spirit hidden within these walls. “If these stones could speak…”
- Remember the sounds, colors, textures, structures, and feelings you experienced.
- Choose a comfortable place off the beaten path and sit quietly.
- Do a silent meditation, some yoga or tai chi.
- Write down your observations in a journal, or sketch with pencil or watercolor.
Mitla, an archelogical site in the Oaxaca Valley, inspired me with its running spirals, zig-zags and chevrons created with stone mosaics throughout the site. These intricate, geometrically designed patterns are what sets it apart from other pyramids in Mexico. Walking among these temples was a spiritual journey in itself, visioning what rites and rituals occurred within these ancient walls. One named, House of the Vital Force, really piqued my imagination. Mitla was a major Zapotec religious center that reached its zenith between 750 and 1521 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are a few artworks created in the studio after visiting this site. I’m always trying to capture the mystery, the essence of a sacred space, rather than illustrate the site.
I paid a visit to Las Labradas yesterday – a sacred site north of Mazatlán, Mexico. I’ve been there countless times since my first visit in 1999, each one as breathtakingly beautiful as the last. The expansive, pristine beach and ocean view alone are beautiful, but it’s the rich array of petroglyphs carved into the volcanic stone that really speak to me. Moving from boulder to boulder, light and shadow play on the surfaces, revealing spirals, figures and other mysterious glyphs. These visions and myths, voices of an ancient people, were created in ritual by The Toltecs thousands of years ago. I can’t help but be inspired by its symbols, the merging of stone and water, and the spirit of place.
In the last 15 years, Las Labradas has become a protected site and a tourist destination – a blessing and a curse. One now sees huge tour buses in the parking lot. On my first visit there was no parking lot much less a barely navigable road. On previous trips, we would have the place to ourselves, rarely seeing another human being. This time, a “guide” silently shadowed me my entire walk, yet (blessedly) allowed me space to do my own thing. The rocks still hold their magic and will continue to call me back.
Some of my monotype prints inspired by Las Labradas:
There is a chapter in my book, Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place, on Las Labradas. Contact me for orders: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the early 90’s, Marija Gimbutas’ book, The Language of the Goddess, (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1989) had a huge impact on my work. In this book, Gimbutas, a revisionist anthropologist, provided a fresh look at the Neolithic Goddess Culture, cataloguing the artifacts and symbols found on cave walls, rocks, sculpture and pottery from Old Europe. These matrilineal societies, peaceful and agrarian, existed long before our current patriarchal system. (The Chalice & The Blade, Riane Eisler)
At the time I discovered Gimbutas’ book, my artwork focused on the female figure in a feminist vein. But while an artist in residence at KALA Institute, I began creating large-scale monotype prints that reflected many of the symbols I’d found in her book. The spiral, the pubic triangle, the chevron and concentric circles began appearing in these 42” x 55” monotypes. It was at that point, my art shifted direction to focus on archetypal symbols with a decidedly feminine nature, inspired by the ancient goddess cultures around the world. My work today still carries the influence from this pivotal point in my career. Here are some of these early prints, some of which are still available. Contact me if you are interested is seeing more.
|Entrance Stone, Newgrange|
Before I visited Newgrange in Ireland, the spiral had already become a mainstay of my visual and artistic vocabulary. But seeing this symbol of renewal and regeneration inscribed into the stones by the hands of the ancients gave me a greater sense of connection with those who had come before me. The huge horizontal entrance stone covered with intertwining spirals is regarded as one of the finest achievements of European Neolithic art. Some believe the spirals represent energy vortices within the mound. Awe-inspiring and sublime, these simple swirling lines have made their way into my art again and again – from paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture.
|Phoenix, Oil on Canvas, 5′ x 10′|
|Monotype, from the Form & Spirit Portfolio
Visit my website to view more images: www.glenrogersart.com