Art has been for me a language rich with symbols that helps me understand what’s happening on a very sub- or un-conscious level. Truly, we live life on another level, parallel to the physical world where we eat, sleep, work and do the things we call living. It’s when we finally take to the zafu that we encounter this wonderful world within, the abode of our psyche, a world within a world.
I have done most of my more esoteric artwork during periods of intense change in my life and it has been the symbols that helped me make sense of what was going on inside. All the drawings and paintings began life in my mind’s eye and then all I had to do was pick up my pen or brush and the rest will just flow. My drawing lecturer, when I was studying in Perth, used to say I had magic fingers.
You see, drawing was my choice of elective throughout my undergraduate studies then and each week I would drive down to her classes at the Churchlands campus. What was a mere sketch before afternoon tea break would magically become something else altogether by the time we reached the end of the day at 5 p.m. Each time I submitted my portfolio for semestrial assessment, inevitably it would be full of drawings that were rather other-wordly and she was terribly spot-on in her comments that I was in reality documenting my inner life.
Symbols can heal
Later on, during my vacation from uni when I was back in Singapore, I found out how a simple symbol like a key can bring about healing for someone. I had brought along a gigantic 9 feet by 5 feet drawing to show my QiGong group. In this painting is a golden key and when this person saw it, she said, “This is what my husband was looking for!” Turned out that on his deathbed he kept asking for the ‘key’ but no one understood what key he was talking about! He died without ever getting the ‘key’. She later shared with me that seeing the key in the drawing was a significant moment of healing because she felt she could now let go and move on.
Symbols and the energy they give off
Art has really allowed me to tap into my inner self where I could access information on a different level altogether. This is why symbols are very important to me. It is a language for the inner world. I’ve had other esoteric encounters. Once I brought a large painting to a Melchizedek workshop where we were participating in energy healing. The lady of the house who kindly hosted the workshop took one look and said, “This painting has Buddha energy.”
It’s not surprising that she picked that up given the symbols I had in the painting. She is a psychic and an ardent devotee of Sai Baba-ji who has experienced the amazing phenomenon of vibhuti, that is, ash just appeared on her palm one day. Baba-ji is well known for blessing his devotees that way. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist but yes, I do admire the beauty in Buddha’s teachings. If anything, the Buddha didn’t call himself a Buddhist either. But my point is symbols carry energy of their own. This is something that’s truly astounding.
Symbols have the power to heal
Let me share another story of symbols and their power….
Once, I went to learn Karuna Reiki to add to what I already had, a master level in Usui Reiki. I was curious to know if it’s any different. During those lessons I began to share with the teacher symbols I saw in my dreams or mind’s eye during meditation. Even he found the symbols (those I shared with him) to be powerful. In fact, his exact words were, “they found your symbols to be very powerful.” He’s a Freemason so I guess he must have been referring to his Lodge members. Years later when I became a practitioner of the Hermetic tradition I can see why he said what he did.
As a Reiki master who was also fortunate to have learned Pranic Healing and the Melchizedek Method, I can vouch from personal experience as to the healing powers of symbols especially at the deeper level. Symbols are indeed a springboard to true wisdom and healing. They have always been a part of my spiritual journey and have helped me to grow the way I did, putting the right knowledge and teachers in my path. Yes, symbols can be very powerful indeed and we should use them with the utmost respect and care.
A project of symbolism for the Canossian Sisters
Then there was this awesome project I did for the Canossian sisters. It’s huge and it’s painted inside two alcoves in the main assembly hall of the Children’s Home. Each alcove measured almost 12 feet high and at least 5 feet across. I was a volunteer teaching English and Art to the kids there and one day, the Sister-in-charge approached me to help fill in the two alcoves one on each side of a large stage.
I duly submitted my design which consisted of symbols associated with Christ. Well, a little more esoteric than most Christian symbols because of the (have you guessed it yet?) the Rosicrucian rose just above the ram but the Sister had no issue with that! I also decided on using Fibonacci’s Numbers to create a generation tree that starts with the founder and then spreads out to include all the sisters-in-succession. With their pictures framed in wooden circles, these then formed the leaves of the Canossian genealogy tree.
The more astounding thing was that all I had was a paint roller and a flat brush on a long stick to work. The paint I used was normal emulsion for walls. Because of the height of the alcove, I couldn’t tackle them the same way I did with a painting on an easel. I couldn’t go near to dab a little here or there. But amazingly, all those shades of blue came together just like that. And what inspired the design? God only knows how it all came together.
Well, the good sister sent my drawing to the Philippines where all the parts were carved in wood and duly sent back and mounted by the Home’s carpenter here. All in all, it was a very fulfilling project but immediately after that I fell really sick for a week. When I finally managed to leave my bed, guess what, my asthma had totally gone. And I hadn’t had it again since. I believe that somewhere, somehow I needed to do this thing and got healed in the process. Was it the symbols? I never doubted it was!
~ ॐ ~