Art on the Line: Where Activism & Art Intersect

Firebird. Acrylic & charcoal on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. © 2012 by Kathy Crabbe I've been reading a lot about revolution these days trying to figure out how I, as an artist can make a difference and contribute socially to our society and often I feel quite hopeless until I listen to what women artist activists have to say and then I start to feel hope again; for art, artists, and for humanity. Here's an example of what I mean. Below is a quotation by Gale Jackson, librarian, storyteller and historian from the book Art on the Line

"We're talking about human education here. That's when you talk about seizing traditional forms, the arts, traditional forms of reaching people, and turning them modern and figuring out how to teach these lessons again because somehow people have watched too many commercials not realizing that culturally, or through the lack thereof, we've been pushed to the brink of survival, against the wall, literally to the edge of the fatal possibilities of the world we're living in. Somehow you have to reach people and bring them back, mindful that peace will only come with justice. That eye for eye for eye could go on and on. Somehow you have to reach people 'cause we have to talk. There are a lot of things that, for starters, we need to learn and remember. A lot of history has been taken away from people and one of the first restitutions would be to begin to restore. People's very stories have been taken away, made inaccessible, till we don't all know who we are. Culturally. Till we don't have no home. Real or metaphoric. Then there is all that is going on that is not being told. The news. Our country's not-so-covert wars. In my work as a writer, as a librarian, I be finding that people don't know. This tragedy of repetition. When it becomes clear that culture, art information, is first and foremost political, it is clear that people need to use that to reach and teach. To explore. People need to know. To imagine. To know." ~ Gale Jackson, Art on the Line, Essays by Artists about the Point Where Their Art and Activism Intersect

Links: Art on the Line ~ edited by Jack Hirschman Gale Jackson Chris Hedges ~ Truth Dig Revolution Truth

My painting, Firebird (above) expresses the fiery passion and hope that burns brightly within my soul; it depicts the spark within us that can never die or be extinguished even through death.

New Moon In Taurus: The Beat Goes On

Welcome to The Kosmic Mind Astrology Column written by Guest Astrologer Chad Woodward. Chad is an astrological researcher, massage therapist, healer, and artist PLUS a good friend of mine who I highly respect for his ongoing and unique explorations into the awesome potential of astrology and how it effects us on a microcosmic and macrocosmic level. New Moon @ 12 degrees Taurus 31' May 2, 2011- 11:51 PM PDT May 3, 2011- 6:51 AM GMT

This new moon takes place in the sturdy, dependable, and deliberate sign of Taurus, grounding much of the energy we've been experiencing these past few weeks and bringing things a bit more 'down to earth'. As we set our intentions for the next lunar cycle, our attention is drawn into the essence of Taurus, as well as the Sabian symbol from which the new moon will fall. The Sabian symbol reads:

A porter carrying heavy baggage

The symbol embodies the notion, and indeed the inevitability, of carrying responsibilities in order to participate within an "organized society". The man in this modern image is a porter, one who is employed to carry luggage and such, usually at some form of transit station such as a railroad, airport, or even hotel. I feel the symbol of the porter, in reading into the nature of his occupation, gives us much more detail than interpreting the symbol solely on his actions alone. We get a sense, an image, of transport, movement, and the potential for travel whether literally or metaphorically. We see the image not of the journey or even the means of travel itself, but rather the preparation for travel, or perhaps, the arrival from a trip, and the loading or unloading of belongings and essentials. In fact, the porter is also, and sometimes entirely, a gatekeeper, or doorman, the one who shows the way in or out, and deals with the daily fluff as it passes by. Aside from the usual disparaging role such a figure plays, he embodies a deeply crucial archetype through which filters our means of interchange and communication. In a sense, he is essentially indifferent to any particular 'charge', in that his role is fluid and changing, neither up nor down, left or right, but pointed, always, in various directions at any given time. Interestingly the symbol uncannily reflects the sign of Taurus in the porter's actions, carrying belongings, stuff, material goods, possibly slowly, due to the heaviness of the luggage. We get the sense of social burden also from the heaviness of the baggage, and a sense of sacrifice on behalf of others regardless of whether he is 'paid' for his services or not. Perhaps this symbol suggests to us the intention of gaining clarity as to who we are burdening or who is burdening us? Are we carrying too much, are we sacrificing our own needs to take care of someone else's wants or demands? Are we depending too much on others to take care of our own needs or responsibilities? How can we lighten the load a bit, make the baggage less heavy for the porter?

The new moon in Taurus quincunxes Saturn in Libra, shedding light on how our needs or even belongings and resources conflict with those of others, how they function within a relationship or partnership. The cluster of planets currently residing in Aries: Uranus, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars, draws much energy into self projection and self interest. Venus and Mercury are closely conjunct and in opposition to Saturn, again, reiterating the awareness of self and others, the need to love oneself, and whether such need is being allowed expression by others, or vice versa. The north node currently sits at 24 degrees Sagittarius, urging us to embrace our inner truth and expand our perception of the world and life's manifold possibilities. Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius, sits in Aries, conjunct Mars, and thus the nodal energy is working at maximum potential and momentum, generating a collective and individual yearning to conquer new frontiers of the outer world and inner psyche, to see beyond imposed limitations, and embrace what’s foreign. This symbolism fits quite nicely with the symbolism of the porter, assisting us in preparation for some form of journey or trip whether in the physical outer reality or the inner realm of our own unconscious. Blending the nature of this Taurean Moon, with the powerful and fiery conjunction of Mars and Jupiter, we feel a powerful draw to our own physical bodies, and getting more in touch with our own sensual and primal archetypes, creating a deeper awareness and attunement to the subtleties of our own organism.

The sign of Taurus embodies the cultivation of beauty, harmony, and consistent productivity. How can we bring more beauty into our lives, into our environment, and into the world we all share? How can we make things more enjoyable, harmonious, and efficient? What do you want right now? What do YOU value, what brings you inner joy and peace? These are all crucial questions we should each be asking ourselves, so that we can get clear about what we want to create in our own lives. Ceres in Pisces and Juno in Virgo are in a very tight opposition to one another, another configuration affecting our relationships, urging us to see deeply into the core truth of the matter and beyond delusions. Are our needs being sufficiently nurtured in our relationships? Are we nurturing the needs of others? Are we nurturing ourselves, our own needs? This may have the effect of having one deeply reflect on the core dynamics of a relationship, whether it is truly real and authentic, or whether things are being kept in the dark, stifling the truth. How can we nurture the situation with compassion so that we can get clear and create balance, and ideally, a win-win situation for all involved?

Take some time this new moon to enjoy simple pleasures, stop and smell the roses, and just experiment with BEING as opposed to doing. Sometimes when the answers you're looking for aren’t to be found by actively looking, the most profound solutions often arrive when we simply allow them to come to us on their own accord, when we're patient and receptive. Get in touch with your own inner beauty, and the beauty of the world, of your own body, and of nature. Explore the endless bounty the world has to offer. Currently, in our day and age, the media and consensus culture bombards us with all the atrocities and horrors of the world, all the "what's wrong", and we forget to notice all the truly beautiful and stunning creations that surround us. We forget to just stop and look at this magnificent creation, the truly remarkable beauty and intelligence that has evolved on this planet for millions and billions of years......and when we look at it from this perspective, we realize that "what's wrong" is a recent and fleeting arrival on this great and remarkable planet we call home. As we gain clarity into the deeper facets of our lives, try not to judge what comes up as "good" or "bad", but rather look at everything as a necessary component, assisting us in reaching our highest potential. Beauty, bliss, peace, joy, and functionality all around us, you just have to open your eyes, nature has been doing it all along, will continue to do so whether we're conscious of it or not.

Again, much of the energy of this new moon appears to be focused on the preparation for some kind of movement, some symbolic exodus. Look to your own life and see where such symbolism is relevant. What could you possibly prepare yourself for? What necessities would you need to take along? At the time of the Full Moon on May 17, much of this energy will fully culminate in the sign of Scorpio at the 26th degree. The sabian symbol reads:

A military band marches noisily on through the city streets.

Here we get an almost garish image of pomp and show, a loud and noisy display of “cultural values”, as Rudhyar interprets. On an individual level perhaps this suggests a process of fully integrating and then displaying or broadcasting ones own personal values, the potential of fully accepting and thus actively sharing one’s deepest passions with the outer world. On a collective level, perhaps this suggests some collective initiation of an event or process, and this new moon symbolizes its crystallization and eventual execution at the full moon. With this in mind, I feel it necessary to urge us all to focus more on our own values as opposed to getting swept away by collective fanfare, or the values and ideals of others. Stay true to yourself and to your own path, and sometimes, when you find little or no support, its best to just march onward to the beat of your own drum....

chad woodward astrologerAbout Chad Kosmic Mind Blog

Ever since I was young I found myself fascinated and mesmerized by the night sky, gazing up at its brilliance and immensity in awe. Somehow, this innate part of myself was looking for omens in that very sky, completely unaware of the vivid and profound art known as astrology, which has graced this planet for thousands of years. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I discovered the real horoscopic astrology that, from that point forward, would change and shape my life in ways I would have never imagined. It was truly love at first sight, a love that has only increased in its intensity ever since. Life with astrology is truly an adventure, as it unveils the magic of destiny, which has been sadly lost to our world for far too long.

My goal, as the late Joseph Campbell so eloquently stated, is to simply follow my bliss. Astrology is a guide to the unfolding of self and of the cosmos itself. It is in the proper application of this guide, that we as humans, can learn to no longer be an obstacle to the brilliance and intelligence of this cosmic unfolding. Currently, I am simply a researcher, massage therapist, healer, and artist doing my part in the ascension of the planet. I hope to share the joy and bliss that astrology can provide, as we learn to dance and flow in synchronicity with this great and mysterious divine plan.

Enjoy Your Creative Life!

Leather Spine Journal by Jennifer King Full Moon in Aries September 23, 2010 2:17 am pdt

Spotlight on Aries Artist, Jennifer King
Idaho, USA
Jen's Blog

1. How does your zodiac sign influence your life and your creativity?

To be honest I never considered that my sign could influence my creativity until I ran across the interviews here on your blog.  After reading testimonies from other artists about their personalities regarding their individual signs I became very curious to test out the theory with my own Aries sun sign.  I did a little research on Aries traits and since then I have become more aware of myself and why I do the things that I do.  It's so amazing to think that who I am could be linked to my birth date - my original start in the world.  (Who would have thought!)
I learned that if a person does not express the qualities of their sun sign  it can lead to lack of confidence, energy, and inner peace.  I find this to be so true.  As an Aries personality if I don't achieve what I think I should it takes a toll on me mentally and physically.   When I connect with a creative outlet and feel passionate and excited about my art,  I find so much happiness and fulfillment in my life.  A successful piece of art is what gives me energy and confidence to move on the next piece.  Aries possess the ability to climb great heights and I find that to feel fulfillment I have to be progressing with my creativity.  I love the idea that we need to express the qualities of our sun sign in order to feel at peace. We have to be true to ourselves!

Intaglio Original Art Print by Jennifer King

2. What do you like best about your sign and least?

Aries possess so much passion and energy, but on the other hand an Arian can become impatient as well! Because of my sign I find that I can become bored easily if I am not constantly finding creative outlets.  I love to learn new things and new ways to create art.  I am currently attending a University working towards a degree in art.  I didn't choose a specific area of art, but rather chose a path that would let me take a few classes in every area.  I was frustrated at first by not being able to choose, but now I realize that I have simply stayed true to my sun sign.  My Aries excitement leads to thoughts and ideas always running through my head and I'm always moving from one project to the next.

3. What advice do you have for other Arians who are just starting to explore and develop their creativity?

My advice to other Aries artists (and really to every artist) is to always, always be true to yourself.  You will not be at peace if you ignore your passion for creativity!  Aries is the first sun sign on the zodiac calendar.  As an Arian, you have an impulsive, pioneering personality.  If you have a creative idea just try it!  I have found that it is so important for this sign to avoid over-thinking or being held back by others. Be impulsive!  Be true to your ideas!  Enjoy your creative life.

Full Moon Spotlight on Aries Artist Jennifer King

Jen's Bio

I have been interested in the art world my entire life. I love beautiful things! I go through different phases of what I like to make and which media I work in. I'm always looking for new ways to design and be creative. I will be graduating from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelors in Art at the end of this year. Classes there are where I have really learned technique and have gained even more of a desire to continue creating worthwhile things.

I Won't Fear Love

Are we waking up and discovering "Our shoe's don't fit anymore?" I know we sometimes feel and pray that hope, excitement, peace and love are possible on a world wide scale and on a personal level.

As we travel deep, deep into the center of our souls we release little time bombs, tick, tick, ticking...just waiting to wake us up and then, when we're not even close to being ready, they explode forcing us to face and own up to our shadow, and accept the truth of who we are. So, how do we face our demons?

Do you ever have moments where time just stops and then goes backwards? Or is that just longing for what was?

'All time is now' - sometimes I like this idea, although I can't explain it. Early morning, for example takes me back in time which often makes me sad and may be why I avoid it.

And if I feel a rage I won't deny it I won't fear love.

Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

Musical Ambiance: Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Ingrid Karklins - Anima Mundi

How to Calm & Center - A Quickie Meditation

How-To Calm & Center (a quickie meditation that really works!)

Close your eyes. Deep breath.

Sit with eyes closed, just listening.

Breathing deeply

Relaxing your body.

Checking in and asking, "How do I feel?"

Picking music that fits your mood (ie. "Flow, River of My Soul" by Single Gun Theory)

Letting the music energize and sweep you up.

Now, you're ready to go!