Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Sound, Story and Soul

My favourite picture from one of my favourite books – Au Leshey using a compass, Tibetan Thangka Painting, Methods and Materials, David and Janice Jackson 1984.
It seems that for as long as I have been painting I have had a distant and sometimes not so distant voice telling me that I must to find a way to blend spirituality and beneficence into art. It may seem obvious now but for so very many years it kept me restless. Sometimes we are just unable to see clearly the things that sit so close to our hearts.  Even now it is probably clearer to an outsider than it is to me but finally I am beginning to see a faint path to create arts and crafts that may be able to heal and nurture and speak to a multitude of people on a multitude of levels.  
Initially I thought it may have to be a pioneering venture  but  now, as I write, that seems like a crazy notion and I'm not quite sure where it came from. I discovered over years and months and as I wrote and sourced information for the previous posts that healing, art, story and soul are a mix as old as human kind itself.

Each artist and healer brings a little something unique, they breathe a different hue into their craft. Just as each instrument has its own tone and range of abilities so do we all; so I'm now embarking on a journey to start weaving my own set of skills and loves into creating art for healers, for healing, to tell a tale, to bring a peaceful smile.

With my love of Russian illustrations, Buddhist tales and sacred geometry it should be an interesting mix to be sure. But there is one more ingredient up my sleeve. As part of the Spiritual Counselling and Holistic Healing course I have been doing, I have had the pleasure of being taught a unique form of soul guidance by Blue Marsden – Soul Plan. In a most brief explanation, this added ingredient has the potential to personalise and hone the intent of a created image through an added dimension of understanding of sound, shape symbol and vibration. Blue Marsdens soul plan acknowledges each person is affected by certain vibrations associated with certain numbers or pairs of numbers with a core or dominant vibration and number that is the souls plan. This again is hinges on the powerful affects of sound and its energy on our lives. It is an in depth subject worthy of investigation, if you are interested and would like to explore your souls potential you can see his very successful book here.

I have no knowledge of numerology, so I have no direct understanding of numbers and meanings other than through my explorations of sacred geometry.  And so naturally it is here that I have found correlations in meanings and energetic characteristics. That sound and form are directly related still excites me. 

So allow me to show you a few correlations.

In Sacred geometry
1 The Monad -To Pythagoras the number one represented God or the Monad as Pythagoras referred to him. it represents eternity and permanence. One is within all things and the origin of all things. One has no counterpart and no other number exists without one. Nothing can be erected without one, and nothing can be subtracted from one

In Soul Plan
 1 UNITY  -has qualities of stability and spiritual power. Capable of reaching a point of Wisdom beyond good and bad, beyond duality.

In Sacred geometry 
The Duad
Pythagoras called two the duad because everything that is two parts is dual in nature. When there are two of something in this universe they are opposites or opposing each other; light and darkness, good and evil, love and hate, harmony and war, life and death. The duad also represented the dual nature of God, masculine and feminine, divine pairing.

In Soul Plan
2 represents a blend of male and female energies that can bring with it great resilience. An awareness of polarities that can allow them to be objective and a non-judgemental a safe haven for others. 

The correlations continue, not so obvious in some and more obvious in others.

FIVE  is to both, magical, otherworldly, ethereal, in geometry The Pentad is represented by the Pentagram, which is a tool to channel the five elements, earth, air, water, fire, and spirit. in soul plan these people act as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual realms.

SEVEN,  The Heptad

Seven is a number of religion and law. Seven is considered the source of man’s spirituality and is a prominent number in every religion. Seven is a combination of 3 (heaven or the soul of man) added to 4 (earth of the body) to make seven or the spiritual nature of man. If three represents the triangle and four the square, then seven is a combination of the triangle and square, the Masonic symbol of the compass and square.  In history there are seven ages of man, wonders of the world, pillars of wisdom, days of the week, musical notes. In religion there are seven heavens and hells (Islam), seven steps of Buddha (Buddhism), seven archangels (Christianity, Judaism) just to name a few.
In Soul Plan it is spiritual manifestation in action. it is a catalytic energy that can bring people together and capable of affecting great spiritual change in society.

NINE in geometry is the celestial number of order and in soul plan it represents balance of power and qualities of peacemaker.
TWELVE  in sacred geometry represents heaven and earth in soul plan alchemy
and the lists go on...
Each number has a geometric form which carries its own energy. Each soul plan number has it's own symbol. I feel slightly guilty here for skimming over in such brevity a subject matter that is worthy of far more explanation and discussion. In truth I am still a novice to this area of study and my yearning to begin to draw and use these shapes far outweighs my desire to research further at the moment. However in that yearning I have the support of a master geometer - Stephen Meakin. I had the pleasure of having an individual workshop with him late last year and his parting advice was that practice was the key and that the geometry itself would teach me all I needed to know. Take it slow and appreciate each stage. He also told me that the most important point in any piece of sacred geometry I would draw is the pin mark left by the needle of the compass at the centre. From  this tiny , almost invisible mark, all things grow. How beautiful!

Stephen Meakin at work
  So here within all of this new and old knowledge I feel lies an opportunity for new combinations of art and healing. I make no assumption as to the actual correlations between Soul Plan and Sacred Geometry, or what, or where such a search may lead but it seems worthy of exploration.

 Mandalas are an obvious possible interpretation,  using soul plan numbers and geometric forms to create artworks for and to support individuals, families, communities, healers, therapists and businesses.  Sacred geometry has been and still is an important part of the beautiful Thangkas and Mandalas that we see today. It is found everywhere if we care to see it.
If you would like to see sound create form before your eyes, please look  here)


It is conceivable to combine geometric forms so that a person with a 12:3 Soul Destiny number may have an artwork prepared for them or with them, that is a combination of dodecahedron and a triad. Either as beautiful geometry alone or entwined with pictures or symbols that inspire peace within them. This could be done on so many levels. A business that requires magnetic 7:7 energy can have within its foyer a beautiful heptad, if it is a centre for gathering people possibly a combined image with a 19 sided figure surrounding a centre of 1. Apologies for straying into the realm of Soul Plan without further explanation – suffice to say that there is an interrelationship between sound, form and energy.

The possibilities are endless and whether you believe in such possibilities or not it cannot be denied that there is something about these harmonious kaleidoscopic forms that still our minds. Culturally these natural mandalas are one of the few images that defy our habitual reading of a picture. Ours in The West is left to right, Arabic is written right to left, Japanese in read down in columns and from right to left and so on it goes. No matter where we originate from, when we are faced with a mandala or circular pattern our eyes follow a more rhythmic and flowing movement traveling in and out and around from centre to the periphery and back again. In that difference alone our mind is given a chance to stop. In my own personal experience my vision after exploring the pattern briefly switches from focused one pointed viewing to a more soft focused seeing using peripheral vision. Eyes resting softly on the centre but fully ware of the whole. This mode of peripheral vision triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which induces a peaceful state of being.

The illustrator in me is never far away and so I am also drawn to wild imaginings -   tales winding their way within circles, hidden images within geometry telling stories that feed the heart and still the mind. Inspired by the mandalas and the thangkas of times gone by, each painting crafted as an offering. Combining sound and silence, and maybe naturally ground pigments it is my hope that the images may gently remind the viewer of a resonance and peaceful place within. Like a Russian doll leading the observer deeper and deeper.


The first story I intend to build in such a manner is one I heard told by the Venerable Ajahn Brahm, a tale that was once told by the Buddha called 'The Anger eating Demon'.  Both humorous and wise this simple wisdom fable speaks to adults and children about compassion to oneself and others. It would be so lovely to propel this story through image and word out into the world at large. The initial sketches are appearing, weaving together the elements of story telling, sound and geometry. So I am digging up my paint brushes and dusting of the paint tubes and rearranging furniture to make space for the tale to appear.

As the flow of life goes, I could not feel more supported. I have moved to a peaceful cottage in the Southern Uplands in Scotland where I am near to Samye Ling for inspiration and guidance. There is a chance that I may be able to learn the sacred craft of Thangka painting which has been a long held desire. If I am fortunate enough for that to happen I hope to weave those learnings into the artworks.

Surrounded by natures magic, the sound of the river and a thousand Christmas trees it feels as though it is the perfect place to begin a tale.


For those of you who may wish to share a journey of any shape or size – commissions and collaborations are welcomed.

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