Wise Woman Ezine with Susun Weed
October 2005
Volume 5 Number10

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What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...


Wise Woman Wisdom ...
Merging with Nature
through Art and Archetype
by Marcia Snedecor

Merging with Nature through Art and Archetype

by Marcia Snedecor

“Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. One will not receive the truth in any other way…” ~ The Gospel of Saint Philip recording the words of Christ

People often ask artists about their source of inspiration or the meaning of a particular painting, and for me, those can be difficult questions. I can easily say that I am inspired by Nature, archetypes and the Divine Feminine; however, the source of true inspiration is, in whatever form, enigmatic, mystical, and elusive. It’s difficult to put into words what begins as a feeling, beyond language, and sparks the inscrutable creative process. I heed the call, mysterious as a dream yet familiar as an inner voice, and begin to paint.

As the process unfolds and the image takes form, so does the design behind the siren’s song. However, it is usually after a paintings completion that its message is more fully revealed. Although I have brought forth the image, it is for me, in some ways, a misty mirror so that viewer’s insightful comments help unveil meaning. I am truly enriched when others share with me the significance they find in my work, especially when it harmonizes with their own experiences.

Each of us ascribes meaning to an image from our own inimitable perspective and symbols may be uniquely personal, but the archetypes belong to us all. They resonate with our souls and draw us into the mystic.

Ethereal art by Marcia Snedecor

My Mystic Forest series seeks to illustrate that we are divinely inspired by Nature and empowered by archetypes to discover the truth of our own divinity. Using symbols as psychic touchstones, these images have emerged as visions from the soul. Archetypal images speak a universal language that transcends barriers and borders to enter directly into hearts and minds.

Symbols and myths encapsulate psychic energy and, I believe, gain power and influence over time and usage…hence the archetypes. Like well-worn pathways in our collective psyche, archetypes express unconscious wisdom – esoteric knowledge accessed through imagery. As symbols are the language of unconscious dreams, so archetypes spring from a deeper well, a place where language lapses and image attempts to bridge the infinite…a glimpse of the unknowable…Divine wisdom.

Through an archetype we may discover the wellspring of our collective soul and the light of our own divinity.Certain symbols and archetypes have inspired and sustained my creative life. One that is a delight for many artists is the tree. With its roots drawing life from the soil and its leafy branches nourished by the sun, it is the perfect link of earth and cosmos. It lives and flourishes in world art and mythology. The Tree of Life, of Knowledge, World Tree, Kabalistic Tree and myriads of related imagery illustrate the richness and scope of this blessed archetype.

As an archetypal symbol, the tree represents both humanity, our place in the cosmos and our link with the Divine. The Mystic Forest series is intended to honor the tree and all of its mythic manifestations. It is a celebration of the Divine hand evident in Nature. My intent is not to favor one gender, but the feminine aspect embodies nurturance and lends itself to a gentle merging with Nature. When we speak of Mother Earth or Mother Nature, we acknowledge the feminine half of life’s equation as that which tends and nourishes. The Greenman, an equally powerful yet somehow more elusive and quixotic archetype, stands as guardian of the fecund feminine forest.

Each Mystic Forest image is intended to inspire the viewer by tapping into or resonating with their own archetypal and transcendental energies, as with The Labyrinth Tree.

Ethereal art by Marcia Snedecor
The labyrinth, like the spiral, contains a sacred center or still-point to be reached by traveling a winding but guiding pathway. Like life’s journey, there are twists and turns but the pathway leads always to the center.

In the ancient tradition of sacred art, the entwined branches and serpents are meant to entice the eye and help induce a meditative state. Combined with the tree, a powerful archetype for life and ascension, this image is a tool for finding your own path of grace and sacred center.

To create a centering interlude, take a slow deep breath and enter the labyrinth with your eyes. As you follow the path, you will be relaxing your body and calming your mind. When you reach the center, pause for a moment, meditate and see what happens. Slowly travel back out with the knowledge that you bring your own unique beauty into the world. As you repeat this centering ritual, you are creating your own sacred path to serenity.

Ethereal art by Marcia Snedecor
Gaia was the name the Greeks gave to our earth and the Gaia Hypothesis, created by James Lovelock, helps us to understand our earth as One living system. We are all part of Gaia, a system that sustains and blesses us and now stands threatened. “Gaia’s Blessing” is meant to remind us of our interdependence with Nature and the need to return her blessings by respecting the earth’s resources. Enter a forest or garden as a holy place, with awe and reverence, remembering that the same Source energy forms you and all you revere. Meditate on the Oneness, open to the nurturance and let that perception illuminate your own Divine nature. And from that place of sacred self-awareness, let your love guide you to greater harmony with Gaia.

Ethereal art by Marcia Snedecor
The tree’s roots reach deeply into the earth drawing life and providing balance and strength. So too may we ground ourselves and draw upon powerful earth energy. When faced with a problem or challenge, Nature can provide a pathway to deeper wisdom. Meditate on Oneness…mineral, plant and animal kingdoms and the Source Energy that forms and animates all. Nature will lead you to a deeper understanding and awareness of your own spirituality. And within your deepest heart lies the solace and wisdom to sustain. Let this image ground and center you and lead you to your place of quiet strength. Like the tree, you are of this earth but sustained by Divine radiance as you grow inexorably towards the Light.

For permission to reprint this article contact: Marcia Snedecor, PO Box 124 West Jefferson, OH 43162 email: ethereal--art@columbus.rr.com

Marcia Snedecor lives in central Ohio with her husband, Jan, and an assortment of feline friends. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Miami University and has been painting and exhibiting for over 30 years. She is also a Registered Nurse, Licensed Independent Social Worker and Reiki practitioner, all healing occupations that have shaped her life and informed her art.

Marcia’s beautiful and highly original oil paintings are widely collected and have received numerous awards. Her art and illustrations have appeared on book and magazine covers, including SageWoman and The Beltane Papers. Over 60 beautiful archetypal images are available as high-resolution full color laser prints and on note cards. Digital images are available for websites and marketing materials. See the entire Mystic Forest series and many more inspirational images at her site www.etherealart.com


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