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.
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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