Saturday, August 30, 2014

Growing Pains

We are all reflections of the Divine.
How do you learn to live in a world with skewed values?

Like me, you might remember the artist Alex Grey from pre-internet days when his incredible artwork was sometimes used on rave flyers. Back then I had no idea about the artist, I just considered myself fortunate when I found a few postcards of his paintings in a dusty old bookshop in Elizabeth Bay and stuck them up on my wall. His pictures were unique in that they showed more than just the vision of human beings that we are familiar with, he illustrated them complete with xray anatomy and subtle bodies interacting with mind-bending other dimensions and expanses of consciousness.

This week I was very excited to come across a book by him called 'Net Of Being' at the library. Chasing after my nearly two year old the large hardcover book jumped out at me and I snatched it off the shelves as I ran past, keen to learn about the man whose work I have admired for so long. Today Alex Grey is in his 60s and is a true visionary, expanding on the idea of his CoSM series (Chapel of Sacred Mirrors) which he collaborated on with his wife Allyson Grey. The series of twenty-one images which examine the body, mind and spirit in rich detail, exhibited in New York city from 2004-2009 and the book, translated into nine languages, sold over 100,000 copies. This inspiring couple are now oveseeing their next major project, building a transdenominational temple based on the designs of Alex's work surrounded by sacred grounds 'to inspire and evolve the creative spirit' in Wappingers Falls, New York.

But Alex Grey nearly didn't live to manifest such a wonderful reality. He came perilously close to ending his life in his early twenties after suffering with severe anxiety, loneliness and depression. His parents had been religious but then suddenly quit the church, disillusioned with racism and hypocracy in their parish. It was the era of Kennedy's assasination with the world at the threshold of nuclear war. When I was eleven I remember seeing the television lit up with a map illustrating where America and Russia had their 'nukes' parked, ready to blow up the world several times over. The night before I think we'd watched Halloween on Beta cassette, but this was far more terrifying - this was real. As a sensitive child how do you process this disturbing information? How do you cope growing up in such a duplicitous environment, where the adults around you keep functioning as if this is life as it should be?
Alex Grey at age 20.

Alex Grey coped by making up his own series of 'initiary rituals' and started exploring opposites in his artwork and surroundings. To outsiders he just looked weird. He had shaved half his head, to 'externalize the division between the rational and intuituve hemispheres of the brain.'

On the brink of sucide, a miracle happened, he met his wife and took LSD for the first time. Together, they glimpsed the divine nature of reality - Aldous Huxley's 'doors of perception' were opened! Alex changed his name to Grey and began a new painting, a giant yin yang type swirl where black and white blended together. He had found the way to unite polar opposites, in his own words he had turned from nihilist to mystic.

Net of Being - Alex Grey's latest offering
This inspirational book 'Net of Being' documents his transformation and explores the theme that has run through his life since - the interconnectedness of all things. He shows the links between flesh and spirit, between thought and deed, and he explores the topic at the root of his pain - the destruction of the earth.
'The human unconscious shares tremendous grief and guilt over this destruction ... Humankind must acknowledge its errors, actively grieve and beg forgiveness from Mother Earth. Loving our planet, we realise the miracle of interdependent Net of Beings, from the tiniest microorganisms to giant whales singing in the deep. Conscious of Worldspirit we hear the cry of nature and compassionately, wisely and creatively act to awaken one another to heal what remains of God's gift to us.'

He offers hope to all of us. As children some of us felt this pain and vowed to put things right, but as adults many of us feel just as helpless wondering how to lead a soul-centric life yet still put food on the table for our families. If we can't fix these comparitively small things, how do we fix the big things? How do we sustain a population in the billions? How do we nourish our souls when we are so disconnected from the Earth?

Beauty as a path toward liberation.
This next phase in the Earth's evolution requires some seriously smart thinking. Alex assures us that 'visionaries are clustering together to imagine and evolve a better world.' He argues the importance of creativity and asks 'Can we paint and sculpt a more positive future? Can we actively seed the culture with the most inspiring iconography and manifest Beauty as a path toward liberation?'

Alex and his wife have performed marathon painting sessions at music festivals all around the world and hold Full Moon Gatherings at CoSM where he takes up the microphone. He sees these gatherings as playing a vital role in birthing a new planetary civilization. 'Ecstatic bonding with large groups of people through art and music provides an experience of expansive Beauty, essential nutrition for the Soul. When tribes of humans gathering in natural surroundings experience inspirational mass consciousness, utopian dreams are catalyzed, which is important for human survival ... Our body is a canvas, and our life the most compelling work of art.'

Pages of his book are dedicated to verse and visualisation techniques to heal the Earth and he questions if the internet is an evolution in global consciousness, Teilhard de Chardin's emerging Noosphere or 'thinking layer' of the planet. Alex and Allyson Grey have dedicated the rest of their lives to building temples, places where we are encouraged to see ourselves and the world around us as reflections of the Divine, which he says is 'the inevitable consequence of love'.

Reading that Alex Grey changed his name at a pivotal moment in his life really piqued my interest - compelling me to work out his numerology chart, a hobby that I affectionately call 'Human Sudoko'. I was delighted to find his chart is predominantly 7s, the number of introspection and analysis, with a healing 9 Soul number and a Master 11 (the Spiritual Messenger) Maturity Number which increases in intensity with age. But it is his Major Cycles and Pinnacle numbers where his chart gets really exciting! Both are full of Master Numbers which means he is interested in ideas that result in forward movement and the evolution of humankind which he is clearly expressing in abundance!

If you would like inspiration or direction from the numbers please get in touch about having your own numerology profile done! 

If you would like to 'ecstatically bond with large groups of people', check out the Burning Seed festival, (Oz equivalent of the US Burning Man) which is being held from 1-7 October in the Matong State Forest NSW. 

To read more about Alex and Allyson's inspirational CoSM project click here, or watch evolution in progress in his fantastic TEDx talk 'How Art Evolves Consciousness'.

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