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Hallowed By Thy Art

January 26, 2013


The above John R. Neill illustration is from the children’s story: Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This is the scene where Dorothy picks a lunchbox from a tree in what she later learns is the Land of Oz. I was digging into the marrow of the Adam and Eve story from Genesis recently, where Eve takes and eats from the Tree of Good and Evil, and this image came to mind. First, in case any one who has read any of the other essays on SPIR, Alfred and I are not of Gnosticism, despite my sharing on Gnosis, those texts from The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Spirrealism is NOT a Religion. What we desire is to embody the Essence of the Spirituality of Christ, and through this, what we share, is Spiritual Art: the Spiritual Symbolism, Wisdom Teaching and Energy Effect in and through The Gift ( the essay On the Spirit shares briefly in the Godhood: Energy and Essence). The reality in this is that in order to present it, we do, at times, share on its opposite: Religion. So, I guess you could say that Religion is our competition, but we really do not mean it to be so black and white, that either or, for we are both aware of the value traditions play in our societies. Actually, in the Way – the Christ Way – Spiritual Art is Tradition. If you look back to the markings in stone, and when the early church was establishing itself in a more structured way within homes and assemblies, especially the ikons in Byzantium, before people owned written texts and were literate, the art served to teach. Ikons are written. Stories played out on the walls, the fabrics and tapestries, and the courtyards.

Theotokos Vladimir Icon 12th century


Ancient Greek Island (predominant – Crete) embroidery imagery hand-painted on canvas – L. Thiel Hewlings

Where Spiritual Art competes with Religion is in the confines and ordinances within set doctrines. Religious-Political History has proven itself Anti-Spirit, and it continues to be Anti-Spirit. I do not wish to get into the dos and don’ts and yeses and nos of Religious life, but if you know the decrees of the belief system you indulge in, you are aware that there are confines. The Spirit cannot be confined. John 3.8 says:

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it came, and where it goes: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.

Ikon Beloved

Ikon Saint John the Beloved ( inspired by St John the Divine: Portable icon at the Monastery of Theotokos, Naxos Greece, 17th Century)

– L. Thiel Hewlings

Spirit Art is born of this breath. To put a stopper on it is to deny that Christ Essence, and misdirect that God Energy, and this becomes a stagnant and suffocating experience for the Spiritual Artist. In Spirrealism, we keep our pigment wet, and it’s healing salve is not just for ourselves, but for those who wish to dialogue with us, and that dialoguing is sometimes just an image that speaks. And where we are not a religion is in this freedom of Spirit-born expression, and our size. We are small. Our intent is not to grow and amass wealth in numbers, in any way. We are of a transforming Community. Very importantly, it’s not about me, and it’s not about Alfred; it’s about self-knowledge, spiritual growth maturity, and the product. Our product is that Breath of Expression. For both of us, as far as our gifts, it’s the painting, and the drawing; the writing, and the film. We would welcome a musician or two, or a sculptor into the core of this group, and this would allow for an extended voice, but to have too many voices within one area sidetracks a purist intent, and squashes the inner voice. Also, by remaining small, we are free to share those delicate and transforming matters. Not every one has to know of each vision or dream or Dialogue within The Community – those experiences that spir us. How we share in this is through our Spiritual Art. Nothing of our experience becomes an apparition, or a change of tongue, or a declaration of some new piece of doctrine. Now, this does not mean we won’t allow for dialoguing here – of course not. We hope to be a far-reaching movement that welcomes voice. We love to hear from you. As far as Religion, however, it’s a collision of interests, and our own personal experiences in parishes can attest to this.

Even L. Frank Baum found the need to leave the structure of these confines. While googling him,  I found myself reading a little on his life. Here is what it says under his view of Religion on Wikipedia.

“Originally a Methodist (albeit a skeptical one), Baum joined the Episcopal Church in Aberdeen to participate in community theatricals. Later, he and his wife, encouraged by Matilda Joslyn Gage, became a member of the Theosophical Society in 1892.[40] Baum’s beliefs are often reflected in his writing. The only mention of a church in his Oz books is the porcelain one which the Cowardly Lion breaks in the Dainty China Country in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Baums believed in God, but felt that religious decisions should be made by mature minds and not religious authorities. As a result, they sent their older sons to “Ethical Culture Sunday School” in Chicago, which taught morality, not religion.”

In returning to Oz, Dorothy picks food from the tree. If you’ve ever read the story, you might find this very inventive: prepared lunch. I know I did as a child (If moms and dads could be so fortunate to send their children out to a tree in the yard and say pick a box on your way to school!). For those of you reading this who may not fully understand, in many societies, particularly in the United States, lunch is eaten at school or camp sometime between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. This is considered lunch. Our internal clocks remind us of this if on a school schedule. The belly starts growling, and when we are Of the Essence, One is listening.


One Comment
  1. opheliart permalink

    re: “The Catholic Church had once been the patron of the arts. Once the Church mantled that suffocating aggression to prophetic art, Catholic artists, often, became muted and or extinct. Later, there was a surge, in outsider artist, in which artists (predominantly Protestant) picked up portions of those dropped mantles.”

    We would be remiss if we did not mention that much of Religious/Spiritual art came about as a result of the artists being forced to paint specified works for the Roman Hierarchy. I am truly glad that the word hierarchy derived from hierarch and not heir-arch.

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