Category: Labyrinth related

I updated the labyrinths page with a lot of photos of the fire path we did a few weeks ago. So many beautiful images, shot by one of our students.

Labyrinths page

This was beautiful. A group of students helped to light the candles and place them into bags, then we silently walked the pathway with candles in hand adding them to the pathway on our journey to the centre.

The Fire path.

I’m very grateful to have been able to do this. img_9418

















One of Terry’s students helping to light a candle.

It was so peaceful! Even with a brass band practicing Souza marches somewhere nearby and adding a truly surreal flavour to the evening, I found that the outside world dropped away while I was within the path.

I loved this. So simple, so beautiful.

img_9364In Valentin Tomberg’s great Meditations on the Tarot he describes the relationship of the alchemical twins as a matter of the interaction of heart and mind becoming one in intuition. I like this idea, although it’s a little distant from the alchemical symbolism of the card, which shows the twin (often seen as the king and queen) salt and sulphur emergent from the nigredo, being washed clean by the mercury falling from the sun.

Being influenced by Hatha and Kundalini yoga in my version of the card I decided to add the glow of the heart and third eye chakras to illustrate Tomberg’s idea.

The heart chakra – anahata – is thought to be the balance of male and female, the meeting place of the divine and material world, while the third eye chakra – ajna – is the location of transcending time and universal truth, beyond duality: universal mind .

I’ve also begun work on the legs of the boys, and I hope to get into more work on them tomorrow, but it looks as if administrative work is going to occupy a lot of my time during the day. Maybe I’ll get a shot at it in the evening. Right now I’m going to head out to the labyrinth to wait for dusk and light up a hundred candles so we can walk a candle lit labyrinth.

I’ve managed to paint the scythe in a light raw sienna, and to clean up the blade in a solid grey that will take a touch of blue to fix the edges and add a metallic quality to it. I’ve asked Lolita in our costume department if she has any crowns that i can borrow for the alchemical king and queen, turns out that they have some, but they’re going to need them for the production that they’re working on right now, so this will have to wait until May, which is okay, because I have a million other things to paint and worry about right now as I prepare for the Brand show.

The Scandinavian Festival labyrinth has been populated by a mixture of people walking its meandering path, ranging from contemplative new agers moving quietly to young children hurtling around as fast as possible. I like the location of this path, it’s a bit more secluded this time, so there’s more of a sense of isolation and peace about the experience.

The Tuesday evening candlelit walk is planned for eight o’clock.

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I continued with the skeleton for a short time, bringing it still closer to completion, but unable to find the last couple of hours that I need to get that foot done. The heads will take a couple of days each and I still need to figure out the landscape, or lack of landscape that the piece will need.

This afternoon I spent a short time with John in the organic chemistry laboratory chatting about how to set up the reflux in gallery so that it can distill the essence of Glendale while the show is on there. To my relief it seems that we have all the equipment we need on hand, so this will not be as tricky as I thought. We have to provide a constant stream of cold water to cool the chamber so that the steam constantly recycles – there’s a special refrigerated pump that does exactly what we need.

The Scandinavian Festival is coming up this weekend, so I put together a labyrinth for them with the help of Kristi Collell’s printmaking class. Laying out the path never fails to impress me by its grace and beautiful geometry. Next Tuesday I hope to have a candlelit labyrinth evening, open to visitors to the campus. If you’re in the area, please come and join us. I’ll post again with more information soon.


It was time to put the labyrinth to bed, so we gathered at the creek and walked into the labyrinth. At the centre each of my students chose a rock and carried it out with them through the winding path, giving us a very good sense of completion in a gentle ritual. We carried all the remaining stones to the metal cages for transportation back to Carlson building materials.



Finally we walked the remains of the pathway. Although the stones were gone there was a strong impression of the labyrinth made by the repeated steps of people who had used it, and the impression of the stones on the grass. 



The path has dried out, while the stones protected the grass around them leaving an echo of the pathway.



There’s a really nice shot of some kids running in the labyrinth here in the Thousand Oaks Acorn. Click on the photo for a large image. Thanks to Fred Tonsing for pointing this out to me.



Here’s how the “Storm” painting is related to the labyrinth.

The falling figure doesn’t necessarily need to be a person falling from the world trade center. Other falling figures come to mind, particularly Icarus, who flew too close to the sun on wings his father Daedalus made for him using wax and feathers; the wax melted and Icarus fell. Before making those fateful wings for his boy Daedalus built the labyrinth for Minos, as a consequence of his creation of a bronze cow for Minas’ wife, who needed it to consummate her unhealthy relationship with a bull that resulted in the birth of the minotaur. The labyrinth confined the minotaur who (perhaps understandably) was not thrilled to be half man and half bull. 

Satan falls from heaven in the mythical rebellion of the angels against G-d.

The flight of the shaman to visit the ancestral spirits may also apply to this figure. The great German artist Joseph Beuys is said to have fallen from the sky in his Junkers during World War Two, explaining his artistic and shamanic career with the legendary narrative he constructed to describe his experience.

The falling figure in this piece could represent any of these characters in our collective unconscious. Who is the falling figure to you?

I think that a successful painting makes it possible for individual viewers to interpret the piece to suit their own experiences. I enjoy creating narratives that allow a variety of interpretations, I don’t want to define the images too closely: there is no right answer. That’s the beauty of allegory: it’s infinitely re-definable.

What’s in the box?

The rose. 

The Scandinavian Festival was absolutely great this year – it seems to have grown larger and was well attended. If you’re anywhere near Thousand Oaks CA on Sunday, do yourself a favor and go to the CLU campus and enjoy yourself.




The labyrinth attracted a healthy crowd of curious people and a posse of kids running hell for leather around the path. What a gas! 



The Scandinavian Festival labyrinth is ready to be walked, come and visit!