I came into this piece with a clear vision of the concept after I had spent an evening in the Provo Temple with my husband. Along with the piece ‘Overcome,’ they were the first paintings that I really had a clear idea for before I began painting any of the series. The process for this one though has been rough because I really wasn’t sure how to represent the idea that I had and as I began I thought I had ruined it. I still don’t even know where I stand as far as completeness of the piece, it may need a few more elements added or obstructed. Time will be my guide, as for now I will let it alone until I get to a point of clarity.
In this series, all are done on a square panel. Each piece depicts many symbols that are significant across many cultures and religions. In each square I’ve superimposed a circle. For each painting the circle or Enso will mean varying things depending on color, placement and application.
I give you the symbolism so you know what platform I based the entire series on. This gives you the keys to unlocking your own meaning in each work.
– Bronze (Brown) is the color of stability, family unity support, and duty. Bronze/Brass was a metal used in the pillars of the Temple of Solomon.
– Gold, an indication of supreme godliness and a place of holiness. Gold was also used in the temple of Solomon in the Holy of Holies. The altar of incense was made of cedarwood overlaid with gold and the communication between the Holy Place and Holy of Holies was by a doorway with two doors of olivewood, overlaid with gold. (reference)
– White, a symbol of peace, sanctification, heaven, the veil, God and Christ, sacred ground.
– Green as the Fig leaf, a symbol of knowledge, nutrition, life, earth, balance and rejuvenation.
– The fig leaf is a symbol for knowledge of good and evil, sin and repentance, a dependance on God. The fig leaf is green while alive and nourished, black when detached and separated from it’s life-source. (Isaiah 34:4) Good and bad as in Jeremiah 24:4.
– The circle is sacred and divine, often a symbol for the woman, earth, eternity, or the womb. A union between heaven and earth.
– The square is often symbolic of Christ or of the man, a symbol for stability, unity, balance, the four elements, four cardinal directions, four phases of humanity. In Islam the square is a symbol for the heart.
– Seven is a symbol of perfection, the days of Creation, the eternities.
Looking at the details:
The circle appears in variations of green with a fig leaf. The form of the circle is an eco of the earth and is surrounded by cloudy white, bronze and gold forms. The fig leaf, bright and nourished is attached closely to the bronze and white that borders the enso. The white gives the impression that is is dissipating or unveiling the green layers from underneath.
When I began to collect stories for this series of blog posts my mind turned immediately to Liz Stika a friend and apprentice who assisted at my son’s birth. Liz since the time of my son’s birth has received her Midwifery certification and is now practicing under the name, Two Leaves Midwifery. She has a strong love and passion for what she does and is a gentle caring soul. These are her words:
“Originally as I was trying to come up with a name for my practice the name Two Leaves Midwifery came to me because I liked the way it sounded. As I sat with it and thought about it as a name for my practice, the metaphors started to become clear. When a seed first sprouts, it appears with two leaves and I love that representation of new life.
Two Leaves also represents relationships- mine with my clients, mothers to their babies, and families to each other. It means that even though we are all different, with our various backgrounds and different needs, at our core we all want to be heard and treated with respect. We are two leaves on the same tree. It is a promise that we are in this together and as a midwife I will work with you as your partner.
“I recently came across a talk by Mohawk midwife Katsi Cook wherein she describes the connection between mothers and the earth. “Woman is the first environment. In pregnancy our bodies sustain life. At the breast of women, the generations are nourished. From the bodies of women flows the relationship of those generations both to society and the natural world. In this way the earth is our mother, the old people said in this way we as women are earth.” This idea of woman as earth- woman as life- resonated with me and has stayed with me as I further define myself as a midwife and mother. I believe both roles call upon me to surrender ego and connect to what is natural, instinctive and intuitive- to a deeper knowing that becomes more clear to me in natural places.
“I feel so very lucky to live in a state where I am surrounded by natural beauty. When I drive to a birth I have a practice to imagine the roots of the mountains reaching far below me in the earth to hold and cradle me-mothering me. It helps to ground me and set my mind in the present- to let go of outside life and step into the sacred birth space.”