Part One: The Blank Canvas
“The world, in our minds is the way we relate to it. If we design it to be exploited, we’ll exploit it. If we design it with no understanding of limits, we violate the limits. If we design with recognition of interconnectedness, we nurture relationships. Interconnectedness is the nature of reality.” — Vandana Shiva
Exactly a year ago today, I began a series of activities I can only describe as a magical ritual of Time Travel, Nature and Interconnectedness.
Another lockdown, another gift of time and…oh what to do with it?! I didn’t want to write or record any music. I wanted to do something different. The first thing I did was plant some seeds in a flower pot for the first time since I was a child. I remember helping my mother planting seeds in little pots as a child, but never since. Anyway, this time, the seeds were Mugwort.
I’d never tended to a plant, day and night before in the dead of winter. It was quite a risk starting to grow Mugwort at that time of year, but I was determined! Mugwort is known to trigger vivid and lucid dreams when you use it as tea. The Dreamfishing Society call Mugwort ‘Dream Tea’. So if they did grow, they could be useful!
Whilst these little seeds began to shoot in typical tiny terracotta pots, I began to listen to a singer I had not listened to since I was in my early teens. Michael Hedges is an American composer and guitarist who really changed my life when I was younger. I’d not listened to him for almost 30 years though, after being seduced by Rock, Rock and more Rock.
His music was and still is…a portal to another galaxy. I really recommend listening to his album ‘Aerial Boundaries’ if you’ve not heard Michael’s music before and you could always join Michael Hedges Fan Club if you’d like to find out more.
Planting seeds as I listened to Michael’s music, I was stirred with yet another longing within me that was born out of that second decade of my life: painting.
I used to paint a lot as a kid, and then as a teenager. In fact Art is the only ‘A’ level I managed before getting into Art School and…not going to that art school. (St Martins).
Sacred Geometry and Gold Leaf
But I remembered how painting was a very strong part of my day to day life and there were TWO ambitions I had that I’d never fulfilled. One of them was painting with actual Gold Leaf. And the other was to paint a picture built on Sacred Geometry.
All of this inspired me to get in touch with my Art teacher June Mehra, the absolute art hero of my teens who introduced me to Rauschenberg, Bridget Riley, Schiele and so many more. I had an idea brewing and even though I’d not asked her for guidance since I was 16, she picked up as if it were yesterday. It had been a long time since we spoke, and after catching up on how we were navigating life through the pandemic, she graciously and expertly gave me all sorts of tips for the painting I was planing. Time travel and interconnectedness.
I drew my first ‘Seed of Life’ to build the rest of the painting on.
The Seed of Life symbol, with its seven interconnected circles, symbolizes the interconnection of life on Earth and universal existence.
This would be the foundation for the first painting I would make in 28 years. And the first ‘shoot’ of Mugwort appeared on this day, as you can see in the photo up top. So yes. Over the course of several months, I would grow Mugwort, learn new guitar tunings, start to paint again, and (wouldn’t you know it), start writing and recording some new songs too.
I’ll be sharing stories about this process through the holidays. It’s been a wild and wonderful journey of interconnectedness. If you’d like to follow the story, please follow me on Medium here. I hope you enjoy peaking into the process!