Wall Shrines


Mudras are hand gestures, bearing significant meaning in numerous cultures throughout human history, especially within spiritual and healing traditions. Hands are powerful conductors of our heart’s expression, and when engaged with conscious choice towards love and compassion, are conduits of deep healing. Each unique piece in this Series resonates to create connection, through the elements (earth, water, fire/sun, etc.) and/or through the larger cosmos (stars, sun). In my own yoga practice and teachings, I utilize powerful mudras, to bring balance within the elements, meridians, planetary forces, and individual self. Many people engage in mudras without even realizing it: like the speaker whose finger and thumb tips touch each other, engaging Hakini mudra, which helps the flow of expression. My desire is to make hand gestures a more conscious part of our lives, so we can embrace subtle healing, integrating energy, in a practical way, everyday.

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Consciousness Transforming

This series focuses on the variants of subtle energy that exist within the realms of all life – and highlights the connection between the natural world and human energies. Each wall shrine contains a central object, made from molded ceramic forms familiar from an everyday context: fruit, vegetable, hand, etc. The structure sometimes is a combination of forms that creates another recognizable form, lending a sense of interconnection between all of life. Each form arises from a multiple petal flower base, a symbolic association with the differing energies of the chakras, their corresponding elements and realms of influence. Each shrine is a symbolic honoring of the many energetic faces of the sacred.

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Couch Potatoes

Consisting of four stages, a ‘couch potato’ evolves from the earthly plane to the watery, emotional realm, through the fires of transformation, until she is liberated into the space of enlightenment. The fact that the ‘person’ is female is meant for women to recognize the immobilization that results from seeing themselves as victims. Humor lightens the message intended to inspire people to evolve from the mundane into the sacred. The deeper message is about all persons being called to liberate themselves from their own limiting belief patterns.

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Elemental Wisdom

The 4 elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air, are the alchemical ingredients of all knowledge, wisdom and right living. These elements are central to the cultural philosophies of ancient and indigenous peoples, our ancestors who model a sustainable life style. Engaging the symbolism of these elements, resonates the multiple layers and inter-penetration of all life energies: physical, psychological and spiritual. These works are a reminder to re-cognize these elements both within and external to our embodied self, enabling the re-connection to nature in its forms from material (the Earth) through the ever more subtle energetic resonances of water, to fire and the most elusive of all, Air.

Meditations on Being

This series of wall sculptures was originally an installation; one walked along a prescribed path, pausing at sequentially arranged niches, each with one of the wall shrines. The environment resonated with overlays of chanted sounds, creating a sacred, temple-like ambience, wherein one’s attention became enhanced to absorb deeper energetic messages of healing and wholeness at each of the 8 healing ‘stations’.

My involvement with yoga, universal sacred teachings, as well as personal challenging life experiences, all influenced the creation of this work. Many healing traditions involve engagement of the multiple levels of our being: physical, emotional/mental and spiritual. It is clear to me that the more we release subconscious influences and invite in conscious desires, the more assured our healing and successful journey towards liberation from all suffering.

Central to the Christian tradition is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This master’s seminal experiences are recapitulated through the Stations of the Cross. I honor this lineage in imitating the process of awakening and surrendering to all experience and the multiple levels of reality, through the creation of 8 shrines, each within a niche that aids the viewer into a deeper focus. Each shrine is shaped like a boat, or vesica, a body halo that reflects a human’s aura & subtle energetic presence. In many spiritual traditions, boats are a symbolic vehicle for transformation and travel from one world (state of consciousness) into another.

All 8 shrines have a similar internal structure, containing a ceramic replica of a bodily organ and fruit or vegetable, real herbs, a triangular shape, and other symbolic elements (rock, bone, feathers, etc). These aspects are a melding of ancient cosmologies: essences of the directions, elements (fire, water, earth, air) and the more subtle energies of space, light and spirit. The (idealized) organ within each shrine connects us to our physical body. The organs represented begin at the base of the body within the pelvic bowl, and move upwards to culminate at the brain. This vertical movement along the spine, engages Yogic philosophies that heal through the energy system, called chakras. Each of the bodily chakras is aligned with a particular nerve plexus, (which serves an organ system) and gland (endocrine system). The Eastern healing modalities recognize that mental-emotional disturbances lodge in our internal organs and that each organ is prone to holding specific imbalances: fear, for example, may lead to stomach problems.

Western allopathy healing has evolved from European (and melded with Eastern influences) in utilizing medicines derived from mineral, plant and animal worlds, that seek to balance the physiological and energetic levels of being. Representing this within each shrine, is the presence of healing herbs (like ginger & chamomile for the stomach), and/or other substances, like bone, that has influence in both a chemical (alkalizing mineral) and emotional (grounding) manner. The presence of a (ceramic) fruit or vegetable also holds cross-cultural symbolic significance and/or healing qualities for the associated organ system. For example, the ginger within the ‘stomach; shrine is a healing root, common to many traditions and used in a variety of ways to help heal and balance at the physical level. Ginger, also strengthens yang energy, thereby develops will power and confidence, essential emotional aspects of healing in this zone of imbalance.

The text on the plaque below each shrine is meant to unify mental activity with specific functions of that organ system: physically, psychologically and symbolically (aligning to spiritual sustenance). In a sense, these words are a reminder to resonate higher qualities, such as compassion, courage, etc., which charges our feelings and thoughts (thus beliefs), so these higher qualities will be naturally expressed in everyday situations.

Each of these shrines is a reminder of the healing journey of life, founded upon the wisdom at the heart of all spiritual-healing traditions that inhabit the planet. At the source, everything is energy, and the human potential for greatness is upheld when we recognize our integrated presence within the Earth and Cosmos.