Gifts

After the urgent experience of drawing the fire mandalas, I drew two mandalas of quatrefoils wreathed with laurel leaves. They were modest postludes to the dynamic images which preceded them. But they seemed to communicate that the quatrefoil had proven suitable for the fires of transformation and for giving shape to the aurum non vulgi. The gods, it seemed, were satisfied.

Another association with this circle of leaves for me is the benedicta viriditas. I felt a sense of calm in these pictures, even in the second with its fiery interior.

On July 19, 1989, I dreamt that a woman asked me, “What is the goal of your life?” And I answered, “To be at peace with myself.” This brief exchange came at a critical juncture, when my journey through college, graduate school, and six years of church employment had come to an end. The immediate question, “What now?” was acute—my first concern was finding employment. But the deeper meaning of the question about the goal of my life related to a painful loss of identity and disorientation. My first response had been to build a circle of stones in the woods. But the true beginning of an answer came by way of a flower in those woods six years later. Drawing mandalas which incorporated circular dream images helped me recenter and reorient myself. However, when I drew a mandala with a void at the center, the old gods sent a test.

On August 9, 1997, I dreamt I sprouted butterfly wings while hearing a voice say something like, “No one’s ever done that before.” I came to associate this picture with those wings.

And on August 11, I heard in a dream, “At the core there is peace.”