Nicholas Baxter

Blog posts tagged “artist statement”

Blood Rituals: Redux

Photoshoots for last year’s Blood Rituals series of still life paintings yielded several interesting macros which did not fit the aesthetic of classical still life that evolved out of my initial brainstorming sessions. I extracted four compositions from these photos, and after perfecting them in the digital darkroom, recreated them as hyperrealist oil paintings. This miniseries pursues a different avenue of exploration of the same subject matter, presenting another aspect of my artistic vision and skill set as a painter.

These claustrophobic and intimate closeups border on the abstract, as the complex color patterns of wrinkled plastic bags and condensation covered glass lose their original context of setting and scenery. Within this unfamiliar space, the jarring appearance of blood is a beautiful, rich and vibrant color that makes these compositions pop, while providing symbolic depth. The narrative of what’s happening and why is largely absent from these images–intentionally–as they strive for a disorienting sense of wonder by honoring the genre of true photorealism. Uncanny likeness to the “real” provides an illusion that in turn may open up new ways of perceiving the ordinary, mundane objects of the world around us.

Our physical reality contains infinite detail, but to help us move efficiently through the world, our brains eliminate much of what our eyes are capable of perceiving. When given an up close, sustained glimpse of the material complexity we inhabit, the result is often overwhelming, surreal, and disorienting, as our simplified view explodes with new detail. This is the point at which assumptions and certainties are compelled to crumble, opening the intellectual space for new truths to be realized and deeper understanding to form.

 

BLOOD RITUALS: REDUX

(untitled), oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches, 2016

 

(untitled), oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches, 2016

 

(untitled), oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches, 2016

 

(untitled), oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches, 2017

Blood Rituals Review, Part 2

After completing the review of my recent gallery show that I mentioned in my last blog post, staff writer at tattoodo.com Ross Howerton sent me some more in depth questions to learn more about the origins of the series. This interview made it into another stellar review of the exhibit on tattoodo.com, which you can read at the following link:

“These insanely realistic still lifes at Sacred Tattoo tap into mankind’s deepest veins.”

Source: Nick Baxter Draws Inspiration from His Own Blood | Tattoodo

 

banquet-of-suffering

Banquet Of Suffering, oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches, 2016

For even more in-depth commentary that didn’t make it into the article, here is the complete interview:

RH: How does working in different mediums, like tattooing and painting, affect you artistically?

NB: Each medium feeds off of and informs the other, in a cycle of experimentation and learning that results in a more well-rounded skillset.

RH: What is your favorite medium to work in?

NB: For pure, unfiltered expression with deep symbolism I prefer painting, but for more illustrative or graphic work, and especially for the collaborative creative process between client and artist, tattoos are a perfect outlet for other aspects of my creativity.

RH: As far as painting goes, you seem to have a preference for working in realism; why is that?

NB: I love form—the way light illuminates the world we perceive—and I love seeing the illusion of a reality that’s so convincing it can transport your mind into the world of the painting.

There’s a subtler aspect of realism that I also enjoy, which occurs with the most convincing pictorial illusions: that brief moment of disorienting wonder, a tiny temporary crack in the veneer of mundane certainty when the viewer who thought they were looking at a photograph realizes that’s not at all what it is. I’ve heard that moment described as the point where “emotional certainties waver, and taste loses its bearings.” I like trying to access that vulnerable place with what I do, I think an artwork can be impactful there.

RH: How and why did you first become inspired to use your own blood as a reference point for your oil paintings in Blood Rituals MMXVI?

NB: For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the human body, the medical sciences, and all that’s hidden within us that makes us what we are. Blood in particular is such a powerful and universal symbol of life, and ironically, of death as well. I wrote in my artist statement for the exhibit at Sacred Gallery in New York City that blood “is the liquid life force that feeds our physical vessel, the container of our soul. Its hidden presence sustains us; the breach beyond its borders horrifies us. It plays an ever-present and meaningful role in the human lexicon, as a symbol of love and sacrifice, of familial bond and battle alike, its deep scarlet hue representative of passion and our most powerful, primal urges.”

I’ve had my share of exposure to it through routine bloodletting procedures I must undergo for a condition of iron overloading in my blood called Hemochromatosis. Over the years I’ve compiled quite a nice collection of reference material from these sessions, which of course set the creative gears in motion over what to make with it, and eventually the idea of the Blood Rituals series was sparked. Luckily I had the help of my dear phlebotomist friend through this process, and her arm appears in the exhibit’s large centerpiece painting as the only bit of a human figure depicted in the entire series.

But one of my primary goals, or hopes, with this series is to use blood imagery and symbolism in a way that doesn’t evoke the shock value of gore or the campiness of the horror genre, and I’m not trying to comment on a specific medical condition or treatment. So I wanted to surround it with unlikely juxtapositions and temper its visual power with an understated classical sensibility.

My use of blood-related subject matter has several layers of symbolism, from personal struggle and loss to the brutality inherent in all human civilizations, ancient and modern. I hope these images cut through any immediate reactions of fright or repulsion to access the vulnerable state of emotional freshness or tenderness that lies at the core of all our psyches. The fact that it intersects with my personal life makes blood more powerful for me as subject matter, and I hope some of that translates to the viewer.

RH: What was it like doing such an intensive artistic study on your own blood?

NB: I had a lot of fun with it. Blood is just fun to paint, because it’s a living liquid that does so many things. Of course it’s visceral and shiny and incredibly vibrant in color, but it also separates, clots, coagulates, dries and cracks, forms bubbles, changes color. It presents so many great artistic possibilities, to say nothing of its powerful symbolic potential.

RH: Why did you choose to paint only still lifes for Blood Rituals MMXVI?

NB: Still life is my original genre, the one I learned foremost in art school and have the most comfort and familiarity with. I love the other classical genres too though, so I included a small nod to landscapes and figurative work in the series’ large centerpiece mentioned above, called Pull Me Through Time.

RH: Do you consider the paintings in Blood Rituals MMXVI as still lifes or self-portraits?

NB: Primarily they’re still lifes, as most of the symbolism is impersonal enough to have universal meaning, and many of the arrangements are mysterious enough to invite multiple narratives or interpretations.

However, they are all quite intimate to me, carrying personal narratives inspired by certain events and struggles in my life, featuring various objects I’ve collected over the years. And needless to say, the blood I used for reference is me, in a very literal and existential way.

One of the paintings is actually intended to be a much more direct reference to the self-portrait, and it’s titled as such. The viewer is invited to interpret the objects as parts of me and the arrangement as representative of my existence.

RH: How would you recommend that viewers try to interpret the profound oil paintings in Blood Rituals MMXVI?

NB: I love when people viewing my work engage with it deeply enough, and are informed enough generally about visual art, to formulate their own ideas about it. Hearing these is always fascinating to me; they’re like a mirror, reflecting back to me the effects of my visual communication, the aspects of it or elements within it that spoke something to someone. As an artist and a maker of visual communication, I can always learn valuable insights from these.

On the other hand, I created this series with a very specific artistic vision and a premeditated intention, and with that comes the desire for people to engage with the images from a certain mindset. There are layers of symbolism and art-historical references that some viewers probably wouldn’t know how to decode without some prompting, so I included the artist statement quoted above with the exhibition, for those curious to know where I’m coming from.

Aside from the statement, when a viewer sees the gallery show, I’d feel like the works achieved their aim if that viewer felt a quiet somber darkness, and the existential sadness of loss, which is something all the paintings depict in one form or another. The blood is lost from the body, the weathered shelves and rusted metal have lost their former shine, the skulls and various bones, the wilted flowers, the tattered books—all have lost. But all still remain.

I imagine viewers perhaps also piecing together a loose semblance of a story being told by the remnants of some mysterious recent event—the artifacts left behind in the form of a still life arrangement. But I don’t need them necessarily to feel what I feel, or anything in particular, I just hope that they feel something.

RH: Just to give us a sense of the symbolism behind your still lifes, what meaning do you intend a piece like “Banquet of Suffering” to convey?

NB: Speaking of stories, I wrote a short parable about that particular piece, as an accompaniment to a future publishing of the series in book form:

“In a world much like ours, there was a race of conquerors who spread death far and wide to finance their empire. They drained all the land of its lifeblood to hoard it for themselves and hunted those who dared oppose, a once vibrant population now reduced to a grizzled band of vagabonds and scavengers.

One autumn eve, as frost turned the last of the green to black and night descended, this race of false heirophants and infant gods and gluttons gathered for a feast to celebrate their conquest. Drunk with power, intoxicated by greed, they gorged themselves deep into the night. Grown soft in their decadence, gloating in their spoils, they grew accustomed to the dark–indeed, foolishly thought their revelry would never end.

But eventually the morning did come, as it always does.

In the cool dawn, scavengers found the remnants of depraved merriment: a candle still burning, blood still fresh in silver bowls, chunks of bread and flesh as if frozen in mid-bite. They ate from the scraps and sipped cautiously, weary and watching for their vanished oppressors. As the rising sun revealed the murky depths of the banquet hall, they saw the bloated corpses, and realized with sudden relief that they were safe: the conquerors had gorged themselves to death.”

RH: Do you have a favorite painting from Blood Rituals MMXVI and why?

NB: I don’t have a favorite. I think some are more successful on an artistic level than others, in terms of vision and execution, but this is just a technical self-critique.

Each piece carries its own particular meaning for me, and the process of developing each into its final form contains a series of memories, problem solving, and minor struggles, so they are all important and meaningful to me in unique ways.

RH: What draws you to painting landscapes?

NB: I’ve always been a nature lover, plain and simple, with an explorer’s urge instilled in me by my father, to adventure in the lesser-traveled and wild places of this planet. I’ve been determined lately to combine this with my artistic passion, so painting landscapes is a natural fusion of two important parts of myself. I especially enjoy the raw directness of plein air painting, which is an old term meaning on location, out in the elements. It’s a great counterpart to my controlled finesse process of studio painting.

RH: As a painter and tattooist, who and what are some of your greatest influences?

NB: Classical realism painters from antiquity and modern times, photorealism and its various offshoots beginning in the 60’s and 70’s, and too many other genres, periods, muses, artists, and amazing tattooers to name. I’m lucky to call some of them friends and colleagues.

RH: Do you have any other art projects currently in progress and, if so, what?

NB: For now, I’m just continuing to paint a few more related still life ideas that couldn’t make the gallery show deadline, as well as attempting some more complex and larger scale landscapes.

Additionally, I ended up culling a few pieces from the Blood Rituals series in order to keep the desired aesthetic and narrative intact, as a few of them veered into pure photorealism and lost touch with classical still life. In the future those outcasts will form their own offshoot series, since I love photorealism just as much as I love classical realism, and they turned out just as good as the ones that made it into the series.

Soul

The inspiration for this painting came largely from oysters and their far more notorious contents: pearls.

oyster1

The pearl has been a symbol of magic and purity throughout antiquity and across many varied cultures, from Western religions like Christianity to Eastern spiritual traditions such as Buddhism.

soul-thumbnail-lowres

Soul thumbnail sketch, ink on paper.

In this painting a pearlescent lump of vibrant, growing flesh represents the human “soul,” or the mysterious essence of life that animates the decaying physical body, and for which modern science still has no complete understanding or explanation. Quite ironically, the only representation of this lifeforce that we mortals seem able to discern with any reliability is its supposed opposite: the physical embodiment.

Here, its life-giving energy is co-opted by the encasement of confining machinery, which can be seen as representing the limited human form, and in a broader sense, the inescapable yet corroded impositions of society and culture.

soul2-lowres

Soul, 11 x 14 inches, oil on mounted linen panel, 2015

The contrast between the hard and soft elements of this picture illustrates the human struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in the precarious balancing of vulnerability and armament. The title Soul references the mystery of what it is that makes our atoms vibrate with life, and our consciousness self-aware.

Pariah

"Pariah", oil on panel, 2013, 12 x 24 inches

“Pariah”, oil on panel, 2013, 12 x 24 inches

My painting “Pariah” was an experiment in contrasts between the extremes of shocking subject matter and uplifting emotions, between surface appearance and underlying symbolism. It evolved out of an intriguing and unusual backstory, and I think anyone wishing to understand the painting on a deeper level than the initial shock value that its grotesque subject might offer could benefit from knowing the story. As an artist, I like to learn everything I can about a piece of art that interests me, in order to deepen my understanding of and appreciation for it. But if you like to interpret art completely from your own imagination, without the influence of explanations, this essay will definitely be a spoiler.

I completed this painting in late 2013 after forming its concept over the previous year of working on my Apostasy series. For that original group of 10 paintings my primary source material and visual reference was a batch of surgery photos “smuggled” to me by a nurse friend who happened to assist on a highly publicized procedure performed by a world-renowned pediatric surgeon in Los Angeles.

The surgery in question was the removal of a parasitic twin body–a set of legs and arms with a partial torso of their own but no head or brain–from a young Asian boy. This risky procedure also happened to be the subject of a documentary produced by The Learning Channel about rare cases of conjoined twins. As my friend explained to me afterwards, “there were cameras everywhere,” and so many unnecessary people in the operating room that it felt like a party, not a surgery. So, she figured, as long as I didn’t depict any precise likenesses while altering and cropping the source photos to fit my artistic needs, it should be okay for me to use them.

Little did I know, the day I first saw those photos sometime in 2011 would start a still unfolding artistic evolution, in which “Pariah” is but one chapter. I’d seen plenty of photos like those before, had often used visceral flesh and blood imagery in my work, being strangely attracted to the aesthetic of their glossy surfaces, warm colors and the soft organic patterns of flesh and body tissue. But never had I as close an encounter with the source of the imagery, nor had I seen photos of anything quite like the incredibly unique and rare procedure of separating two tiny conjoined bodies.

I stashed those photos for many months, looking at them occasionally while ruminating on the themes of life and loss, health and sickness, fragility and brutality that they suggested. It wasn’t until some health struggles of my own necessitated some frustrating forays into the modern medical system that the ideas crystalized and motivation appeared, and with a solo show at Last Rites Gallery in Manhattan approaching in the spring of 2012, I got to work.

Many of the surgery photos had an ambiguous quality that made them appear quite like mysterious snapshots of a strange and very serious, even frightening, ritual. I focused on these shots while culling down the imagery for my solo show, but never forgot one photo that was very unlike the others. Its stark brutality set it apart from those and made it too obvious for the intended ambiguity of the series, but its disorientingly grotesque beauty still haunted me, whispering a vague inspiration into my subconscious.

In this photograph, the disposed bodily artifacts from the surgery were arranged neatly like ornaments on a cloth-lined tray for scientific appreciation, in the precise locations they would have inhabited had they been the constituents of a fully formed little boy’s body. Oddly distorted in shape and size by the parasitism, the tiny limbs–two legs, two arms, a chunk of torso with bulbous intestines splayed out–looked tragically angelic, heavy with dead weight yet still full of lively color and capillary blush.

That loving commemoration of a dismemberment spoke to me more as time went on. It seemed a succinct representation of what a technological society does to its citizens, all of us in some way or another, starting at birth and continuing well into adulthood. One by one, or all at once, our wild traits, impulses, and inconvenient feelings are intercepted, punished, shunned, contextualized, repressed and denied, severed and forced into an individual and collective shadow psyche. Whether done with good intentions or bad, for better or worse, the disassembling is the same. This living dissection is the process of enculturation and assimilation: the purpose of civilization.

The inescapable cultural phenomenon filters down into individual lives, in turn influencing what we do to each other in personal relationships. Friends, family, lovers alike are each cut up into traits, moods, and moments. We categorize these desirable and undesirable, rewarding the former in order to encourage more of them, punishing the latter in order to banish them from our experience. We do unto others as it’s being done to us; part instinct and part conditioning. We end up severed, ashamed of some parts of ourselves while clinging to others. And so most of us grow up with fragmented psyches craving wholeness, wanting instinctively to be put back together again in the compassionate embrace of person and deity alike.

How fitting, then, to use that image for a painting honoring the pariahs in our world, and in ourselves. I wanted to create a visual wish that those who’ve been eclipsed could wear that crescent ring of light as a halo. That the broken could be seen as beautiful in their imperfection. That the cast out, the unloved and unwanted, could all have their day of acceptance.

"Pariah" (detail)

“Pariah” (detail)

I like to paint what many people would deem ugly and shocking things because I believe the grotesque needs to be fully accepted, and even seen as beautiful, in order for inward and outward progression to occur. I believe that each and every aspect of reality has its own intrinsic value while also being a necessary part of a complete whole.

Although not obvious to anyone seeing the work, in “Pariah” I enjoy the contradiction between its subject matter and the feeling I had while painting it. In other words, the unity of dark and light that resulted from painting a child’s severed body parts while meditating on compassion and love. Like the unification of all dichotomies, I believe the intersection of brutality and empathy is a fruitful place. I wanted this painting to be my document of that, and, once the backstory is understood, a map of sorts for getting there.

Perception of Being Recap

Last night was the opening reception at Mindzai Creative for my new painting series, and so today I’ve posted all 20 pieces to my gallery. Several of the originals sold at the opening (thanks to those collectors!) and are marked accordingly in the image gallery, as are the ones still available (email to inquire on those).

If you’d like to display all 20 paintings, I have an 18 x 24 poster featuring the entire series, limited to an edition of 100. These are printed on standard semi-gloss poster paper, and are priced at $20.00 each, plus $10 domestic shipping to cover a mailing tube and postage. Email me through the contact link in the upper right corner to order one.

pobposter1-lowres

I’ve also printed archival giclees of 4 of my favorite pieces on thick watercolor paper at actual size (9 x 12 inches), limited to editions of only 10 each (signed and numbered). These are priced at $80.00 apiece, plus $10 domestic shipping to cover a mailing tube and postage. Email me through the contact link in the upper right corner to order one.

POBprints

Giclee prints of images 5, 6, 7, and 19 from the series.

Thanks to everyone who’s bought posters and prints so far, and to all who came out to the opening last night, the support is truly appreciated!

 

For more insight into the series, here’s my artist statement about the work:

“Perception of Being”

New works by Nicholas Baxter

 

“The heart has a natural capacity to find the eachness of things, to experience an intimacy with each particular event. The ancient Greeks called this capacity ‘aithesis.’ Developing the capacity for aithesis allows the unique living essence that is present in all things to flow into the human through the organ of perception that is designed to receive it—the heart.”

–Stephen Harrod Buhner

 

The heart has been regarded throughout history and across many cultures as the emotional and feeling center of the human—an intelligent organ of perception. Modern science has corroborated this ancient understanding by measuring emotion-based changes in the electromagnetic fields generated by the heart, with researchers going so far as to conclude that the heart’s own nervous system is so complex and intricate that it qualifies as a second brain.

Phenomenologist author David Abram writes, “We are organs of this world, flesh of its flesh” to describe the inverse of our mainstream logic: that the world we are embedded in, indeed the entire universe, is experiencing itself through us, via our own feelings and perceptions. And so universal feelings like joy, anger, and sadness find individual expression through the unique interfaces of our own consciousnesses, completing the interdependence of the individual and the whole, the merging of finite and infinite, micro and macro, an illustration that each of us are miniature holographic reproductions of the cosmos we inhabit and are made from.

We are thus immersed in an infinitely complex yet subtle energetic field from conception until death. Under the dominant material-reductionist paradigm of modern civilization, however, this aspect of existence is often ignored and denigrated. Esoteric feeling states are what language and hard science still, after many generations, struggle to describe and convey; indeed, words often drown out the delicate perceptions of the heart, and measurements merely quantify.

Where words and numbers fail, images and symbols may begin to succeed in describing and conveying the rich ether of our interior experience, the directly felt human condition, an ephemeral shifting myriad of momentary perceptions and feelings. There comes a time in many lives when exploration and recognition of these are necessary to reconnect the individual with a sense of purpose, meaning, or simply an appreciation of their own humanity. In describing and documenting these feeling states—through whatever medium or means necessary—we move toward the truth of self-knowledge and the integration of wisdom. This state of increased awareness comprises the path towards embodiment of our fullest human potential.

This collection of paintings is not definitive nor complete, merely an attempt to portray a portion of the vast internal experience of being human, through the visual manipulation of a simple and universally recognized symbol. Each heart is situated within a field of pure white, which represents the clear, unfettered and undisturbed awareness that resides beyond the level of ego and emotion. Our consciousness and its tendencies, perceptions, feelings, and emotions are the splashes of color, pattern, and form that populate this great expanse of unconditioned possibility.

Artist Statement

This week I had to come up with an artist statement in 450 characters or less, for this year’s upcoming East Austin Studio Tour, an open studios event of dizzying proportions that takes over all of the East Side for 2 weekends every November.  It’s an underground artist’s and crafty person’s wet dream of local creative energy.

Here is my most concise artist statement ever (proud that I avoided my usual excessive written verbosity):

My paintings deceive with photorealist illusion to unmask deeper truths of existence. From the mystifying expanse of outer space, to the visceral claustrophobia of surgical incisions, the beautiful flirts with the grotesque. Through these unlikely juxtapositions, I urge the viewer to question familiar assumptions, piercing the surface of what we often take for granted.

 

Produced by Big Medium

The Apostasy

The following text is an artist statement I wrote early this year to accompany my latest series of paintings, which opens tonight at Last Rites Gallery in Chelsea, NYC.

"Anointing"

I thought it wise to warn you, gracious reader, that the essay is intentionally provocative.  Generalizing statements are made with the intentions of eliciting the emotions contained in the work, as well as inciting critical thought and dialogue about its themes. 

It needs to be said that I don’t perceive all modern science and medicine as a negative force—on the contrary, there are a great many caring and compassionate doctors, surgeons and other practitioners trying to help people every day. In fact, in a tremendous twist of irony, the very hands I was fortunate enough to be able to portray in these paintings are those of a world-renowned surgeon performing a life-saving procedure.

But, that being said, the purpose of my art has always been “to confront the moral, religious, and aesthetic foundations of Western Civilization” (to borrow the recent words of photographer J.P. Witkin).  It is a shot aimed at the constructs and constraints of modern life that so many of us take for granted, a plea for deeper understanding, and an attempted progression towards vast new dimensions of awareness.

"Hand Of God"

The Apostasy

By Nick Baxter

A·pos·ta·sy  [uhpos-tuh-see], noun, a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion or faith.

These images represent an inquiry into the medicalization of modern society.  In our time, the specialized knowledge of an elite group has been canonized and made gospel, resulting in the learned helplessness of an increasingly ill populace. Surgeons and scientists alike have become the new priests of a material-industrial age, in which living organisms seem to be regarded as no more than an assemblage of mechanical parts.

Cultural edicts handed down have portrayed our bodies as flawed, as if still soiled by original sin and in need of salvation. So we prostrate before possessors of a seemingly divine knowledge, an authority built on the upturned ruins of the common sense that modern man has forgotten.  With nature gutted and wild instinct thwarted, a remaining paper-thin veil of scientific belief is all that divides story and reality. It is mere faith that separates benevolence from malevolence.

Shrouded in mystery, alien hands descend from the darkness. Otherworldly appendages of the vicars of the corporal levy power upon trembling flesh.  Sworn to heal, while possessing the means to harm, they are like iron fists in latex gloves.

Science is the new religion, Big Pharma is the church, the doctors are priests, pills our Holy Communion, and sickness is our only hope of salvation when diseases are dollar signs that fortify the edifice.

So this is my apostasy, my leap for sovereignty from the dungeon of a castle made of glass and steel sterility. A journey back towards wholeness in The Garden that made me. A breach of faith in hopes that I may rejoin the wild world and be healed in its immeasurable and immutable wisdom.

 

"The Reformation"

“We domesticated humans have lost our way.  We have misplaced ourselves outside of the ecosphere.  Like astronauts on a strange and foreign world, we have sought to create sterile bubbles of lifelessness in which to dwell, forgetting our interconnected, symbiotic reliance with all species of our planet’s life.  This symbiosis is the umbilicus that feeds us the nutrients of joy, fulfillment, and thriving longevity that are the gift freely given to all of the children of our Mother Earth. …. Our collective expression of health is but an expression of our relationship to the ecosphere, as we can never truly exist independently from it.”

—Daniel Vitalis

 

“Whatever medical science may profess, there is a difference between Life and survival. There is more to being alive than just having a heartbeat and brain activity. Being alive, really alive, is something much subtler and more magnificent. Their instruments measure blood pressure and temperature, but overlook joy, passion, love, all the things that make life really matter. To make our lives matter again, to really get the most out of them, we will have to redefine life itself. We have to dispense with their merely clinical definitions, in favor of ones which have more to do with what we actually feel.”

—CrimethInc. Ex-Worker’s Collective

 

“The human body is not a closed or static object, but an open, unfinished entity utterly entwined with the soils, waters, and winds that move through it—a wild creature whose life is contingent upon the multiple other lives that surround it, and the shifting flows that surge through it.”

—David Abram

 

“The word ‘health’ comes from the word ‘whole.’ In this holistic view, we can experience illness as an opportunity to generate spaces for transformation, create supportive rhythms and move towards balance.  Symptoms of illness, then, are not enemies but friendly movements that guide us again towards wholeness.  Healing involves re-balancing that which takes place in the spaces between formation and annihilation.”

“Illness should not be viewed as a curse, but as a challenge to the human spirit, a stepping stone in the process of soul evolution, a crack in the door that, when opened, reveals inspiring vistas of the mysterious workings of the universe.  The doctor can give potions and guidance, but each patient must make his or her own pilgrimage.”

—Thomas S. Cowan, MD

"Baptised"