'Earth Speaks' Series, 2019-Ongoing Connecting with Earth to Experience the Unspoken
The ‘Earth Speaks’ series is a fascinating and phenomenal series that I started back in 2017 with Tiziana Benvenuto, desiring to uncover and highlight some of the “secrets” of (Mother) Earth.
The intention was something that is not uncommon in many Indigenous cultures: to listen more subtly, attentively, and compassionately to your environment/surroundings. It may have the connotation of looking into the flames of a fire and seeing ancestor spirits (an Earth Speaks piece actually exemplified this; below), “listening to the wind” (i.e. in the Alchemist book by Paulo Coelho), etc.
I started with this particular intention and receptiveness to what would actually result/be the outcome, if anything.
We approached this by harvesting from home-grown gardens several types of produce and creating a concentrated solution that resembled a sort of ‘dye’ or colored stains. These then were “aged” for a few months before creating the first piece, and have since continued aging ever since… some have dyes that are aged one hundred and fifty days, while others have more than five hundred (more, now) days before creating with them. Each piece created subsequently has had a longer ‘aging’ to it, until the time when the dyes will run out.
I applied them in a ‘flow state’, without any particular ideas in mind (blank mind) but holding the intention very attentively as I – seemingly randomly – applied the dyes when and where felt good to do so…
What has resulted in each piece, although vastly different themes and ‘presentations’, has been exceptional throughout all of them.
Themes of “lost presence”, simplicity and even bordering on what we would consider ‘mythology’ (or too far back to “know for sure”).
Tiziana and I would look over the dried pieces (which turned out much differently than we could anticipate, even looking at them after application when still wet) and again took the ‘back seat’ or ‘passive’ role of allowing ideas and impressions to come to us as opposed to us creating something particular that we wanted to see, create, etc.
With this approach, the forms and shapes, ideas, and even stories that have appeared have been exceptional, and quite surreal. At times, I have even thought “If I was looking at this as an outside observer with no extra context, I would likely assume that these were done intentionally in this way from the start.” And yet, we actually did very little in our “active” input.
After discussion and ‘feeling out’ (listening) as much as possible to each creation, we would then highlight some points of interest with pen to bring out these themes/forms/ideas from their subtlety into a more recognizable presentation.
In some you can see the forms of angels, another one has the serenity of a young child seemingly viewing the flames of a fire which perhaps reveal her ancestors/family/guardians to her.
For the context of angels, the piece may align with certain origin stories or mythology from multiple cultures, where some angels had lost parts of themself on Earth, or in some cases (not understanding/accepting all parts of themself) denied and discarded pieces of themself into the Earth. That particular piece may serve as a reminder of this “forgotten” scenario/potential, as if the Earth (as a whole) revealed or reminded us.
In the case of another particular piece, I had an impression from the dye application process to hold the intention of ‘shame’ as I worked on it (in particular, denied shame). I had already been open to the idea that our denials (whether of shame, anger, fear, etc.) can present some peculiar (hidden) problems for ourselves, and yet contain particularly interesting opportunities to heal (et al.).
So when shapes and forms that quite realistically (although still subtle) represented things that we may, and do, feel shame about in our lives, it was again a surreal and profound discovery experience.
Many cultures, as I mentioned especially with ancient Indigenous cultural practices, had some method(s) for “accessing the beyond”. Sometimes this was looked at as ‘accessing the hidden information in our environments’, and in other ways this was viewed as ‘using the environment to reveal deeper/hidden parts of yourself’.
I think this series approaches both perspectives.
Although the more obvious perspective is to reflect and consider the messages as ‘external’ events, the pieces that resonate and captivate us most may be hinting to us at a deeper connection within ourselves to that piece’s theme.
A key point: the aspect of having a loving, caring intention to firstly seed/plant and tend to the garden for months is important. The love and attention from our environments influences our ‘growth’ and evolution – similar to the caring for an infant child, or taking care of people in a kingdom.
Tiziana and I have been grateful to work on these pieces, have them develop and reveal in such phenomenal ways, and to now share them with you to enjoy and contemplate further as well.