Print Posted on 06/22/2017 in Going Within

Art Church with Allyson & Alex Grey

Art Church with Allyson & Alex Grey

* by Awaken 

I went to Art Church last Sunday thinking that I would learn more about Sacred Geometry, which was the subject of the day’s session. I did emerge with a greater appreciation for perfection of proportion; but I also got a lot more.

It started with a road trip into the Hudson River Valley, site of CoSM: Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. CoSM is the creation of visionary artists Allyson & Alex Grey. Although the sunny Victorian estate is filled with their colorful works, it really is a church. It’s registered both as a 501c3 (non-profit) and an interfaith church – but it’s not like any church you’ve ever seen before. This community connects with the Divine through the creative process.

Their approach has struck a chord, as the hall was full. About four dozen attendees came from all over, with license plates in the parking lot from as far away as Idaho. Some were regulars who’ve studied with the Greys for years. One group had come from Ecuador.

The afternoon began with a brief meditation and invocation including The Perennial Philosophy and The Artist’s Prayer. The Perennial Philosophy is a worldview that posits that Spirit exists; it is found within; and the highest evolution of the soul is found in compassion for others. The Artist’s Prayer, written by Alex himself, asks that Universal Creativity flow through us, and infuse our work with spirit to feed hungry souls.

Then we sketched. Going wherever Spirit took us. Some people drew intricate designs; others created fantastic creatures; some played with abstract shapes or wrote poetry. This was far more than a drawing exercise – this was devotion. 

It was also an inner journey to tame the ego. Some folks became frustrated when their hands couldn’t capture what their inner eye saw. Others stopped and started again. Allyson Grey admitted to criticizing herself for continuing to work on a sketch she had begun earlier, instead of embarking on an entirely fresh work.

“You do this to create a flow state where you don’t criticize yourself,” explained Alex. “That’s the rush of creating anything – when you can step outside your mind and just go for it.”

That is precisely the state that meditation, prayer, chanting and other such practices seek to induce – one where brain-chatter is quiet, and the mind can expand to embrace the Greatness outside of itself. That Greatness may be God, Allah, Jesus, Spirit, Higher Self, a Higher Power, or it may be called by another name.

Alex then artfully connected this experience with the basic shapes of Sacred Geometry. 

“Each of us has a sacred sanctuary or chamber within ourselves that’s perfect,” he said. “This seed of perfection from which everything grows is a dot. That sacred geometric form is our essence. Using a compass, we then create a circle, which is the basic geometric form. They say that God is a circle that is boundless.”

The circle also represents the sun and the planets, he noted, as well as the eyes, which are the windows to the soul.

With two intersecting circles, he created the Vesica Piscis, a sacred shape associated with the Divine Feminine which was used for centuries as a proportional guide for many cathedrals in Europe. Using a metal-edged ruler to add straight lines between each circle center and their intersection points, he created two opposing isosceles triangles, symbols of “as above, so below”. A few more lines produced the square, representing matter and the four elements of air, water, fire and earth.  

Yet more lines resulted in the pentagon, symbolizing humanity with its five projections of head, two arms and two legs. This is often depicted as Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Interestingly, the pentagon is also created using the Golden Ratio, an ideal proportion that arises repeatedly in diverse fields such as biology, music, architecture, mathematics, art and even psychology.

Expanding the pentagon to six sides resulted in the hexagon, which is the foundation of crystals and is seen in many other natural phenomena such as beehives.

Most art schools don’t look at geometry that way. They focus on technique as a path to creative individuation – a way to produce a better artistic “product” – without regard for the Divine inspiration behind the work. And without concern for the artist's own process - their experience - of creating it.

Of course, Sacred Geometry is just one lens through which to see Spirit in the artistic process. There are so many others. I suspect that the Greys work with many of them.

*** Alex Grey is one of the world's best known visionary artists. His bold images have been featured in venues as diverse as the album art of TOOL, SCI, the Beastie Boys and Nirvana; Time and Newsweek magazines; the Discovery Channel; rave flyers and material from Deepak Chopra. He was also named one of the world's leading spiritual teachers by The Watkins Review. To see some of his artwork, read interviews with him, and learn more, visit Alex Grey's website.

*** Allyson Grey is a painter, social sculptor, art educator, arts organizer and muse to artists worldwide. Since art school in 1975, she has collaborated and shared a studio with her husband, Alex. Together, they co-founded the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a spiritual retreat center for artists outside of New York City. To see some of her artwork and find out  more about her, visit Allyson Grey's website. To learn more about CoSM, Art Church & other events, and the temple the organization is currently constructing, visit the CoSM website.

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