During one of my summer writing sabbaticals in Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, I came upon the work of Rob Travis at the Blue Moon Gallery as I was strolling around downtown Brevard. His photographs reflect such an intimacy with the environment I now find myself in. My extended stays in this charming mountain community for the past few years recently became a permanent move with my son, dog and all of my belongings. We are now rooted in a whole new place.
Even with all the current paradigm shifts…from the pandemic to the election to the noble battles for racial equality and medical freedom in our culture…I feel more myself than ever. Time spent in nature, feeling the earth beneath my feet, has assisted me in finding a powerful inner balance and equanimity despite all the outer circumstances beyond my control. Communications technology and the sensationalist news media of our world seem distant as nature nourishes me and respectfully gives me the space to feel what I feel and to think what I think.
Rooted is the result of that contemplation. I was inspired to curate a virtual exhibition that would express a way of being that is grounded and rooted in the natural environment, giving us the opportunity to explore how this internal state shifts our perception of the world around us. In our times, when so much of what the outer world offers us seems to thrive in discord and emotional turmoil, taking refuge in nature and aligning with inspired action, as opposed to reaction, is indeed evolutionary.
The Visionary Aesthetic
The works selected for the exhibition express what I will refer to as the Visionary Aesthetic. This concept refers to living an ordinary day-to-day life in a state of heightened awareness and emotional balance. The way that the photographs are grouped and interact with each other reflect shamanic philosophies and worldviews from cultures that are more immersed and integrated in natural environments. The focus on the exterior world that is so prevalent in a more consumerist society is turned inward. Through the Visionary Aesthetic, we begin to coexist in dimensions that are expansive. We feel more nourished and supported in our everyday world.
Entering the Visionary Aesthetic requires a purification process. In traditional indigenous cultures, we may experience this through sacred rituals such as sweat lodge, where the body and mind go through a process of shedding conditioned beliefs and values that limit us. Buddhist traditions offer the silent retreat and mindfulness meditations, all with the intention to observe the mind and transform our conditioned responses.
As our awareness grows through purification, so does our ability to live authentically. It becomes increasingly more natural to stay grounded in our own truth instead of following the crowd as a way to survive. Our perceptions shift from comparison and competition to greater joy and authentic purpose.
Contemplating and identifying with the processes of nature is a timeless way to purify the soul. As our civilization evolves, humans feel a need to “get back to nature,” not fully realizing that WE ARE NATURE. Our separation from nature simply reflects a profound separation within ourselves. By visually exploring the works in this exhibition, the Visionary Aesthetic will reveal new ways of seeing that may or may not dissolve that separation. The choice is truly our own.
Close to the Ground
In Close to the Ground, we see works that are about finding stability and being rooted in the natural environment. We can choose to disconnect from collective thought patterns that are no longer beneficial. We nurture our individual selves and care for our bodies and in this way, find inner strength and clarity. We fluidly move in and out of different perspectives. The mind easily shifts from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the minute details of a leaf to the majestic landscape of a forest. The amplified color represents heightened states of awareness. We no longer need to tone down or manipulate the senses in order to filter out the overstimulation and mental static we receive in urban environments. We can absorb the silence that soothes and nurtures our physicality. Spiral forms and repetitive patterns are known to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In Close to the Ground, we experience nature as a vibration or energy that stabilizes and revives the energy in our human minds and bodies.
In Altered Vision, we see works that portray unusual ways of seeing that open the door to the Visionary Aesthetic. An ephemeral quality is evoked by the appearance of mist or fog in the landscape. We may feel a movement, or a glimpse of a form. We have awareness that the way we individually see the world is unique and not the same for everyone. We allow ourselves to have that sensitivity. Magical or invisible beings seem to glide in and out of our awareness. We’re attracted to places in nature where this energy accumulates creating sacred containers or vortexes of transformation. We may see a tree take on a human form or an angel spring out of a waterfall. Anthropomorphism is a shamanic process where plants and animals can take on human characteristics and begin to communicate with us. In Altered Vision, non-sentient objects like a stone or a river become sentient and offer wisdom and teachings from the natural world that we may not have had access to before.
Allow nature to teach you stillness. Like a tree, be deeply rooted in BEing.
Activate…Recalibrate…Align with the Divinity that is YOU!
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Ana Estrada is a Quantum Light Practitioner with more than 25 years experience of working consciously with Beings of Light and Ascended Masters. Her graduate degrees in Transformative Art and Spirituality took her to the Amazon jungles and the temples of India where she studied shamanic cultures and visionary art making processes. She is certified as an Intuitive Energy Healer in various healing modalities and serves as a channel for the Divine Mother and her sacred Light Language. Ana offers Quantum Light Alignment Sessions privately and at sacred sites around the world.
Photography by Rob Travis, Brevard, North Carolina www.robtravis.com