Flower Mandalas


Illustration from William Blake’s The Book of Job, “When the morning stars sang together…”

This is a call, to you from me, for art (in the broadest sense of the term — visual, literary, popular, 3-D, multimedia, musical, performing, etc.) that has strongly affected you in a healing, transformative, or spiritual way.

By way of example, I offer the image above, from the British Romantic poet William Blake’s The Book of Job. This book, as well as Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Songs of Innocence and Experience, and some of his longer works, powerfully affected me when I was 18. Blake’s influence was, I think, the very beginning of a spiritual and artistic journey I’ve been on ever since that time.

This particular image depicts Blake’s vison of the fourfold human nature: Job and his family enclosed by clouds (the body), the Moon goddess Diana (the heart), the Sun god Apollo (the intellect), and above the clouds a choir of angels (the Divine Imagination). Body, heart, intellect, imagination.

At 18, I was a young engineering student at Cornell University. It was the autumn of 1969, an autumn of rock and roll, flower children, and, as well, of major protests against the Vietnam War. It was, for me, the beginning of my own fourfold exploration of what it truly means to be alive, and Blake played a big part in that exploration, pointing out for the first time that there was more to life, and to me, than science and reason. Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell became a handbook of how to live differently, and his Book of Job a allegorical map for the arc of the life I believed I was to live, one in which my faith in my path would continuously be challenged, my losses would be great, and my eventual spiritual and artistic gains even greater.

Send me images, links, and personal descriptions of works of art that have affected you. You can add them directly to the discussion thread noted below or you can e-mail them to me and I’ll add them to the thread. Eventually, I’ll either post them on the Flower Mandalas blog or link to a web page I’ll create of art works that have affected this community, along with your descriptions of how these works of art have affected each of you.

Thanks! I’m looking forward to seeing what’s out there, and inside you.

More anon,

– David

David J. Bookbinder, LMHC


Call for Healing/Transformative/Spiritual Art discussion thread

Art, Healing, and Transformation group

Flower Mandalas Project group

© 2008, David J. Bookbinder

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