You, Alchemist, Springs to New Life

You, Alchemist

Punky Phil says it’s time for Spring.

Hallelujah and pass the tissues (she says, amid her waning cold sniffles)!

Let’s second that hallelujah and offer a third: Chinese New Year begins tomorrow, February 5th.

Here’s a fourth and final shout‐out: in the skies, it’s New Moon time. Clean slate time, akin to another January 1st here in the West. Astronomy reeks woo‐woo but there’s truth to be found in concepts that last a thousand‐plus years.

This particular New Moon comes amidst Imbolc season (as Ellen referenced last week). In Old Irish, Imbolc means “in the belly.” What sits in the belly but seeds awaiting birth? Be they human babies, words, dreams, or simply ideas, they’re all ready to spring to life. Pun intended, by the way.

Imbolc’s arrival says we’re halfway to Spring.

All these gifts: darkness to light, old to new, cold to warm, winter to spring. I accept them all. After 34 days of virus, shadows, and puny days, I’m opening the presents.

First is this painting, discovered on a road trip to Kay Kemp’s art studio in the Houston Heights. “You, Alchemist” speaks of the season, my life, and magic.

“You, Alchemist,” copyright, Kay Kemp.

A refresher first (one I, too, needed): alchemy was the first version of chemistry as long‐ago scientists used base metals in attempts to make gold. Others did the same, seeking immortality.

Sadly, we lost the real meaning of the word alchemy: to transform matter. This painting explains how it’s done, beginning with nine symbolic interpretations:

  • Powerful female figure—Goddess? Angel? Everywoman?
  • Circle of Life—embracing both hot and cold, passion and calm
  • Baby Leaf—gestating in protected circle of mother arms; centered in worlds visible, invisible
  • Hands—touching fingers protect while preparing, guiding new life into being
  • Skyward Leaves—supporting life‐forms, past, present, future; self, other, all
  • Seasons—traveling full circle, clockwise from upper left, in the life of a single year: spring, summer, fall, and winter
  • Colors—personalized (with no prior knowledge by the artist) with the six colors of my novel’s primary characters. And, yes, I color‐code my characters; doesn’t every writer? 
  • Roots—running deep, extending skyward, grounding image in strength, focus and purpose
  • Wings—powering the female as she lives, births; upholding new and old; angels or Self?

What more powerful connection can there be to reinforce our current Imbolc season? Seeds of new life growing within as the next season prepares for birth. Or is it something totally different.

C’est le vie. Gertrude Stein—born 145 years ago—offers cover: “If you knew it all, it would not be creation, but dictation.”

We live in a world and culture that demands we accept dictation. In other words, practice conformity.

Creativity scares many people. Why? It’s what we live, breathe, and consume every hour of every day. It’s what we see the world around us. In paintings. In blog posts.

Let’s bury all lives of dictation.

Let’s start over on this New Moon, tomorrow’s Chinese New Year, this birthing month of February. Let’s live as we are, supported, gestating, grounded, and take flight, creating what’s inside, ready to be born.

As a wise someone said once, let’s start living the lives awaiting our ‘yes!’

4 Replies to “You, Alchemist, Springs to New Life”

  1. Often, as artists (and maybe as writers) images, colors, and symbols come through us, not from us. Just as often I’m not able to verbalize the depth and breadth of a painting even though I feel its passion and importance. This was definitely the case when I painted “You, The Alchemist”. Melanie, you have so eloquently birthed the words deciphering the symbols, meaning and magic of the creative process. With love and my deepest gratitude for you and your gifts.

    1. Thank you, Diana! That strong energy you mention is precisely what called me when I spotted Kay Kemp’s painting. Almost like a voice summoning me to come and take a look. Even now, I see different elements when I return to this artwork.

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