DivineWrapsody is a project very dear to my heart and spirit. It has been a few years in the making (actually a lifetime) and I am amazed at the grace and sustained inspiration that have supported me. This artistic pursuit uses all the skills I have mastered in my 50 years on the earth, and most importantly is a physical manifestation of my spiritual path. The shawls and wallhangings are meant to touch and inspire people to connect with the divine.

I studied Kabbalah and healing with Jason Shulman at A Society of Souls® for over ten years. Kabbalistic teachings speak deeply to me and I found myself reading and studying on my own, deepening my understanding by learning how to read Hebrew.

The idea for these shawls came out of my meditation practices, using Hebrew letters and divine names. I started to paint the Hebrew letters, intending to depict them in a way that would convey the unique feeling/energy of each letter. Despite being a trained artist all my attempts failed, as painting after painting became dark and muddy. I despaired of ever finishing even one painting. One night, I went to sleep and prayed for help. In the morning, after my meditation, I spontaneously opened a Kabbalistic text called the Sefer Yetzirah, translated by Aryeh Kaplan. The following passage was on the page I opened to: (p.91)

“At first the initiate depicts the letter in transparent air visualizing it clearly… he then begins to see the letter as if he were looking at it through water… the letter begins to blur and fade as if it were being viewed through increasingly deep water… the initiate must then engrave and carve chaos and void, mire and clay… at this stage the form breaks up and dissolves completely… finally all that is left is inky blackness, as if one were buried in totally opaque mud and clay. Later on, a fourth step returns the initiate to a state associated with fire and blinding light.”
It was an utter revelation for me to read this passage and understand my visual journey to the state of nothingness. The stages of chaos, void, mire and clay were expressed progressively as my paintings disappeared. I had to accept and be present with the descent into nothingness that the paintings were reflecting. It didn’t quite fit with my desire for a finished product! I experienced the fundamental primordial state from which all form emerges and to which all form returns. It is called “ayin” in Hebrew, and it is the Divine Will to create, before any “thing” actually exists.

All creative process stems from this void… and it is here that we drop our personal will and become agents through which the divine will flows.

In the fourth step we become one with blinding light or fire… this is the real state of the Hebrew letters with which God is said to have created the world.

Sometime over the next year I had an astrological reading, and I told the astrologer about my intent to paint the letters. He suggested I make garments with the letters on them, specifically shawls. I then came across a passage in another Kabbalistic text that said that the ancient Jewish sages used to inscribe names of God on their robes, so as to be wrapped in the splendor and vibration of the Name. The idea for these shawls was born! They are meant to transmit the light that is the essence of each and every letter, as they are wrapped around the body for meditation and prayer.

I had the good fortune to meet silk artist Juanita Yoder and see her beautiful silk wall hangings expressing various aspects of her spiritual connection. I knew that the medium of dyes on silk would be ideal for what I was trying to express with the letters. She graciously agreed to teach me some of her techniques. Once again I had to descend into the void, as none of my initial attempts at painting on silk looked like what I felt in my heart.

A year of intense practice and determination yielded the shawls and wall hangings on this website. What kept me going, despite some discouraging initial results, was my desire to share my experience of revelation through the energy of the letters. I feel that I have found a way to do my spiritual practice and share it with others simultaneously! I will be happy spending the rest of my life learning new silk painting techniques and finding different sacred sayings to share with people.

Artist's Statement