TERRE ROC CIEL / EARTH STONE SKY

Galerie Luz, Montréal, Québec, 2005. Exhibition produced by the Herzig Foundation who requested a contemporary vision of Astrology.

In the small rectangular gallery space, a black and white photo on each wall of a woman in relationship to the land. Under each photo is a wood coffer with legs. Within each coffer are 3 tubular spaces that hold writings, astrological maps and stones. This work is a poetic investigation into the conjunction of personal and cosmological planes in relationship to place. Each photo is 61cm x 91cm and is printed on canvas.

“One of the … applications for astrology to emerge in the 20th Century has been the study of Astro-mapping. Sensitivity to location is a phenomenon that has been largely unexplored in scientific terms, yet we have all experienced places that give us particular resonations which we may assume to be 'psychic' in origin. Astro-mapping identifies the planetary positions at any given time ( including natal and mundane charts) onto the earth's grid so that we can understand our own reactions to places ...” Maya White

At the heart of Earth, Stone, Sky is a quest to understand on a cosmological plane the extraordinary experiences I’ve had in four places on this planet: Kerlinggarfjoll, Iceland; Palenque, Mexico; Preseli Hills, Wales; La Macaza, Québec.

Each photo in this series beholds a woman in relationship to a site that has a configuration of stone (either naturally or humanly placed). The woman’s posture and position in space suggest a particular engagement, a sense of immediacy, a certain sensitivity to her surroundings. What is she experiencing so intently? Why is she so drawn to these places of rock and stone?

“Stones are the armatures and the markers of vaster monuments made of the earth itself. They focus the relationships of its own magnetic patterns to the patterns made beneath it by subterranean waters, and above it by sun, moon and stars.” Lucy Lippard

Stone is a common denominator of planets. It is the prima materia, the substance of the Earth itself. On a personal level, stone is an element I’m drawn to both in my travels and in my immediate home environment of the Laurentian mountains of Québec. In many cultures stones have been perceived as “portals to other existences”, “doorways between dimensions”. They have been moved over great distances and placed in order to study the stars and to celebrate the rituals of solstices and equinoxes. They have been celebrated as the center of the world, as the omphalos, as the navel stone, as the connection between spiritual and physical planes.

“Astrolocality has roots in sacred geography which related places on the earth to corresponding areas of the heavens. Sacred geography always required a cosmic center to link the material and mystical spiritual worlds. This sacred center, also known as the omphalos, symbolized an earth location as the center of the cosmos with heaven rising above and the underworld below. This navel or sacred center served as an origination point for life.” Maya White

Astrolocality, wherein “one’s natal chart is superimposed on a map of the earth, reveals the individualized places of planetary archetypal energies”. From what I understand, each person creates a unique dynamic of exchange between the material and mystical worlds, between the earth and the cosmos, between their personal energy and the emanations of place. In this view, I asked astrologer Axel Harvey to draw up and interpret my astrological chart in relationship to each “earth location” represented in the photos. The exhibition reflects what was found.

“…we connect the planetary influences directly to the earth upon which we live. Planetary energies are brought down to earth, so to speak - they are no longer an influence 'out there', but 'down here', right where we stand or to where we travel…” Martin Davis

Note: I am deeply grateful to fellow artist and traveller Tedi Tafel who patiently photographed me as I responded to the underlying energies sensed in each place.