The Art of Becoming Medicine.8

Here are the next two paintings from Becoming Medicine: Pathways of Initiation into a Living Spirituality, by David R. Kopacz, MD & Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow). The first painting is by Joseph, Where God and Humans Meet. This was one of the first paintings that Joseph gifted me when we first started working together. These paintings are found in chapter 4, Becoming a Visionary. Here is what I wrote about the painting in the book:

ON VISIONS

“Joseph’s artwork comes from his visions. What he sees in his visions he puts in his artwork. I keep a number of Joseph’s paintings around my desk. One of these is “Where God and Humans meet.” This painting is in
the shape of a large vase, filled with tiny dots—like stars or molecules of gas. There is a central point, like a sun, which shines two rays downward to the top of two people’s heads and there is a little star where that divine
energy enters in through the crown (7th) chakra. Arching upwards from the central sun is a divine being, God or Vast Self. As always in Joseph’s paintings, this divine being is looking upwards and has a large black eye (which is a black hole, Joseph says, and this black hole is about the same size as the light giving central sun). The edge of the vase and the back of this divine being are the same line, the vase grows out of the divine
being which creates a container of and for existence. We are the vase that contains the space where God and humans meet, but from a visionary perspective, the material we are made of, the vase, is the material of Wah-Mah-Chi, Breath-Matter-Movement, in other words, God. Visions come from the divine and they reveal to us who we are. Visions are the soul drinking light, Joseph says,” (78).

Where God and Humans Meet, J. Rael 2015

The next painting is one of mine. When I was living in New Zealand I began reading Henry Corbin and was fascinated by his description of the ‘alam al-mithal, the place where “Spirits are corporealized and bodies are spiritualized,” (Corbin, Spiritual Body, Celestial Earth, 177). I would sit and meditate, looking out at the volcano, Rangitoto, and would try to find what this place of ‘alam al-mithal would be like. I painted 10 different paintings, but I’m not sure I could capture my vision.

‘Alam al-mithal, D. Kopacz (2016)

“Visions are at the center of this book, just as the heart is at the center of the medicine wheel and our hearts are the center of our being. A vision is a little bit like a poem, or maybe a dream. It can be of brief, passing interest, or it can be an orienting structure for the rest of your life,” (78).

The Art of Becoming Medicine.6

These next two pieces from Becoming Medicine: Pathways of Initiation into a Living Spirituality include one by me and one by Joseph.

My painting, Creation, is a large, 30×40″ painting. The bottom of the painting somehow is cut off in the book, but below is the full painting. It has some glow in the dark paint – a phase I went through that is nice when you turn off the lights because it is like having a painting hidden within a painting.

Creation, D. Kopacz

Joseph’s painting is Sun and Dancing Moonlight on the People of Mother Earth, painted in 2006. Joseph developed a Sun Moon Dance and it is still performed by people he taught it to all over the world.

Sun and Dancing Moonlight on the People of Mother Earth, J. Rael (2006)

An excerpt from this section of the book will appear in the Fall issue of Parabola. Here is a quote from Joseph in this section:

Joseph is continually teaching me about the circular nature of reality, saying that we are “circle people,” that “what comes around goes around,” and that “everything eventually becomes its opposite.” He also points out how the difference between a linear and circular perception is based on the perspective or paradigm through which you are perceiving. “Look at how we move in a circle, but then look at it from the side and it looks like we are moving forward and backward, back and forth. It depends on your perspective of seeing.”

The End of an Era: Freddino’s Closing

The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing
The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing

It is the end of the month and also the end of the fiscal year in New Zealand – and Freddino’s cafe and Yakitori is closing.

The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing

This has been my favourite cafe to write in and I am really sad about it closing. Freddino has created a great atmosphere, that in some odd ways reminds me of home, the kind of feel that someplace in Champaign-Urbana – there is something about the relaxed, open atmosphere and the Freddino’s artwork that he has about the place. On the surface, you wouldn’t notice it, it is a deeper sense of creativity and comfort.

The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing

There aren’t many cafes in New Zealand that are “laptop friendly,” but I never felt like I was a nuisance taking up a table at Freddino’s. I have really enjoyed writing at Freddino’s and it will leave a gap in the cafe writing culture in Auckland.

The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing

Freddino isn’t afraid to put himself out there, as you’ll see from his artwork and his iconic self-portrait that festoons the outside of the building.

The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing

The coffee is always great, they serve lattes in bowls, which I love. The vegetarian breakfast is superb! We didn’t make it out to Freddino’s for dinner much, I was mostly there on my Tuesday writing mornings, but the Yakitori was great.

The End of an Era: Freddino's Closing