Art is one of the techniques I use for working with magic. A painting or sculpture can be used to help embody and express a magical concept or provide a “home” of sorts for an entity or spirit. But art can also be used to set up your environment for magical work, or it can become a shrine and altar to the spirits you’re working with. It’s these latter two aspects I want to explore, as well as share a few examples of my own art employed for this purpose.
At the same time I also want to explore something else that I feel underpins the two points above: Art is an active collaborator in your magical work. I mention this because I think that other than the act of creating art, art is typically considered to be passive. And what I mean by that is that you see art on a wall and appreciate it, but its just there, in the background, or is it?
I don’t think art has to be experienced that way and my approach to art over the years has involved incorporating my art into the environment in order to actively set up that environment (though until now I couldn’t have voiced in it in this way). When we recognize that art is actively shaping our environment and experience it opens us up to working even more intimately with art and allowing it to transform our relationship with our environment and spirits. Art provides us another way to embody magic because it acts upon our consciousness and experience and shapes how we immerse ourselves in our spiritual work.
In the picture below you can see some paintings and art that have been hung on the ceiling or close to the top of the wall. Each placement of art has been purposely to help shape this room into a magical environment that can be worked with. For example in this picture, a painting of the crossroads is placed on the ceiling to help with the process of creating the sphere of art, which is a magical working that among other things can be used to access the crossroads. A drawing of archangel Metatron is also placed on the ceiling to aid in the connection with the Cosmos and over by the door is a drawing of Suvuviel the archangel of the cord, who ties together the cosmos and underworld and four sacred elements to help create the sphere of art. There are other drawings of the archangels place in specific directions or locations all for the purpose of both mediating the archangels and creating the sphere of art.
Art can also act as an evocation portal, or a “home” for a spirit, as I’ve shared in the How Magic Works series. But I also think such paintings can be an altar as well that honors the spirit. In the painting below is the Goetic seal of Purson. I did a painting of this seal when I first started working with him as a way to honor him as well as make the invocation/evocation processes easier. It serves as a portal that can be used to access him, but it acts as an altar as well. Any attention given to it is part of the honoring of Purson and appreciation of his presence in my life.
I will sometimes share paintings on social media or set them up where they can be seen publicly so that the art can be appreciated but also charged by the attention of other people. This effectively serves to further empower the shrine and honor the spirit, while also imprinting the art as an active influence in the lives of people moved by it.
Another way art has shown up as an active principle in my life has been through allowing me to experientially express the spirit I’m working with. In the painting below I’ve expressed my connection with the phoenix as a principle of transformation and death/rebirth that shows up in my life. It embodies this principle in my life, and is something I can draw on to purposely direct it when I’m going through moments of transformation, but it also represents my near death experiences and how those experiences have shaped my appreciation of life. This painting allows me to connect with that principle of transformation and death/rebirth and employ it in my life where needed. At the same time, by having this principle expressed as art I’m also inviting it to show up in my life on a subtle level that may work itself up to my conscious awareness and prepare me for the need for death/rebirth in an area of my life.
I’ve also used art to convey experiences I’ve had that can’t be framed into words. the picture below is my experience with Serotonin. I’ve designed it to be an Alphabet of Desire glyph that allows me to connect to the experience of Serotonin working in my body. The painting allows me to access the altered state of consciousness necessary for working with Serotonin, because it serves as a trigger that prompts that state. The painting serves as an active point of reference that brings me to that experience and allows me to connect with Serotonin and at the same time helps me re-experience the visceral embodiment of Serotonin in my body.
I’ve also created paintings for the purposes of creating a portable version of a ritual. The painting below is of the sphere of art and while it hangs in my room and enhances the work I do with the sphere of art, I can also take it with me to another place and use it to recall the ritual space. In effect it serves as a memory mansion aid that allows me to call up the ritual space and time created by the sphere. And when I’m doing the sphere of art this painting isn’t just enhancing it, but also taking it in, so that the specific energies of the ritual can be called forth instantly as needed. The art acts as an active principle of mediation for the ritual, simultaneously taking the ritual in and calling it forth, because it imprints itself on the mind and body of the person who perceives.
And that is how I perceive art to be in general. Art is active. It works on our perceptions mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It embodies experiences and invites us into share those experiences and make them part of our lives.
You don’t have to be a talented artist to use art in your magical practice. What matters is that you pick up the brush and paint or take the sculpting clay and do something with it. Open yourself to the act of the creation and make something.
But afterwards open yourself to experience the art as an active principle that speaks to you and mediates the forces, rituals, and spirits you’ve worked with. Art is not passive. Art is active. When we understand that we can more readily appreciate how art can be used a defining principle of magic that changes our relationship to our spiritual practice as well as with ourselves and the world around us.