Art as Prayer
I am not an artist, but I do like to use "Mandalas" in my prayer as a way of expression or to get in touch more deeply with my feelings. So when I first saw a retreat being offered in May 2003 on "Art as Prayer" I was very intrigued. Before signing up, I made inquiries asking if I needed to be an artist to take this course. Since I had used Mandalas and had previously combined art with prayer, I was advised to go ahead. I trusted this and signed up. Reflecting back since then, I am sure the Holy Spirit was leading me all the way.
A word about Mandalas (note picture at right): these are circular drawing representing the universe that serve as an instrument of meditation. They help us concentrate on the inner self to achieve meaningful experiences.
Our teacher, Elizabeth Rosson, is a long-time artist, art therapist, and both a spiritual and retreat director. Her focus is art as a language of the imagination in the spiritual journey.
Each day held a presentation on the art form and a demonstration on how to use the particular paints. We worked with different media such as puffy paint, Mandelas, oils, crop circles (unexplained designs imprinted over time in fields) and painting on black paper. We were strongly encouraged to work at our own pace, be silent and to listen. As we worked with each of these, we were called to let go into mystery, to get in touch with ourselves, and to look at the ordinary and see the extraordinary. We met in the evening to process the day.
Expressing my prayer and feelings on paper allowed me to let go - to be spontaneous and non-judgmental with my work. Despite different levels of talents, all participants were able to get in touch with the Divine Mystery, learn about themselves and pray in a very different medium. The experience taught me how profound and gentle Divine Mystery really is.