“Sweet Śūnyatā of the Jorōgumo: The First Noble Truth”
2x4’ ♥ acrylic on masonite board
As a child I was baptized in battery acid
and my heaviness was handed back to me as hollow bones.
I have been embedded within implied incorrectness
and living in this Petri dish since.
Insulated and sterile,
my self could be scorched and soiled, but easily wiped away clean and safe.
I taught myself that with control
there is freedom from the liabilities and lamentations of a lived life to be discovered.
An attempt to regiment experience with truths that are only facts
and a cacophony of contingencies as clenched muscles throughout my body.
I had mistaken absence for emptiness,
avoidance as the void,
and made the arresting anxiety of over-analysis my attempt at stillness and compassion.
I made this glass thick like armor because of pain I had made so grand,
and successfully separated myself from the whole of my existence.
I have decided my growth can no longer exist in a universe so small.
These regiments of defense mechanisms can no longer march against my role in my future.
My presence will present me with the ability to connect head and heart more fully,
cracking this encapsulation like a spider web and shattering.
This me understands the rivers,
and I will no longer be my hostage.
The noble truth of dukkha- (dukkha ariya sacca)- My understanding is my attachment to my perception of myself is dukkha (suffering). The separation caused by making my pain personal and unique is disconnecting. When I live in my observation of my existence I remove myself from participating in it. I cannot be fully involved or invested in my role because of my absence from it as an onlooker. I can never find conclusions, resolutions, or satisfaction because I couldn't clarify my goals with confidence. Devotion to the infinite is desire, but hunger for it is dukkha.
Śūnyatā- emptiness, voidness, openness, non existence. In this context I'm saying “Sweet Nothings of the Spider-ghost”
Jorōgumo- a type of yōkai (Japanese ghost or goblin), she is a spider that can take the form of a seductive woman to lure in and consume her prey. They can also be a goddess who protects people from drowning. In this composition, she plays both rolls, saving me from drowning by entrancing these hungry ghosts living in the halls and bringing them peace with one of her spider legs in the brain stem of each one. The light of the goddess’s examination and cessation by the goblin plays the role of my guide in this journey.
Dybbuk- A Jewish malicious spirit that is the dislocated soul of a dead person. Here I have them lining up to try and crowd the light. The lantern represents whatever the separating and endless wants of the ego think they need. These ghosts of myself occupy the want to control what can be. The want to change what was. The feeling of “with that, I'll be complete” or “I'm unhappy without that.” Here they are different manifestations of dukkha. These long dead facets of myself that I was allowing to pile up and impede my direction, are manifested here as lost and hungry encumbrances. In this piece, drawn by the lantern's glow, they bring themselves to the huntress to be euthanized and picked from by the hyenas.
Hyenas: Their warnings are wrapped in a throaty cackle and toothy grin. They eat %98 of their takedown, chewing and digesting from fiber to bone. The perfect apotheosis for my current drive to move forward and find satisfaction. To break down these bodies into the nutrients I need to thrive by not only facing them, but touching them and consuming them. These fully examined and processed illusions can siphon from my imagination no longer. As each one passes through me I regain and expand my capacity for creativity.