Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yantra – Mandala - Pop-Up

In which I make a series of prints depicting the Sri Yantra to conduct cosmic energy, let Carl Jung make the connections, and do another pop-up show.

Sri Yantra 5, wood bock print, 12" x 12", Dieter Runge, 2013

I had to abandon the idea of the superordinate position of the ego. ... I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point -- namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the centre, to individuation.
... I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.
- C. G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Sri Yantra 6, wood bock print, 12" x 12", Dieter Runge, 2013
Art has been motivated by sprititual concerns or practice since the beginning. Today though it is not always present, but the practice of art is an opportunity to connect to your higher self, sometimes unconscioulsly or in case of these yantras as the deliberate decision to connect through creating a set of prints.
1/2 "  thick plywood blocks 12" x12"

I came upon the Sri Yantra during my own yoga teacher training in the fall of 2010. My teacher Myra Lewin had a wonderful version woven in wool hanging in her house on Kauai. Upon completion of the course we were all presented with a small copper yantra to hang around our necks. From then on I had planned to recreate it as a woodblock print. To carve in wood and to print is a physical way of dealing with the sacred, another way of practice. In this case I carved two plates, one carving away certain parts and leave the rest standing, the part that receives the ink. For the second block I reversed the process, just to find out what would happen.  During printing I let the colors emerge without thinking about it too much.  The majority of prints were printed on top of a colored square.

16 Sri Yantras, Dieter Runge, 2013, artist studio.

“A mandala is a plan, chart or geometric pattern which represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the universe from the human perspective. A Sri Yantra is a type of mandala with geometric patterns. Sri Yantra literally means loom, instrument or machine. In actual practice, a yantra is a symbolic representation of aspects of divinity, the creative forces of the universe. It is an interlocking matrix of geometric figures, circles, triangles and floral patterns that form fractal patterns of elegance and beauty. These visual patterns can have a powerful effect on the mind. Just as primordial sounds, or mantras, can be useful in balancing our mind and body through hearing, primordial shapes can generate increased coherence in our brains, creating a balancing and calming influence. In cultures around the world, beautiful visual patterns are used to quiet a restless mind.” Chopra Center
16 Sri Yantras at Yoga Hawaii, one framed.

Yantras are cosmic conductors of energy. The Sri Yantra or sacred instrument radiates outward from the central point formed by 9 interlocking triangles, the junction between the pyiscal univers and its unmanifest source, a powerful equipment for harmony, good health, prosperity, success, meditation, and yoga. Sri yantras contain a group of geometrical patterns. The mind and eyes focus at its centre in order to achieve higher levels of realization and consciousness. Place the Sri Yantra facing the North or the East in a sacred and clean altar.
My Friend Caty Monnier-Shannon a healer and artist creates yantra-like cushions using needle-point. She doesn’t use any drawings or concepts before she starts, but just chooses a color and starts pushing in the needle in and pulling it out, letting the colors and patterns emerge from her sub conscious. The meditative quality of the slow process calms her being, with the result reflecting her emotional state at the time of the beginning of the process as well as the changes she is going through as the image unfolds.

Caty Monnier-Shannon, Mandala 1. Photo by artist.

Caty Monnier-Shannon, Mandala 2. Photo by artist.

Caty Monnier-Shannon, Mandala 3 (in progress). Photo by artist.

After writing the above, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out Carl Jung’s, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, thinking this would be the book most likely to address yantras. Without thinking, my hands opened the book to this passage: “A mandala of this sort is known in ritual usage as a yantra, an instrument of contemplation.  They are meant to shut out the outside and hold the inside together (p. 356). The goal of contemplating the process depicted in the mandala is that the yogi shall become inwardly aware of the deity. Through contemplation, he recognizes himself as God again, and thus returns from the illusion of individual existence into the universal totality of the divine state (p.357).
C G Jung mandala

C G Jung mandala

C G Jung mandala

C G Jung mandala
According to Jung mandala means circle. I have been using mandala and yantra somewhat interchangeable in this context. Jung continues to describe the function of mandalas, “ Their basic motif is the premonition of a centre of personality, a kind of central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, by which everything is arranged, and which is itself a source of energy. The energy of the central point is manifested in the almost irresistible compulsion and urge to become what one is, just as every organism is driven to assume that form that is characteristic of its nature, no matter what the circumstances. This centre is not felt or thought of as the ego, but if one may so express it, as the self. Although the centre is represented by an innermost point, it is surrounded by a periphery containing everything that belongs to the self – the paired opposites that make up the total personality. This totality compromises consciousness first of all, then the personal unconscious, and finally an indefinitely large segment of the collective unconscious whose archetypes are common to all mankind (p.357).
Jung used mandalas in his work as well as in his personal explorations. He incorporated art in his healing work and some of his patients painted their own mandalas pulling them from their unconscious. Jung himself painted many mandalas as part of his years of deep emergence into his psyche, which resulted in the fully handwritten and illustrated Red Book, 17 years in the making. His family kept it in a safe until it was finally published in 2009.
4 Ganesh, wood block prints, Mike Nice, Dieter Runge, 2013, at Yoga Hawaii.

Ganesh, wood block prints, Mike Nice, Dieter Runge, 2013, at Yoga Hawaii

Last Friday Maya Siklai gave me the opportunity to show the yantras in her Yoga Hawaii studio for the Kaimuki’s third Friday Celebration, along with the large Ganesh prints and other yoga related pieces.  Kaimuki is the mellow, hipster and family neighborhood around Waialae Avenue, a real place to live, great to walk to your favorite stores, restaurant or yoga studio, without the party craziness of Chinatown, or the massive developer fueled hype of Kakaako. This third Friday did have street music and an appearance of Mrs Hawaii, everything a bit more quaint, but let's have no illusion, change is a coming.
Musician (forground), Jason & Jaimey (middle) and Yoga Hawaii (back).

Mrs. Hawaii at Coffee Talk.

Musician on Waialae Ave.

Girls with face-paint, Coffee Talk
Signs inside Coffee Talk

A video of the yantras, top and a fun little I-phone video two guests made (I am trying to find their names to give them credit). 
Caty Shannon homepage.
Sources: , wipikedia, Chopra Center,
A youtube video on a huge Sri Yantra in Oregon.
C G Jung, The Red Book, W.W. Norton & Company, London, New York, 2009
C G Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Bollingen Series XX, Princeton University Press, 1990
I got two CD's for my birthday and been checking them out:
Paul Izaak & Seeds of Love, Everlasting Light.  Paul Izaak lives in Kailua where he puts on the aweseome yogarden events, farms, is involved in non GMO activities and can be found at the Sunday Kailua farnmer's market. His music is an uplifting mix of reaggae, folk, funk and rocksteady. Favorite tracks so far Dragonfly Lullaby and Makawaao Roots.
Pual Zaak & Seeds of Love, CD cover

Lucie Lynch, Here We Are. Lucy is a fellow German expat singer/songwriter and actress. On her CD she sings and plays guitar, sometimes accompanied by percussion. She has a beautiful voice of considerable range and reminds me sometimes of 60's British Folk. Favorite track, The Greencard Song. I relate and it cracks me up. Love the cover shot.

Lucy Lynch, Here We Are, CD cover.

Both Lucy and Paul practice yoga and completed their yoga teacher training. Next week I will probably write about my NY adventures again. If something else exciting happens I will let you know of course. 
Aloha, dieter

Imagine, woodblock, Dieter Runge, 2012, at Yoga Hawaii.

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