Chiron : The Wounded Healer
Healing from Trauma as a collective opportunity. So much in our shared history has been traumatic and difficult.
Trauma: disconnection from the land
Trauma: loss of culture and language
Trauma: loss of connection to ones soul
The roots of shared “trauma“ are subtle and varied – the most gnawing reality is that of how fear shuts down a capacity to shape one‘s reality, or the narrative of one‘s life – this leads to passivity and blindness. Collectively, we may be facing one of the most widespread instances of institutionally complicit trauma inducing dysfunction on a massive scale – to understand any seeming “problem“ from a limited of isolated perspective is to miss the bitter bigger picture through which one may arrive at key insights and truths.
Rather than being weighted towards the dystopian, however, I believe that is is possible for an emerging picture to be appreciated with a light touch – and an essential dose of humour. There is an urgency also to recognise and acknowledge the negative effects of the spiritual leadership vacuum which has been created by a seemingly dysfunctional religious hierarchy. This in itself has a historical context that needs to be addressed if one is to fully appreciate the present challenge and lack of foresight, vision and leadership.
Recent insights and the emerging science of epigenetics has revealed that the suffering of our ancestors is passed down generation by generation. In Ireland, there are marked levels of suicide, depression, addiction, alcoholism – not to mention the abuses of many shades and the darker shades of corruption and neglect.
Collectively engaging with these shadows and working on them in our own being we bring empowerment, perspective and new courage for each new day. Rather than being victims of a narrative over which we have no control – we can become co-creators of our reality.
A fundamental trauma is that which has led to the present world crisis of fear and materialism – a culture so afraid of death for lack of a spiritual perspective.
Conversations about the legacy of trauma in Irish society and a vision to facilitate healing.
Knowing the shadow
An honest look at sources of darkness, disfunction and dis-ease help us to navigate towards a possibility of creating the conditions in which healing and remedy may be found. It is in the realm of culture that we find a mirror for the reality of life.
Richard Wall – Political Artist
“Art is my survival kit – this is my Tao“
Now 84 years old, Richard might be classified as an outsider artist – “the public consider me public enemy number one“, he told me when we first met. When I first viewed his creations – paintings and drawings I was struck by their layers of symbolic meaning, arresting colour palette and vicious indictment of the evils and corruption among those who serve as pillars of society. Church and state, no one is immune from Richards vitriolic parodies and gruesome treatments. Richard embodies a disarming combination of old world charm and an arresting sense of humour – and, as he unpacks the layers of meaning in these paintings, there are many stories to unravel as well.
“I was born in the year of the rat“ he told me.
“They can be persistent buggers – hard to get rid of“
As Richard, youthful in his 84 years, walking with a limp due to a false leg ( the story of which is yet to be told..).
I consider his images a fitting introduction to the underbelly of evil that plagues our world. Not happy viewing, but then, we must start to accept and acknowledge the depth of the corruption before we are able to change it. No longer can we sweep these stories under the carpet or hide our head in the sand. It is the choices that we make every day that determine the future that we are creating – blindly consenting to what is reprehensible and simply wrong, or consciously making our voices heard to stand for what is right and true.
Educated by the Christian brothers in the north of Ireland, he tells us that he never had any art in his background. Yet once he found it, he knew it was for him.
The top left hand corner is a rat attached to what Richard calls “hieroglyphics“ ( but these are really the digits of his date of birth ) – he was born in the Chinese year of the Rat.
Below this we can see the poisonous plant that is symbolic of the yin and yang, male and female. A narrow thread connects this back to the book in Richard‘s hand – symbolic of a collection of children‘s stories. “I never grew up“ he laughs, “I never copped on and got a real job“. The shamrock a traditional symbol of Ireland entwines around the leg of a book of wells inspired bird who is smoking a joint; the fragrance of which is breathed in by our subject again suggesting how “everything is connected“.
Richard relates the story of the Opinel written on his pocket referring to a penknife given to him by Breton sailors in Finnesterre – a penknife that seems to have saved his life back in New Zealand as he shares in his story.
At 84, and yet so full of life and vigour, Richard certainly has a lot of stories to tell. Decoding his paintings in this way is quite a fascinating journey.