This saturday at Bardschool we are sharing our work and looking at the theme of the Heart and the Imagination, as the theme for this term is Lev, the Heart in Hebrew. Last term was Teshuva – the return home, and next term is Kadosh, the Holy. Obviously all these themes are profoundly linked, but what does that have to do with our work and progress as artists of many genres?
Many are those who would have us accept that art is no more than an idea, unconnected to the artist, or an idea from the artist, but in neither case the fruithful manifestation of the heart of the artist themselves. Yet the heart in the Jewish tradition is the place of decision, the place from which flows good and evil and the fruit of our being.. so how could it be that we who are often as artists the main instrument upon which we are working, not firstly responsible for working on our hearts? If God dwells in our hearts surely the sacramentality of our art is truly related to the state of our heart.
On Saturday and throughout the term, I’d also like us to consider the link between the heart and our imagination. Do we have evidence of this flowing from our work?
We can see evidence of destructive forms of art emerging from the Dada movement which celebrated and encouraged the outpourings of the detritus of a disinhibited unconscious. Its aim was the overthrow of all forms, including governmental; all of which were seen as oppressive. So their view of the connection of between art, the heart and the imagination had specific political ramifications. Their link to Marxism can be clearly identified.
But what is form? What is beauty? What is this word “therapeutic”, that can be so abused?
The original word in Greek, Therapeia, meant 3 things
To tend a garden
To honour the gods
and to heal
Especially in the light of one of the comments made by a visitor to my poetry blog today, when reflecting on the poem The Fertile Field – http://sarahdenordwall.blogspot.com/2011/01/fertile-field.html#comments
The visitor said
‘Work in silence / In your garden’
Sacrificing time and self to try to free hearts under the Shadow.
If there were more gardens, might there be fewer Gollums? Mine is ‘an unweeded garden gone to seed. Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely’. And the door is locked, the key lying around somewhere, under heaps of obligations.
So here we are developping the Garden of the Bard school and so I’ve asked various of you to bring some flowers and weeding tools for the work:
I’ve asked Karol to reflect on her essay Why is Art Therapeutic? which she’s just completed for her course, and to balance this with some thoughts on Phenomenology.
I’ve asked Julia to reflect on some of her thoughts about Grace in the later Romances of Shakespeare.
I’m going to look a little at the experience of 17 years of poetic writing and the heart’s journey shared with people from many sections of society.
I know that Roseanne has something interesting for us two from her poetic experience.
Balanced against this was the comment of Tom’s poetry teacher who said Poetry shouldn’t be therapy. At which I sniffed loudly and asked for some excluded middles in the definition of therapy and poetry… What a potentially inhibiting thing to say to pupils that could be!! I bet Tom was glad I wasn’t in the class. He thought it was marvellous. But then he’s a 9 on the enneagram and I’m not!
All you fellow bards out there accross the sea in Las Canarias, France, Ireland or the USA, please feel part of this discussion and post to the list and also the Bard School blog or my blog!
This theme of the heart and the human person is so huge, it’s definitely worth at least a term of inspired sharing and comment, especially in the wake of the Beatification of John Paul II on 1st May; He who was so much the advocate of the Beauty and dignity of the human person and of the vocations of man and woman – so mysterious and profound.. all you fans of Hildebrand and Von Balthasaar, let’s hear from you too!!