A Spontaneous Observation of Descendence: Aeons’ Story
This is the story of Aeon, or at least the story of how I first encountered Aeon. Before Aeon (see figure 1) there were others. Painted ladies that had a story to tell, most of which are rather dark in nature and all of which were my own self reflections. Before my encounter with Aeon I had a rather dark pallet to dip my brush in. Very little light touched any canvas unfortunate enough to have a conversation with me. I would later discover each of my paintings before Aeon fell into the category of sub-personality. I was not familiar with Psychosynthesis…yet. Aeon manifested in my world to lead light my path towards Assagioli and the door that would begin the new chapter of my life.
I recently stumbled across the work of Thomas Yeomans, specifically his writing on Descendence and The Third Awakening ignited a call of self that would move my ‘you are not a writer, you are a painter’ sub-personality out of the way long enough for me to type the words you are reading now. In Descent of the Higher Self I found permission to express what I believe Yeomans would categorized as a small “p” psychosynthesis case study of what I would consider my first observation in Descendence.
We need to be able to transcend in order to get perspective and to build a stronger and deeper connection to who we, in essence, are, but then we need to descend in order to make ourselves fully realized and known in the world. We need to contact the Higher Self through transcendence and we need to ground and express the Higher Self through descendence. In short, full spiritual maturity is not real until the Higher Self has come fully down to earth, so to speak, and its energies are manifest and functional in daily personal living. Who we most deeply are has to be grounded in our particular personhood, including our bodies, and in our behavior, and in the everyday world. (Thomas Yeomans Decent of the Higher Self)
In the following section I will describe the events that led me to witness one woman’s encounter with what she experienced to be her Higher Self, followed by how I observed the process of descending that energy down to earth and proceeded to translate that same energy in a way that would make it possible for it to manifest daily. I have named this process Proxy Painting.
How it all began
Before I can get to Aeon, I must start with Paige. I met Paige in April 2014. I was in my room after a long day of training and the bags on the bed next to mine in the hotel room in Dallas had yet to reveal its owner. As I was getting myself ready for bed there was a loud bang on the door. Apparently, when you have a roommate you cannot bolt the door or they will be unable to get in. Poor Paige had been trying to get in while I was singing in the shower. Little did I know the woman entering that door would change my life as I had known it.
About a month later, Paige asked me to assist her with a project. The project needed to be her work but she “couldn’t draw a stick figure if her life depended on it” and asked if I could help her get creative. I sat on the floor next to her and silently asked myself, “Is it possible that I could paint someone else’s creation?”
The answer hit me like lightning and I turned to Paige and asked her if she trusted me. This led to a lunch wherein I interviewed Paige, collecting any and all information that she felt was relevant to her story; family of origin conditioning, childhood memories that she holds dear, current issues and struggles. Most importantly, I asked her a life question: What do you want?
I had no idea where I was going with this. But, in hindsight it was pure call of self, and I was being dragged along for the ride.
A few days later as I was getting into my car after dropping off my daughter at daycare the lightning struck once more: Ask her who her favorite princess is.
I fought off the crazy, but I didn’t stand a chance. Before I left the parking lot, I stopped and sent the text, urging Paige to take all the time she needed. She responded right away, almost as if she were waiting for someone to ask that very question. Belle…from Beauty and the Beast.
Guess what movie I watched that evening after work? As I watched, the timeless story of the brainy beauty who tames the beast it hit me. The lightning storm. I grabbed the nearest of my 30 something notebooks I had lying around and began to draft a journey.
Using all of the data I had collected, this journey pretty much wrote itself. It consisted of 3 main levels, each level having a challenge at its threshold. These challenges were completely custom to Paige based on the information she had shared with me. Looking back at that notebook now it is a perfect hot mess! Scribbles and scratches as my hand desperately tried to keep up with my mind and arrows pointing here and there as I added new ideas.
The next day I nervously pulled up at the gardens to meet with Paige. We sat in the middle of a large open grassy area (see figure 2).
I set up my tripod for my camera, pulled out my messy notebook, took a deep breath and leaped into the unknown.
We began with some breathing exercises. Basic. I then guided Paige to a special place that she loves using guided visualization. This place was by the ocean. On the beach, there was an observation of the inner child, playing in the sand. Drawing, to be specific. The child led Paige to a door: the first threshold.
I encouraged Paige to create a door.
Paige: Its square, rectangle.
Amber: Does it have a particular color?
Paige: Yeah it’s blue.
Amber: Blue door. Is there anything unique about this door?
Paige: There’s no door knob it’s just a hole. There’s a hole where the doorknob would have been. To open it I’ve got to stick my hand through that door.
Amber: What kind of blue? What is the shade?
Paige: Its sky blue…it blends in with the horizon and the beach. Maybe I wouldn’t have seen it before if it wasn’t for the hole.
Amber: You have the key to open this door, you have earned that key, and it lies within you. There is a magic spell on this door. We can enter this door now because you are ready. Do you know what the magic words are Paige? You have earned those words and they are within you. You have to speak those words now and the door will open.
Paige: “You are ENOUGH!”
The door leads us into a damp, dark and cold place. After finding a candle, Paige can now see she is in a castle surrounded by:
…fragments of your life. Pictures of moments hanging on the walls, old artifacts, old toys you remember from your childhood, books, all familiar things that are covered in dust and lifeless now.
Up a giant staircase, past pillars topped where gargoyles
…faces [begin] to morph into the familiar faces of people in your life. People who have TOLD YOU the kind of woman that you are. People in your life that have conditioned you to be what THEY want you to be…
The gargoyles lead us to a long narrow hallway where Paige faces off with mirrors reflecting the different fragments of how Paige has seen herself. In hindsight, this was a fantastic guided imagery exercise for sub-personalities, but I wouldn’t start my Psychosynthesis training until the following year.
After this challenge, Paige finds herself
…in a room with no walls no ceiling, only pure bright white light.
The next five minutes are spent igniting an inner creative spark. Paige begins to use an energy source that is radiating from her fingertips to paint beautiful flowing patterns that swirl and dance around her. She giggles and smiles, eyes closed but so very engaged and alert as she moves her hands around sitting in the middle of the garden.
As the last threshold is crossed, I hold my breath and say a prayer hoping that she sees something satisfactory on the other side. I had, up to this point, tried my best to subdue any expected image. In that moment I braced myself to face painting another dreaded ocean scene, like the Bob Ross style paintings I was forced to create in my early training in oils as a child. I closed my eyes, preparing for the description that would piece together the image in my mind.
I do not know exactly what happened next as my camera shut off and I had my eyes closed, but her words startled me. Paige could hear the sounds coming from the figure in front of her. My eyes flew open as I desperately tried to find my pen in the grass to write down the descriptors as they came. This is the beginning of what I was able to scribble down:
SHINING so BRIGHT
Hard to look [directly] at
Arms stretched | Unreasonable | Unnatural
Holding her up | Keeping composure | Head to side
I continued to listen and to scribble as Paige poured out what she saw. The result was an explosion of descriptors (see figure 3), a cloud of clues describing the essence that was to become Aeon, the first of her kind collaboration between artist and client.
Saying I was blown away would be an understatement. I had no way to prepare myself for what Paige encountered that day in the gardens. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time which, according to my daughter, scary and excited feel the same, and I felt it in that moment. At the time, I played it cool, waiting until I got in my car to allow the excitement burst forth while dancing in my seat and roaring excited expletives. On my drive home, the reality hit me that I would now be tasked with translating these scribbled words strewn carelessly across a paper with my brush. Expletive!
I had a very short window of time to complete my translation and I am grateful as I may still be stuck in the brainstorming stage. I immediately began to piece this crazy puzzle together. It was like bread to butter the way my brush knew where to go. I have always held that my art is not my own, rather it is something bigger moving through me. It has been my only way to explain how time and space disappear when I have a brush in hand; I fade away. Falling down the rabbit hole, if you will. But this was different. This was new. Not only was this the first time to experience this with a creation that was not my own, but the quickness in which this piece came together was astonishing. I was painting, but I was not painting. It was my first taste of TRANSCENDENCE-IMMINENCE:
…transcendent of—distinct from, not identical with—the specific experience; and in the same moment have discovered that you can be immanent within—embodied in, engaged with—a broader spectrum of experience. Therefore, you, with your consciousness and will, can be considered transcendent-immanent within experience (Firman and Gila 1997, 2002).
I fell beyond the rabbit hole with this one. I fell deep, and when I returned there she was. I am not sure how much time had passed, but I do remember hearing her name: