What are the Sacred Arts?
There is a lot to unpack here, so let us start with definitions. What do I mean when I say "the arts"? What does that term mean to you?
My background as an artist grew from my love and studies of theatre arts. The theatre is a unique place in the art community because a theatrical work it is made up from multiple art forms. There is the wordsmith, the poet, the playwright who gives the piece its voice. The musician or DJ composes and compiles a score. The director and choreographer are visual storytellers, pulling out the narrative and enhancing the rhetoric. The scene, costume, and light designers are the visual artists contributing color, texture, composition. Finally, the performers use their bodies and voices to enact the art, bringing to life the creative choices of the entire group. Within the theatre show you have all "the arts" enfolded together; music, literature, movement, visual, and performance.
It is the theatre that made me reconsider myself as an artist able to work in multiple modes of expression. I have written, painted, sculpted, danced, crafted, cooked, gardened, decorated, performed, and sung my creativity. Each of these modes of expression serves a different purpose in my life. From authentic expression in each modality a new perspective can be gained. In her book, Walking on Water, Madeline L'Engle wrote it very simply "art is communication".
Through my graduate studies in Expressive Arts I have learned how to use the arts and the connection between creative processes to heal myself and others. Sometimes words can not hold an emotion and it must be danced or enacted. Poems can be used to contain and conceptualize thoughts. Watercolor allows tears in paint to flow onto the page and oil pastels can bring the color of our dreams to life. Songs are sung to build community. The arts are a tool. They are an alternate way of listening to a problem, of letting a process unfold, and of communicating the truth of the matter.
In my next post I will go into the connection I see between creative process and spiritual process.
Was there a time in your life when you used a creative process to heal or serve? How are you accessing your creative energy right now in your life?