dance with the dreamer
“Who among you can at the same time laugh and be exalted? Who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary. Untroubled, scornful, outrageous – that is how wisdom wants us to be: she is a woman who never loves anyone but a warrior.”
Ravens are highly intelligent and playful animals. They can be found anywhere and, equally, the stormier the weather, the better. The Raven will fly, play and sail in the stormy winds. For me they stand for an empowered freedom. When meeting this animal in a meditative journey this spring, I equally felt a deep fascination and intuitive connection with the raven as a power animal and in its symbolic meaning. It symbolized wisdom and freedom and its energy accompanied me throughout my journey.
The raven symbolizes wisdom and resourcefulness. The raven totem is fearless and strong. Ravens are viewed as the guardians of sacred and secret mysteries. Ravens stand for creativity, curiosity, transformation, healing, death and rebirth. They have the power to cast light into the darkness and are said to show us how to go within, into our dark in order to illuminate it. Ravens appear when we are ready to ascend higher. The Raven asks us to see the truth and he is a master of time.
Beyond a strong inspiration from mythology and stories of gods that are related to nature as e.g.: Artemis and Pan, this work is inspired by the creation myth of the fallen goddess Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, who became the Earth, our home & mother, Gaia.
It’s about the sacred feminine and the divine life force that connects and permeates everything, that pulsates within all of nature as well as within in ourselves.
In some traditions it is believed that we are living in a dream. You might then ask, who is and can we step into a dialogue with the dreamer?
When we listen, that pulse within us is calling and guiding us home, to the source, to an creative intelligence that drives all of life. And if we follow that calling, then we will meet her, Sophia, and dance our dance with the dreamer.
What had started out as THE WALKING PROJECT [more info: here], has become a magic ride, full of awe and wonder, following a calling and legacy as well as a call “home”.
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
OF RAVENS AND GODS is the result of a pilgrimage. I’ve followed the calling to explore a space that I have a special bond with: the mountains. Being the landscape of my origin, their energy is within my very fibre. For this project, I’ve set out on a journey into the Jura mountains, around the Mont Blanc massif and across the Pyrenees. The body of work that resulted from it, so far, is a hybrid work that dances along the fluid edge between poetic meditation and being a documentary of an epic adventure.
Mythology and Buddhist teachings have been an inspiration to this work, words of Buddhist teachers such as Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh companions. When thinking of Buddhism maybe the first thing coming to mind is a serene mountain lake, without so much a light breeze creating a ripple, a peaceful Japanese garden. However, life has all different kinds of weather and the big lesson we can learn from Buddhism is to become strong enough to face and embrace all of them. In practice, Buddhism means to be a warrior, standing fully and with courage in the midst of life, while remaining in one’s centre, power & “saddle” – serene within; to be able to sail in the storm, play with and even challenge the wind like a raven.
Breathing the spirit of the raven, to find and own this freedom, to come home to the vital power that drives and connects all of life is an essential aspect of this project. To move in the mountains is my way to seek, experience and dance with this essential power. Mountains are my “metaphor” when speaking of this intimate and, simultaneously, collective story of coming “home”.
Mountains, in their powerful and majestic presence, they exist in their own time; They are the guardians of the earth’s ancient soul, while touching the sky as the roof of the world and connecting us to the divine. A territory that teaches many lessons, an environment that is humbling and empowering, they are my learning and playground to dance with the elements.
They are the landscape of this work that is a love declaration to life and the magnificence of the Earth. My deep desire is to share this love story; to speak of the wild within our spirit and the power of our soul as well as our connection with her, Sophia, Gaia, the mother who is nourishing and supporting not just us human beings but all of life.
Be it through the photographs, the book or the film, this work offers an invitation to let yourself be taken in by the places captured; to dream, to meditate, to let your spirit travel and to go onto a journey within; to listen to the whisper of the wind and take a flight on the wings of the raven.
I feel endlessly grateful for the beautiful encounters I’ve shared with people – often completely serendipitous and synchronistic. They brought their own magic and were essential to this epic adventure. They have let me experience a goodness and beauty, the grace we really carry within ourselves as human beings.
Further, I want to thank the Austrian Cultural Forum in Den Haag, who’s offered financial support for this project.
OF RAVENS AND GODS
is an ode to mountains
a celebration of our connection to nature & the earth
and the sacred feminine
an epic adventure immersed within the elements
a story about coming home & freedom
a project inspired by mythology
a love story
a dance with the dreamer
a flight on the wings of the raven
a new visual project, dance film and video installation
and a project that has happened in frame of a somewhat out-of-the-ordinary artistic residency – definitely self-organised though never alone.
My travel in frame of this project was not “only” crossing mountains but equally traveling between countries, cultures and languages, varied landscapes with their different qualities and textures and, towards the end, as well a change of season.
That this project has happened as the expedition style adventure that it was is essential to and very special abothe work. The Project wasn’t so much about going to one place, alone or with a team, bringing camera equipment, to stay and work at that one location.
Being on a challenging trek that, at times, would simply demand to continue (to e.g. get to a place at a lower altitude or a refuge at the end of the day where it’s possible to camp.), facing the challenge of finding a balance between having to move onwards and, equally, creating the space to stay in a place, to connect, explore and work with it; throughout the trip also dealing with factors such as cold, exhaustion and hunger.
About 1000 kilometers in 2.5 months, including +/- 1000m (MB) – 2000+m (Pyrenees) positive altitude change / day.
TMB | Tour de Montblanc = 170 km
HRP | Haute Route Pyrenees = 800 km (excl. additional trails)
It wasn’t so much going to one place alone or with a team, bringing camera equipment, to stay and work at that location in order to shoot new material for a film. But rather me setting out with my house on my back, meaning a 50l backpack with minimal equipment, going on this continuously onwards moving journey, walking, climbing; being on a demanding trek that, at times, simply demands to continue (to e.g. get to a a place at a lower altitude or a refuge at the end of the day where it’s possible to camp) facing the challenge of finding a balance between having to move onwards and, equally, creating the space to stay in a place, to connect with, explore and work with it; also dealing with factors such as cold, exhaustion and hunger.
Being an outdoor and mountain lover, as well as a choreographer / performer and, equally, video and visual artist, when the intuitive impulse arose to go on this adventure that would combine various routes, I felt the deep wish to document and share this journey with others.
-> MORE INFORMATION about the route taken through the Pyrenees + a gallery of selected images you can find: here
AMONGST THE HIGH MOUNTAINS
The secret of mountains is that they simply exist, as I do myself. The mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no “meaning”, they are meaning. The mountains are.“The Snow Leapard” – Peter Matthiessen
To be traveling in the environment of the high mountains is a special and unique experience: It is humbling and empowering at the same time.
Moving within that environment, partly in a space where there is no path, the ground you walk on continuously changing, often traveling through boulder fields, walking and climbing over +/- 3000m mountain passes and peaks, at times freestyle, one can never really loose ones respect, neither concentration. So an alert and sensitive dance starts to happen, really understanding and sensing the landscape and space.
WITHIN THE IMMENSITY AND VASTNESS OF IT ALL
“While walking we should be aware that we are walking on a living being that is supporting not just us but all of life”
“When we walk we don’t just walk for ourselves, we walk for everyone.”THICH NHAT HAHN
Traveling within the immensity and vastness of it all, of creation itself. Everything seems to have its own power and time. Everything alive, with such richness and depth. Experiencing myself as one particle of it all and, at the same, sensing that all of it is within me. Coming back to a primal connection, expressing itself in this dream. A daughter of this earth.
Falling out of madness and into love with her as well as our intrinsic connection to her, to existence itself, passionately and wildly, is what we need to do.
Rewilding our being.
Reconnecting to earth.
Following the call to come home.
and the legacy to dance with the dreamer.
“The female wisdom. It’s the female as the giver of forms. She is the one who gave life to the forms and she knows where they came from. It is from that which is beyond male and female. It is from that which is beyond being and nonbeing. It both is and it is not. It neither is nor is not. It is beyond all categories of thought and the mind”“The Power of Myth” – Joseph Campbell