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Dissecting the Reverie Still Life - PART II

April 2022

Dissecting the Reverie Still Life - PART II


When my friend lost her father-I wanted to give her something that could provide solace to her.  Something that would commemorate a life well-lived but also give her something tangible that she could hold onto.  I knew it had to be a butterfly-a butterfly is a symbol of the soul, but what I love most about them is that they represent the whole life that the soul lived..the birth, the everyday, the majesty, the release..  I think it’s very important to remember a life well lived rather than mourn the passing.   Butterflies have represented the soul for thousands of years.  There are so many examples, they were used in Egyptian tombs to symbolize immortality, resting on skulls to indicate a soul is departed..  In the mythological tale “Metamorphosis” by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (Platonicus) written in the 2nd century AD, Psyche, Goddess of the Soul, was depicted as a butterfly.  Psyche was released from death by Zeus & granted immortality.  Freed from death, the body of the soul could fly freely, soaring.  There is an end of life but not of love.  


This is the image of the day that the final symbols of the path to Joy came together for me and formed the 10th tenet, Reverie.  I see disparate symbols as letters of an alphabet-while they each have their own distinct voice, (an “A” is always an “A”) when you put them together with other letters..they morph and evolve into something new..more complex, with more even more depth.

I tend to design using paper and scissors, in a collage and sketch technique.  “Found” artifacts, images, mixed up and redefined to create something new. 

Please see the work of some of my favorite collage artists:

-Joseph Cornell
-Hannah Hoch
-Kurt Schwitters


There are 7 types of love.  All 7 types of love create a life of True Love, and Eros, romantic love, is one of the 7.  Eros is intrinsically spiritual.  In its purest sense, making love is the opposite of death—it is a life force.  When intimacy is the consequence of a deep bond between two souls, then it is a doorway to a higher plane and to transcend the individual existence:  It is an invitation to merge existences, to create a pair of pears. It is a reminder that the ordinary life is full of the transcendent, full of the spiritual, full of possibility.  It is a reminder that life can be--that life is-beautiful. 

The “wet silk” painting is by artist Yuwei Tu and is an homage of the “silk” and “veiled” photographs by Ruth Bernhard (1905-2006) to achieve “the unself-consciousness and the forthright strength” of Bernhard’s images.

I not only fell in love with Ruth Bernhard’s work, but I fell in love with the descriptions of her work.

“Ruth Bernhard frequently used the veil to both shroud and reveal the figure, exploring the age-old idea of unveiling and possessing.  The transparent fabric that wraps the body reveals as it conceals.  The veils signify life’s transitions…as the women shed their self-consciousness and regain their primal positions of power. These photographs of the nude bear witness to this liberating wholeness by holding before us the reunion of body and spirit in a visual language of symbol and light.  In her photographs of the nude, Bernhard has fulfilled her life’s mission to express a full, fearless spiritual female power that will stake its claim in reality as women experience their bodies with renewed self-respect.  As our vision clears, our psyches strive toward wholeness. “ 

I realized at 49 years old that I still didn’t “own” my own body.  I saw it more as a gift for other people, something I relinquish rather than claim as my own.  I needed to regain my “primal position of power” as described.  I needed women that I felt safe with to bear witness to my liberation.   Thank you, Rachael, Thank you, Yuwei, for helping me to feel that “full, fearless spiritual female power” so I can build a well inside of me, a reservoir of strength, that I can dip into daily as needed.

Wet Silk Painting by Yuwei Tu: Instagram Website

Reference Photography by Rachael Bergstein: Instagram Website


One of the three winged souls of inspiration is Aiode: song/music.  Music soothes and inspires the soul.  When I play the piano, it helps me to feel rather than to think.  And recently, a friend found a play list of mine from high school which immediately put me back in those moments. Find your music and you will inspire Reverie.