Last night was one of those nights I woke at my witching hour and drifted between being wake and asleep. At one point I got the urge to get up and draw, and when I finally did, I remembered the image that came to me at some point while laying in bed. It was a girl with her arms out stretched a smaller figure tumbling off her hand to the ground. Her other hand reached up to the sky as if to touch the stars. When I drew it, I naturally put the tree around her, although I don’t specifically remember seeing a tree. It was more of a feeling than a visual.
Once again, I’m not quite sure of the meaning of this visual. Although it seems to me to be the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Perhaps the death of a self.
Nicole left a comment on my blog about the state between waking and sleeping that it’s called hypnagogia. 19th Century French Psychologist Alfred Maury came up with word meaning sleep and guide or leader. Apparently philosophers, artists, musicians, writers and occultists have been aware of the state and have used it creatively, to solve problems and form new ideas. People such as Aristotle, William Blake, Beethoven and Poe have referred to it. In this state, people see visions, hear sounds or music or words. It’s different than dreaming in that there is no narrative.
Nicole also mentioned the word Shoshin. A Zen idea meaning “beginners mind”, a place of openness without preconceived notions. This seems to be the state a person is in during hypnagogia. There’s a loss of ego, a sense of being an innocent observer or receiver.
I’ve been interested in the idea of tapping into the unconscious in my work for some time. I’ve had experiences with visions during Shamanic work, meditation and energy work. But this is a way for me to access that place by myself. I realize now that occupying that space and seeing “visions” between being awake and asleep is very natural to me. There are times where it’s like I’m watching a movie in my mind of disconnected images that just appear before me. I just never thought of it much before. Being aware of what’s happening I can use it creatively in my work. And I think, like most things, the more I do it, the more easily it will come. It’s a wonderful new creative tool that comes from inside of me. I’m curious to see where it will go.