Ordering Reality

I’ve always operated within what could be crudely described as a magical reality.

As a child the mundane world was uncomfortable for me and as I wasn’t equipped to deal with it, I retreated instead into what some people would call ‘the fantastic’, a place I found natural and very comfortable.

Long ago I decided that people fell into three categories (being as human as the next person I too find comfort in titles, definitions and labels although I naturally rail against them myself) of perceiving and ordering reality; political, spiritual and philosophical.Political dealing with relationships with power, philosophical with ideas, and spiritual with relationships with life. Of course there are blurring and cross over of boundaries, esp. as these are all centred around patterns of individual thinking and interpreting. I can relate to all these modes of understanding, however a spiritually constructed world view is what I most naturally and comfortably adopt.

Even the most unsociable amongst us crave identification from others and wanting to find like minded peers is natural.

I’d been incredibly lonely and alienated as a child and when I found people on what I considered to be my wavelength, it was exhilarating.The first group of peers I found,were part of a psychonatic group of drug users in the 1980’s. Intelligent,creative anarchists who were also dreamers, artists,musicians and outsiders.

The perhaps inevitable splintering and destruction of this group later led me to find pagans and magical practitioners of various persuasions who seemed to share my core beliefs.However although we spoke the same language, our different forms of articulating sometimes caused conflict. I carried on searching, eventually discovering that many artists had a similar reality scape to myself but by now I realised that my search would never really stop and I would always be looking for like minds and like perceptions.

When I was in treatment centres I was challenged to find a higher power, something greater than myself that I could hand over the control or lack therein, that I was trying and dramatically failing to exercise over my life.

This treatment centre was hidden in Kent and I would often walk alone in the countryside, in early spring where life is so obviously omnipresent.

It reminded me of being a child and playing quiet games building fairy houses in the very different fields of New Zealand, retreating to a life filled natural order when I was unable to cope with the complexities of the human behaviour around me.

My awareness of life inherent in everything and the belief that these life strands held energy that could be acknowledged and worked with, has always been with me although it faded somewhat during the time unhappiness and addiction were consuming me.

So I sobered up and awareness of life in everything was awareness of a life full of potentialities- full of magic- full of possible transformations, if I so chose them.

So my animist view has always been there in varying degrees. I followed its thread through drug use, through magical practice, through art, and through love.

The world changes, and sometimes it’s grim and sometimes wonderful but following and working with the magic that is in me and around me opens me up to an awareness of incredible force pulsing through everything.

Working with these currents is not a key to an easy life, but simply, an intrinsic part of MY life. Accepting that, is accepting who I am. Once that happened, I developed a strength I’d forgotten I’d had, and a sense of belief in myself as part of a natural sequence, that renders me beautiful.

Charlotte Rodgers
Art, Magic, The Muse and Me.

I’ve never been good at intimate relationships. I seemed to have not been gifted with an innate set of rules of engagement. The only wisdom I’ve garnered over the years, despite experience, therapy, self-help groups and books; was that I was better off avoiding them and focusing on my own life and the deep friendships that I have within it.

I seemed to love too deeply, too inappropriately and too obsessively, then suddenly realise that I am lost in someone else’s world that I need to race to escape from.

O there were wonderful partnerships and some great loves but as I moved rapidly from lifestyle to life change, they fell by the wayside and into a barely remembered past.

I walked out of my last relationship some five years ago, and subsequently moved into a myriad of my own potentialities.

I had no limitations on what or how I expressed myself. No one saying that I couldn’t do that or shouldn’t do this, no skeletons in my life that needed to be hidden in case I bought disrepute to a lover.

I flew!

Then I met someone at a recent exhibition of my work and for the first time in an age I felt a stir of love, madness and loss of control.

I’ve learned that putting my art on public display often brings things into my life that are unexpected, strange and sometimes wonderful and these gifts should never be ignored.

People from a long forgotten past, opportunities, strange synchronicities- nothing should be unacknowledged in case these gems are part of a new transformation or future adventure.

So I went with this stirring, followed the obsession and channeled the muse. My art flew in new directions, my dreams became exponential wonders and I forgot to sleep and eat.

Insecurity hit as I am a ‘little’ odd, and my youthful beauty had perhaps made this oddness acceptable to lovers who would have fled otherwise. I no longer had this beauty but instead a strength in my individuality, but I still felt the fear that my older, more tired face would lead to loss of my new lover.

I looked at other couples, ordinary people, older people, strange people and thought if they can have a partner…..perhaps I can too.

I realised that I did actually desire a companion and sexual partner, something I thought I had long ago eschewed in the name of development of my own strengths and goals.

So I took the leap and it didn’t work but I tried. I’m not battered, not defeated, not even sad.

Now I’m going to create art, art infused with power by my capacity to love, strive and take risks.

Walking the Line, Dancing the Curves

I’ve written before about the performance of exhibitions and events being akin to a shamanic journey. A descent into a place where you’re ripped apart and reassembled later into a different configuration.

To an extent my opinions haven’t changed since the blog I wrote on that subject several years ago, after a particularly traumatic exhibition and presentation in an archaic tower in Hackney.
Since that time I’ve learned to take better physical care of myself during such occasions. I realised that often the people who live the itinerant performing lifestyles are young, and have much greater stamina than I do at 50, even though I can be incredibly driven and adrenaline fuelled.

Luckily I’ve reached a point where I rarely need to sleep on floors or sofas anymore and generally have a rest space where I  can stare at a blank spot and breath rather than constantly maniacally mingling and intensely communicating.

In the last six weeks I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in two wonderful events, one of which I also exhibited at.

I met people, connected with old friends, presented my thoughts and ideas and came away with new ones.

I also lost half a stone, tipped my creative and magical world view in a different direction, fell in love and confronted a few old demons of guilt and shame which I thought were long gone. I noticed that many people of my own age who do this sort of work, like myself live in isolated and often rural areas. 

We write, create, garden and dream, living in a self created space in-between. A place where we are earthed, grounded and supported.

When I’ve been away on a tangential journey at an event or exhibition, I near crawl back to my own rural haven.

I heal and feed, operating at the most basic level of animal self care.

Then I open myself to the inspirations and ideas and places the risks have fed me. I let the insights and changes roll through working with them  to transform them to art and progressions.

That’s what I’m doing today.

Charlotte Rodgers