Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Symbolism of the Vine for the New Year

The Pendulum Swung Clear Off the Clock, © 2017 Sheryl Karas

I just finished this painting. I call it "The Pendulum Swung Clear Off the Clock. . . And For a Period of Time it Seemed Like Nothing Else Mattered" and it expresses the way I have felt since the pendulum swing of the recent election. For a period of time it has felt like nothing else matters. Art? How could a person do something as "trivial" as art at a time like this?

But, bit by bit, I've been calling myself into action. At least break the paralysis, I tell myself, if nothing else.

And it's been helping my outlook a bit.

This is the first painting I felt called to do. There I sit, shocked and still in my chair, with vines growing off the wallpaper, over the windows, and all around me. Vines can be a symbol of oppression, and that is certainly how this election has felt to me. But look! The vines have flowers and berries.

Vines have a great deal of positive symbolism, as it turns out. The first source I found when looking into this was about vine tattoos, not something I'm interested in having on my own arm . . . but I must admit to being fascinated when I see them on someone else. To summarize this article, the symbolism of vines matches their way of operating in the world. Vines are sun-seeking and tenacious. They survive in the most seemingly inhospitable environments. With a great will to survive—and even thrive—they anchor themselves into whatever foothold they can find and climb to their source of light / Light. Vines were considered a sacred plant in ancient times. They were symbolic of growth, regeneration, perseverance, faith, and life.

Vines are mentioned in the bible several times but in particular in the context of words that have since become part of a popular song: "May everyone beneath their vine and fig tree live in peace and unafraid." I'm planning to write that on the back of this piece as a prayer because in a sense that is the desire behind this piece. Make shock and grief be transformed into hope, regeneration, love and peace.


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