Long Ash Tower
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Original painting is sold, oil on canvas, 1400 x 1400mm, 2010.
Print sizes and editions
- Regular museum archival paper print - 650 x 650mm (limited to 275)
- Large museum archival paper print - 905 x 905mm (limited to 195)
- Extra Large museum canvas print - 1100 x 1100mm (limited to 175)
Your unique limited edition fine art print
- Sofia Minson creates your exclusive signed print
- We ship for $25 in NZ and $49 internationally
- Your artwork arrives rolled, ready to be framed - do you need help? Request framing guidance
The story of Long Ash Tower
The meaning of Long Ash Tower has come alive for me during the 2020 global enema. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The old paradigm of separation will be blown away by the winds of change.
A cigarette with a long ash Lord-of-the-Rings-type tower stands tall in a deserted flat landscape. The flakes of ash and the base of the cigarette house finely detailed pieces of Gothic architecture.
There are infinite ways to look at any artwork. Art changes throughout time and from person to person.
10 years in the making
I painted Long Ash Tower 10 years ago, faithfully representing what I saw in a visionary hypnopompic state one morning, and I've been wondering what it means ever since.
Then 2020 happened. And suddenly this painting, which hangs in my private gallery in Auckland, has been talking very loudly to my husband and I. We've been surprised at how intense its presence is now. The symbolism has come alive and based on my lens into reality, is connecting to what I feel is going on in the world right now.
Crumbling of an old paradigm
The symbolism shows an impending collapse of an old paradigm - a story of human separation and dominance over a stark, lifeless landscape.
The old belief (actually it is a relatively new, Western belief) is that the environment or material world around us is unconscious and that we are biological robots in a meaningless universe.
That 17th century Cartesian trajectory for control or superiority over a helpless or irrational natural environment that should be kept pristine and separate from us, is built on faulty logic. It is an unsophisticated, hollow, crumbling, ash-like way of thinking that no longer serves us.
A universe teeming with life
To tower over a world that we see as separate is to follow a limited model of the psyche that sends us into a schizophrenic state of isolation and incomprehension of the wholeness of who we are.
Wholeness and a greater sense of “I” is relational and much more intricately connected to absolutely everything than our reductive scientific materialist, imperialist programming ever suggested.
The tower is falling as we, wave after wave of people, are experiencing a broader reality paradigm. This includes an awakening to our relationship with the unseen world, the personhood of the more than human world, and the aliveness that is intrinsic to the whole network of the cosmos that we find ourselves in.
Paradoxically as our illusion of “control over” falls away, we become much more powerful co-creators of our own reality. We begin to serve the natural abundance of life as opposed to resisting the unknown and serving fear.
The lungs are where we store grief
In Chinese medicine the lungs are where we store grief. The cigarette here alludes to this. And it also links into the experiences many are having in 2020 around not being able to breathe, including elderly folks dying in isolation with tubes down their throats hooked up to ventilators.
When someone is sad, they hold their breath and oxygen is decreased. The emotional blockage of not letting go affects the receiving and letting go action of the lungs.
I believe many people are in a grief process on a personal and collective level. As we work through our wounding, we let go of an old world and way of doing things that no longer exists and embrace our power to create the new.
Intentional breathwork practices can aid in our ability to heal ourselves and gift and receive energy more freely.
Have there been benefits to the era of separation?
I ask myself, how have the horrors of this painful isolation that we have been through as a civilisation, and the trauma that we have been through personally, served us?
This could be a question for the other side of the dark night of the soul - after the darkness has been exposed, the feelings have been felt, and the truth of the situation has been integrated into the being.
From a macro perspective that can only really be reached through profound healing and then choosing to see through a new set of eyes that transcend right and wrong - does this whole thing have meaning to it? Does it contain an experiential deepening of the self to it?
This is something I wonder for my own soul’s journey and I offer it to you all, in case it’s a helpful question.
What has been the benefit and the growth from the pain and suffering? Has the tension between separation and connection deepened our evolution towards interdependence and given us an even greater range of frequency from which to love and feel? Are we stronger, wiser, more powerful and more compassionate?
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
A new story
It’s time to claim the new story and become an adult of consciousness. It’s time. It’s time to create a new reality based on better beliefs.
It’s time to allow our personal awareness to expand and receive all the help that we are being given right now. And to trust this process even if it looks worse before it gets better.
"Mutual flourishing" and "community-sufficiency" are a couple of ways of thinking that can begin to improve our health, wealth and wellbeing. There are many more. Jump on the wave.
Start de-programming yourself from a lot of the bullshit you were taught growing up. Trust your own experience over what someone else is telling you is right or wrong. Trust your body. Trust that you have unique gifts. Don't waste your energy hating or idolising anyone. Trust whether or not you resonate with something or someone and move on when you don't. Stop watching the news. Look up terrain theory vs germ theory regards health. Look up animism and grok some ancestral wisdom. Look into how, even if you're white, your ancestors were colonised and lost their magic and their indigenous connection to the land, which is now being remembered all over the world. Look at how your ancestors were ALSO the colonisers. Accept both. Find a new way forward and practice your magic again. Link up with a consciousness practice, a therapist or an intuitive healer and start healing the shame, guilt and trauma from your own childhood. Bring awareness to the lies you were saturated in from the culture you grew up in. Listen to today's children. What are they trying to teach us? What can we learn from their way of perceiving?
The Tower card in Tarot
For any of you who know your tarot, I see The Tower card as a necessary part of the death process that allows something new to come in.
A lot of the time we complain about our lives or governmental or corporate corruption or our jobs or spouse, and then boom!.. The rug gets pulled out from beneath our feet. But was that rug getting in the way of you becoming a new version of yourself?
In the Ryder Waite tarot deck, the tower card shows a king and queen falling from a burning tower, struck by lightening. The old king has definitely lost his crown but the queen hasn’t, suggesting she keeps her intuitive abilities to trust in the death, destruction or collapse process itself, even if it looks scary. This is the divine feminine wisdom we ALL have access to inside of us.
A Gnostic decoding of The Tower of Babel
When I look at this painting I find myself in a Gnostic, Kabbalahistic, alchemical reverie about the Tower of Babel from chapter eleven of the book of Genesis. The story can be mythically decoded as a process that the human psyche goes through in a lifetime.
The building of the initial tower reaching high up to the sky was led by Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter of impressions of the outside world. A temple to those acquired impressions, the tower is built during a person’s first part of life and represents the personality.
It is the way we communicate and the many masks that we wear so we can navigate the environment and the culture we are born into. Nimrod’s kingdom is in the land of Shinar - שנ Shin, which means tooth and ערAr, which means city, also known as the mouth.
So the tower represents the cult of personality, language and opinion. When another person or “leader” tries to convince us to worship idols on their tower, or follow their ideology, or believe this or that, there is a hollowness to that experience that eventually reveals itself.
Why have we ignored our own essence? We begin to crave our own transmission from source.
This is when the tower falls. Someone else’s words trying to convince you of their politics no longer makes sense. We become struck with an incomprehension of each other’s languages because we need to have our own authentic experience.
The fall often happens during a person’s midlife crisis where they ask the question “why have I led my life this way and who did I do it for?” In our case, 2020 is giving the whole world a mid life crisis. The false self is falling away. This is a personal and global apocalypse, which in Greek means “an unveiling of great knowledge.”
Ultimately this is a merciful collapse because it allows for the authentic self to shine through again. But it feels traumatic because it is an ego-death - a questioning of our whole identity. On the other side of this dark night of the soul is a return to our own source, which is the true substance that was lacking in the first tower.
And so, with this new awareness, a new, better structure can be built. One that honours our own essence as well as the boundaries of the ego or individuated sense of “I” in the cosmos.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork