In the blazing heat of the midday sun of Delhi, I’d explored the tombs of Humayn, preserved under the Aga Khan preservation trusts, as well as the UNESCO archaelogical and global cultural treasures collections. Like Angkor Wat, the site is slowly being restored, details repaired, and protections assured. And like Angkor, and many other sites in the UNESCO world heritage programs, this one is all about alignments, geometries in the siting that are powerful and uplifting; with my handy Suunto compass, I’d measured them. All the axial relationships are solar and magnetic — and the length and precision of the aligning strokes of the constructions and sitings are profound. You see them, you wander them, then you realize them.
For me, rather delirious in the heat (95ÂºF+), and the long running flights from Seattle to London, there to Delhi — checking luggage and quickly jumping into explorations, the observations were a little different.
I was looking for, and seeing, differing kinds of patterns. And in the breeze, with flocks of eagles reeling and veering overhead, I saw patterns in the trees, the leaves shifting and showing their rhythm is ways that reminded me of that idea of inspiration — pattern, reflections and spiritual visualizations. Inspiration is breathing in. The indwelling of spirit in that which is breathed in — but I believe that the notion of inhalation is more about context, than implying something literally. It’s about living, live — it’s about love and life. And in the sanctity of being attuned, in the contemplation (con+templum — in (and with) sacred space) that “inhaling” of spirit is more greatly aligned and revealed. It’s actualized in the design — the describing — of the space.
When I was in college, 33 years ago, I spent a lot of time exploring that idea, mapping the cosmic gesture in space, time and art; that there was, in much of the earlier realms of art, the artisan making objects, designing spaces of experience — and illustrations — as manifestations of the divine. The building as cosmograph, the patterning as some geometry from that rhythm — the reflective indices of the godly.
What is that? To each, their own. What’s divinity? It’s about imagining a cycling of forces, stories, energy, presence that is far larger than oneself, or of one’s community; it’s a communion with something bigger. What ever that might be.
So I look for that.
And I look for those expressions of patterning — from something simple and perhaps minuscule, to something very large and complex.
So in the heat, seeing the shadows and the strokes of green, the shadowed rhythm, a metrical expression of living, I was reminded of that source of inspiration — the breathing in of something that takes you some where: new, renewed, reconnected. I wondered, and wandered around that idea — nature and patterning, light and leaf, stone and shadow. And perhaps it was a kind of fevered and light-headed inspirational revelation.
Kindly indulge me.
And the balance of that idea of the geometric pulsing, the rhythm of the leaves, the shadow, the alignments.
What possible pattern might you see here, then seeing something repeated in the form of the leaves, the geometries of the incised forms? I’m not suggesting that one is a perfected replicant of the other — but rather that generally speaking, seeking to create alignments in the movements of the chaotic world, one artist might interpret them in that way. And given the profound strictures against the duplications of the human form in Islamic heritage, showing the divine pathways in that way might be another connection worth considering.
Okay, so it was a fever.
Look then at the concept of the layering of patterning – in light — in space — in darkness, overlaid in the incised luminosity of what one sees close up, and what one sees in a distance, across the darkened rooms of the tombs, the stony sarcophagi in quiet alignment with the moon, sun and stars.