The Acorn Contains the Tree
Exhbition at 214 Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon July 2-30 2009

 

Jesus

oil on unstretched canvas 2009

Romeo & Juliette

oil on unstretched canvas 2009

Persephone

oil on unstretched canvas 2009

Icarus   2009

The Acorn Contains the Tree

 

When all the souls had chosen their lives, they went before Lachesis.  And she sent with each, as the guardian of his life and fulfiller of his choice, the daimon that he had chosen, and this divinity led the soul first to Clotho, under her hand and her turning of the spindle to ratify the destiny of his lot and choice, and after contact with her, the daimon again led the soul to the spinning of Atropos to make the web of its destiny irreversible, and then without a backward look it passed beneath the throne of destiny.

Plato, Republic X, 620c

               

                Are the stories of our lives a series of random events, or do we choose a predetermined fate before we are born?

                 I warn you ahead of time: the answer to the question is not in this gallery. 

                James Hillman, in his book, The Soul’s Code, agrees with Plato that each of us is born with a purpose, and a story to play out. He calls this the “Acorn Theory”, meaning that the tiny acorn is pregnant with the mighty oak.  According to the Acorn Theory, in order to realize our life’s purpose, which was forgotten when we crossed the portal of the womb onto this planet, we choose the circumstances of our lives before our birth.  We contract all of our pain and suffering, leisure and luxury before we are born. 

                To realize his life’s journey would certainly have been overwhelming for the small child, Jesus. Demeter, mother of Persephone, and the families of Romeo and Juliette took efforts to protect their children from their fates, but were unable to save them.  Icarus flew too close to the sun. Had he listened to his father’s advice, could he have survived? Was his death a part of his father’s psychological journey and necessary to give the world an archetype for the evils of pride? Were these young people born simply to enlighten we who survive them?  If so, what about the lifelong sorrow of grieving families?

            I have no answers. There are no answers. The Acorn Theory is a way of looking at loss in order to make sense of it for we who survive.