Ascension and Transformation: The Symbolism of Lotus Petal Sky Ganesha

This painting attempts to be a visual representation of a series of meditation experiences I had in August of 2023.  When expressing meditation experiences through images, often the image does not ‘look’ like the experience.  These experiences are very packed and involve felt experiences of qualities (lights, colors, inner sounds,) knowing, and experiences of spiritual presences. When I unpack a painting I attempt to create a visual representation that resonates and aligns to the spaces of consciousness I’m feeling.  My hope is that anyone looking at the paintings – whether a meditator or not – will feel the reflections of these spaces of consciousness.

Lotus Petal Sky Ganesha encapsulates the profound experience of ascending through distinct realms of consciousness towards an all encompasing fire.  Along the way there was a helping presence, which stabilized my awareness at different stations of increasingly refined consciousness. This staged ascent helped in structuring facets in the centers of energy above my head creating a bridging so that I can return to these states again at will.  These facets felt the way a lotus petal looks – refined, full, and sharply awakening.  The lotus flower is a sacred and spiritually charged symbol in many traditions that represents the very essence of purification of consciousness, enlightenment, and transformation.

The symbolism of the painting is not something I was thinking in my head during the meditation experiences.  Rather, I hope that by sharing symbolic aspects it will allow you, the viewer, a greater depth of experience when contemplating the image. Enjoy!

The Lotus Flower: A Beacon of Spiritual Significance

The lotus flower, an ancient and revered symbol in various cultures, carries profound spiritual significance. Each part and stage of its life has unique symbolism. The lotus emerges from the muddy depths. Its sturdy stalk rises towards the surface, paralleling the emergence of all life arising from the cosmic waters. The stalk signifies the forces of resilience and determination needed to break free from life’s challenges and reach higher states of consciousness.  The leaf of the lotus represents the fertility of earth.  As the lotus ascends, it transitions through various stages – from the tightly closed bud to the partially open flower, and finally to the fully blossomed flower. These stages mirror the progression of the soul’s evolution. The closed bud symbolizes potential, the awakening of spiritual consciousness, and the promise of transformation. The partially open flower represents the initial stages of spiritual awakening, where one begins to seek enlightenment and personal growth. Finally, the fully blossomed lotus embodies enlightenment and purity, signifying the attainment of spiritual wisdom and liberation from the constraints of the material world. In “Lotus Petal Sky Ganesha,” these stages of the lotus intertwine with the narrative, guiding us through the artwork’s narrative of ascension and creative dynamism.

The Ascent of Consciousness

The central theme of “Lotus Petal Sky Ganesha” revolves around the ascent through various levels of consciousness, a common experience in meditation. At the bottom of the painting a golden-colored grid, akin to a transparent floor, offers glimpses of the layers below. Below this grid lie warmer-toned clouds and a different shade of blue for the sky. These realms are elevated, representing a transition from one ‘sky’ into another. They are stations along the pathway to the realm of pure cosmic fire.

The Meditating Deity

At the heart of the painting, Ganesha sits in active stillness, engaged in open-eyed meditation while adopting the Padmasana, or lotus pose. The transparency of the figure symbolizes the pure fabric of consciousness, transcending the limitations of ignorance.

The Lotus Throne

Ganesha is seated upon a lotus throne, a symbol deeply rooted in Hindu iconography. This lotus represents the cosmic mother’s lap, from which both gods and the universe emerge. Ganesha’s faithful companion, the rat Mushika, rests at the base of the throne in devoted attention.

The Lotus Petal Belt

Surrounding Ganesha’s big belly is a lotus petal belt, signifying the purification and transformation of lower energy centers as a foundation for spiritual realization.