Inspired by the Powers of the Universe teachings of Brian Swimme
In the Resilience Project, I explore and create imagery inspired by the work of cosmologist Brian Swimme and his Powers of the Universe Series. As we face incredible ecological and social change, learning from how the Universe works gives us tools to re-imagine our identity and our future.
Swimme’s work stirs the imagination and the heart toward a fresh, healing perspective of what humanity is all about. An EcoPsychology online review calls the Powers of the Universe “a synthesis of scientific and spiritual worldviews, empowering people to rediscover and remember who they truly are in the greater story of life…. The current self-destructive trajectory of society can be redirected, where actions realize a vibrant community that transcends individual, human and geo-political boundaries.” Swimme’s passionate teaching and storytelling give “amazing insights that will forever change how you think about being human,” as we choose to remember and cultivate our interdependence with all living beings.
I’m thrilled with the restorative teachings Brian Swimme offers in these eleven Universal principles, or Powers. Even their names are juicy: Seamlessness, Centration, Allurement, Emergence, Homeostasis, Cataclysm, Synergy, Transmutation, Transformation, Interrelatedness, and Radiance. I can’t help but feel empowered and motivated by these stories and this way to re-imagine who human beings can know themselves to be. I also love finding another way to talk about spirituality– who we are and what we’re about.
So for more than 20 years– ever since reading Swimme & Berry’s The Universe Story for the Passion of the Earth project in 2004, and twice hearing Swimme speak in person– I’ve wanted to interpret the Powers into images.
It’s an ambitious intention to make 11 art quilt mandalas interpreting scientific principles! But patron and fellow Swimme student Ellen Bush believed in my vision and gave me the opportunity to start with a grant in Spring/Summer 2012. Four watercolor images came in those months, including Center of Becoming: Centration, Relationship of Attraction: Allurement, Unfolding Story: Emergence, and an additional image, Resilience, my own response to the Powers of the Universe series as a whole. In August 2012, Brian Swimme and his Center Director Bruce Bochte gave their enthusiastic blessing for my project.
Ellen has again sponsored my work in a second grant cycle, Fall/Winter 2015. I finished two of the final fabric art quilts, Seamlessness, and Cataclysm. I also created a 7-minute video, Cataclysm Art Process, on the making and meaning of Cataclysm.
I intend to expand the series of fabric mandalas interpreting the Powers of the Universe, so more people might take to heart these rich messages of hope and resilience.
Deep thanks to Ellen Bush for collaboration and grant support to continue this series. You’re invited to support this project with a gift, or by purchasing the art prints below.
See Cataclysm Art Process video
See Science of Resilience blog post
See Power of Cataclysm blog post
Visit Brian Swimme’s Center for the Story of the Universe website for more about his work.
See Swimme’s Powers of the Universe Series page for example video clips and to order or download the series.