We are made of pure energy. If human beings really are, as the cosmologists say, made of 13 billion
year old stardust, then the atomic vibration of our very being must have some imprint of what it
means to exist as pristine light moving through time and space. Jaq Belcher breaks open the source
code of this primordial existence, a perception so timeless that it can come alive even today. Source
code means the knowing or awareness of the absolute truth that is written into the fabric of matter
The art of meditation. The ancient wisdom revealed in Jaq Belcher’s art is accessed through the
repetition and precision of cutting the seed shape over and over from a large sheet of white paper.
The meditative simplicity of this action can open the pineal gland, which is associated with the third
eye. The pineal gland is a very small organ shaped like a pinecone located at the center of the brain.
Yogic teaching explains how strict discipline of on-going mediation releases the mind from the
chatter of daily thoughts, allowing a deeper consciousness to emerge. As Jaq cuts the same shape
again and again, she opens her pineal gland thus allowing plain white paper to reveal cosmic truth.
And our journey into an inner awakening begins as we step into the piece titled, Initiation. Here we
are welcomed into a life-sized pinecone showing the pineal gland in its full vibrancy.
Source code revealed. When we enter Jaq’s inner world made visible through the paper cuts which
open space and the folds that show the play of light and shadow, we discover more than simply a
clever way to make a plain sheet of paper come alive with design. Beyond counting the cuts or
variation in shape and fold, there are narratives that speak to the origins of creation. The story that the
work tells starts like this, “In the beginning we were pure energy floating in space, longing to come
into form . . . “
We were once formless. Whether we believe we have had one lifetime or many, there remains the
unfathomable question of what were we before we were here. Perhaps our consciousness, long before
we were born, was unbound energy floating blissfully at one with the divine source. Some believe
that the soul chooses the limits of human existence as a way to learn and evolve, a way to explore the
marriage between energy and matter. The venture of descending into a body onto a small planet
requires that we forget that we are part of something much larger - the evolution of the universe itself.
As we enter this work, we have a small glimmer of recognition of what we once were.
Standing in front of the piece titled, Space, one has the fleeting memory of being free of the limits of
physical form, when we could taste pure freedom. The mind quiets and the emotions calm allowing
the remembrance of still, silent deep space. The piece shows over 14,000 cuts rupturing the surface of
the large white paper in uniformity save for the center where a small ball of smaller cuts spirals into
the center. One gets the sense that emerging from this sea of free-floating energy, something
indefinable is longing to come into form.
In the three part series titled, Conversations – Random, Rising, Radiating, more of the story
unfolds and from a wide-open field of activity arises a disturbance that eventually settles into a
collected circular form. We feel the free flow of energy as it begins to find definition. Having arrived
into the world of form and limit, we land at the piece titled Winter Vessel, where the seed shape
seems to materialize out of an ethereal space of open cuts. Here a larger image of the seed form
claims its place in this field of possibility.
This possibility is furthered in the two pieces titled, Sphere of Possibility (stars) & Sphere of
Possibility (full) where the circular shapes arise out of the field and finally land and take root in the
piece titled, Wholeness. In this third piece there is a circular luminosity that makes one want to
snuggle in and take residence. And we settle into the tenebrous primordial womb from which
everything is to be birthed. As pure consciousness we were freely floating in space, now we explore
the limits of existence this spherical egg and discovering that the experiment of the formation of
matter is a long-term project just at the beginning of existence.
The long journey from the origin of being as pure consciousness into the limited form of this circular
womb is further described, like an aria or a reprise in the piece titled, Matangi. Here we see a long
and winding descending path of indented seeds making their way through the field of the familiar
raised cuts. The contrast of indented vs. raised offers a clear passage from divine source into the form
of being. Most spiritual traditions have a description of incarnation – from abstract idea into concrete
formation, from concept into reality. The yogis teach how this transition is the power of the Goddess
Matangi, who is the divine experience as it is expressed in speech or art. Jaq’s image of this Hindu
Goddess shows how the path of coming into existence narrows into almost a single point, thus
illustrating how once it is articulated, any taste of the sacred source feels like leftovers from the
actual contact with the divine.
The story now dramatically turns to the installation titled, Lunar Codex. A codex is a manuscript or
volume of ancient sacred texts meant to decode the secrets of the universe. As one enters the room,
one perceives that a sacred meeting has just occurred and shivers runs through the spine. On the
suspended four-sided squared paper a crescent moon sits at the top, from which a series of seven
increasingly smaller descending seed shaped drops move down each side. Below are concentric
circles of “seeds” or paper cuts made from the paper hanging above.
The message of this sacred meeting between line and circle, above and below, is the arrival of lunar
nectar upon the waters of the primordial ocean of being. The point of yogic meditative practice is to
wake up the mind and body enough to experience the divine amrita pouring down from the pineal
gland through the spine where it is received by the pelvic bowl. Lunar Codex illustrates the moment
of contact of that flow through the spine to the earth below. It shows the play between line and circle,
where the line of the codex, with its great drops of nectar, appears to have descended and touched the
dark pool that lies below, causing concentric circular waves of blissful enlightenment.
Think differently. According to Albert Einstein, “In order to think differently, we have to actually
think differently.” Experiencing Jaq Belcher’s art invites us to perceive beyond the limits of time,
space and causality. This re-awakening to our essential nature, which is complete freedom, offers the
chance to reconnect with who we really are, by remembering from where we emerged. And in the
end, Jaq’s calling is to an evolution of consciousness. We are invited into the reality that any
perceived division of the self with any part of existence is an illusion. We are, in fact, one with all
Vyana Bergen is a Tantra teacher and spiritual guide. She earned her Masters in Divinity
degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and was formerly a pastor in
the United Church of Christ. For the last 15 years she has worked as a retreat leader for
Shalom Mountain Retreat Center. Today she lives and works from her home temple, Tripura
Sundari, located in the Catskill mountains, which she shares with her husband Cristian Graca
and their german shepherd, Barnie.