New Work! Totality: Flowering of the Third Eye


In 2017 I witnessed Totality—the total solar eclipse passing through Oregon. Nothing I had read or seen prepared me for this experience. The experience of Totality is ineffable—there’s nothing else like it. I can only express it this way: I wasn’t looking at the solar eclipse. It was looking at me. For almost three minutes, some kind of intelligence was looking at me.

I wanted to make a sculpture based on my experience, but not until fall of 2019, when I found the right piece of wood, did the idea take shape. The wood suggested a figure with a single eye in the head.

The base of the piece is the prima materia, the ground, with hints of gold. This potential of gold—via the swirling moss and cracks in the figure— spirals up through the wood figure and unites moon, sun, and the figure. Or is it the reverse? I like the idea that the movement can be up or down or both at the same time.

As in the alchemical idea of coniunctio, the earth with its wisdom of instinct, nature, and the body unites with the transcendent solar spirit. Together they create a “here and now” of spirit in matter, what the mystics would call immanence. Seeing and being in the world this way, this third eye totality, creates a new flowering—the red rose offered to the world.

This piece, including the dome, is twenty inches high and thirteen inches in diameter. If you are interested in purchasing or exhibiting it, please contact me. Meanwhile, the next time you have the opportunity to be in the path of totality of the solar eclipse, seize it. The experience is worth the effort, the traffic, the crowds, and planning.

Dia CalhounTotalityComment