Photography Residency with Lisa Talbot – the Half-way Point

By Photography Resident and Student Lisa Talbot

I am halfway through my residency at 22 Teachings School of Hermetic Science and Magical Arts.  I have been to Egypt.  And I wanted to reflect on what it has been like, what I feel I have gotten out of this, and what I can give back. 

It has been a fantastic experience to go once a week to the school and the space of 22 Teachings where I can feel that this place has been “made sacred.”  Everything there has been tended to, intended, cared for, and loved.  You can feel that energy has been put into the room and the objects within the space.  Magic is palpable there.  And because of that, it fills me with the desire to set intentions and put care into the things I do there, which has dramatically impacted me not only as an artist but as a magician and a person. I also struggle with this unworthiness and need to be more because of it. I think this is a struggle with the humanness of oneself, both a good thing of wanting always to strive to be better but also the darkness of never feeling perhaps like I can genuinely attain what I might set my sights on; after all, is the infinite attainable?  So, I continue to try to walk the Magicians’ path on the tree—my artist path in this Residency. Perhaps my path is a longer way than going straight up the middle path, but it may be more interesting to explore the complexity of it all. 

Being in the space of 22 teachings, I have been drawn to the altars which change often, and perhaps because energies are focused there, I want to capture them.  I have explored many beautiful objects via my creations of still lives.  I have begun to want to photograph the people who tend to the energies there.

Before I left for Egypt, I had been playing with a prismatic crystal pyramid I would use to make rainbows in many of my photographs.  I would leave it on the main altar when I was not there.  I left it on the stage altar when I left for Egypt. When we arrived in Egypt, Isis gifted everyone in the group these same crystal prism pyramids so we could charge them throughout our journey.  I felt there was this message that the prismatic rainbow light was something I needed to understand or connect with more deeply.  This continued to be confirmed on my journey throughout Egypt; I continued to get these glimpses.  A flare here and a rainbow there.  And this is a significant theme in my work.

So, what is all of this meaning for me? First, there is so much I have learned in this process about making objects and places sacred, seeing signs and making intentions, and finally, how magic has played a big part in changing my life. When you decide to participate in the Great Work, study actively, do rituals, and bring them into your creative process, so many beautiful things begin to happen.  I am curious if this comes through in my images yet, but I see it daily.  And that matters. 

-Lisa Talbot

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