Sacred Spiral Press Dharma Gaia Cards

About Rashani's Collages


 
In 1966 and ‘67 Rashani studied with one of Corita’s students, Sister Monica Julie, at Notre
Dame High School in Belmont, California. Her passion for calligraphy and collage was ignited 
that year and has been expressing itself unstoppably ever since. 

For the past forty-four years, Rashani has explored, and been transformed by, the alchemy
of images, words and color, this ineffable trinity which became her main “practice.” In 1984
she went to visit Corita, to thank her for being such a profound influence in her life. Corita
looked quietly and carefully at Rashani’s portfolio and after about twenty-five minutes
without saying a word, she simply nodded her head and smiled. “YES,” she whispered, 
“One day the world will be touched by your gifts.”


Note from Rashani: 

in early 2011 my right thumb was broken and i was no longer able to do hand-lettering, which had 
been my spontaneous font since 1966. mysteriously motivated by this "uninvited guest" – a ban- 
daged, swollen thumb – i began playing with other fonts. for years i'd been reluctant to create 
"computer art" and lo & behold there i was unintentionally over the edge, happily immersed in be- 
ginner's mind, enjoying the challenge and novelty, and once again relinquishing another piece 
of my whittled-away-by-life identity. 

also, since then, i've created more than fifty small altar decks with quotations by many wonderful 
mentors, poets, mystics, song writers, teachers and friends.
(http://www.rashani.com/dharma-gaia-cards/Small_Card_Decks_by_Rashani/index.html)

several of these most recently printed cards are also available as 8 1/2 x 11 signed prints:
http://www.rashani.com/dharma-gaia-cards/AlsoSee/Posters.html

several were also included in three of the six books i published in 2009: Beyond Brokenness, 
Welcome to The Feast
and Is The Bowl Empty or Is It Filled with Moonlight? ..... one of the 
collages was designed in 2001, most of the others in 2003 and a few are more recent.
(CLICK TO BOOKSBYRASHANI.COM)

collage continues to be a fascinating art form. whether singing, reciting poetry, landscaping a 
garden, building stone walls or houses, sitting in satsang with an individual or a group, mending a 
broken pipe, or designing a collage, the sense of a separate self often vanishes completely and 
there is simply boundless creativity – raw, primordial energy – ceaselessly flowing. with wonder 
and openness, something – as opposed to someone – observes this unstoppable river/aliveness/life 
force/shakti with curiosity and awe. naked awareness meeting itself again and again~ 

the true collage is my home, "kipukamaluhia," a sixteen acre sanctuary that i have co-created with 
hundreds of friends, retreatants and wwoofers during the last nine years: a three dimensional, edible, 
ever-changing collage/mandala ~ living, breathing, dancing with endless textures, vibrant and subtle 
colors and sounds, luminous energy and spaciousness and with a stillness and silence unlike any 
other place i've ever lived; ceaselessly offering the dharma, moment by moment~day and night.
 
(CLICK TO RETREAT CENTER)

having lived in a remote, rural part of hawaiʻi for the past twenty years i have feasted on and have 
been blessed daily by a more raw and wild kind of beauty than my senses became accustomed to 
while living in europe for twenty-two years and in california & new england for seventeen. looking at 
these collages, all of which were created in hawaiʻi, it is apparent that the "spirit of place" 
inter-penetrates the creative process. seeing these designs today i sense the numinous black tones 
of pahoehoe and aʻa lava, which are a prevalent part of this island, the endless varieties of greens 
and blues which touch my vision every day, the rich earth tones and golds that appear after dawn as 
the sun spills its light over the nearby fields, the yellows and lavender of the towering jacarandas that 
bloom every spring, the indescribable colors of bromeliads, plumeria, wild orchids, and pohinahina, 
the ochre and soft white of pueo wings as they circle above the gardens at dusk, the bright reds of 
anthurium, torch ginger and heliconia, the reds, oranges and other deep colors that merge and
morph in the flowing lava, the white of winter crocuses and irises and the hawaiian hibiscus with their 
slender brilliant tongues of fire, the subtle hues that are ever-changing in the ocean and sky, which 
now live and breathe within, through and as "rashani." 

though i can never know a place truly, only my perception of it, the inseparability of subject and
object is experienced in the aliveness of presence as "i" disappear into each unfolding moment. 
creativity is a continuous self-emptying experience through which the state of wishlessness is 
mysteriously born. (in other words, nothing needs to be any different than it is. there is nothing to 
seek or find, nothing lacking, nothing to regret, resist or avoid...) there is no findable "artist" creating 
a collage. there is simply per- ceiving and collaging occurring. 

year after year, countless times, my eyes have stared at a blank piece of paper, having no idea what 
was about to be created. this venturing into the unknown, time and (timeless) time again, is a total 
surrender into/with the Great Mystery. the convergence of the non conceptual, expressed through 
abstract images of colored paper, and the conceptual, expressed through words, is a paradox which has fascinated me since i was a young girl. 

my first collages with words were created when I was fourteen years old. something impossible to 
describe was ignited while looking at/disappearing into the wonderfully wild collages of yanko varda, 
a friend of my parents, and the silkscreen prints of sister corita, who later became known as corita 
kent. a simple meeting of pure stillness and active inquiry was silently and colorfully transmitted through these particular expressions of beauty. 

within days of this "catching fire" i began cutting and tearing origami paper and writing poems across 
layers of color, mesmerized by the subtle textures and how translucent some papers were and how 
others appeared opaque. little did i know that i was about to enter into a life-long love affair with 
images and words! something beyond comprehension guided my quiet hands to bring together the 
written word, which is often attempting to express that which can never be expressed, and colorful 
shapes which have no intrinsic meaning at all. it was the year after my nineteen-year-old brother died 
and i entered into this fertile sanctum of the unknown – at first grief-stricken and later with ease and 
fascination – while the stories of life-as-i-had-once-known-it continued to dissolve. 

from this place of not knowing, effortless action occurs, co-arises with all that is, and "we" become 
nothing more than an instrument through which creativity and aliveness happens, allowing us to 
remember, through direct experience, the undeniable interdependence of formlessness and form. 

with deep-abiding gratitude to those whose words are included on these cards, to the unknowable
Muse, whose unrelenting kiss moves through my hands like wind and water and sometimes like fire, 
passionate thanks to lili townsend and two anonymous donors, whose generosity made it possible 
for many of these designs to be printed and to you, innumerable appreciative patrons throughout the 
world, who have purchased my cards for the past twenty-two years. without your ongoing support 
i would not have been able to devote my life to what I most love!

Wu said to Wei,
“there’s a natural
unfolding
a non-way of sorts
in which love
invisibly happens
through
not to us
without effort or action
yet
with impeccable
precision
as finely focused
as a scalpel’s
incision
as purely
mysterious
as a cocoon’s dying
into a butterfly
or moth,
deifyingly ordinary~
bright silk lining
on a simple
clothen robe~
and wondrously wild
as an impecunious mystic
winning the lottery
without having
bought a ticket. 

love moves
ever-bloomingly
from silence into song
through song back
to silence~
sometimes fiercely
other times tenderly.
It has no preferences
IT simply knows
without knowing
the way moonlight
touches~
like a single tear
from shiva’s eye
it sees
the rudraksha beads
that wait
to be touched
by the devotee’s
loving fingers.” 

“and,”
Wei reminded Wu,
“once struck,
the singing bowl
simply sings
effortlessly
and unstoppably.
the vibration
of particles may cease
but since energy
like love
can not be created
or destroyed
it simply changes
into a different form.” 

“so too,”
whispered the wind,
“the delicate scent
of ylang ylang
permeates the entire garden
and one small candle
can fill a darkened room~
‘doing nothing’
yet transmuting
everything.” 

through love
we “do” without doing
there is nothing to do
and nothing not to do~
not ‘doing’ something
and not ‘not doing’ anything
love co-arises.
we can never know it
we can only BE it. 



there’s an innocent
spontaneity,
ancient as a song line
in Gondwanaland,
moving inexorably
like ground water
beneath a barren desert. 

indisplaceable
like ether
the endless helix
of love
holds
and permeates
all objects
and all beings. 

love is the greatest
euthanasia
for the conceptual mind~
and in its mystery
we are destined to find
more than we ever imagined
and less than we ever feared. 

~rashani, 2011



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