With the kind of synchronistic
timing students of the metaphysical love, the New Moon in Scorpio, the
astrological sign ruling communication with "the other side," clocked
in around 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, just before two separate events at
the Oceanfront got underway with the shared theme of channeled
the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) it was a talk
by Kevin Ryerson, a West Coast-based psychic reader who, while having
professional credentials long and deep, is probably best known for the
prominent role he played in actress Shirley Maclaine's spiritual quest,
documented in her book and subsequent film, Out on a Limb.
down, on Laskin Rd., the Heritage Center opened an exhibit by Poquoson
painter Allen Chester, featuring a number of original oils he created
for his energetic and dramatic Templar Tarot deck, whose subjects and
images, he believes, come through him from a spiritual source he
identifies with the medieval Knights Templar.
Both Ryerson and Chester are channels, though Chester leaves it to his wife Cathy to say so of him.
a channel, the barrier between the physical and spiritual worlds is not
the solid obstruction it is for most of us but a thinly veiled portal
through which conversations are held and information exchanged between
our dimension of existence and another.
while Ryerson goes into a self-induced trance, after which one of
several entities he's channeled over the years "comes through," Chester
accesses late-night heavy metal on the Internet to help stimulate "a
spiritual force" which seems to guide his brush.
regularly channels a personality known as Atun-Re, who spoke to the
overflow crowd at the A.R.E. about states of consciousness in the daily
life of Egypt in the 14th century B.C., when he and "the instrument,"
as he calls Ryerson, became friends.
paints figures, images and symbols which, he's been told-and has since
verified through his own research-reflect what might have been the
secret doctrine of the Knights Templar, an austere Catholic order of
European nobles whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims in the
Holy Lands in the era of the Crusades.
Templars were eventually charged with heresy and, with the blessing of
Pope Clement V, arrested under orders from French King Philip IV on
Friday, Oct. 13, 1307 (the origin of "unlucky" Friday the 13th).
Following gruesome torture to extract confessions, they were
it has long been suspected that the Templar heresy was in reality a
version of an ancient esoteric tradition whose teachings contradict
official orthodoxy, but were preserved for centuries within certain
sects in the sophisticated, multi-cultural and spiritually fertile
teachings, an integration of nature with the divine in a drama of
evolving cosmic consciousness in which all beings participate, are the
substance of Chester's art. That he has embodied them in Tarot cards he
calls Templar Art may be a stretch for scholars, but both he
and wife Cathy speculate that his Tarot deck may represent the Templar heresy recovered from Time's subconscious archive, with the artist serving as a conduit to restore them to canvas.
that seems far out, imagine Ryerson, a casual, good-humored, beefy
Californian, who, after a few neck rolls for relaxation, abruptly
breaks into a foreign accent to explain how, in his Egypt of 1350 BC,
matter was "plasma-like" rather than rigid and could be regenerated "so
time, space, and consciousness become one" in what amounts, for example, to a regeneration of the body.
Ryerson's message, a broad
synthesis of traditions, he says, which include his own channeling, the
Edgar Cayce readings, Buddhism, Native American prophesy, and modern
psychology and parapsychology, is upbeat and hopeful, informed by what
he calls "spiritual intelligence" rather than a fear-based crisis
intelligence engendered by the nightly news.
aligns himself with 55 million American "cultural creatives," who, he
theorizes, "maintain the peace" against the world's reactionary forces
"until the next big wave of consciousness in 2012."
he predicts, green alternatives will go mainstream, and "a new heaven
and new earth" will unfold, powered by renewable energy technology and
marked by the eradication of war, illness and malnutrition, a doubling
of longevity from mid-20th century averages, and discoveries of new
resources, like fresh-water lakes under the African deserts.
this will happen as altered states like those he enters for channeling
become common, as people increasingly learn "to ask the right
questions" of themselves-and to meditate for the answers.
is the key to Chester's process, as well. He says he paints from a
meditative state, rather than attempting to control his images from his
the ego aside to allow the flow of life to express itself directly,
without conscious editing-which is the purpose of meditation-is, for
both men, the door to altered states where creative solutions to our
difficulties, personal and cultural, may, with patience and regular
practice, be revealed.
People should emulate Leonardo da Vinci, says Ryerson, and take meditation breaks (instead of coffee breaks) every four hours.
might not be practical for Chester, who has worked for 27 years as a
Navy design engineer. He paints at night, looking forward, at 50, to
when he can retire and paint full time.
so, he has assembled an impressively large body of work over the years,
both before and after his Templar Tarot, which he began in 1996 and
published in late 2001, but with 79 cards instead of the standard 78.
addition happened when his spiritual muse prompted him just before his
publication deadline to add an extra card-a dancing, winged youth
deeply absorbed in playing a flute. Chester now believes that card
represents a higher spiritual octave of the familiar Tarot Fool
is the first in a new series he's been working on since as he envisions
expanding the Tarot with 22 new cards depicting each of the Tarot
trumps-the standard figures of the Major Arcana-at a higher level of
deck will have 100 cards, upgrading Tarot for a new age with an
expanded series of divinatory keys which are also symbolic repositories
for the study of timeless metaphysical truths.
Templar Deck, with an explanatory booklet by former Smithfield resident
Daria Kelleher, is available online or in many metaphysical bookstores.
Chester's paintings will be on exhibit at the Heritage Center, 314
Laskin Rd., through Nov. 30. To view samples of his art, visit his
advice for cultivating spiritual intelligence as a tool for awakening
from "the cultural trance" is also available online at www.kevinryerson.com, along with interviews, articles, and samples of his channeled messages.
Current Exhibitions November 1 - 30, 2007 - Templars Rising at Heritage Gallery,
314 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA (2nd Floor) See original Templar
Tarot paintings and other art by Allen Chester. Original art and prints
are available for sale. Hours vary - Heritage Gallery - 757-428-0100
On going - M2 (M Square) Gallery, 325 W. 19th Street, Houston, Texas 77008 See selected original art by Allen Chester. Gallery Hours - Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. M2 Gallery - 713-861-6070
Upcoming Exhibitions Opening January 11th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM at the Heritage Art Gallery
January 5 - February 2, 2007 - Guardian Angels & Demons Within at Heritage Gallery,
314 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA (2nd Floor) See original paintings
by Allen Chester. The theme of this show will be images Allen has
received as either angels or demons, joys or challenges, order or
chaos, or any number of polarity issues that touch our lives. Each
piece has symbology for the viewer and welcomes its own meditation.
Original art and prints
will be available for sale. Hours vary - Heritage Gallery - 757-428-0100