Snake line trees — The struggle between snake and eagle

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During more than 25 years trees were absent in my work, excluding some paintings from the early beginning. ‘Space’ was the central theme, and sometimes a branch or stone appeared as a counterpoint of ‘space’ at the bottom of the image.

Circle of sticks

Just in 1997 I made some big ovals of branches in several woods — for me a first exploration in the unknown, dusky landscape of the forest. In that period I also made some small rings with pieces of wood of thirteen different sorts of trees. (see photo above, ‘circle of sticks’).

From 2003 till 2015 the Schinveld Forest is a main source of inspiration for me, resulting in some series with branches, trees and stomps (Wood flow, Well forest, Forest flow, Flow rooted). In 2010 I also made a series of ink-drawings of trees growing on places of power accompanied by a book with poems and a scenic route leading along these trees with the title ‘Trees, connection’.

Four drawings of the series ’Trees, connection’, 2010

During these years I observe many trees on my walks. And every time I felt wonder, especially when I shared the subtle energy of the places where the trees grow. But why do I feel so attracted to these trees with strikingly hooked, wavy, spiralling or downwards growing branches, or with stems melting together?

Two oaks of ‘Tree-connection’

The fascinating shapes of these ‘snake trees’ seem to bear witness to a field of force that seem to exceed their basic biological range. These are trees in which more things seem to confluent and more resistance is to be overcome than in an average tree, especially the tension between upwards and downwards growth. Research during many years learned me that these trees grow on so called ’snake lines’ - wavy energy lines with frequenties that represent the five elements - and on locations where these cosmic-female frequenties connect with subterranean frequenties of water and fire. I call them ‘black-Mary-places’.

Snake hazel and snake oak

While painting I always experienced a tension between opposite qualities on the crossing of horizontal (below) and vertical forces (above), and the need to connect these opposites. And these trees seem to show me how to connect the inner light with the light inside the darkness of the earth.

Eagle and snake

In many regions and parts of the world one can find myths about the struggle between eagle and snake. In this mythology the eagle, presenting the heavenly order, always conquers the dark subterranean powers presented by the snake. In Christianity this can be read in the image of saint Michael with the dragon at his feet. It seems that this mythology has cosmic proportions that express an elementary series of contrapositions: high and low, heaven and subterranean, sunlight and darkness, God and demons, and mostly good and evil too.

Detail ‘Wood flow, snake lines’, tempera on wood panel, 22x30 cm, April 2007

I believe time has come in which the transformation of duality into the unity of these contrapositions. will take place in consciousness. The snake trees showed me the way. With all their imaginative power they connect contrapositions.

Hazel growing on snake line