An Inner Journey to Outward Mastery
On the Playa at Burning Man
A unique artistic vision, formed in the primordial forests of Old Europe, has settled in the Sonoran Desert. “Nature, inner self, art and music are my medicines,” Kati Astraeir says while sitting in the cool shadows that drape the air in the Galactic Center. “Art is a reflection of my spiritual journey.”
Astraeir’s artist incubation began as a survival impulse as a child. The young girl retreated into her inner self, closing off all communication except for her drawings. She chose art to speak for her rather than her voice—first out of survival, then to heal.
Astraeir grew up in northeastern Poland near the Russian border, at the time when the USSR was collapsing. While the historical moment unfolded, the young girl retreated into her art, exploring the inner recesses of dream and imagination. “Darkness has always been a gateway for me, asking me, ‘What is there to heal? What will arise to set my intention on?’” she explains.
When she came of age, Astraeir entered the Liceum Sztuk Plastycznych, a vocational school for artists. The school is located in Suprasl, a small town of 5,000, built around the medieval Greek Orthodox monastery where the Codex Suprasliensis, a 10th century folio, was first found in the 19th century. A few hours away is the massive Bialowieza Forest, the last of Europe’s primordial stands. Protected as royal hunting grounds during the reign of the Austrian Empire, the forest stands today, wild with wolves and fairy tale mystery.
The Old World darkness of the region fed Astraeir’s “lost herself in the forest and got found” mythic quest for her medicines of art and nature. She wistfully recalls feeling embraced by the goddess and touched with cosmic consciousness in the oak wood. The need to “make goddess art” filled her. Paintings of Green Tara, Isis, Shiva, Kali, Thoth and her sisters began to pass through the young artist onto canvas.
Astraeir’s oeuvre of paintings have a hyper-reality presence that feels natural, the way dream images do. “My favorite way of making art is to explore the unknown of myself in the surrender for the sound, working in the flow, becoming a pure vessel for the higher (or divine) energies moving through me,” enthuses Astraeir. Ever in search of the material and technique to propel her vision, she knew she had to break out to something new.
Her lifelong building of a strong inner world became a creative resource toward aligning her outer reality. Lucid dream states, where conscious logos and action combine to create images of the future, pointed the way. “When I was ready for a change, I asked the universe to send me to the best place for my growth and development,” recalls Astraeir.
Flash forward in time, and a leap from the Old World homeland to the American Southwest by way of Solar Culture Art Gallery owner Steven Eye, who became attracted enough to Astraeir’s online gallery postings to invite her for a month in Tucson. Ten years later, Astraeir’s partnership with Eye is continuing to stage open gallery shows at Solar Culture and, in recent years, performance events at the Galactic Center.
There is a Byzantine temple quality to the Galactic Center space. Two of Eye’s frequency resonating caves and a performance stage furnish a large hall walled with renditions of goddess deities. “The Galactic Center formed out of that dream I had,” she recalls, “where I said I’d love to have concerts in my house.”
Three years later, Astraeir looks back at her journey. “I had to step up to continue holding the sacred space for the global community moving through,” she recalls. “Now I’m learning how to ground myself, how to anchor self; learning how to stand up to what’s true to me. There are no mistakes—just lessons.”
Often, Astraeir and Eye travel to wilderness power spots to cleanse, clarify and heal. On each journey, the spirits of the earth speak in metaphor and analogy. A freshly emptied butterfly cocoon speaks of rebirth, of coming out of hiding, of striking out in a new direction. Eagles close overhead warn of power struggles. The changing population nesting on the tree in the cave describes changes in community.
Returning to day-to-day, to community service, to exploring her self-discipline in being the channel for art. “This place is just a portal to Galactic Center within,” she says, standing at her easel at a mid-wall space—where she can paint and absorb the music and performance events that play out on the Galactic Center stage. “My intention is to create a temple space where global visionary art on the walls, and the experience of different offerings, naturally raises your frequency and expands you into the cosmic awareness.”
Dale Bruder is a freelance writer interested in creative people, social and cultural movements and applications of esoteric knowledge. Connect with him at 520-331-1956 or TaoTime@DaleBruder.com.