Rhapsody of Art

An Ecstatic Vision

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2016 Ecstatic Poetry Retreat

We’re about one week out from the 2016 Ecstatic Poetry Retreat! There is still time to join us. If you’re curious, some of the material that we’ll be offering at the retreat is found in my most recent blog posts. For registration details, visit (Events and Readings) and then for sign up, follow the link on that page.


It’s been a beautiful journey getting here with ya’ll… Ecstatic Poetry has certainly made an impact on my life. This is why I’m passionate to share it with you.



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Language (the Groundwork of Expression)

We have the craft of language as a culturally appropriated medium, one through which ideas and concepts migrate, from generation to generation, proliferating our experiences with meaning.


Language is a megalithic topic… I cannot discuss all of the elements and subtle factors that comprise the speech and communication of human beings. But I am an Ecstatic Artist, and through any medium we choose to express our authentic inner Essence, there is a language that we are using to convey our moments of truth.


Language may refer to more than words and grammar. Language is communication. This applies to all Art. If you are a Poet, you have words, structure, imagery… If you are a painter, you’re speaking with form, color and subject… A photographer is communicating with light and object… a musician learns chords, rhythm and harmony… this is language, the groundwork of our artform which we are using to deliver meaning, from creation to audience.


With this understanding, Language can be broken down to two basic, yet, primary elements.


Impression is a kind of natural imprint which changes according to the ever adaptable need to communicate with humanity.

Impression is our innate capacity to communicate. This is not to be disregarded- in fact, it is a sublime relief. Every human being is born with the genetic imprint to develop a means to communicate their experiences.  A child knows how to dance to music before s/he is capable of learning music theory. We all understand how to communicate words, even if we are illiterate. Ancient mankind used color and symbols to express their cultural paradigms long before rhetoric on the artform was invented…our-ancestors

Language was an oral tradition for thousands of years before we developed written symbols and theory. Decades of heritage as orators does not erase itself easily. It exists within us… trust your oral instinct! Every artist must become intimate with their organic intuition for expression. Trust it…

Myth and Storyinanna

We’ve all been inoculated with the same ancient feeling for meaning, and with each new generation, it evolves. This gives rise to the fleeting use of slang and memes, fitted for a precise time and people. It also retells ancient stories with new contexts, the Hero’s Journey retold again and again- from the Sumerian myth of Inanna, who traveled to find her sister in the underworld, to Neo in The Matrix, who returns to the depths of the Matrix in order to uncover truth from illusion.neo-the-matrix

Myth is not a classical category of selected Greek or Medievil authors. It is far beyond collegiate categories… Myth, at its true essence, is the visionary tour-de-force of the human imagination. Using the Voice of the human story, Myth wears many garments… each culture dresses the journey differently. With as much variation as Nature, we adorn and elaborate the forces of our world— transformation, justice, love, hopelessness… and with powerful storytelling and visionary world-building, we capture the hero’s heart inside us all.


Institution seeks to organize language into common standards to establish longevity of interpretations.  


Institution is the other side of the artist’s coin… Here we have the theorized and indoctrinated content of our particular language. This is where speech is preserved into grammar, Dance is developed into Expression Theory, or Cooking becomes Culinary Arts. It is the human tendency to preserve knowledge and define the craft of our communication. I am performing this very function right now, writing this article, distilling the essence from an action that comes from our nature. Communication is inseparable from the structure that guides and enhances our meanings. with-no-language-gun-legler


As artists, this institution of theory deserves our attention. Within each of our languages for self expression, there is a craft, defined by tools, materials, skills… we have the opportunity to understand the structure of our work for the sake of enhancing the integrity of our intuitive expressions. As we learn the elements of our craft, we develop a deeper understanding of the devices that are communicating our message, allowing inept delivery of our truths.


Institution and Impression inform each other. The formal knowledge of Institution acts as a touchstone for creative exploration… meanwhile, Impression is the heritage of all formal theorizing. Together we are communicating the Essence of our collective experience.






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Finding Voice

Voice is the unique interest and essence that defines what is brilliant and familiar within your art—The inner-most organic expression of an individual.

The Arhcer; Arrow

So many of us are looking for our voice– There is power inside our voice. It is not only a style of language, an angle of diversity, or an edge within a topic… Voice comes loaded with the incentive to impact the world. We feel encouraged, fearless, worthy of providing our community with our unique vision.

Finding Voice is simultaneous with discovering ourselves…

There are four keys to finding our Voice.


When we find our medium for expressing Voice, it is not so different than finding love… the coincidental richness  and intense thriving of first-contact with Voice can slingshot the artist into a freshness of discovery. We begin to see transformation occur and we become a deep pool of expressive material… we find ourselves growing thirsty to practice our developing skills, we are eager to mingle with our emotions,  a longstanding heartache may, at last, find an outlet of healing. cropped-cropped-dsc_1049.jpg

There comes a point when its not as easy, distraction pulls us, responsibilities take hold of our hearts, and quickly, interest wanes. Some sensitive individuals may diverge at the first glimpse of their unresolved fears and excuses…

However, for the artist who desires to deepen their skill, we must persist beyond the initial “slump” of intense freshness that inspired us at the start, and effort ourselves to find new angles in which to love our practice, and ourselves.


A way to expand the potential of our new-found skills is to begin imitating the styles and techniques of artists whom we respect and revere.

It is important to allow ourselves the freedom to imitate. Just as children imitate their parents in order to develop the mechanics of movement and mannerism, so must the artist discover which techniques are attractive and which ones are a limitation.

Dance in the WaterBy imitating the styles of other artists we begin to taste our own potential. We may experience resistance to this approach, because there exists a belief that, in order to be an artist, we must be producing completely new concepts, all the time. But this is not the truth. The creation of originality comes from your Voice, therefore, any attempt to awaken your Voice is a valid action of artistic integrity. So go on the hunt, find art that speaks to you, and then apply the methods, play and experience.

Watch out for attachment. We will find ourselves gravitated toward the styles in which we receive the most recognition. We become fixated with our current burrowed style and quickly slip into identifying with it… but that style was only on loan… It is important to regularly break out of the shell. We do this by sharing our work. Reveal your work to the world– perform, go to workshops, collaborate with other artists… they will act as a positive mirror,  and the reactions of our audience (including the inevitable lumps of criticism) will reveal the elements that shine from our unique Voice.


After some vulnerability and some empowering performances of your craft, we will gradually identify with the true aspects of Voice. There comes a point where there is no longer a separation, rather, our unique quality as an artist will continue to evolve through the many challenges, shortcomings, and visions that await the life of an artist. Our style may change, our genre may change,  we may dive into completely obscure projects, but our sense of self, our Voice, will grow from the foundation of anything we do…

Life is BeautifulIt is important to be flexible to change. The path of Art is transformative. We will shed the skin of our psyches. We will leave behind obsolete belief systems. We will raise families. We will encounter financial unrest. Our dog will die.

The only way to progress through the variations of challenge is to practice…

Practice is the act of repeated engagement that aims to develop our personal performance… it gives us the opportunity to develop the right behavior to consciously say to ourselves: I am doing this… and then doing it.

Setting a standard of discipline for ourselves maintains our spirit and develops channels for accessing Who We Are when we are in the flow of our creation. By honoring our creative spirit, we will find ourselves meeting our life situations with more grounded creativity and a deeper sense of respect for ourselves.


Inspiration is honored throughout the lifetime of an artist. It is our life-blood as creative vessels to find the currents which arouse us into awakening. By involving ourselves in the path of our own evolution, we begin to integrate the energizing reality of our own existence into a nourishing furnace of creative ideas.

It becomes the artist’s duty to honor our inspiration by creating, taking notes, choosing visions to develop into the next stages, and recognizing that there is a force behind the ignition of a vision– by getting out of our own way and being open to the process, an artist becomes pregnant with the Art to awaken the spirit of the world.



Join The Ecstatic Poetry Retreat: October 14th – 16th…

We will Explore our Art and Discover more through our Voice.

Join Us




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We Navigate this world, searching
with half-articulated desires
We are in the Center
worrying about estranged particles
When our skin breaks open
we hide from the medicine
When we are healed
we cast ourselves into the thorns
Whoever suffers
wanders inside this circle
Will we alleviate the pain
without consequences?
Nothing lives without Change


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Ecstatic Imagination

Join the Second Annual Ecstatic Poetry Retreat, October 14th-16th:  Info and Registration


Ecstatic Imagination is the fully realized power of natural imagery, ancient archetypes and inventive solutions flowing from the essential voice of our soul.


We are using our imagination all the time… however, our primary motive has developed to use imagination for prediction of threats. We see a rope in the tool-shed and imagine a venomous snake. We imagine the flirtatious encounter between our partner and the barista to be a long-term affair. We imagine the progress of another nation to be the arms-race of another enemy. The faculty to imagine has not been “beaten out of us” from childhood… it has been re-purposed as a watch-dog.Leopard Escape

In this post-western society, supreme emphasis has been placed on retaining answers, or working furiously to find them…


At an undeveloped age, children are confronted with the expectation to have answers: “Who are you?”… “What do you want to be when you grow up?”… “Do you accept God as your savior?”…

No Ball GamesInnocence is treated as a lack of proper information, a fault in adequate learning…  We develop the fear, if we don’t know all the facts, then we will get blind-sided by pain, a disaster that otherwise we could have predicted. When a child’s creative spirit is scolded, or isolated, the unexpected wound redirects the child’s efforts toward retaining the countless expectations of those who provide them with love…

The spontaneous spirit of imagination is buried under the retention of chronic “knowing”, and when we encounter mystery, it triggers a bombardment of fail-safes and fire-power for the purpose of solving this problem of “uncertainty”.

Girl and Heart


Through the means of artistic practice, imagination begins to find a new purpose: we discover a river of inventive thought and primal meanings which we actualize through our creative contribution. Art seeks an outlet for meaning–  build a business or write a poem… ecstatic imagination seeks to invent, to produce visions, and to integrate our resources for optimal expression.

As we begin to turn our imaginations away from the incentive of fear toward the illumination of the soul, we choose to initiate our wounded images of self-denial into a consciousness of mythical proportion.


In turn, the collective world will naturally be attracted to the nourishment of your project. Attention will intermittently navigate away from the malnourished conditions in our communities, families and culture, toward the sustaining light inside your work…

Our efforts to reclaim our own creative potential then becomes the healing power of Ecstatic Art.


Palestine Wall

Join the Second Annual Ecstatic Poetry Retreat

Berea, Kentucky,

October 14th – 16th

We will explore ecstatic imagination and creative healing in this weekend retreat…

For Registration and Info, Visit: Ecstatic Retreat


For more Information, you can also visit “The Work/Events & Readings” @ RhapsodyofArt


The images in this post are the Artistic Works of Street-Artist, Banksey…







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Second Annual Poetry Retreat ~ Oct 14th – 16th

Starting the evening of the 14th and progressing into the afternoon of the 16th, participants will be guided through practical and spiritual approaches for tapping the Essence of their creative Voice.

Yoga will be offered each day by instructor Leah Van Winkle and Meditation will punctuate every session, as a means for settling the body and easing the mind into their creative potential.



Ecstatic Poetry is a medium for involving ourselves in artistic communication with our deepest aspects. These aspects we might define as Spiritual, Universal, or Sacred…  by exploring ourselves, the creative potential of nature and soul will coexist within the artist, providing the raw material for healing and micro-enlightening insights into our innate Essence.


Through gentle inquiry and artistic practice, this retreat hopes to offer a medium of expression that will encourage participants to value and embody the intrinsic creativity that can be nurtured through the practice of Ecstatic Poetry and Arts.

View More: http://megansmith.pass.us/ecstatic-poetry-retreat

For Registration and Further Information, Visit:  Ecstatic Poetry 2016

You can also find information and links to register under “The Work- Events and Readings” on the Rhapsody of Art homepage.