Anyone here into learning about cults? I know it isn’t just me. I listen to podcasts, watch TV shows/documentaries, and read about cults in my spare time. I’ve never been in a cult, but I’ve been in a cult-like situation* so I find my hobby to be very cathartic (as well as fascinating).
Robert Jay Lifton is a psychologist and renowned writer who wrote about thought reform. He came up with 8 criteria that describe how someone may manipulate someone’s mind and change the way someone thinks. Mystical manipulation is one of these. The term refers to the way someone (such as a cult leader) will claim that coincidences and other events were in fact examples of their power. If I were to draw a picture of you perfectly with my eyes closed, and then claim that it was my God-given power of true sight that made it possible (not my skill) – that’s a clear example of mystical manipulation.
Gets the mind racing, right? I hope you enjoy my marker drawing, which I think ended up looking like a poster. It was a way for me to channel my impressions of this particularly powerful concept.
*It wasn’t a cult, and I’m okay. I don’t want to take away from people who really have been affected by a cult.
I have started to do more drawings in marker. Markers give me the force I need: Thick, bold lines that dig into the paper. Limited colours that give me the opportunity to be creative in another way. The feeling that ink gives me of permanency and no turning back. It is the perfect medium for depicting the “religious eye” that many of us know and feel even when there’s no one there.
Today’s drawing continues to explore some themes/imagery I find myself using again and again. This God bird you could say is a direct “friend” of another drawing from one of my previous posts; when I recently started to draw with pencils. This one ended up being a lot more playful, so playful in fact that I didn’t crop out the ripped end of the sheet. It seems to work with the God bird’s personality.
This drawing also uses some imagery from carpets, which I’ve used deliberately (and unconsciously) before. This was definitely deliberate. I imagined the little particles suspended around her. Doesn’t the God bird look like she is waddling over to you through a cloud of flourishes?
Have you ever tried to draw your mind?
When I “release emotion” through drawing, I’m actually releasing myself from the hold my thoughts and emotions have over me. The artwork ends up exposing what’s inside; it’s more about how I think than what.
To get an idea of my state of mind: I had been listening to a lot of true crime podcasts, including episodes regarding cults, when I drew this. Listening to the stories made me ask myself big questions about my place in the world, religion, protection, and responsibility.
It may not be visually stunning, but these types of drawings give me a different sort of pleasure and feeling of accomplishment. These “mind maps” remain the best way for me to explain what I am truly thinking.