Mouth of Fire, Breath of Dreams is a journal of sorts, recording my inner life as a nun/ascetic—one who has forsaken the world and worldly things in order to one-pointedly search for, and inwardly live in, the spiritual realm.
The book title refers to the twofold nature of one’s spiritual quest: the pain or anguish that comes from existential-type alienation and, further down the line when you are trying to counteract that, the rigors of purification; and the glimpses of divinity, the gradual realization of the soul’s deepest dreams that come inevitably through sincere, prolonged spiritual searching. The Beloved breathes forth both fire and ecstasy.
The drawings in Mouth of Fire, Breath of Dreams are symbolic. I guess you could call them surreal; I’m not sure how to describe them. If I could explain them, I wouldn’t need to make them. There is darkness, but also the primal forces working through the mind and nature that guard, sustain, give power to man/woman. After saying that much, I echo Matisse: an artist should cut out his own tongue.
For years, due to my very full life as a nun, I had no time or opportunity to draw, so the poems were born as an “outlet.” Maybe they are in some sense a response to the darker aspects of the drawings, an urge to assuage and redirect the struggling soul. They record glimpses of the freedom and incredible sweetness that have come during monastic life, and they give vent to the tremendous burden of anguish one must bear in order to attain ultimate freedom.