Have you ever wondered how one “gets to God?” If so, you join many throughout the ages who have desired an encounter with the Holy One. Iconography is one journey, with prescribed steps, designed to help the participant encounter God. Said another way, iconography is a way to God. It is a window into another world, the world of the sacred. Writing an icon is akin to meditation…its own kind of spiritual discipline.
Iconography also reflects our own selves, made in the image and likeness of God. Every element found on an icon can be found within us, for this process is truly a meeting of the human and the Divine through the icon-writing process.
Curious? Here are a few other things to know about icons and iconography:
- It is not an individual creative process. It is a prescribed method, with pre-determined steps and so requires the ability to follow directions, precisely.
- Nothing of the self is to be revealed or expressed in an icon. Rather it is a meeting of the inner spirit and the outer 9 step discipline of iconography, designed for an encounter with the holy.
- Every detail of an icon, from the preparation of the wood, to materials and colors has a deeper, liturgical meaning (meaning it is designed to give thanks and praise to God, to encounter God really present, to mediate the meeting of the human and the Divine.)
- All materials used in creating an icon are natural elements.
What are some of the purposes of icons or the reasons to create one?
- To reveal two dimensions of one reality: the outer and the inner. Through the process of writing an icon, the participant begins to see revealed in the work an inner part of themselves.
- To engage in a spiritual/religious practice. Images invite a contemplation on the spiritual in ways words cannot.
- To use images and symbols to illustrate a particular truth or an event that has happened, inviting the creator and the observer into an encounter with the Divine.
- To discover how a particular practice or discipline, absent imagination or emotion, can open doorways to the sacred.
- To assist in discerning what is true and what is false.
Interested in learning more? Check out these youTube videos! (Put links here)
Or better yet, commit to participating in one of SAIA, Inc.’s workshops where you can be guided by a master to write your own icon and so discover a door to the Divine. (Click here for information about the next workshop.)