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During a military operation in 1977, a grenade exploded near me.  Sol, a young officer and close friend, was behind me.  Sol’s body shielded me from the exploding shrapnel.  He was killed and I am still alive.  Since then I have carried a constant sense of guilt for Sol’s young life, that his death enabled mine and with it a sense of urgency, a clear deep notion that nothing in this life is guaranteed.  Nothing is secure, nothing lasts forever.


From the moment I realized that my life was the most precious thing I have, I haven’t stopped searching for its meaning. What I found out was that what drives me in my life, and is depicted in my art, is the clear inner understanding that I am but a momentary visitor. I carry within me the constant notion that I just arrived to planet Earth for a short visit and soon I will have to leave. The human cycle, from birth, childhood, adulthood, aging and dying, has not changed throughout the history of mankind.  We are born and we die, no one escapes this fate.


When my army service ended, I joined the Emin esoteric group, based in London. During my studies of the esoteric and occult worlds, I met many others who shared the same questions:


What is the purpose of being?

Why now?

Why me?


From the seven intensive years of learning in this group, I realized that hints about the purpose of human existence are hidden in almost all known religions.  After the Emin period, I entered the realm of symbolism, which I found to be ancient codes for unlocking the cycle of life's mysteries.  My journey led me through ancient Egypt, Babylon, the Aztecs, Hinduism, Sufism, Kabala writings and even the Aboriginal myths.  What I found out amazed me. The deeper I dived into the religious aspect, the clearer the understanding that all ancient prophets, philosophers, writers, priests, spoke about the same things. From this point on I focused on what are the common denominators between different religions and the majority of the occult writings.


In 1995 I started painting. I never painted before nor was I interested in the art world. I rarely visited museums or galleries, but when my wife saw me scribbling with our kids, she insisted that my main field of expression should shift from writing to painting (she does not like my novels). So there I was at Sholomo Tzafrir's studio in Old Jaffa, learning the basics of drawing from this Israeli old master. For seven years, I painted what my painting master taught me.  A week after he died, I started to paint my own images, galaxies and embryos.


In 2005 I started my experiments with unconventional ingredients such as, tar, asphalt and lacquer.  When mixing acrylic colors with tar, I got the most unexpected forms and colors. I kept on experimenting until I found the multi-layered tar painting technique.  I teach this method in my “Free the Life Within You” workshops around the world.


Since childhood I have had a passion for deep space. The starry nights were my playground.  No wonder I was considered the odd one as a child.  I would fantasize that out there far, far away in deep space there could be another child like me thinking the same thoughts.  My main desire was to connect to all those that share the same idea that the universe is bound together by mysterious strings.


Along with my study of painting, I started a self journey of deep space exploration, how the universe was shaped and how it evolved. This was an inspiring period in which I learned the basic patterns of celestial objects. As the moon circles planet Earth, the Earth circles the sun, and the sun circles, every 230 million years, a black hole named Sagittarius A in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Even our galaxy with its 100 billion stars rotates around the central gravity area in the Virgo galaxy cluster.


As atoms are the bricks of matter, cells are the bricks of human beings.  Suns are the atoms of galaxies and galaxies the cells of the universe.


In the end of 2008, seven years after I started my galaxies paintings, I started a new series based on the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson’s photos of sperm, ovum and the embryonic stages from conception to birth.


We exist on average for 30,000 days, but how many of those days do we really remember?  The day I looked for the first time at Lennart Nillson’s images was a day I’ll never forget. Suddenly it was a big puzzle coming together. The ovum seemed like a huge sun, the enlarged finger prints resembled a galaxy; the embryo had the same spiral movement as our own galaxy the Milky Way. For a rare moment it was like a heavy curtain unfolding in front of my eyes.  I felt, sensed, and meditated the unity of all that shares my existence.


There is a surprising resemblance between human life and star life. Stars are born, grow, mature and die but even here it is not a final death.  A star would blast in a huge explosion called a Supernova, in which a great amount of matter condenses in a tiny area. This process releases into deep space billions and billions of tons of matter, from which new stars are formed just to grow, mature and explode a few billion years later.


Humans live in families, cities, countries and continents.  Our star family is the moon (we are a single parent with a single child), our country is the solar system, our continent is the Milky Way, and our bigger world is the Local cluster that contains 30 other galaxies that are bound together by gravity. The Local cluster belongs to a bigger cluster, the Virgo cluster that contains around 2000 galaxies.  Even our gigantic Virgo cluster is an unnoticed area in the endless universe.


When entering the realm of celestial element, I asked the same questions, mainly, what is the common denominator between them all?  What are the modeling rules that shape our known universe and do they connect somehow to the rules that dominate our spiritual life?


One of our main sources of exploring deep space is the Hubble space telescope placed in orbit by NASA in 1990. Since then NASA shares with all humanity the splendor of the deepest skies and most remote galaxies.



Studying the celestial patterns, I wrote 4 basic patterns that are applicable to any object in space.


MOVEMENT – there is no celestial element that stands still.  Movement in the universe is spiral shaped.

GATHERING – there is no celestial element that stands alone.  Planets are bound to suns, suns to galaxies, galaxies to clusters.

CYCLES – all celestial movements manifest in cycles.

EVOLUTION – there is a constant evolution through the ray of creation. In this respect we need to consider proportions.  If the human evolution takes about seventy years, a star’s evolution is about seven billion years.


It is important to emphasize the proportion aspect. Distances in the universe are measured in light years, which is the distance light travels in one year and it is equivalent to 5,600 billion miles.  According to the Big Bang theory, the universe exists for 13.7 billion years, because the universe is expanding (the movement rule). The center of the universe is believed to be 40 billion light years away. Those are not human scale measurements.  One hundred years in human scale are unnoticeable, so what then is the human purpose on earth?




When I studied religions, I found they have the same common denominators as the celestial elements.


MOVEMENT – there is a constant movement in every religion both internal and external.  (It is a big issue so I wrote a separate article about this matter. See “religions internal and external movements”.)

GATHERING – in all religions there are prayers and ceremonies that are a community and gathering based ritual.

CYCLES – in every religion there are rituals connected to the cycles of the moon, sun, planet earth and other celestial phenomenon.

EVOLUTION – all religions agree that the human physical body is but the vehicle, for the spirit which is the true essence of life.


This is the reason that Hindi don't not use the term “he died” but rather “he left his body”. Thus to say that the physical body remains here and can be burned and turned into ashes while the spirit is now free to find another form.


There are about 100 billion cells in the human brain.

There are about 100 billion stars in one galaxy.

There are about 100 billion galaxies in the universe


Everything is connected.

In modern life connection means access to the internet, but the global internet is exactly the opposite of human desired functions.


In ancient times human beings celebrated their gratitude for the richness and bliss of planet Earth. They were living in communes, and were often gathering for religious rituals.  Many of those community ceremonies connected to life and death cycles. For the ancient Egyptians it was clear that they came to planet Earth from far away, crossing the Big Lake for a mission to evolve into a higher form of being, thus elevating the spirit which they called the Ba.


The Jewish Kabala speaks about the five stages of human spiritual development. 


Ruach – spirit 

Nefesh – human essence. 

Neshama – soul

Haya – the elevating stage of the spirit

Yehida – singularity, total connection to the source of creation


The Jewish ten Sephirot, a kabalistic code for human development, speaks about the same process of evolution.


I don’t sign my name to my paintings, but rather use a symbol made out of 35 white dots. The color white signifies the openness of absorbing spiritual essences.  White contains all colors. I use dots because life is not linear and cannot be described as a straight line, but rather the ongoing journey through several stages of personal development levels.


There are two figures because life won’t exist without the duality aspect of feminine and masculine.  Every life is the result of the bondage between opposite and complimentary energies in an eternal cycle of being and transforming.


The only way people can still live on this planet is by going backwards to what existed in the earlier times rather than going forward so quickly. Human beings cannot create their own rules that contradict planetary and universal rules.


So by living with those 4 basic rules in mind I believe that you and I should:


MOVE – and let our inner being shine

GATHER – and let others share our bliss

CYCLE – everything is connected, everything has a beginning, an end and a new start in another level or dimension, good – bad, ups – downs, are actually similar happenings on the same bar of life.

EVOLVE – from physical based to spiritual based entity, and let planet Earth and other human beings evolve with us.


Have magic in your life.


Ted Barr

Passion Center, Hayward, CA


June 2010


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