The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM)
The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) is a church that took shape in 2008. Alex Grey and wife, Allyson Grey are both co-founders and ministers. Alex’s fame notably grew from his art on Tool album covers.
The husband and wife team are no strangers to performance art and visual story telling. Actually, CoSM began with a visual performance. In the performance, the audience reflected on portrayals of the human body. Allyson took note of the impact the performance made on the audience. She noted that people were drawn to the works. As a result, the two decided to put CoSM into motion.
The church houses permanent visionary art as a tool for spiritual travelers. Every aspect of the church itself appears built with full intention. The main attraction remains the sacred mirrors themselves.
CoSM invites patrons to engage in philosophical contemplation and self reflection. They welcome those on a spiritual journey ascending towards God consciousness. There’s something mystical about the Grey’s work.
What are the Sacred Mirrors?
So what are the Sacred Mirrors? They are 21 paintings residing in CoSM. They are all meant as opportunities for deep inner self-reflection and spiritual attunement. CoSM patrons move through the church in upstate New York to the chapel.
Here are full of life-size depictions of human beings. The mirrors represent human life in its purest form, nude, skeleton bones, and biological systems. The exhibit begins with an array of nude and skeletal body composition paintings. They are composed of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, different genders, and features.
Wisdom Traditions: Buddha, Christ, and Sophia
The following mirrors are Grey’s interpretations of Buddha, Christ, and Sophia. This set of mirrors appears more grandiose than the realistic mirrors that came before. They encompass more detail and spiritual dimensions. However, these mirrors serve the same purpose as the first grouping. To provoke reflection of inner spirituality, beliefs, and religious notions.
Psychic Energy System and Universal Mind Lattice
From human figures to representations of spiritual leaders, the mirrors now transition to complex networks of nerves and light energy. The Spiritual Energy System and Universal Mind Lattice paintings are an excellent representation of the work Grey is best known for.
This looks a lot like x-ray anatomy. In this regard, Grey notes his attention to acupuncture meridians. The work is a product of an LSD journey on June 6, 1986. The Grey’s experienced what Alex calls the light, the light being love.
The Praying painting represents all wisdom traditions and depicts 7 prayers from around the world. From here the mirrors depict subtle energetic realm psychic energy systems. It’s in this style of art where Alex’s experience working in the morgue seem to pay off. The works are both a massive contribution to the art community. They also serve as a powerful tool for spiritual refinement.
Kissing illustrates two human-like figures composed of light and energetic pathways. They are locked in embrace. This mirror is a representation of the infinite bonds of love. Flames flicker beyond the light halos that surround the figures. Perhaps representing romantic passion. He believes that love bonds unite us all and have the ability transcend beyond the realms of common perception.
The Holy Family is said to “point to a hopeful future”. It represents more unification points at a global level. Grey talks about “one world” and “one people”. It inspires Carl Jung theories on collective consciousness, environmental considerations, and so many more meditations. The work is deeply provocative.
Holy Child Grown Up
In this mirror the figure is shown with their back to the viewer. It appears ablaze with wings seemingly reaching down from the heavens and connects to the world spirit of the figure heart. It represents alignment with the heavens and spiritual refinement of one’s self. It seems impossible standing face-to-face with the mirrors would not have some profound affect that brings about insight.
Gaia is based on a vision Alex had when his daughter was born. This painting depicts a tree of life. Equal parts warm and cool, this painting like the others contains a world heart at the center of the tree. Behind it what appears to be the whole world connected by an intentional layer of matrix lines. The lines exude from the tree itself.
Grey talks about the planet in peril and how individuals have a choice. The choice is evolution or planetary destruction. On one side of the tree is nature and wildlife. The other side is a conglomerate of industrial commerce and pollution. The tree canopy is ablaze on one side. The other is full of birds and wildlife.
It’s easy to speculate about Alex’s motivation and thought he might have had. Including a deeper concern for the planet she will inherit with the rest of the world’s children.
Here a figure painting similar to the others but cooler and posed in prayer appears. The earth plays a critical role in this mirror. It permeates through the entire work and seamlessly blurs the lines between figure and earth.
This figure appears calm, meditative and is said to be weaving the very fabric of space and time. The figure sits with legs crossed on an ambiguous environmentally integrated plain. Grey describes this work as a union of human and define consciousness.
The Artist Hand depicts an artist’s hand holding a paintbrush Grey refers to as a spiritual tool. In the work, there is a devilish figure reaching for the brush on one side. An array of ancestral looking faces. They loom in the light of the brush on the other. The “spiritual tool” paints with an all seeing eye. The tool seemingly breaking through barriers of darkness.
In the next work, The Painter channels creative energies onto a hidden canvas. Grey describes this work in relation to the artistic and creative process. The figure is infused with light energy and transfers that energy to canvas. The sense being, viewers will receive that energy in contemplation of the work itself. This reiterates the connections of the body of work as a whole.
Much like what one might expect this work is all about death of the body. An endoplasmic spirit wafts out of the body vessel. Meditation on life, death, and mortality are likely common themes for viewers experiencing this work.
Here human consciousness meets planetary and cosmic consciousness. The very definition of “oversoul” is a divine spirit supposed to pervade the universe and to encompass all human souls. This is not where the exhibit ends.
After reaching cosmic consciousness, this work brings one back down to more practical relational matters. Such as our connectedness to each other. This piece feels thoughtfully positioned for anyone in an induced meditative state. In this work two people locked in gaze and recognize their oneness.
Net of Being and Godself
These works are probably the most famous, due to the association with the band Tool.
Net of Being is based on an ayahuasca experience. Grey describes experiencing an infinite vista of God heads. Each containing a node of awareness. The Godself is very similar to Net of Being, but it depicts just one node. The work speaks to viewers as if to say we are all single nodes in an interconnected matrix of nodes.
There ends the Sacred Mirrors. In summary, Grey talks about a few key LSD experiences that offered him a glimpse behind the veil. The Grey’s have tuned into the infinite bounds of love and sacred interconnection. With that insight, they have shared the Sacred Mirrors of CoSM. A visual representation of transcendent spiritual energy systems. It’s no surprise the mirrors collectively showcase the progressive dissolve of the physical identity into the “light body”.