photo by Katya Walter
Rowena Pattee Kryder, M.F.A., Ph.D. has been teaching since 1971 and was formerly chair of Art and Ceativity at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She is founder of the Creative Harmonics Institute in Mount Shasta where she held ten-day intensive for twelve years. She is currently in Reno, Nevada where she holds workshops and intensives.
Rowena is author of thirteen published books and hundreds of articles. Her life is one of the most creative on the planet today. Nicky Skully, author of Alchemical Healing says, "Rowena Pattee Kryder is one of the most brilliant and creative minds of our times."
See Rowena's Temples
See Rowena's Art in PRODUCTS
Everything is Sacred: A Portrait of Rowena Pattee Kryder
By Maxine Freed
As a second-grader, young Rowena’s schoolwork was always returned to her, red-marked for spelling errors, because she insisted on capitalizing Art and Nature. Now, almost seventy years old, Rowena Pattee Kryder still regards Art and Nature as sacred. In fact, for her everything is sacred, as her life and work clearly shows.
Rowena rarely uses the word God; she tends to refer to ultimate sacred reality as Prime Source. She says “I basically feel I work for Prime Source.” In the 2002 edition of the Creative Harmonics Institute Newsletter she wrote, “Living inside Eternity, one is impelled to express the essence of things…. Art as a Sacred Path allows the Eternal Now to speak through one, from the source.” In a career spanning more than 50 years, Kryder has produced thousands of paintings and prints, numerous three-dimensional artworks, over a dozen books, several films and videos, four published and a few unpublished oracle decks, two temples, and she is currently working on an interactive DVD. All these products exemplify Art as a Sacred Path. Rowena considers her work to be an expression of her deep appreciation for the gifts of creation; it is her reciprocation back to the Divine.
Her childhood was not particularly religious. As a teenager and in her early twenties she was drawn to what she calls the “oriental influx”: the I Ching, Taoism, and sumi-e painting. Later, in the mid-eighties, she created Moving with Change, Tiger and Dragon—a book, posters, and cards based on the I Ching and Taoist Yoga. In the ‘60s and ‘70s she studied and practiced both Zen and Vipassana Buddhism. While she no longer has a regular Buddhist practice, Buddhism has become fully integrated in her life. She exudes non-attachment, equanimity, compassion, wisdom, and joy.
An eight-year self-study of world myths and symbols generated numerous artworks, her 1986 doctoral dissertation, and in 2000, the book Source: Visionary Interpretations of Global Creation Myths. In the mid-eighties Rowena received a vision that led her to create a number of exquisite and powerful shamanic robes. Subsequently, shamanistic ritual work has played a large part in her teaching and workshop facilitation.
“My church has been Nature and the Tao, more than anything,” she says, adding that her basic prayer is to chant the names of the twelve angelic orders—Elohim, Seraphim, Cherubim, and so forth—and then hear their response. “I want their vibrations to be one with my cells so that I can serve people and situations here to whatever degree I can. So that I receive that which is on high, and so that I can give to that which is all around me.”
Much of Rowena’s work follows from the profound visions she receives from time to time. For example, in the mid-seventies three Taoist immortals appeared to her, revealing a vision of a future culture, a future earth. Her painstakingly animated film Tree of Life, the book Sacred Ground to Sacred Space, the Gaia Matrix Oracle deck and book (considered to be her “magnum opus”), and indeed almost all her recent and current work are extensions and versions of this one vision.
Her work appears at once dazzlingly complex and surprisingly simple. Complex, because each work is essentially a cosmology, and the cosmos is complex; simple, because the underlying structure is an “alphabet” of 12 basic functions, 12 forms, 12 harmonic intervals, 12 realms, and so forth. Kryder’s book Sophia’s Body describes in beautiful detail the basic forms and patterns in all of nature. Her Co-Creation Code Deck consists of an explanatory book and 64 stunningly illustrated oracle cards, organized in 12 columns corresponding to these twelvefold archetypal patterns, and 8 rows (some containing less than 12 elements) representing the vibratory octaves of a hierarchy of realms.
Her current project, which will take years to complete, is an interactive DVD targeted primarily towards young people. This emerging, nonlinear medium is perfectly suited to Kryder’s multidimensional work with its interrelated twelvefold patterns, structures, and orders of complexity. A person could begin anywhere in the system and immediately observe similarities and correlations among and across all functions, forms, and levels.
This work could literally change the world: “My current project has to do with mapping a harmonic order of the universe for the purpose of creating a harmonic and sacred geometry structure for the basis of a new culture. I feel my whole life has been dedicated to that purpose.” To that end, one of her projects has been to work with a gifted architect-designer on ways to incorporate sacred geometry and harmonics into an ideal city.
I met Rowena Pattee Kryder last year at the 21st annual conference on Shamanism and Alternative Modes of Healing. Her presentation and product display took my breath away: here stood a Wise One, a visionary, a magician, a 21st-Century Blake or Goethe. Yet she walks the mystical path with practical feet: there’s no difference between communing with the angels and learning a new computer-animation program when everything is sacred.
Maxine Freed is a college instructor and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Consciousness, Spirituality, and Creativity at Saybrook Graduate School. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kryder’s website is www.creative-harmonics.org.
Maxine Freed: 719 Bellamah Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102. Phone: 505 205 1278
to the Work of Rowena Pattee Kryder
by Roberta Schumaker-Beal, art therapist and teacher, in a letter to a friend
Rowena, started, basically, as an artist, who has now written a dozen books and created 5 card sets, with books to go with them... She follows in the tradition of those who are whole-brain creators, a creatrix of extraordinary range...
Her book, The Golden Echo is well worth the investment. It is the only book that I have seen that is a life review, self-created by an artist, which documents her expanding consciousness, as she also becomes a writer and creator of symbol based card decks, with accompanying texts.
Enjoy Rowena’s web site: www.creative-harmonics.org—She is releasing a LOT of her life's works now.
I find Rowena's life work to be unusual for several reasons:
First, Rowena is a woman, who has made a living for 37 years, as, essentially an artist and creative person, with a wide range of creative productivity, a role model for many creative women. Rowena’s work has an over view of a study which she calls "morphology" that is astounding, and may reach beyond the human limitations of archetypal image designations. Her imagery does have a certain coherence, within an extensive imagery that is entirely inventive and on an innovative pathway, that seems to build over a lifetime of work by a dedicated introvert, who is motivated by sharing her perceptions to help us travel through the millennial paradigm shift which is currently with us.
Second, as an artist she has not stayed tied to a stream of creativity "that sells" only. She has continued to change styles and venture into each next growth stage. Those stages are documented in a small book she produced, a small form of a life review, about ten years ago (Rowena Pattee Kryder: Works, 1956 to 1996). The remarkable evolutions of her art work from decade to decade is documented, in a small booklet she produced as a "primer" for her life journey and for connectedness among her many stages of growth. This little book presages her later life review, in image and words, including family photographs, in The Golden Echo, an entirely unique auto-biography not ever seen my me, as a student of creativity studies.
Rowena has a kind of culminating overview of her studies, which is a courageous vision, with corresponding text, which she has developed relatively recently in her creative life paths. She calls this set of imaginal symbols, morphology. From my imagery studies, this is to me, an innovative vision, process and organizational system, that is astounding and may reach beyond former human limitations designated as more subjective archetypal imagery, into a more objective, though, still identified by a unique individual’s human perception. Rowena’s imagematic symbologies do contain certain coherence, within an extensive imagematic system from her innovative pathways of study. She does re-perceive the perennial wisdoms, and build on them for some newly reordered and comprehensive systems. Reading The Golden Echo, one can see how a creative process builds over a lifetime of work by a dedicated introvert, who is motivated by sharing her perceptions to help us travel through the millennia we are all currently passing through. Rowena began looking at the passage from an Old Earth to a New Earth over 20 years ago, with all the commensurate symbols that guide our creative and collective unconscious.
Third, Rowena, as an artist and writer, ventures beyond traditional Western culture, studying Eastern Zen perspective, while still being a part of it, anchored in her Western American roots. Therefore, she is a comprehensive visionary, who has had a continuing message about re-sacralizing the Earth. As her wise "vision and voice" spoke many decades before the eco-Earth-message was being heard, she painted and published even while a message about becoming "Earth-aware and attuned" was still seen as "subversive and pagan," by many, except all those north-westerners who loved the wild open spaces of our land. Anticipating the paradigm shift that would speed-up with the millennium, she published Gaia Matrix Oracle: Readings for Worlds, Major Arcana & Symbols. It is an amazingly comprehensive book, a remarkable array, for someone like me, who studies from a Jungian archetypal perspective on the creative and collective unconscious. Her Earth-centered sensibilities, like her writings on creating sacred space, have instructed this reader, with creeping eco-angst, that a time of transition was not only possible, before the end of the old world would be upon us, but also could be envisioned as only creative souls can help us pass through the dark night of the soul transition, into a new beginning, of our own design.
Fourth, Rowena is not an artist, only for or with artists, especially those who create out of a societal woundedness as a result of being tangentialized by many public school systems. As the arts were pushed out of the schoolroom door, since the shift toward the sciences after the Russian Sputnik challenge to our limited American collective identity, we have seen the rise of independent art schools, like the one where I got my Masters, the Maryland Institute College of Art. There is now a network of independent art schools, separate from the knowledge resources of university campuses. Despite Ben Shaun's warning to university campuses about the variance between arts education and reading,’ writing and 'rithematic, in his philosophic and wise lectures to the Harvard faculty, compiled in The Shape of Content, too few in our educational systems listened, apparently. In a kind of self-defense against the loss of emphasis and support on the humanities and the arts, even arts educators separated the education of the American student brain into the "supposed left and right hemispheres" and into separate science and arts campuses. Despite this pervasive trend over the last 40 years, Rowena has remained a whole brain visionary and educator with a remarkable grasp both with image and word of a wholistic vision for education that can sort out and preserve the best of the perennial wisdoms from both art and science from a global perspective, from the past and move into the perspective of the future of our global village on our home planet.
Fifth, Rowena has also remained a wholistic, whole brain perceiver, processor and producer, despite the turn in many of our societal knowledge centers toward specificity, specialization and reductionism.... I have been drawn to her work because she asks the "big question," as philosophy calls them, while she inclusively addresses pan-societal views that so few can even comprehend, let along document in word-smith theory AND skillful visual template. The resulting products of her intellectual reveries, her unique forays into the comprehension of knowledge, are not only about what something means, but what "stands under" that meaning, while, still engaging the artist's eye for essence of the aesthetic principles of beauty, symmetry, harmonics, fairness with balance and truth, with justice. For example, one of her “posters” has especially intrigued me, among many. In high school I noticed the odd shape of the chart of the elements in chemistry class, and played with a better image could be envisioned for our studies. Rowena went ahead and designed and produced a circular chart of the elements which makes much more sense, given the structure of atoms, and their circling electrons, given her mathematical specificity for atomic structure, which is incorporated into her visions.
I know no one else like this post-modern Renaissance woman that Rowena is. Rowena has now reached 7 decades of highly unique, valuable and productive results of a creative lifetime of work.
Roberta-Schumaker-Beal, PO Box 2112, Wimberley, Texas 78676
Seeds for a Transformative Holistic Education by Visionary Artist and Teacher, Rowena Pattee Kryder, Ph.D.
by Jackie Ball
How many times have you been approached or approached someone at a social gathering and asked, “What do you do?” How often do you expect that answer to be about making money? How satisfied do you feel after giving or receiving a response? How precisely does the response reflect soul or passion or speak to the depth’s of one’s humanity? Do we, as Allan Watts puts it, tacitly conspire “to ignore who and what we really are”? It appears that on many levels we certainly do.
And to what do we owe this repeated marginalization of self and other? Why is it that we keep cutting ourselves short, ripping one another off from real connection? In these post postmodern times we find our minds and our hearts searching for venues in which to realign. It is essential that we rediscover love and fascination if we are to heal and reconnect. Imagine a culture that emphasized reciprocation with interest, where principle maintains our well-being and creativity serves the common good. What tangible changes could help manifest such a vision? For Rowena Pattee Kryder, Ph.D., the answer lies in an education that works with our hearts as much as it speaks to our minds.
Rowena believes that “the main focus of an emergent education for our youths is that it needs to nurture and also challenge the whole person.” Rowena, known to many as “the female Joseph Campbell” has taught I Ching, Sacred Art, World Myths and Symbols, Art Therapy, Shamanic Art and Ritual Healing at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a scholar and author as well as a prolific artist, spiritual teacher and visionary. In 1986 she built and founded the Creative Harmonics Institute in Mount Shasta, California, a retreat center holding conferences and workshops on the integration of nature, culture and symbolism.
Jackie Ball, student and teacher of young children
In the articles below you will find interesting and comprhensive stories of Rowena and her work:
ARTICLES on the LIFE and VISION OF ROWENA PATTEE KRYDER
SEE also endorsements
—The Life of a Visionary—12 pages, 4 in color by Ron Starwolf, published in Halo Magazine, 1990
An account of the life of Rowena Pattee Kryder, and how it relates to her art and writing. How you can know a completed action, how reciprocation works. About her film Interspace and Passages and about the Cosmogenesis series of art. Pictures and accounts of the restorage of the Avery Brundage Estate from ruins to art. How the Tree of Life film and video was created Being grounded in everyday life. Being true to yourself more than following status quo. Why our choices are important.
—Rowena Pattee Kryder: Artist, Visionary and Mystic—13 pages, 5 pages in color, interviewed by Ron Starwolf and published in Tantra Magazine, 1993
Similar in content as above except new wonderful visuals of Creative Harmonics Institute in Mount Shasta, and the Cave-of-Dawning in Santa Barbara, California and illustrations of cards of the Vibrational Healing Cards and Gaia Matrix Oracle. Emphasis on how art is a program to be lived.
—The Celestial Earth of Rowena Pattee Kryder- 8 pages, 2 in color to Spur the Emergence of a new Global Culture based on spiritual transformation—published in Yoga Journal, September/October, 1991, interviewed and written by Richard Leviton
A vision of a Celestial Earth, how to use the Gaia Matrix Oracle, a tool for global reculturation, and how to test your visions with grounded reality. Accounts of the Heart of the Sun Temple in Mount Shasta, California where for 12 years, Rowena conducted seminars for transformations needed for allowing the Celestial Earth to emerge.
—Visions for a Changing World—4 pages, published in Shared Visions Magazine, Vancouver BC., Canada, October, 1990, by Christine Fuller, from an interview of Rowena
Building a temple in Mount Shasta, California and creating the Gaia Matrix Oracle. An account of Rowena’s life in how she received visions and voices of a New Earth. Involvement with Spiritual Ecology and cultural change.
—Rowena Pattee Kryder, Shamanic Profiles of Shaman Women in Contemporary society—12 pages; Essay in the book, Shapeshifters by Michele Jamal, published by Penguin Arkana, 1987, by Rowena Pattee Kryder, PH. D. , 1991
What it means to live with the “sun in the heart.” A life account since 1963 when Rowena met Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. How shamanic “work” came to Rowena from White Eagle. How to be a grounded neoshaman. The balance of yin inspiration and yang action exemplified in Rowena’s life. Revealing how love of the earth is a mainspring of inspiration. Discussion of the dissolution/putrefaction stage of modern civilization. Personal accounts of visions of “white Buffalo,” “Black Buffalo,” the “Blue Pharaoh” and “Eagle Crooked path.” Having confidence that anything that can be seen on the inner planes can become manifest and Rowena’s vision of a Celestial Earth.
—My Life Quest through the Gaia Matrix—15 pages by Rowena Pattee Kryder, PH. D. , 1990
If Ken Wilber would be an expression of the archetype represented by the Tarot card of the High Priest (or Pope), then Rowena expresses a more "simplex" (her word--a combination of simple ways to express the complexity of nature) archetype of the High Priestess.”
—Dr. Adam Blatner, psychotherapist and author of Foundations of Psychodrama, Acting-In: Practical Applications of Psychodrama Methods, The Art of Play: Helping Adults Reclaim Imagination and Spontaneity, Interactive and Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance
From a letter....
“I know you would love Rowena's work, because she skillfully creates great artwork, AND, as well, incorporates the latest "truths" from science" into her poster like pieces.... She seems to be an innate teacher, as well as artist, writer of 12 books and 5 card decks. Participation with the card decks allows the user to interactively have a whole brain, visual~verbal experience while "working and playing" with the decks.
“Considering her imagery, I have some few specific differences of perception, from my symbology studies of 30 years, of looking at 1000's of unique individual imagery in art therapy sessions, yet her images, have come into an over view of a study which she calls morphology that is astounding, and may reach beyond the human limitations of archetypal image designations. ... Her imagery does have a certain coherence, within an extensive imagery that is entirely inventive and on an innovative pathway, that seems to build over a lifetime of work by a dedicated introvert, who is motivated by sharing her perceptions to help us travel through the millennial paradigm shift which is currently with us... Two things seem to contribute to her motivations: she is a mother of two brilliant sons, and now a grandmother.......... and her incessant curiosity about a world view, that goes beyond even a non-typical Western and esoteric view. “
—Roberta Schumake-Beal, art therapist, Wimberly, Texas