An Exploration of Human Evolution

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totembiological totemgeneration totemhillary totemmind
The Biological Missing Link
Illumination and Illusion

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a signed print.
Metamorphosis and Transformation

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a signed print.
Hillary Riggs with her
Newly Created Totems

The Mind at Large
Earth & Water
Air & Fire

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a signed print.

Labyrinth Totem

Hillary Riggs’ totems, like those of traditional tribes, symbolize sources of power for tribe and individuals. And these sources of power have expanded with layer upon layer of human experience over eons of time.

The collective mind has grown with each experience, discovery, and invention. It contains every expression of artistic and creative energy, and the accumulated knowledge and wisdom gained by countless geneations of people around the world.

As members of the one tribe of humanity, we all are heir to this unimaginably rich legacy. Like elegantly carved and painted May poles, Riggs’ totems offer an exuberant dance-celebration of our expanding consciousness. They also serve as a reminder that we all have access to the sources of strenght and power that comprise the universal mind.

As Alaskan Inuit wisdom tells us,“Sila ersinar sin wdluge.”

“Be not afraid of the universe.”

Creating Totems

The inspiration for the six original Totems in the “Mind at Large” series came to me in a flash one morning while attending a lecture. Leonard Schlain, who had written a book entitled “Venus and the Alphabet”, gave the talk. He was speaking of a time far back in the pre-history of mankind when, he said, according to archaeological evidence, our skulls had grown too large to be normally birthed. Many deaths of women and babies in childbirth tell the story. Interestingly, right around that same time, we see an enormous flowering of culture: pottery, pictographs, etc.

On hearing this I had an insight that, my goodness, that then was the very beginning of the “virtual” mind: that from that point our brains literally began to grow themselves through the artifact of culture. I later found out that in fact these “artifacts,” as I call them, are referred to as cultural “meems,” just as we have genes. I began to think of this as “The Mind at Large”.

Totems, in all cultures represent those creatures or events, which are the sources of power for the individual or the tribe. And so I created the six Totems, representing the evolution of consciousness through all aspects of culture, through our relationship to Gaia, to the World Tribe, and to our innermost selves. To me these relationships represent the greatest gift, the greatest source of power.

So when I embark upon the creative journey of making a Totem for someone, what I want to know is: what are those experiences, those places and creatures, and those relationships that have the most meaning, that have brought joy and excitement, in other words, more “power” to your life? Or, as in Elspeth’s case, what is of most concern, of most interest to you?

And there we can begin. It begins with you, and I take it from there.

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Quimera Gallery • By Appointment • Santa Fe NM • 505.955.0998