After waking from a childhood coma at around the age of 4, Myron Dyal awoke to a complete loss of memory never to be regained. From that point forward he experienced seizures and visions that no one could explain – blacking out, seeing things no one else could affirm.
With staunch Christian beliefs his family treated the disorder as if it were demonic possession including the requisite religious rite of exorcism. It would take some time before Myron would be diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy and now at the age of 70 he has come into his own blessing in living with it in grace.
At the onset of a complex partial seizure, California-based artist, Myron, falls into somewhat of an altered state not induced by external means. He can communicate, talk and can function physically on some basic levels. However, what he sees is the vision of another world, a surreal environment populated with entities with whom he can speak and interact.
He may not be isolated completely from our world, but for as long as he is in this state his living presence is in another realm of consciousness. Though he interacts with us, his memory of what’s happening on our side of the veil can be non-existent; yet, he comes out of this state with a story to tell from the other side.
Inspired by his mystical experiences encountered during those episodes, Myron translates these ineffable visions into drawings, paintings and mixed-media sculptures communicating viscerally and spiritually what no words can express. He began with journal entries recording his visions. He has thousands of drawings in numerous journals.
Many of the human-like creatures are in fact non-human and otherworldly with features such as pincer hands, fan like protuberances on the heads, many appendages or a tail. Symbolism is ubiquitous.
Looking at the entire work Myron has created over decades one gets a real sense of what lies behind the veil through which Myron passes. With energetic sensibility and organic surrealism, his paintings and sculptures speak of a personal myth, what Joseph Campbell would call a hero’s journey.
In his autobiographical journal “Journey to Zelcon” Myron tells us of a journey into the underworld in which he is ferried to its apparent leader who he calls a demonic entity. The entity asks Myron why he is there and then proceeds to tell him it is no place for mortals. “Leave this place. Leave and never return.”
Despite being surrounded by corpses, rotting flesh, bloody entrails, the foulest stench and the darkest gut wrenching scenes imaginable, at that moment Myron’s fears were allayed. He even describes this entity’s demeanor as kind and gentle. Although the visions may be disturbing in imagery and the experience may be frightening, what Myron feels is love, not fear.
One of the important figures in Myron’s other world is a kind entity that Myron named Charon. Although inspired by the ferryman of the famous Greek myth, this Charon is not a ferryman but a spirit guide who often appears in Myron’s works in some form.
His latest endeavor is the creation of a pantheon of goddesses and anthropomorphized figures which he collectively calls “Charon’s Pantheon.” (this collection is currently at the Performing Arts Center Gallery of Cal State University, California, where it remains until June 7, 2014.)
Altered states of consciousness have been inspiration to many an artist for ages. Many of these have been voluntarily induced with the use of natural and synthetic hallucinogens like those used in shamanistic rituals. Further exploration of the motifs in these art works, the works of Myron and others with temporal lobe epilepsy, may give insight into the deep root that all of these artists are tapping.
We might call this root a single underlying cosmic consciousness. Aldous Huxley called this “Mind At Large” in his book “The Doors of Perception.” This experience of interconnectedness or oneness is something many of us experience more often than not in fleeting moments. As Myron Dyal continues to dance with goddesses of another world, we can attempt to understand what they have to teach us vis-à-vis his artistic medium.
Myron Dyal art