Born from a wavering path through religion, spirituality and mental health, “I am my own Sun, Moon and Stars” by Jordan Clarke, is an in-depth love letter to the sun and the moon, for all their darkness and light.
“I am my own Sun, Moon and Stars” is a body of work stemming from a dream that inspired me so much that I had to write it down at 1:40am. Originally the title was “I am my own Sun, I am my own Moon and my love and light, powers and talents are the stars that look back at me” but somehow this mouthful remained a working title only. The idea is that I am just as strong, just as beautiful and awe inspiring as the celestial beings that rule us. I have always had an affinity with the Moon, a fascination and admiration from childhood. The Moon is my protection, my comfort in the dark and has always been there to listen to my woes and calm my fears. It may take its shine from the Sun but it has its own radiance and influence, without the Moon so many things fall apart and I connected with that more and more over time. The Sun is the ultimate life giver, it’s the centre of our universe and despite being a symbol of all good and omnipotence, its power is overwhelmingly unassailable. The stars are these gorgeous globes of brilliance that light up the space around us and even when they have burned their last light their enchanting presence still lingers in our sky, millions of light years away. I feel like this is the same with our skills, our opinions, our individual capabilities and quirks.
As we grow and expand as people we dazzle and twinkle our individualities and some shine brighter than other but they make for a wonderful image of ourselves.
Religion and spirituality have been in and around my life since I was born like a lot of people. I grew up going to a Catholic primary school then transitioned to a predominantly Muslim secondary school with a Christian non-practicing family behind me. My faith has remained an integral part of my young life with having gone to religious schools during two of my most important formative periods so far. Even when my practice and understanding has wavoured and shifted, my constant dialogue and relationship has never really changed with my God. If anything did change, it is that I started to recognise that the God I read about in the Bible, the God I learnt about from the Qu’ran and the other multitude of deities are not so different. Us as practitioners were not so different and that ultimately we are all living and striving for one main goal. This goal is to be the best versions of ourselves and maintain our humanitarian values for a better and healthy world. I think this new belief is what allowed me to fall into spirituality so easily as I grew, I was fascinated by its expansive perspective of life and who we are.
In December of 2017 after years of perpetual depression and anxiety disorders I knew I was going to have to make a very drastic decision. I had battled with body dysmorphia and disordered eating for example for far too long and had come out on the other side of numbness. That faithful morning, I had complete clarity and I told myself in God’s presence that I am to make a choice now and which ever I chose will be fine but I had to commit to it. Was I going to stop or promise to live. No longer survive but actually live, choose to make a difference and give it my best or let go. As I said before I had no problem with either and had contemplated both over the years but I had had enough so I made my choice. That December I made the decision to turn around and take the steps to find a different perspective, a new way of living. I didn’t know it then but I was on the journey to discovering a better existence. I had changed my mindset although I ended up never leaving my house for four months. The beginning of 2018 was a difficult for a plethora of reasons, reasons ranging from dropping out of my top university to grief upon grief but I diligently took my time and put in the work. I learnt the true definition of self care and sat and listened to my actual needs for the first time, down to my tiniest, most frivolous desires. When I think of my mental health I often relate it to the ‘Allegory of the Cave’ which was presented by the Greek philosopher Plato. To be brief, it explains the difficulties us people encounter when confronting the real truths of our world and human perception. He likens the everyday person to prisoners in the bottom of a dark cave, chained together by force but staying together by choice. We choose to accept illusions as our reality like watching shadows pass on a wall behind a fire pit but some of us seek more. Some of us become aware and grow dissatisfied with the order and our conditioned limitations. Plato uses the example of one finally choosing to turn around, their eyes burned by the light of outside and their cores shaken by the bursting of their bubble as they mentally and physically ascend. They make the treacherous uphill climb to the top, discarding their shroud of ignorance and naivety and see the outside. They see the people who were once just suggestions and shadows on a wall, they see the Sun, they see life itself. It takes them aback but ultimately they reach enlightenment, They step forward and live amongst the higher beings. There’s a touching moment in the story when they stumble across a puddle and with the Sun they see their reflection for the first time. Prior to this journey they had no concept of who they were. Now they could finally see who they are, what they are and connect. I cant relate to anything more than this narrative when I look back on my climb.
I started to be learn how to be happy which was something I had aggressively denied truly existing in the past because I was so deep in the darkness. I was skeptical that there were people out there that felt even a degree differently from how I did. Previously I didn’t recognise the depth of my declining mental stability, I was blinded by my sadness and inability to ask for help. Nevertheless I rose, explored the unknown and really chased my happiness. I took off running and did not give up even though I knew it was going to be battle. It was a painstaking process but I managed to build a relationship with myself. I was alive, not coasting but alive and ready to make something of myself. I saw the light, I saw the Sun and stepped into its warmth to find my puddle which in many ways and places I have. Spirituality has been a huge guide and crutch during this ascension~ I started to explore astrology and Tarot, I looked into the power of prayer and manifestation. I fell in love with frequencies and chanting, writing down my intentions and performing a mound of rituals. Maybe this is because I am a Virgo and need to feel like I’m being proactive and productive but whatever it was, I was starting to feel great. I began to feel genuinely and fundamentally contented and happy to the point that it almost felt manic at times. I felt like a ball of burning gas beaming my love and light far and wide and through that evolution this project was finally born. Healing is in no way linear and last year came with many ups and downs with one step forward and four steps back but once I grasped that spirituality is personal and that its about tailoring your practices to what I believed and wanted, then I was equipped to take on anything. I felt like I was confident enough to become the creative I have always aspired to be and I found a way to mesh my love for all things outer worldly and visual arts together to make an emotional piece. I have now got to a point in my life where I feel like I no longer have to look up to find love, support, comfort, strength or inspiration. I am my own Sun, I am my own amazing Moon and I am surrounded by an abundance of extraordinary qualities, my stars. Human existence, my existence possess such a resplendence and as an official debut of my creative direction I created images that I felt signified that.
Makeup - Michael Brooks @the_brooksbrother
Wardrobe - Rita Sarpong @darkandafro
Creative direction/Set design - Jordan Clarke @Jordanskn
Model - Jordan Clarke @Jordanskn
Words by Jay Clarke.