If eyes are the windows to the soul, then masquerade masks frame these portals. Eyes transform into mystical moorings when we see them peering through a mask. We might find this inexplicable desire to venture inside the mind of the masked person.
A creative person opens the portals to his or her soul through the process of sharing artwork, writing, or music etc. If we accept the invitation, we push off from the dock and embark on a journey into mystical realms. We may even wonder: What was he or she thinking when she made this piece of artwork?
Yet the greater adventure the artistic person presents to us is to face our own dark muse that drives us to create. If we journey into our soul, we confront the pleasure and pain resident there; we wrestle with our need for unconditional love that motivates us to create in order to mask our lack.
A visual of this journey into the soul can be visualized in the Phantom of the Opera scene where the Phantom takes Christine to his underground cavern. Christine’s anxiety grows as he rows the boat through the mist to his underground hide away.
Once there, she confronts the truth about her muse, an impostor poses as her deceased father. She sees the Phantom’s tortured soul fleshed out in material forms. The mirror symbolizes his vanity, only possible when a mask hides his gnarled face. The closet, flush with his desire for unconditional love; A mannequin replica of Christine clothed in a wedding dress hides inside. The bed, his tortured, unmet passion drives him to control another.
It is there in this soul chamber that Christine realizes she must take ownership of her artistry. She can break free from her dark muse; she doesn’t need him in order to pursue her gift of song. She rises up inside and does the unthinkable. She tears off his mask and exposes his shame. She repudiates his confession of love that masks his control. She agitates his compulsion to overpower her. In the end, she escapes from his inner madness, and in doing so, severs from her muse, the dark angel who released her gift of song.
When we journey into our soul and confront our dark muse, we see those areas of injury that drove us to overcompensate and create. Perhaps, like Christine, we long for an absentee father. Maybe we relate with the Phantom, a social outcast driven to find purpose and acceptance through our art, writing, or music. Whatever dark muse drives us, self-reflection will reveal its form.
The soul is a fascinating realm. If you imagine it as a hideaway, you can expect a mix of magical playrooms and skeleton-filled closets. As artistic people, we frame our souls’ windows with various art forms and then invite viewers to embark on a mystical journey with us to this secret place. In doing so, they discover their own dark muse as they relate with ours. The intrigue? Like the mind behind the mask, you never know what you will find.