The Iris Map
a method for exploring & navigating the imagination

7 Hands

a book near completion by Ann Papoulis
photos by Gioia Emidi excerpts :


We can perceive of life as a series of dances –
physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dances.
The quality of our lives’ dances is deeply influenced
by what goes on inside our minds and imaginations.
This book offers you a method
for directing the activity of your mind
while you dance through your life.

At first I envisioned this method
as a tool for performers
to enlarge and refine their theatrical range.
As it developed I realized it could also be used
in the dances we enact in all dimensions of our lives.


Close your eyes
and imagine the foyer of your mind
as a large round comfortable white space, generously lit.
Inside of the circulating air,
you can sense openings and passageways
that will lead you into other parts of your mind.

To access them,
allow yourself to be consumed
by the richness of the whiteness surrounding you.
Come to rest inside of its vitality.
Be there, alone, round, and suspended,
deeply aware of your humanity.
From this state of pregnant neutrality,
you can enter the colored spaces.

The black space lives
below the surface of your usual thoughts,
in the darkness of the depths of your mind.
Like the night sky, it is vast and
pregnant with mystery.

The architecture of the blue space
is created by your experiences.
Like the sea, it is open, fluid, rich,
and provides you with balance.

The sensation of pleasure and dreams
creates luminous and delicate, yet potent, threads
that interweave to form the pink space inside of you.
It is like a garden in the springtime at dawn.

The red space resembles a metaphoric heart,
that pulses unceasingly.
It moves rapidly forward like a river
that is fed constantly by tributaries.

The green space is a murmuring matrix
that has no beginning, no end, no borders, no limits.
It is – inside and outside of you – it is,
continually moving, continually growing.

The purple space is a vaulted architecture
created by ideas and feelings that have found their order,
and their correlations with myths and symbolic meaning.
It hovers over and inside of reality.

The gold space is comprised of light
that radiates through tangible and
intangible dimensions of your being.
It is a luminous space teeming with
knowledge, power and vision.


Hovering around us as we go through our day
is something we desire that we cannot quite identify,
yet that fulfills us in an inexplicable way
when we succeed in bringing ourselves in its vicinity.

Delving deep into our imaginations
and animating this elusive dimension of reality
warms up and prepares our minds and bodies
for 21st century life,
and provides us with the technique and power
to engage in civilized dances
that are simultaneously transcendent and very real.