Icons are "written" according to ancient "canons" (guides or rules). Each element of the icon has an intrinsic spiritual meaning. The board upon which the icon is written is of wood, which invites reflection upon both the cross of Christ and the Tree of Life. The board is covered with a linen cloth that symbolizes the linen shroud that covered the body of Christ. This is then covered with white gesso (a mixture of chalk and marble dust) symbolizing new life from the tomb (the resurrection of Christ). The image is drawn and then engraved upon the board, reminding us that we are engraved upon God's heart. Red clay is painted upon the board, and gold is breathed onto the clay, reminding us of God's creation of humankind from the clay of the earth into which God breathed life. Dark paint heavy with pigments is then swirled upon the board, reminding us of the darkness and chaos that covered the face of the earth "in the beginning" of creation. Chaos is the ground of all new beginning, and this chaos on the board invites us to reflect upon the chaos in our world and in our own lives. Light is then painted onto the board, with successive layers of transparent color, each layer lighter and purer than the layer before, reminding us that spiritual growth, indeed all of life, is a process. Finally the icon radiates with a light that is not realistic or naturalistic, but symbolic of the light of Christ which sanctifies and transforms us..