I often have dreams about friends, even friends I have yet to meet, and not only do I record the dreams in a handwritten journal I keep at my bedside, I also draw scenes in my sketchbook and use the best images for future paintings. I consider all of the portraits I will feature here as Spiritual Portraits because each was inspired by the Gods, but fashioned first by a love for my kindred spirits. I praise the Gods for giving me permission, and my friends for letting me express how I feel about them this way, so that I can share with you here a peek into what it is like to put on paper how I perceive the spiritual world and my friends in it.
Vision of the Priestess in Red
“I had a dream of an Asian woman dressed in red with a handkerchief over her head and a group of four spirits surrounding her — each one ranked from high to low — all around her like helpers. They were feeding on the sweet-smelling offering of burning plants in her hand. I woke up quickly, so I sketched it as soon as I could before I forgot the image. She seemed small, solid, all dressed in red with some highlights of orange-red and darker, crimson red. On her head was a handkerchief headdress, around her neck several layers of lovely thick beads, and on her wrist was an arm band with an African design. The spirits began to dance around her as if part of the smoke or as the smoke itself. One of the “faces” I recognized immediately as Gede. He was the one that got me up early and would not let me forget the vision. Even though I tried to stay in bed for a while longer, the longing to put it down on paper was too strong. When I got up and told myself to take a shower instead of drawing first instead, Gede’s voice broke through my thoughts and said, “Do it!” When a God speaks, my instinct is to listen.” — from my dream journal, October 28, 2011
This was the original sketch I first drew:
You can tell that, when I traced the drawing and transferred it onto a different type of paper and painted the image, more spirits decided to “show up” the more I concentrated on it. Perhaps they were all there before and I was remembering them. It was like I had been there at the ceremony where this priestess was giving an offering to the spirits. Like I was acting as a human camera, painting out the little and big unseen living beings who gather with us at religious events. I was excited to record this, but to share it?
A friend of mine had traveled to New Orleans for Halloween weekend with this priestess, a woman I had never met, and as I was thinking and wondering what kind of adventures he was up to down there, wishing I could be there with him, my wish must have manifested in a way I did not anticipate. During his time there, I was on Facebook checking out friends’ updates when the little profile picture of the woman’s face randomly came up and indicated that she was a mutual friend of two friends of mine on Facebook. She was the woman from my dream! I felt immediately like I knew her.
When I contacted her and told her about my vision, she didn’t think it weird at all, in fact she liked it! She liked the results even better when I showed her the drawing and then later when I sent her the original painting in the mail. Better yet, I surprised her by sending the painting with a few nice gifts and some incense to “feed” the spirits. I made sure that no one else got to see the painting until she saw it first. It seems the spirits and Gede helped make me a new friend! Thank you.
Just want to leave you with a softer version of the painting from above. I don’t know who all the spirits are shown here, but Gede wants to make his presence most known. He is in the upper right corner closest to Saumya’s head. He wanted me to tell her, and you out there, that his skin tone is usually much darker, but in this painting he liked how softly my brush brought out his finer features because he is truly a loving God who cares for his children. Thank you, Gede, I am happy you asked me to paint you. And Thank you to the crowd of spirits who appeared, anxious to show themselves to Saumya, all of whom I sense are concerned about her and support her in their own powerful, invisible way. Even the hungry ones seem to be a little less greedy for an offering and want to support her. That is my impression.
Someday Saumya and I are going to have a long talk over some hot tea, sit by a fire, and our spirits will mingle. What a night that will be, eh?
In the days and months to come, I am making it a goal to share more of my art and photography here. Especially my spiritual portraiture! Please come back and enjoy.