The Message of Goddess Fortuna

I live a life of devotion. I love my Gods. Sometimes they talk to me in my dreams.  Since today is a very auspicious day, dated 12-13-14, I thought it appropriate to finally post a dream conversation I had with the Goddess Fortuna.  This is a re-post from my old Mindsay blog.  So posting this again, I hope, will bring you a great message, and us both wonderful luck.  Enjoy!

On the night of September 3rd 2009, I dreamed about the Roman Goddess Fortune (also known as Dame Fortuna).  The following is posted directly from my private handwritten dream journal.

“I am not Lady Luck,” she smiled, dressed in jewel encrusted red velvet and gold (as if she just stepped out of an Italian Renaissance painting) her hair colored amber honey, tied up in braids with ribbons of gold — real gold that shimmered like tinsel. Looking at her… she seemed ablaze with that gleam of gold, so gold it blurred my vision. When she talked to me, she was hard at work in, of all places, a modern morgue (or mortuary, it kept changing from today to ancient and back again) yet all the while, between the flickering back and forth of time, shifting of places, Fortuna’s golden aura made the room warm and comfortable. She was attending to the bodies — unzipping the body bags and decorating the dead with flowers, jewels, chains of gold, scented oil, rose petals… it was easy to breathe in the thick scent of myrrh, gardenia, roses, musk, incense…

“I am FORTUNE,” she sighed lovingly, firmly while placing daisies over the eyes of a dead man, “I am there at the end of life, but I am no nurse. I am the one with the job of making sure the lost and unknown receive a proper funeral — especially when there is no money or living people around to bid farewell to these souls. This is what you need to tell people, Valentina.”

She gave me a serious down-to-business look that sent a shiver through me.

“When a person — no matter what their significance when alive — passes from body to spirit without a funeral, it is as if they never existed. No one acknowledges that they lived. But this is not their fault. Death came to them inconveniently. It happens. However, it can be remedied. They do not have to pass into the next life without someone knowing who they were. Gods like me, we do not miss them. We grant these unknowns grace and peace — their bodies, their faces, their names, all these things stay a mystery to you, but we know them. This is perhaps the most important thing I do, providing a funeral when there was none.”

She paused while scattering more rose petals over the severely battered body of a woman. The woman is dark-skinned and Fortune’s light makes her broken corpse seem like a liquid black gold. Fortune’s eyes are moist with sad recognition. She briefly touched the dead woman’s head and the face reconstructs, glowing with Fortune’s golden aura so bright. “This one was stolen from her destiny, and enslaved by men. Her fate was entangled by money — as long as her body provided pleasure she made it with great ease, but the gold she earned never went to her. She could not own herself. In order to escape, she had to die. Her family does not know she died. She was beaten so badly, and on purpose, so no one can identify her. But I know her. See how beautiful she is? Death is kind to those who have suffered. Keep that in mind.”

I follow her as she moves on attend to other battered bodies, repairing them in death, touching and decorating each carefully.  I notice that behind her there rages a great, fiery furnace. There are two men completely clothed in black.  Completely void of any identity, they move like shadows, they are covered in a kind of opaque chiffon, wrapped up like mummies or ninjas, strips of the strange cloth cover every inch of their skin, it seems they are nothing but this fabric — without body and soul. Fortuna notices I’m disturbed by their presence.

“You see my workers?” She winks and smiles. “Pay them no mind. It is their fortune to carry the dead. They who kill cannot rise again to life until they answer for the burden of murder. Keep this also in your mind — write it down — share this — this is the killer’s burden. Murder is heavy on the soul. You cannot escape the fortune you take. Tell as many as possible. This should not occur anymore. People must know. Share what Fortune is telling you, Valentina, and your fortune will be assured.”

When I’m about to express some self-doubt, my thoughts are laid wide open for I stand before a goddess and she knows all. “Just do this, Valentina! You will see I will not forget you. You will prosper. This is not a fiction. Gold will follow these words.”

She says this as her workers, these shadow men, stir up the coals of the furnace. Quickly, they zip the dead back into their bags, some bodies into old-fashioned sacks, and one by one, the bodies’ are placed into the furnace like they are backing bread, beginning to melt into black puddles and then, without smoke, they disappear. When gone, there is no mess, no residue, no trace of them left behind. As the last body disappears, this place of death becomes cold and silver.

Funny how I associate “silver” with cold…

Dame Fortune blows me a kiss and sends me back to bed. Her voice is still in my head.

“I will reward you for following my wishes,” She said.

So let this be shared.  Let it be passed along.  May Fortune’s words of gold also be yours.

Thank you, Fortune, thank you.

**This dream was very important to me because, in the following year, my mother died, and it helped prepare me, in an unexpected way, for that life-changing event.  I began to understand more about life and death, yet also went through a series of emotional upheavals, that, I always discover, lead to breakthroughs (often our break-downs are breakthroughs in disguise).  Immediately after my mother’s death, when her body was sent away for cremation, I watched the documentary A Certain Kind of Death (about what happens to the dead with no next of kin), and not only was I reminded of this dream, that film brought me relief from my worries about what happens to bodies after they die. It’s the side of “fortune” we rarely examine — who will care for the physical parts of who we were after we’re gone, and will someone respect us when we’re dead? From what I saw in A Certain Kind of Death, even the unclaimed dead are treated with respect, a sobering prospect to ponder. One of my fears was dying alone and undiscovered like those stories you hear about in the news every now and then — no one wants to be known someday only as “that person” who died in a horrible circumstance where no one cared, or know someone who died alone undiscovered for a long while…  I truly believe the gods don’t forget us.**

The following is a list of the many aspects of this gracious goddess. Call upon any of her names below to ensure good fortune (derived from the page on Fortuna at Wikipedia:

Fortuna Annonaria brings the luck of the harvest
Fortuna Belli is the fortune of war
Fortuna Primigenia directs the fortune of a firstborn child at the moment of birth
Fortuna Virilis attends a man’s career, celebrated only by women
Fortuna Redux brings you safely home
Fortuna Respiciens — She is the fortune of the provider
Fortuna Muliebris is the luck of a woman (of note is the fortune of a woman in marriage was also Fortuna Virilis, tied to her husband’s career)
Fortuna Victrix brings victory in battle 
Fortuna Augusta is the fortune of the emperor
Fortuna Balnearis brings the fortune of the baths
Fortuna Conservatrix the fortune of the Preserver
Fortuna Equestris fortune of the Knights
Fortuna Huiusque Diei fortune of the present day
Fortuna Obsequens fortune of indulgence
Fortuna Privata fortune of the private individual
Fortuna Publica fortune of the people
Fortuna Romana fortune of Rome
Fortuna Virgo fortune of the virgin
Also something to note:
Pars Fortuna is your Lots of Fortune, or Part of Fortune; “time of birth” determining your fate that are calculated by the three degrees/angles of the major cosmic bodies that make up your Astrological natal chart — your Rising Sign (Ascendant), Moon, and Sun.

As you can see, the Goddess Fortuna, or Fortune, is incredibly involved in all aspects of life. The name Fortuna finds its root in the Latin fero, meaning “to bring, win, receive, or get”, hence why she was later associated with gambling luck. She was a very popular goddess in Ancient Rome, and today She is actively worshiped by Pagans, Witches, and many polytheists.

Awesome pages about the Goddess Fortuna and the people who worship Her:
The Obscure Goddess Online Directory: FORTUNA
Temple of the Goddess Fortuna
A Rite to Fortuna — Mirror of Isis, A Fellowship of Isis Publication

An art installment by Dawn DeDEAUX using imagery that is very close to my dream, so close it frightened me when I discovered it online: The Goddess Fortuna and Her Subjects In an Effort to Make Sense of it All — however it is a statement about

Broken Sword Nightmare

I had a nightmare last night and it has left me shaking all day long, so much so, I’ve made extra efforts to calm myself today. In it, a friend of mine, and several others, treated me not-so-friendly. Hence why I filed this dream into the nightmare category. The dream may only be a product of my paranoia and an anxiousness to hear from my friends again. I do not think they realize how much the internet is my only source of communication with them. Most of them live out of my state, I do not have long distance, so I cannot call them. This leaves me in a state of panic when long pauses of time span between us. The panic gets worse when I notice that they communicate regularly with several other friends. I’m not stupid. My comments are right there and no one’s responding to me. I just wait and wait and wait. And it eats, eats, eats, eats, and eats at me til I shake like a frightened little puppy during a thunderstorm. I immediately think the worst has happened. Then I attack myself, because it must mean I’ve done wrong.

I’ve been through this before and always fear going through it again.  Because I only get ignored when a friend is about to dump me. I get the silent treatment when they’re about to tell me they are sick of hearing from me. They are suddenly busy not because they really are busy, but because they’d rather be busy than talk to me. Plans to meet up get cancelled over and over again because I was never a priority in their lives to begin with. Just the little invitations and hints to get together were the nice, superficial ways people generally always say “let’s do lunch sometime” and “we have to go out for a coffee one of these days” and they don’t really ever mean it. It’s just the pat on the back, the shake of the hand, maybe that’s all, and the “be on your way now” sort of thing. Yet I always fall for it. Because it’s my hope and dream to visit with friends. I don’t want to keep it only online forever. Everyday it is my ambition to have enough money to travel just to drop in on friends I haven’t seen or have yet to see.

I want to make it REAL! Let me be a REAL friend to you!

But let me describe to you my nightmare…

The dream started out nice enough. I found myself in the dance studio, happy as can be because I had just received the two Balady scimitars I’ve been working hard for. I pulled them out of their packaging, admiring how shiny they were. But then guy friend rudely grabbed it out of my hand! He pulled one of the blades til it was like taffy, next he tossed it in the air, and it landed on the floor. “Why did you do that?! My sword is not yours to take!” I scolded. When I retrieved the scimitar, he once again snatched it out my hands and said, “Look, I didn’t do any serious damage…” and then he tested the blade by holding it against his hand (a scimitar made only for belly dancing is dull, so he wouldn’t slice his skin) but then the steel cracked as if made of hard plastic. “Ulp!” He grabbed both parts and looked at me about to laugh, the way people do when they are nervous because they just did something really bad to upset you, “I didn’t meant to do that,” he added, and there was nothing else he could say. He handed me back the parts, unable to stop laughing.

“You shouldn’t have let me touch it,” he said, “if it was so important to you.”

Instead of getting upset, I walked immediately to the manufacturer. By way of an elevator that resembled a closet, I pushed a button that lit up white, the little door slid open, and I entered this elaborate Steampunk-esque labyrinth warehouse world. With my broken sword and the spare in hand, an electronic voice told me to sit on this rubber seat and strap myself in by these silly-looking suspenders. Suddenly I flew away high above this factory where there were hundreds of laborers and shelves of merchandise — all resembling a scene out of Brazil.

I was deposited in a dusty, gray office, my swords given a big DEFECTIVE stamp in red and instead of being given my money back, or a replacement, I was given two lions to take care of — one black, the other white. What the hell am I supposed to do with these creatures? I was never given a reason. Then I was hurriedly pushed out of the factory and into a very busy market square full of women, children and baby animals.

I managed to keep the lions from eating them, yet it was a struggle. The whole while, I was searching for my friend, thinking, “How could he do this to me? Those were my swords!” The black lion got loose, I had to chase it and calm it down while all around me people were screaming for their lives and cursing my name. Those that were not trying to escape took to attacking me, several of my guy friends’ ex-girlfriends were hitting me, calling me names, and throwing cabbage at me.

Then I saw my friend Miya come up with an axe — ! I did not know if she was going to kill me or the black lion. The black lion clawed into the ground and buried itself. Just as the women attacking me were about to take a giant rock to my head, Miya chopped off the rope I was using as a leash for the lions. The white lion turned into a tiny kitten that turned into a small white jasper pendant. “THAT’s mine!” Miya proudly proclaimed, and she grabbed it out of my hand with this angry look on her face that told me she disapproved of me, like a head mistress about to discipline an unruly student kind of thing. After that scuffle, everyone backed off from me and went about other business. “What is going on?” I asked Miya and she just sardonically smiled. “Oh,” she breathed into a low whisper, “you haven’t heard…” She was about to tell me something secret, I anxiously awaited her information, but then a train whistle blew, and the whole market place emptied!

That emptiness was there for a long while. Like being in ground zero of the end of the world after the end has happened and there’s no one left but me.

Next all I remember was running. Then I fell. I saw two mutual friends I have only met online. One extended his hand to me to help me up, the other walked away. I saw that she was talking to my buddy. The guy friend who helped me up told me to “shhhh!” They all faded away, further and further away, the harder I tried to reach for them, the more they turned insubstantial, and the more I was returning to my bed and then became fully awake and crying.

I woke a half an hour before my alarm, freezing, tearful, shaking, but I stayed in bed, my cat lying on my chest to warm me up, and I sang to myself to keep my spirits up. By the time the alarm went off, I was stable enough to move about, splash some water on my face and really start the day. I told myself this was nothing but a nightmare! I promised I would forget about getting online and just get work done…

Yet I’m in the middle of a paid illustration gig that requires me to be in constant contact with my client, so I gotta do what I gotta do. I have to keep going. Checking Facebook and my Gmail is unavoidable, and that also means facing another day of no responses from a friend I’m anxious to hear from who has yet to even say “Hello! Come visit me as soon as you get paid, Val! Everything’s fine!” I pray my anxiety is just, anxiety. I interpret the dream, symbol by symbol, as follows:

The Balady Scimitars: Balady or Baladi (بلدي) is an Arabic word meaning “native” or “local.” These scimitars were the kind that were used by peasants, a common sword found in the country.

These scimitars I have been working toward for months to buy so I can use them for belly dancing. They are valuable to me because I have never bought a sword for myself. I have given away swords as gifts, once I gave one to my guy friend even, but now I regret I have no swords of my own. I love swords.

Swords represent to me uncommon beauty and power that I can only compare with the feeling of confidence. Whenever I handle a real sword, I feel that power.

My friend breaking the sword: When he pulls and breaks what I have been longing to have, I think he really breaks my confidence.

The Manufacturer and the Factory: I believe that these two places represent the Creator and the act of Creation — I am plugging into my source of consciousness and being. They act as my mind telling me there is something not working right in my thoughts. I am judged “defective” and not given back my confidence. I am sent back into the world at the mercy of two driving forces, the two lions.

The Two Lions: The symbolism of this is almost too easy to break down! I have bi-polar disorder, so the two lions must represent the two emotional polar opposites within struggling for control that I must referee. The black lion is my wild and hungry anger. The white lion is my wild passion and exuberant love. Both have to be leashed or they will lash out and hurt whoever gets in my way.

The Market Square: This place was filled with innocents, children and baby animals, things I want to protect and not let “my lions” harm. The women there weren’t even selling anything, they were just hanging out. Getting around them without letting the lions go crazy was a struggle, so I believe the market was an obstacle course to see how well-behaved I can be. Most of my anxiety now is social, dealing with being overly self conscious about accidentally offending someone, saying the wrong thing, or never knowing who is silently disapproving of me.

This developed from a situation I was in last year when I lost a very important friend who influenced a group of her friends, people I liked very much, to think I was “on the attack” and not worth knowing anymore. I lost so much confidence after that, it’s been an up-hill battle, one I’ve gained strength from since, yet since it’s taking me a long while to heal, I’m still sensitive about. My old girl friend hurt me enough to give me a complex over how I treat my friends — I’m paranoid of losing them and paranoid that, just like she did, they’re going to gang up on me and suddenly refuse to talk and then, good-bye! *shivers*

The Attack: This symbolizes what has happened to me in the past and what I fear most happening again and again and again; the fighting, hurt, rejection, and shunning by women I wish I could be friends with — they attack me for no reason, or for some reason I am not told why — and there’s no reasoning with them. I’m the enemy automatically, like being their scapegoat.

Miya with the Axe: My friend Miya has long been a confidant, someone I have a lot in common with, yet different enough from me so it’s not weird. For many years she’s been on my side, and I’ve been on her’s, and even when we don’t see eye-to-eye, there is always common ground for us to stand on. I believe she represents trustworthy friendship, yet a friendship that has changed. The Axe she carries frees me from attachment.

The Black Lion Buries Itself and the White Lion Becomes a Pendant: Both symbolize the taming down of my emotions — anger lies buried, passion shrinks. Miya takes my passion for herself, claiming it belongs to her. Maybe there is something I forgot to return to her?

The Emptiness: Just loneliness, nothing more.

Running and Falling: Typical chase symbolism found in most dreams — there is a goal I’m working toward and I seem to not quite make it work. I believe this represents my project. I get close to finishing, then something trips me up, a distraction, interruptions, something stresses me out, and sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of drawing! It’s my concentration that I seem to be chasing after.

The Friend Who Helped Me Up: He has cheered me up, it’s true, and I thank him for his support. Because that’s all anyone needs. Just someone who says, “Hang in there!”

The Fading Friends: My interpretation of this is they are physically far away and I have not spoken to them. In reality, that’s the truth. On the internet, that makes them seem like they are making me invisible, especially when they are a vivid presence on their social networks.

After writing out my dream, and reviewing my personal symbolism, I feel much better because I know what my mind is telling me now and I have something to work with to make things better for myself. I may still be dealing with residue from a past relationship that went wrong and anxieties over the possibility I may not get to visit my guy friend any time soon, but that doesn’t mean I should let this nightmare keep me in a state of panic.

The shaking stopped right in the middle of me writing this blog post. I love how that happens. How my words all fall into place like this. One of these days soon I should tell you about how I recall my dreams so well. The easiest answer I can give you immediately is that I do not know how I do it so well because I’ve always been able to! From toddler age to adult, my dream life is a vivid playground. Sometimes its all silly, at other times spiritual and visionary, and then down right theatrical! I do not always write my dreams down. I used to, but then it takes a long while to record the details because as I write more memories rise up to the surface. It seems the more I focus on the dream, especially when I first wake up, the more I remember. Perhaps that’s the key to developing better dream recall: write while the dream is still fresh in your mind.

My 41st Birthday: Thoughts, Dreams, & Goals

I do not know what to write. Today I turn another year older. I have reached my forty-first year in this life and I still feel like I am twenty, with a few minor annoying exceptions, such as my body complains a lot more than it used to, but I am working on making it more flexible no matter how irritated it gets with me. I am forcing myself out of an hour-long spasm of weeping and I do not know why I was weeping. The tears came out of me as if on reflex, like hitting my funny-bone and the water flowered out of me (I accidentally just now typed flowered instead of flowed and it sounds so lovely I am going to keep it there). I am sad these days for no reason and for many reasons at the same time. It is torture, yet it is a release as strong as the urge to drop too great of a burden after one’s arms give out. I do not know what I have been carrying so long for me to be so tired. I began to think hard about the world and all the people in it. I think of the Gods, the spirits everywhere, the little and the big living things that make up the universe, the things seen and unseen that help me live and allow things to die so that we all can live, and I cry, cry, cry for it all.

Like the depictions of Saint Mary, the Mother of God, and the many Goddesses who have given birth to the nations around the world, there is a universal weeping. Have I become a Lady of Sorrow, too? What purpose do my tears serve, if anything, at all? Do I weep out of my own suffering or do I cry because no one else sees and experiences the things I do in this world that go unnoticed and forgotten?  Perhaps I weep because I feel like one of those unnoticed, forgotten things?

There are many people who ask for miracles each day. They pray for things they want and need and hope for. They think that power is a thing to be asked for, a thing they must be given, or fought for, or stolen from others. People abuse each other, control one another, take each other for granted, blind side their own children and lovers, abandon their families, cheat their brothers and sisters out of a better life so that they can get ahead, and you know what?


As for weeping over the things in my life I can’t control, that is something different. Even though I often feel empowered, like I have the power to choose what I want to happen and can make my own destiny, there are some things that I cannot change and therefore must accept. I also must respect the choices of other people, support them even when they argue with me, and give them love unconditionally even when they misunderstand me and scream at me, love them even more so when they do that because they simply do that out of ignorance.

My younger brother, my closest blood relative, has estranged himself from me. He refuses to contact me, blocks me, has a deepening ill opinion of me and I can do nothing to change or soften his mind.  Our mother died last year, and losing my brother in this way, by his own choice, is like experiencing a second death in the family.

My writing as of late has become sad, my feelings of abandonment have increased, and a cloud of insecurity has been cast over my other close relationships as I cope with this emotional situation.  I fear the same thing happening to me with other people I love!  I panic over the possibility that I may do or say things off putting that may encourage friends to leave me.  I did not intend to write about my problems today, but now, as my words spill out, I think I know why I feel so sad on my birthday, and why my thoughts are full of shadow at this time.

Yet I am picking myself. With my birthday so close to New Year’s Eve, I often choose this time to give something to myself and plan at least one activity and a goal that I MUST FOLLOW THROUGH WITH NO MATTER WHAT. I am a very stalwart Capricorn who likes to rise to the top and, not only meet a challenge someone gives me, but better yet meet one I give myself, and go one step further. Later will come the very necessary showing-off, of course. My rising sign is Leo, I love jewelry and the pageantry of reward and praise. I want the bragging rights! I’m that way with my relationships, too. I like to name names, drop names, and give out names and pimp out names — the connections that I find all important even if they are friends that only mean something special to me, I don’t care, you have to know them because I will make them famous somehow by telling you awesome stories of their greatness. That’s how bad I get. My moon is in Aquarius, so you’ll know where I get my mystical and unconventional side from. Don’t ask me the rest, my natal chart is crazy. Where was I?

It seems I have cheered myself up as I get to the last paragraphs of my birthday blog post today. That is because when I start to speak with a purpose and talk about goals, I become full of passion. I burn away what makes me all damp, soggy, tearful. My eyes are drying up and my cheeks now feel a little chapped as I write these lines. I’ll be able to dream well now!

Here is my activity and goal for Valentina year #41:
Get to intermediate level in Belly Dancing
(specifically work on balancing so by year’s end I can Sword Dance)
Lose 30 pounds and keep it off

Fairly reasonable. Losing weight has been a life-long struggle for me, as well as a source of torture and pain. I have been bullied, teased, and criticized for being fat pretty much ever since I was born, and I wasn’t that fat as a child! I have, in the last three months, lost 20 pounds and managed to keep it off, but I am still heavy. Especially bottom front heavy and that leaves me very physically unbalanced. Much of this is due to diabetes. To lose an additional 30 pounds will help to extend my life, but the weight loss must be done slowly, in a healthy way. It has not been easy changing my lifestyle. What keeps me going is thinking about how many people I love crying at my funeral if I get naughty and have those extra bites of fatty foods!

As for the belly dancing… Fairly challenging and EXCELLENT for helping me to restrengthen, regain flexibility in my pelvic and abdominal muscles. I am entering a stage in my life where menopause is rearing its cranky head and I find that this kind of dance is getting me in touch with my feminine, sensual side again. For a long while I have felt totally un-sexy and pretty much undesirable. For the last seven years I gave up hope that I will ever be in a sexual, romantic relationship. As of today, it has been 18 YEARS since I last had a boyfriend, not just some hook-up or fling. That’s nearly HALF my life and I find this appalling. But I don’t need a man to make me feel good anymore. I’m fighting to get my sexy back! AND I’M GOING TO DO IT WITH A BIG BAD ASS SCIMITAR!

Dancing with Swords is not easy. Trust me. I have attempted it for several years and it has been a life-long dream. If you think I can’t do it, just take into consideration last year’s goal; I balanced my blood sugar for year 2010 something I thought impossible because I struggled with it for what seemed like forever. Talk about a tight rope act that was. If I can do that, I can frikkin’ isolate and balance that sword on my head. I was reminded of my obsessive love for swords (and swordplay, YAY!) after a conversation with a few friends recently. It helped me make up my mind what kind of sword I wanted to balance with. Here’s a preview of an instructional video of a dancer with the type of SCIMITAR dancing sword I envision myself using:

Pretty awesome, eh? I thought so, too. It’s going to be an interesting new year. I should probably do a Tarot reading for myself as well. For now, it’s good to dream.

Dream of the One-Winged Angels

From my personal dream journal December 5, 2011:

I have been visited by women with half-shaved heads and one white wing for an arm. Their faces are very celestial, they dress in orange robes that fold and wrinkle over their bodies like the petals of a flower, and they move with odd grace. On a giant pink and white rose sits a man I think is a friend of mine, but it’s not him, he’s something/someone else. In fact, he’s not a he anymore, She‘s a goddess with a very sad face, glowing with pink light. She is spilling rice, white petals into every direction. In one hand she has a half empty banana wood bowl, half-filled with what looks like saffron, in her other hand she holds, with just the tips of her fingers, a large oval green egg shining like an emerald. She has a silver — no, white gold — crown and wears a white robe with a red zig-zag sash. This red sash turns into blood, blood that trails downward and rushes out, gushing into a lake underneath me until I look down and realize it is my own blood bleeding out of me. I fall to the ground in agony. My heart is coming out of me! I next realize I am a woman with one white wing for an arm.  But I am not dressed in orange, I am in black. I am flopping around like a dying bird. I look up to see a dark figure standing over me about to cut me down with a sword. This figure looks like a blue onyx statue come to life. Its face is both female and male, eyes elongated and almond-shaped, the mouth wide and kissable, the expression has no malice, there is sadness, but it is one of almost-pity, like it thinks I am pathetic or weak. As the sword falls, I feel it brush my neck, and I wake up weeping.

“You need not suffer anymore,” was what the Rose Pink Goddess told me before the Sword fell against my neck.  By that time my entire chest was a bloody mess, as if my heart burst from a gunshot.  Or perhaps my heart got too large for my body and outgrew me.  The face the Rose Pink Goddess had began to resemble my own.  I felt strangely comforted by that.  Even the Blue Onyx Sword Goddess was full of mercy.

“You are not to blame for your pain,” said the Blue Onyx Sword Goddess, her voice the sound of whispering flame… you know the sound that fire makes when it first ignites and the air first breathes over it, when the smoke just begins to rush upwards?  That’s her sound.  When I first dreamed “her” I wasn’t sure what sex she was, but in recalling the dream and drawing it out on paper, the features and colors brought back the vision.  I love to remember a dream like this.  The more I think about it, the more comes back to me, and the more the dream becomes ever more real.  These figures are talking to me all over again.  I am living this dream as I share it.

The beginning of the dream, as with all dreams, is the most unclear and fragile.  I describe now the One-Winged women as Angels, yet after painting them, I now see they resemble Buddhist nuns.  I saw my own reflection in the blood that spilled outward towards me and underneath me from the Rose Pink Goddess.  This isn’t the only time I have dreamed of a goddess appearing before me with a green egg, but this time she held a bowl in her right hand.  The previous goddess, I have dream of was Fortuna, and she held an elaborate feather in her right hand and that same green egg in her left hand. I still have yet to decipher what this symbol may mean.

I believe that the Rose Pink Goddess was distracting me away from what was making me sad; missing a faraway friend.  The Blue Onyx Goddess was cutting me off from what usually causes me the most pain; my bi-polar disorder.  I have been actively working towards a goal of better regulating my moods in order to relieve myself of prolonged suffering.  Much of the new therapy I have been practicing incorporates eastern meditation techniques combined with  western Witchcraft-influenced coping skills.  I have also been taking an increased dosage of a medication that helps to stabilize my mood. While I adjust, my mind tells me how things are working out.

And the Gods are telling me that they are supporting me in my efforts to improve my life.  At least this is what I hope they are telling me!  This dream, and a series of dreams like it I have been experiencing for many nights afterward, has made my psychiatrist wonder…  “How can you incorporate symbolism and gods that are outside of your culture into your personal dream iconography?” She asked me.  I just smiled at that and answered her with silence. It doesn’t baffle me in the slightest.

A wise teacher of mine would ask me, “What does this all mean to you, Valentina?”  And that has me thinking wildly.

Postcards from Home #7: Chilled Cozy

Sometimes there seems to be no other time and place better than in my dreams to share and enjoy a fantastic adventure with you. But first I have to coax and conjure my oftentimes reluctant lover into my bed sheets. He teases me most when the nights grow sooner. He’s not really a man, but something, someone somewhere like it, soft and fuzzy as a cat, cool as quartz, and warm as melted caramel sticking to me as sweet as a holiday kiss. He’s the reason why getting into bed is a luxury, why I burn candles and bathe in perfume, why I must practice a nightly ritual of preparing as if for sex. But it is an intimate meeting with an invisible, elusive entity who provides me a fantasy togetherness I can never achieve with another human being. I hold onto him with my legs, knees, arms, and fingers. I roll over into him and feel his warmth breathe all over me as if he were really there. I cannot dream without him. He can only come in the dark. He is always gone with the light. So after the candlelight has burned sufficient and the air is heavy with scented wax, I blow out the flame and wait there, alone, holding him with my body like I do my blankets and pillows. I toss and turn in frustration and anticipation when he doesn’t come right away. How can I enter into the realm where I can see you again if he doesn’t take me?

I cannot rest until he comes. The longing is sweet and stinging, not too unlike the desire to reach the end of a book but to never come to the end of the story. I just need to get into the meat of it all. Dreaming is the cheapest way to travel. But I cannot go anywhere without my lover, Sleep. Only he can pull me away and carry me back. My bed is a vessel, a kind of cloud-ship that will float upward, there is no set time to be there for departure, yet there also is nothing stated in the unwritten contract between us that says he has to be here at my beck and call. The night is torment without him. I am chilled cozy enough for him, bundled up like a baby and weeping for his attention.

The nights he never comes makes the daylight ever more cruel. I have to make artificial night which makes my home seem to be in perpetual night. During the coldest days I fall into my most saddest hours where even closing my eyes and lying down just prolongs misery. But, oh, the pleasure I feel when I sink into the mattress and, without ritual or a lengthy wait, I land into his embrace!

I believe tonight is going to be one of those nights. He’s already assuring me, with a yawn, that I will meet you at the same time as last night, in the wooded clearing where we last played… faraway from today’s ice, where Lugh is always shining, in the summer without bugs, near the fields where the berries are full and ripe, and the deer are gentle and giant enough for riding.

Saumya’s Portrait

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.