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

Magic and Loss

This midnight is better than last year’s
This midnight is better than when you last appeared
This midnight’s better when that old friend disappeared
This midnight’s better because the spirits’ near and cuddling

And Lou sang:

*Magician, Magician take me upon your wings
and … gently roll the clouds away
I’m sorry so sorry I have no incantations
only words to help sweep me away
I want some magic to sweep me away
I want some magic to sweep me away”

Then Lugh says:
“You knew the two you loved most had to go”

And with the new dawn, I learn
grasping at the old fur, I awake
setting aside my brushes, I wash
and with one last cry, I know

The Midnight Angel taught me I can survive even the death of someone I feel I cannot live without, and so he showed me, moving out of the cat’s skin, leaving me behind with all my sobs and wails, to grow silent again.

When I stand, I hear Lou sing:

“I want to count to five
turn around and find myself gone
Fly through the storm
and wake up in the calm”

Before Isis can tell me: “It has been done, They have flown”

My dream unfolds, words have no meaning
two months flow away into nothing
a year and five days and he’s as if no one
but I exist and the story is mine telling, worth knowing
I have meaning and so has my love, I hold on to everything
let go of the ghost of it, hang on to the preciousness

Oshun told me once: “It doesn’t matter if we didn’t mean as much to those we loved, what matters is that we loved, and what mattered is your love had meaning for you.  You have to really love with everything you are, don’t let that be forsaken, especially by your self, because if somebody else didn’t think you meant anything, and you now think you don’t mean anything because what they think matters more — that’s two people’s worth of power overcoming the love you could have helping you survive.  You gotta live on your love.”

And so it came to pass, the cat’s spirit onward his mission
my best friend, grown too big for the body that housed him
and far too powerful for me to hold back, gone to bliss
the cat became part of the Great Mystery, I melt to wonder

When the cat body died I thought I heard a whisper of Lou’s song come out of him:

“Magician take my spirit
inside I’m young and vital
Inside I’m alive please take me away…”

Because the body, once dead, gave birth to the brave spirit
the death was the rejuvenation of the Angel, a welcoming
the receiving of Who He really was inside, but I felt lost
there was no joyful release for me, only the cold shell
what was I to do but bury the thing, now empty, that I held?

But when They — the Goddesses Bastet, Hathor, & even slithering Wadjet — reached for my friend, it was I who began to echo Lou’s lyrics:

“I want some magic to keep me alive
I want a miracle … I don’t want to die
I’m afraid that if I go to sleep I’ll never wake
I’ll no longer exist
I’ll close my eyes and disappear
and float into the mist”

Awake for days, the funeral complete
felt the wind answer “yes”
and heard the paws in the leaves
and the echoes of many voices in the woods
announce my friend’s acceptance into Beyond
and worries ceased
and prayers increased
and many strange eyes peeked

Asleep for days, one month since death
the wind still carries his cry
the silence continues to say my name
and the memories of our life built a blanket fort
home is where I am surrounded by You, little friend
and I no longer think about that guy
and I can finally rest
and only worry is ‘have I really let go?
or will I obsess all over again?’
sometimes I think it someone else’s fear
at times all I think about is the lonely things

Wadjet-Bastet hisses-whispers all the same to me:

“When will you be done with all this blubbering? We’ve given you a new day, time has come to wash away, a new skin has grown, can you not feel the underneath, the twitchering-feeling-slickery-flickering? Lick at it. Roll on it. Dance with it.  Take your beauty back. Heal.”

I do. I do!  I will.

And Lou sang:

“I need more than faith can give me now
I want to believe in miracles – not just belief in numbers
I need some magic to take me away
I want some magic to sweep me away
Visit on this starlit night
replace the stars the moon the light – the sun’s gone
Fly me through this storm
and wake up in the calm …
I fly right through this storm
and … I … Wake … Up … In … The … Calm”

And I know what he was meaning in the singing
but I know all the magic all the more for the loss
it’s been the story of the year
it’s been what I was given

all the wonder
all the pain

Lugh said:
“It’s also in your painting. Look closer at what you do. You don’t do anything without a reason. And you were never nothing.”

I see the spirits inside the cat who was my friend
I see him now in many different ways
again, I tell you, he taught me how to live
taught me I can live, survive, live through loss

the loss of someone I cannot live without has not killed me
it is the magic that has swept me back up into Me
I am still who I am without giving in to the
ostracization that made me think me lost
I did not need some role to fit in and
don’t need work for a man’s
approval when all along
all I need is just
home and cat
and love
my God
life
be
me

*———————*

*My favorite Lou Reed song is ‘Magician’ from the album ‘Magic and Loss’*
Lou Reed died on October 27th, 2013, same day as a friend of mine was found dead from apparent suicide. Lou’s music is now married to memories of this friend, especially echoing the last conversation I had with him.

This song especially speaks to me of the losses of life and friendship I’ve endured this year. I understand the pain and the death, but don’t know why we have to lose people we love in this world. I wonder at the magic of the other world… at what may be waiting beyond my wondering.*

*———————*

Coming up soon: So much to talk about! So much has happened! Exciting news, strange paranormal happenings, new friends, renewed vigor, and finally getting my act together as pieces of my puzzle come together. Wish I had all the time in the world to write it all down. Samhain 2013 marks a little milestone for me as I finish a playing card deck and start a new venture as a spirit medium and paranormal illustrator. Yes, you heard that right.

Plus, something adorable has brought joy into my life. I have a baby girl! Um, kitten. Her name is Miss Velvet Rose the Lady Monster. That story I have to save for next time.

Expect some changes around here as I celebrate my second year here at WordPress. Yay!

Postcard #46: Home at the Shrine

There needs to be more shrines — in every city — on every block — places of peace — sanctuaries for silence, comfort, where I am embraced by Gods… Places of seeking, sharing, spaces of Away-from-Time and into Nature-Nurture. I seek a shrine nested in nature, un-interrupting the trees, a haven for birds and squirrels and many other creatures, one that lets plants grow over it, a shrine no person carefully manicures.

I want a wild shrine carved out of rock and petrified wood and earth by the wind and water. A shrine that is natural shelter, perhaps serving as the neighborhood safe house, more like Mother House — the place to go during tornadoes and hurricanes, a place never ravaged by storms or floods or fire or earthquake, and yet created by them. And when there, as I feel my heart blowing me down, when no one can hold me up, when no clergy or friend can console me, when my own tears threaten to drown me, a sister slips me underneath a warm blanket and the Gods’ stone likeness catches me under their ever-watchful eyes.

The most perfect shrine glows here with the special warmth of a camp fire, fragrant as incense and every exotic perfume I love, tender as the womb and every mother hug, calming shivers and curing panic, replacing every doubt with courage. My Gods do not suffer cowardice, and yet they know the human value of a good retreat, that in order to free myself from overwhelming defeat, I must recharge, find this place of wound-soothe and mind-quiet.

Here I re-connect with my Source. Forces far greater than myself reside in the Gods’ Home Mother House Shrine Storm Shelter. Here the space is peopled with the beings that move the world and push the buttons that make me think and dream. When I’m here I am taught I am part of all this powerful importance, that somehow this small woman I call me has more time to go, more work to finish… that this place is not the place of petitionary prayer and whimpering wishes, but another place for me to collect and list my dreams and ideas, whisper my desires and make them happen in Their name.

I want to build shrines.

I want to mark maps full of them.

Every where I walk. Place one somewhere — some invisible, some tiny, some large, for each God, and even for the Unknown Gods that walk the darkness beyond human understanding. There is no dot on the world’s map not worthy of a spot for a shrine.

I want to visit more shrines. Every one. Collect them in my memory like postcards. Write them down in poems. Like this. Places in my mind like gifts.

I believe in gifts. I believe in feeding the Gods with gratitude, not out of obligation, but of devotion, and not just with objects or food, some gifts are actions, duties, favors. A God may pass through the body of someone walking by. One may ride on the back of an animal or whistle through the trees in the form of a bird. Picking up a piece of garbage from the side of the road may save the life of a creature — one less thing that will not offend the ground or poison the water — because the land is religion, is the shrine, the place I count on to be here, especially after I am dead.

I will bury myself someday in this shrine. You will visit me every where it is planted in the earth.  My grave markers will be likenesses of my Gods dotting all over the world.  I can smell the dirt hugging me already, it is cool and dark chocolate, just like I thought a cemetery would feel, and very silent. Just like when I was above, I’m all alone and with the Gods. This place is life and shelters and molds me, takes me away from every pain…

Will I see you here, tomorrow?

Goddess Portrait: The Cailleach!

I have a personal relationship with my Gods. Sometimes they surprise me in my dreams. Sometimes they give me “permission” to draw and paint their portraits. This time one of them wanted me to paint Her as a self-portrait of myself. I was mystified and challenged by this.  Would I get it right?  Dare I do this?  I let my fears go and invited my passions to take over.

This is The Cailleach

Who is She?  She’s known by many names:  Cailleach Bheur or Carlin in Scotland; Cally Berry in northern Ireland; Cailleach ny Groamch on the Isle of Man; Black Annis in Britian; the Hag of Beare or Digne in Ireland.  Unlike how I have depicted her in my painting, she has been described as having one eye in the middle of a blue-black face, red teeth, and matted white hair.  She wore grey clothing, a kerchief, and a faded plaid shawl.

In my vision, I saw her reflected back at me in my bathroom mirror.  A ghostly image of myself that is not myself — the goddess looking at me with my own eyes — but just for a second.  I drew the face with eyes of snow, the skin as translucent and slightly blue like ice, her breast and cheeks like hills covered by snow, and her forehead creased like jagged rocks and boulders.  She would be dressed in dark grey, the color of old snow melting into mud.  Her hair like the whirling drifts of snow that make snake-like patterns in the air and over the ground when the wind blows the coldest.

I can’t describe Her better than how Sorita d’Este does in her book Visions of the Cailleach. In fact, I did not know much about the Cailleach (pronounced COY-lck or CALL-y’ach but I sometimes call her COY LUCK) until a year ago when I just heard her name spoken, read a very brief description of her as a crone goddess, and in my haste to come up with a simple Winter Solstice rite that would not take all night to perform, I evoked her.

She taught me a very powerful lesson: be careful what Goddess you decide to summon because she may end up really liking you and will decide to stick around for a long while! Also, do your research, please. Calling upon specific Gods come with consequences and will change your life in ways you may not expect.  How could I forget that?

The simple Winter Solstice rite included a performance where I dressed up in a black veil, called myself the Cailleach, and proclaimed I was the personification of winter. A student of mine’s daughter played the part of the snow maiden, a personification of the new year. I took off my veil and gave it to her as a representation of the passing of the old year, also symbolic of the crone giving her power over to the maiden. Two special things happened right after this: I stopped menstruating for three months and my student’s daughter started her menses.  Last year began with me going through all sorts of weird changes, possibly signs of early menopause (I had only just turned 40) including erratic mood swings, full body sweats, heat flashes, the works. That’s when I began to study more about the Cailleach, as well as more about what to expect in the years before menopause.  Cailleach began to speak to me as I endured the emotional and physical eruptions occurring within me, warning me of the next stage of life to come. Was I ready? Well, she’d make me ready.

As I learned to honor Her properly, and as I learned to relax into my age, I began to really appreciate and recognize the beauty of becoming older.  Becoming older does not mean I will become weaker or uglier.  I am not really going to “dry up” and lose all of my desire.  I told the Cailleach, “Okay, I understand it now, it is going to be great becoming a sexy old woman!” And then she showed me another vision of Herself…

This was a vision of the Cailleach I did not expect to see.  I have read stories of how she can renew her youth, where she is not always so old, or cold.  She is known to have many handsome lovers whom she often out-lives.  I saw her as having very fine white hair, her skin a warm milk-white, and her face a little plump, showing a fertile fullness.  She seems to be like a happy peasant girl ready for a roll-in-the-hay, but her eyes are other-worldly, her body glowing with an aura of enchantment.  I think she seems more frightening in this youthful aspect than as her older self.

In one brief legend I read in The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan, one in which I will retell here in my own words, she hires young men to help her repair her house. She promises them that, if they can keep up with her, she will pay them ten-fold after a period of six months. The men look at her. They see she is this old, bent, wild-haired, feeble-seeming lady. They estimate that it wouldn’t take long for her to lose her breath or hurt her back. They take her offer and celebrate at the pub because they think they’ve got it made. Oh, but they got it all wrong. The little old lady is fast and clever and strong. Soon the men get so caught up in their work they do not notice that this old woman is no longer so old. She has grown young as they grow tired. By the time some of them see this beautiful younger woman with the softest hair and smoothest milky skin, a few have fallen in love with her. She takes them as lovers, but they cannot keep up with her in love-making and soon expire. One by one, each man succumbs to her charms, but not before her house is completely repaired. By summer, she has nothing to worry about, and by winter she’ll have only need to gather wood for her fire.

So what young Cailleach says to me is I need is a few good men to rejuvenate me, eh?  *laughs*

Finding this goddess has been a treat.  I have learned so much more about her now.  I will reveal more gods with my paint brush.  Perhaps they don’t just speak to me.  Perhaps they will have something to say to you, too.

What did the Cailleach say to you when you saw her in my portraits?

Postcard #13: Snow Daze

I like the way the wind seems to take form as it lifts the snow and howls through the trees. There is no way to escape the dance-in-the-face snow-snake-spirits that weave and wave off the roof edges. I barely feel the cold as I stand in the snow, ignoring how it spills into my boots as I sink into its bank. If I let the awe of watching the snow fall get to me too long, before long I will be washed with snow and shivering. That is how this week began, with the snow, a clean blanket of it, a proper snow, but not as deep as those in my fondest memory.

My favorite snow days are the ones when the snow is new, right when it has just stopped falling, and has turned the city into a wasteland. No one is outside, no businesses are open, the air is still relatively warm, and snow drifts have been molded into lovely curved mini-landscapes by the wind. It is during those times I feel like the only person left alive in the world. I bundle up and look forward to being the first human to make her prints in the snow.

My least favorite snow days are the ones when the snow has become crusty and hard, when snow is more like hunks of ice tossed into a glass to keep a cocktail chilled, and we’re set afloat in the drink, getting colder, and colder, and colder…  The coldest ice covering everything, slowing things down, giving us months of below-zero torture, with breezes to chap every cheek and turn skin to chalk.  That is the February snow, the time when the Cailleach will tell us how long she will want to stay with us. Never mind that groundhog. This Goddess will be riding a wolf when she storms. If the sun shines she will be out gathering wood for her fire. And, if the sky is full of cloud, she’ll stay inside to cook a stew, perhaps take a nap or two. Even when the Spring Equinox signals her exit, she can stay as long as May if she so wishes. I have learned to respect her.

As I stay awake late, I feel the cold breath of the winter beyond my window, just a few planes of glass separate me from the chill. For the moments I took to write this, my heart flashes with enough heat to melt the snow outside. Even if you are not appreciating the cold like I am, I throw this warmth at you like a snowball, hit you so soft that it won’t hurt when it hits, it will just dissolve, maybe turn to vapor, light as a whisper by the time it reaches you, yet leaving you touched by the most gossamer of fairy-wing.

That is a wish I wished come true for you, from me at home, to you out there, and everywhere, beyond the snow, or in it, where ever you will be.

Catch you in another daze.

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.

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.