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Priestess

Illustrations for Sage Woman

Illustrations for Sage Woman

Every so often I like to do illustrations for magazines such as Sage Woman in order to support Goddess and Pagan centered publications. The article I created illustrations for this time was about an older woman who had come into her own power after a life of playing different roles such as mother, daughter, wife and priestess. She has a special connection to nature and the Goddess Brigid and she carries a staff with a coyote skull on top. She relates to the energy of the coyote as they are both tricksters.

As I read the article, I saw visions of a sovereign crone in all of her power standing tall. She carried a magical staff made from redwood with a coyote skull on top. She slinked through the forest with the spirit of coyote at her side. This is the way I decided to portray the author in the main illustration. I also felt that I needed to portray her connection with the coyote so I did a second illustration of the coyote spirit. In this illustration, a coyote howls at the moon as spirals of magical energy manifest around it. There are tribal designs on the coyote spirit as these are what came through in my vision.

Sage Woman illustrations

It’s always interesting to visualize what characters look like when you’re reading something. You allow your imagination to flow naturally and to create images that match the vibration of what you’re reading. It’s even more interesting to bring those images to life on the page.

The title of this issue of Sage Woman is “Sovereignty, Claiming our Power” and it’s filled with stories like this one of women coming into their own sovereign power. It’s also filled with beautiful illustrations from other artists within the Goddess and Pagan communities. Thanks to Anne over at Sage Woman for the opportunity!

Visionary Art

Shiva the Destroyer

Shiva, Hindu God of Destruction

Shiva is the Hindu God associated with the destruction of the ego. He is one of three principle deities in Hinduism along with Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver. Together they destroy, create and preserve the universe. This seems symbolic of the death and rebirth we experience after an ego death. Shiva is also consciousness and he represents the universal collective consciousness as well as the universe itself.

Shiva has been coming to me in my dreams the past few months and he’s also been coming up for me in my readings. Since I’ve started this journey of exploring consciousness, he’s been popping up quite a bit. I had never worked with him before or even really been drawn to him in the past. I’ve always been more drawn to Goddesses and the Divine Feminine rather than the Divine Masculine. But lately over the past few months during this spiritual awakening I’m experiencing, several male deities have come through to me. I think it’s there way of telling me that it’s time to find balance between the feminine and the masculine.

Shiva is an interesting deity to me because he represents so much. He is seen to be everything and yet nothing at the same time. He is the masculine counterpart to the Shakti feminine. This is represented in this painting by the Sri Yantra which glows behind his head. The Sri Yantra represents the cosmos, the universe and consciousness. Shiva and Shakti are represented by the upward and downward triangles within the yantra. The convergence of the triangles represents the divine union of the masculine and the feminine.

Shiva, work in progress shots

Shiva is also associated with altered states of consciousness. Cannabis is sacred to him and many of his followers known as sadhus smoke cannabis out of the traditional chillum pipe in order to fill themselves with the energy of Shiva. As a cannabis smoker myself, I found this to be interesting. Cannabis works by altering your state of consciousness and your perception. It opens your mind to other possibilities and makes you realize that there is more to this reality than meets the eye. Every year at the Shivaratri festival, Shiva is celebrated and honored by one million devotees who smoke cannabis and cover their bodies in sacred ash.

At this festival, the sadhus or sacred ascetics (followers of Shiva) bless their chillum pipes filled with ganja and share it with the festival goers. The sadhus are seen as connected to Shiva through their sacrifice of all material and worldly possessions. So a blessing from them can be seen as a blessing directly from Shiva himself. Cannabis is illegal in Nepal where the festival takes place. But every year, the ban is lifted for festival attendees so they can worship their God in peace and devotion.

In this painting, Shiva sits in the cosmos surrounded by galaxies and stars. The swirling galaxies represent the chaos of the universe while Shiva (consciousness) sits in the center keeping the balance. His snakes which represent Kundalini energy are wrapped around him as he sits in a trance. His eyes are half shut and this can have two meanings depending on who you are talking to. Some say it means simply that he is in a meditative state. Others say that it’s because he smoked the sacred cannabis. I’ll let you decide which one feels right for you.

For those who like to connect with this ancient deity of the cosmos, prints and prayer cards of this piece are available in my shop.

Goddess

Kali, the Ego Destroyer

Kali, the Ego Destroyer

The Hindu Goddess Kali helps to bring about the death of our egos. She destroys Maya or the illusion of reality which is lived through our egos. Kali represents overcoming our attachments to our bodies by helping us to realize that we are souls temporarily living in a human state of existence. Our true state lies in our light body or our soul. She liberates us from illusion and helps us to transcend spiritually.

The ego trembles with fear when Kali is invoked and it will try as hard as it can to hang onto any shred of existence within us. This is why when you are experiencing an “ego death” you may experience negative emotions because your soul is cleaning out the last remnants of what the ego originally created to protect you from. Although now those things and ways of thinking and being no longer serve you. And she helps us to come to terms with that so we can start living authentically.

The ego is not “bad” necessarily. It is usually something that was created in our younger years to protect us or to help us live, adapt and deal with life. But as we grow and raise our vibrations, these old ways of dealing with life no longer serve us.  So the ego must be destroyed in order to fully grow into the people we are meant to be.

For those interested in connecting with this Goddess, prints along with prayer cards can be found in my shop.

Goddess

Isis and Goddess Consciousness

Egyptian Goddess Isis

Isis, the Egyptian Mother Goddess of the universe, was the first Goddess I ever worked with. I find that many people I’ve met over the years within the spiritual/Goddess community also had their first Goddess experience with Isis. She is an easy Goddess to connect with, possibly because she exudes a loving, accepting and motherly energy. She accepts all who go to Her.

Although, She is so much more than a loving Mother Goddess. She is healer, doctor, practitioner of magic, fertile womb and Creatrix of the Cosmos. Her energy is like a thread of consciousness which connects back to source/collective conscious energy. She essentially represents Goddess Consciousness. Anytime you work with a deity, you are essentially tapping into their unique consciousness. So this is why it’s a good idea to be mindful of the deities and spirits you work with.

You can of course also be called to serve a deity. But that’s a subject for a whole other blog post! Connecting with Goddess Consciousness is so essential in this present reality that we live in. And in my opinion, the best way to be introduced to Goddess Consciousness, is through Isis. So to honor Her accepting and patient energy, I decided to paint her.

Isis work in progress shots

In this painting, Isis sits on the warm Egyptian sands in a traditional pose with her wings stretched out far and wide. The gleaming white pyramids (yes, the pyramids as they originally looked were white so the sun reflected off them) stand in their magnificence behind her. Over her head, the Eye of Horus sits in a sacred triangle floating in the Cosmos. The Eye of Horus represents the third eye, intuition and our direct energetic connection to source.

It is said that the Eye of Horus resembles the pineal gland which is the physical gland of our third eye. Lots of consciousness symbolism within the Eye of Horus. And of course Horus is the son of Isis so she is connected to source energy also. On the bottom of the painting, pink Egyptian lotuses rise up to greet their Great Mother.

For those of you interested in this piece, prints can be found in my shop. How many of you have worked with Isis?

Priestess

Inspired by the Oracle

 

The Pythia, Oracle of Delphi

The Oracle of Delphi has always fascinated me. The story behind the Pythia, or the oracular priestess at Delphi, is that she is a prophetess who gives prophecies to those who come to her. There have been theories about how she receives the visions for her prophecies. They all seem to involve her going into an altered state of consciousness by using a psychoactive substance of some kind. It is said that sometimes she would give these prophetic utterances while under trance in a frenzied state.

As it turns out, one of the most well-known theories about how the Pythia achieved her trance state by inhaling fumes which came up from the ground, is true. So to honor the energy of these famous prophetic priestesses, I decided to paint what my vision of them would be. In this painting, instead of inhaling fumes from the floor in her underground chamber, she inhales a psychoactive brew from a copper bowl. She wears a ceremonial robe in shades of red, the color of the root chakra. This symbolizes the starting point for the kundalini energy to rise up.

The Oracle, work in progress shots

She holds her arms up the the sky to receive her blessings from the heavens. The cosmos swirl behind her around the full moon as she gathers energy to become a conduit for messages from the divine. The simplicity of the detail in this piece represents the simplicity of tools the Pythia used for her prophecies. Only herself, her sacred, psychoactive fumes and the divine.

One of my favorite stories about one of the oracular priestesses of Delphi is about Cassandra. She was a Pythia who was known to give incredibly accurate prophecies. One day, the God Apollo tries to seduce Cassandra. When she refused his advances because she was sworn to be a virgin priestess, Apollo spit in her mouth and cursed her to utter prophecies which were true, but which no one believed. From then on whenever she gave her prophecies, people would scorn her and think she was crazy.

She ended up prophesying the Trojan War but since no one believed her, there was nothing she could do. Cassandra also had a twin brother who she taught the gift of prophecy to. This way she could deliver her startlingly accurate prophecies through him to the world. To me this story represents the inability for Cassandra to speak her truth. Which can be a metaphor for our own lives. To always speak your truth, even when no one else believes you.

Prints, prayer cards and this original painting can be found in my shop.