Priestess

Celebrating Fall

Fall Priestess

Fall is my favorite season and most favorite time of the year.

I love to completely immerse myself in the season by decorating my home for Halloween early, eating and drinking all things pumpkin and watching every scary movie I can get my hands on. Even though I live in Florida where an actual Fall season is basically non-existent, nothing stops me from getting in the Autumn spirit! I know I’m not the only one with this obsessive love for the Fall season. So I decided to paint a Fall priestess to honor all the other Fall-addicts out there.

Since I already painted a Fall Goddess (check her out here) last year, I figured a Fall priestess would be perfect for this year.

In this painting, a priestess is carrying a jack-o-lantern to light her way through a Fall forest. Leaves of warm colors like reds, oranges, yellows and browns cover the ground and fall from the trees. The priestess finds herself in a pumpkin patch while her feline familiars play with the leaves falling around them. Candles adorn the tree and light up the crescent moon.

Fall priestess work in progress shots

This painting is literally just in time for Fall as the Autumn Equinox is on Saturday.

For those of you who love Fall as much as I do, prints and mini prints of this piece can be found in my shop. This will most likely be the last painting I do until after Halloween. This will give me a much needed break so that I can fully enjoy this time of year.

How do you honor the Fall season?

Priestess

The Volva

The Volva

The Volva was a female shaman, seeress and witch in Nordic culture.

She was a practitioner of Seidr which was a form of Nordic magic. Sometimes the Volva is referred to as a priestess but she was more closely connected to being a witch and prophetess. The priestesses would typically stay in the temples and organize communal rituals and ceremonies. The Volva was more like the village witch and healer who would sometimes travel around to different villages trading magic and healing for room and board or food.

The term Volva translates to mean “staff carrier” or “wand carrier” as these magical women were known to always carry their magical staffs with them wherever they went.

As such, they could travel alone unafraid of being robbed or worse because nobody would tempt fate by harming a powerful wand carrier. Essentially their staff was a symbol to every town they visited to let others know that they were the Volva. These sacred oracles were closely allied with the Norns which are a trio of Goddesses associated with fate. These Goddesses not only control the fate of humans, but also the fate of the Gods. So essentially if anyone ever tried to wrong a Volva, they were wronging fate itself and fate can be a very vengeful mistress.

The Volva painting work in progress

These healers were revered and seen as sacred in the ancient world.

They tended to live outside of normal society although once in a town they were treated with high regard and honored as divine messengers from the Gods. The Goddess Freyja is also supposed to be known as a Volva but sometimes she is also referred to as a priestess. There could be some overlap in myths but one thing is for sure and that is that she is a witch and a practitioner of Seidr so more than likely, she is a Volva.

In this painting, the Volva is depicted in a trance-like state while she holds her sacred staff as she sits in front of her healing brew.

She wears an antler headdress which represents her connection with the shamanic realm. Sacred rune symbols are carved in the stone upon which her magical cauldron sits. The moon shines overhead illuminating the trees in the ancient forest. She holds two fingers up in a gesture of blessing.

For those of you interested in connecting with the energy of the Volva, prints of this piece can be found in my shop.

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!

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.

Priestess

The Wild Woman & Trance States

Entering trance-like states in as ancient practice used to connect with otherworldly beings, receive messages and manifest things into reality. And it happens to be one of my favorite states to enter during ritual. When I created the painting above, Wild Woman, I received inspiration for her during a trance-like state. The Wild Woman is completely in tune with nature. She is like one of the animals. Her senses are always on high alert and she can feel changes in her environment as well as changes in the weather. She is hyper aware of her surroundings.

In many indigenous tribes, drumming is used to induce trance-like states. Usually a shaman or priestess is the one who enters this state in order to receive messages from the divine. The ancient act of drumming helps to raise the vibrational energy to a higher level. The sound of the drum (at least for me) pierces right through you to the core. It hits you in this primal place we all have inside of us. It’s almost like an ancient call that our souls and bodies recognize. As soon as the drumming starts, your body can’t help but start to sway with the sounds. Your eyes involuntarily close and your mind starts to take you to an altered state of consciousness.

While in this state, visions and messages will come through. They may seem like random images at first, but if you pay attention, you will see that they have a deeper meaning and purpose. In this painting, the Wild Woman plays her sacred drum. The sounds take her to another world where she can manifest her dreams into existence. She closes her eyes in order to allow the music to flow through her. She lets go of this reality and she lets the drum take her on a journey to another dimension.

The leaves and vines around her also dance with the music of the drum. The sacred beats rise up into the universe so that even the stars vibrate with the same frequency. As she beats the drum to take herself deeper and deeper into a trance, she raises her vibrational level and her soul becomes one with the universe. From here she can make anything happen. She is fully connected with her true self. That of a spirit having a human experience.

Prints and prayer cards of this piece can be found in my shop. For those of you who are interested in learning more about entering trance states, the energy of the Wild Woman can help you get there.