This colored pencil sketch is by Asante Riverwind, my former partner, from 2003-2005. He said it was a portrait of me.
Since I’d been having years of spontaneous shamanic experiences while living in my hermitage, each of the emblems in this portrait had some meaning – but I never thought carefully about how all the parts went together.
It’s interesting how we can sometimes fail to see what’s right in front of us.
Now, ten years later, I find this all quite disturbing – but something I can deal with.
On a card we made of this art, he’d written this poem:
Monsoon Rain “Dancer”
Star-winged serpent clouds gifting
cleansing waters and lightning’s fire
quenching thirsts of the life-blood
of turtle island earth
While the snake or serpent is an ancient symbol of life, renewal and transformation, it’s usually depicted in an ouroboros – a circle, egg-shape, or infinity symbol – with the snake eating its own tail, consuming its own life. I don’t know about this star-winged serpent.
I’d always thought those star wings were on me, a symbol of some power to access the cosmos, perhaps – I never saw before that they belonged to the serpent. And I thought the snake was near me, but now I see both the serpent and the wings are not only way too close to my back, but appear almost attached! And they’re both larger than me, seeming to overwhelm me! The snake is even tangled in my hair, representing thought, and even bursting through my hair.
The snake is golden, a symbol of the power ruling our world for ages; whereas my body, naked, is red and blue, the swirling colors of nature’s blood. And my humanness is clearly overwhelmed by that unnatural, golden, reptilian power of the night.
And why is the word “Dancer“ in quotation marks? Maybe I’m not really dancing, but in a trance, dancing like a puppet, controlled by… the snake. My face is not just solemn or quiet, but looks definitely unhappy.
Also, I seem to be cramped beneath the upper frame, as if unable to rise, prohibited by the frame of another twining, golden snake. The power is not singular, but constructed, like mind control, in layers.
The rain, which we love in the desert, is an absolute deluge in this art, too much – and water symbolizes emotion. Everyone knows I’ve been highly emotional about this mind control I’ve so long sought to escape – to the point of desiring death more times than I can count.
And the dancer’s intimate region is wide open, and red, as if hurting – as I have been, for years, for all my life, actually, as readers know.
(There’s more I could discuss, but that’s enough for now.)
Today I see this art as representing me under mind control: entranced, kept from rising, exposed intimately, trapped in a royal cage, overwhelmed and controlled by a powerful being of the proverbial night.
Since Asante’s artwork has value and cachet among some people, I’ve been proud to own this piece, especially of me. And I paid Asante $500 for this – a voluntary gift, actually – an amount I thought generous, but which I could do because I’d just sold my home and wanted to help him in his move – so of course I’ve usually displayed this art, though privately – meaning, in my bedroom, which is where I often pray.
I now believe it was not a good item to have in my prayer room.
So I’ve just ritually destroyed it in fire.
And I realize we’re on the cusp of an Easter morning now, and so I hereby I assert my own resurrection.
It feels good. And powerful.
So be it.
And I’ll create my own art, perhaps tomorrow, using my symbols of my life.
Aren’t we always in the possibility of rebirth?
I claim it.