Category Archives: Art

Awakening the Elementals

 

by Angela Raincatcher

Awakening the Elementals, 2012

Often my inspiration spring boards from a snippet of song, some overheard words, or a found image. This piece was inspired from a vision that my husband M had and related during a Espiritismo misa (a rite for communicating with the spirits and ancestors). He saw a “wavy cross with an eye at its center.”

Over the following days, this image seed planted itself into my inner vision. I asked M if the cross in his vision was one like the Crucifixion or an equal-armed cross. Equal-armed it was, and I immediately associated with the symbol of an equal-armed cross in a circle, which is the ancient elements coming together to form the world.

I began with a textured layer of black, white, and gray — chaos and cosmos and everything in between bursting from the center of the canvas. Then I layered the colors I associate with the elements (Yellow for Air, Red for Fire, Blue for Water, and Green for Earth) in the four quadrants, so that each contained parts of all peeking from underneath the surface.

The eyes were the most surprising part of this painting for me. Originally I had planned for just the center eye, but I felt that each element wanted its own eye in addition to that of Spirit in the center.

On a canvas this small, I paint leaning over quite closely to the piece. (My eyesight is not so good and I need a new prescription.) As I put the finishing touches on the eyes, I felt a CLICK and a WHOOSH of energy sweep up from the canvas and into my body. YES, the elementals had definitely woken up!

I gifted this piece to M to remind him that his visions (when he lets himeself acknowledge them) are strong and true.

Blessings from a full and open heart,
Angela

Prayer to Brighid

Goddess of the Flame“Goddes of the Flame,” digital collage by Angela Raincatcher, 2007.

O holy Brighid of the Eternal Flame
You who inspire the hearts and minds of the poets, warriors, and healers,
You of the flaming hair and starry cloak,
We honor you and give you thanks.

You breathe the words that evoke beauty, honorable deeds, and commitment.

Your spirit incites us to do great things beyond what we think we are capable of.

You lay your hands upon us and heal our hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits.

O holy Brighid of the Burning Forge,
Temper us in the heat and pressure of life,
That we may be strong and steady.

O holy Brighid of the Sacred Well,
Quench the thirst of our bodies and souls,
That we may be compassionate and true.

O holy Brighid, today we call to you
Inspire us.
Temper us.
Strengthen us.
Heal us.
Work through our hands and speak through our mouths,
That we may make this world a better place,
That we may live in freedom and fullness.

Blessed be.

Problematic Family History

“When We Talk to Our Dead, They Talk Back” ancestor altar,
installed at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA,
for “Dia de los Muertos: The Art of Remembrance” exhibition, 2011

How do we relate to problematic ancestors, family secrets, and past betrayals of faith and trust? Honoring the ancestors seems to imply that you accept them and their life choices. But who doesn’t have issues with their blood family? Can we really look way back into our family tree to those ancestors we never knew and ignore the ones we actually had relationship with?

I am the daughter of two Spiritualist mediums who, when I was young, channeled discorporate entities on a weekly basis for the public. I wholeheartedly that the dead lived on as spirits and could communicate directly to the living. The world was a magical place where all things were possible. As I got older, I was introduced to some of the family trade secrets. Not able to see anything real beyond the illusion, I turned my back on the religion of my family.

But beyond the showmanship of Spiritualism’s physical phenomena, the ancestors continued to call to my heart. As an adult, I have struggled with what is real, hoping that the world wasn’t as cold and empty as I sometimes saw it.  As a Pagan priestess over the past ten years, I have walked between the worlds and experienced the spirits directly without the mediation of mediums. And yet, I still feel mired in a morass of self-doubt–is what I am experiencing real or am I making it all up in my head?

As I cross into middle age, I grapple to understand my family’s past and hold compassion for myself as I explore the intersection of what is real and what is illusion. I am starting to come to peace with this part of my past. As the slate on the altar reads: The Sight is real, the Show illusion. I honor my experiences because they give me insight into the complexities of life lived in a world filled with contradictions. Nothing is what it seems at the surface, especially if it seems simple. Decisions that others may judge easily and quickly as right or wrong are full circumstantial caveats, if one really looks at the constraints and motivations of the people living with those decisions.

Short Film & Remembrance: Dionysus

Damn, I am excited.

I am transfixed, mesmerized, and pulled inexorabily forward into the world of this film: go to Youtube.com to see it.

I remember in my late teens and early twenties being fascinated by Dionysus, but never quite having the courage to surrender fully to the madness and the ecstasy.

This film, by Brielle Siomone Greenburg, is brilliant.

I am in awe of her muse.

Shrine for the Guardian of Life and Death

 Shrine to the Guardian of LIfe and Death

I’ve been working on this piece for two and a half years. It was supposed to take only two months. The vision from the Baron was so clear. I felt all I had to do was gather the pieces and put them together. And yet it took so long.

If I have learned anything in creating art work for the gods is that the work happens on their time frame, not mine. They guide my process, spurring me to climb the stairs to my alternately freezing cold or sweltering hot studio on the third floor, when it suits them. They show me what they want and are loud and clear when I put something in the piece that they do not want — even if it “should” work.

Today is Memorial Day. My plan was to work on some writing projects. But no, the Baron had other plans. I had sweated for hours working on his shrine yesterday — surely that was enough. I wanted to work on my other projects coming due (or overdue). About an hour of stop-and-start writing, I was antsy and couldn’t concentrate. I need to move and do something with my hands. So, it was up to the studio to put the finishing touches on the shrine. And three hours and a damp shirt later, it was proclaimed done. I ate lunch and then decided where to hang it downstairs.

Somehow I am not surprised, now that I actually think about it, that the Baron wanted his shrine finished on Memorial Day — a day we are directed to remember the men and women who joined the Ancestors in defense of our nation.

Breaking the Bonds

As part of the 2011 Brigid Poetry Festival, I am posting a poem I wrote a couple of years ago as my grandmother was dying.

Geburah: Breaking the Bonds

A growing tumor in her brain
breaks down the walls
between life and death
between form and force
between here and gone
As she falls down the well
into the unknown

Sentences stumbled over
and left unfinished
leaving her without speech
leaving her without context
leaving her without a name
As she walks through the gates
into the unknown

Her body must be broken
before she can leave us behind
to rip our clothes in grief
to scream in rage and terror
to hold each other in love
As she climbs the tree
into the unknown

…into the arms of her lost beloved

I Am the Fire Around You

Surrounded by Sacred Fire by Angela Raincatcher, 2010

I am the Fire around you.
I am the spark of life within you.
I am the flame burning through you.
I am all that I am.

Behold, there is magic all around us.
Behold, there is magic all around us.
Behold, there is magic all around us.
Awaken! Rejoice! Sing!

– from “Behold” by Abbi Spinner

Rumi Dances With The Beloved

 
 
 
 

Dance of the Beloved, Angela Raincatcher, 2007

You light the fire of love
in earth and sky
in heart and soul
of every being.

Through your love
existence and nonexistence merge.
All opposites unite.
All that is profane
becomes sacred again.

Rumi, The Alchemy of Love