When I first saw the ravens together, holding on to each other’s beaks as the thunderstorm rolled in, I thought, they love each other. This comforting, protecting, my happiness in relation to yours—my soul being mirrored by yours—this is love, plain and simple. There is no effort. This isn’t one asking the other, it is just given, just accepted. When I choose a subject and start a painting, it’s often unclear what is drawing me to that image. I have to trust that I’m being guided toward it for a reason, and be okay with not knowing the answer until it’s finished. Ravens have so much myth and legend surrounding them that I had enough to go on initially to be excited about painting them, but it was that first thought that crossed my mind as I watched them that ended up being the heart and soul of this piece: They really love each other.
Everything I’ve read about the mysticism of Raven talks about its association with three main things:
- Magic (having access to the spiritual realm)
- Shape-shifting (using that access to bring profound positive changes to ones life), and
- The creative force (allowing the death of one aspect or era of life to manifest the birth of another).
All three of these have played a major role in my life during this paintings’ creation. The journey from the first brush stroke to the last was much longer than I had anticipated, and carried a storm of change along with it. I use the word storm not as a destructive force, but more the way I feel about actual thunderstorms. You can see and feel it coming. It’s exciting and frightening at the same time. Everything becomes eerily calm… and then shit gets real. All you can do is stand there in amazement watching the chaos unfold in the safest place you can find. And then afterwards, the world is magical and brand new again. It smells different, feels different, looks different, and even though there is debris and broken branches on the ground, there is also a profound sense of renewal and beauty.
I had no idea when I first started working on the Ravens in the beginning of last fall how much that thunderstorm would become a metaphor for my life. I had no idea that immense love would be waiting for me at the end of it—love that does not need to ask, but is simply given and accepted by a mirrored soul. I recognized this person as my soul mate for much longer than I realized that was what I had been painting. The fact that this piece was started a few months before aforementioned love entered my life is the magical, shape-shifting, creative force of the Universe at its ultimate best. In the ongoing spirit of describing things in numerical lists, this could be explained from a few different points of view:
- I can totally forsee the future and my paintings are magic oracles.
- There are Universal forces at work, which we can call spirit guides if we are so inclined, around us at all times that orchestrate events in our lives at specific times if we are open to the lessons of chaos and the hope of beauty lying on the other side.
The Ravens are partners in this life and the next. They are guardians of each other’s souls and have been for lifetimes. They’ll weather every storm together, navigating the magical, shape-shifting, creative forces that make a life well lived, and loved.