In 2020 I taught a series of “Lockdown Webinars” on making runic sigils for health and protection, during the Pandemic.
This painting is inspired by Sigils of the Fifteen Stars, mentioned by Nigel Pennick in his book Pagan Magic of the Northern Tradition.
He points out that in reality they are fourteen major stars and one asterism: Aldebaran, Algol, Algorab, Alphecca, Antares, Arcturus, Capella, Deneb Algedi, the Pleiades, Procyon, Regulus, Sirius, Spica, Stella Polaris and Vega.
Quote: “Each star has a corresponding gem stone, stone or mineral and is assigned a sigil. In astrology the given virtues of these fixed stars combine with the planets to produce harmful or benevolent outcomes. They are rarely used in modern astrology, yet in medieval times their significance was taken into account, their sigils used magically, and as visible stars they assisted orientation and navigation.”
As well as the (night) sky overhead we also have an inner sky and sigils can help us navigate (even activate) that realm!
I love the night sky and all the stories it holds!
While sleeping alone in our house in the Forest in Sweden I had a dream one night of two seals embracing overhead, in the night sky. They occupied the segment where (what Western culture calls) Orion is. The stars of the belt of Orion were the flipper of one seal holding the other seal.
In the dream I thought: how beautiful - but nothing like our sky map today. A voice then said: "In the old times of Lemuria and Atlantis, people saw very different star constellations".
Tribal peoples see different constellations too (ethnoastronomy) and I realized that a different perception of the night sky mirrors a completely different world view.... and that concept holds possibilities for global and collective transformation!
(And of course I have no way of proving that any of this is historically correct!)
This painting was made in my Forest Studio in Sweden, the day after sitting out (the ancient practice of "utesita") at Himmelstalund, the vast petroglyph site in Norrköping, province , Östergötland. There are many fascinating petroglyphs there, but on this visit I was touched particularly by the trail of bear footprints, carved in rock. Most petroglyphs are more disjointed but all these "bear paws carvings" together form a 60 meter trail.
My "Bear Self" did not want to leave! I made lots of sketches in my art diary. Then I went home to sleep on the sketches made there. This (rather mysterious) painting was inspired by both the petroglyphs and my dreams - but it depicts a very modern theme at the same time... can you spot it?!
Over summer 2020 I was reading the following book: "From Fetish To God In Ancient Egypt" by E. A. Wallace, a renowned Egyptologist, first published in 1934. This book is so densely written that you would need to read it continuously for a decade, to absorb all it contains!
However, the material came alive for me in my dreams and this painting was inspired by one such dream and one illustration in the book, of the serpent hieroglyph: "Egyptian hieroglyphic distinguishes two different kinds of snakes. One sign pictures a cobra generally; the other depicts a horned viper. These different pictograms are signs for different sounds in Egyptian, the first for the sound “DG” and for the second, 'F'. "
This painting was inspired by African rock art. The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), also known as the ant bear, is an insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is one of four living species of anteaters, the only extant member of the genus Myrmecophaga, and is classified with sloths in the order Pilosa. In my painting I turned it into a star constellation!
The girl is up 'Jacob's Ladder', perched between two crescent moons (also the one on her head, pointing up) feeding her raven. This painting is ultimately about the Cosmic Egg which holds All Of Creation. So feeding the primordial raven or Moon Raven is encouraging it to hatch a new world from the Cosmic Egg (and once every cosmic cycle lay a new egg, with a new world order enfolded and slumbering deep within it).
Hypnagogic vision before falling asleep!
In the spirit world, or in the greater cosmos, there is such a thing as "The Mathematics of Owls!"
A painting of multidimensionality?!
"Tuonela was the Finnish underworld, a magic haunted island ruled over by the dark god Tuoni. Getting there was no easy task and returning was much harder (several other stories about suitors seeking the daughters of Louhi involve Tuonela and its dreadful snares). The swan was a transcendent being which swam around the island of the dead singing."