Freefall With Oregon Grape

(click to enlarge)

Oils on Canvas Board
16”x 12”

This is the Surrender XII (traditionally Hanged Man) in Lane's Greenwitch Tarot:

“When we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”  Wendell Berry

 Here is the freefall after the leap of the Fool. This doesn’t mean surrender in the sense of giving up. Not at all! It is the surrender to the unknown, to let go of what has been, to face what is now, and to look forward without a clue as to what will come. She does have a twig of Oregon Grape floating just out of reach. Mahonia Nervosa and Mahonia Aquifolium, our temperate rainforest Goldenseal, is a cure-all and thus one of nature’s bountiful herbal gifts to us. A wound bleeds her life force. Will it call in the sharks of the waters or is she in the air with clouds to sustain her? One story about the Hanged One is that Odin, a principal wise figure of Norse myths, had himself lowered head first into a well by his friends for a year and a day. In so doing he found the divinatory stones called Runes at the bottom of the well. It’s important to remember that it was a voluntary hanging, though it also feels significant that he needed the help of his friends to find that oracular guidance tool that is still in use today.

If you no longer know what to do, what great leap of faith wants to happen in your life? It may be obviously major or may seem small or subtle, but it is likely to be profound nevertheless. Can you let go into the proverbial nothingness of the caterpillar’s chrysalis to float in the unknown? The Call is for some change in your daily life. To let yourself become vulnerable. To give over. Who do you have around you to support you? Oregon Grape Essence is saying she can be an important Ally at this stage of the journey to help you come into true .


Original Web Commentary

The old was fading away but I often felt like I had no solid ground under my feet.

I knew I was entering new worlds of consciousness and becoming familiar with my intuitive self in so many ways. But I had no way to know if there was a safe landing anywhere. Like the Fool card in the Tarot – sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff into the unknown with no assurance of a parachute. Trust. I got familiar with whole new levels of that word. And I knew the plants I was connecting with were there to help me even if I didn’t know how they worked. They were increasingly making their presence known to me.

I do remember feeling much better after doing this painting. One of the ways that art works its magic is by giving us a visual image of what we’re feeling – especially if we just let the paint flow without a preconceived idea of what image will appear. I continue to stare at it for comfort when I am in one of those bleak places that arise again and again. Oregon Grape, a plant given to me by Judy Bluehorse Skelton and Vivi Tallwoman, tells me it is about truth, about coming into true. A fitting ally for my process.

Journal 4/26/00

The painting ended up being me in the maelstrom. In the eye of the tornado/whirlpool that has come up in my paintings over and over. But it is no longer just in the painting. It is the painting. Yet she is not alone. In there with her – though just out of reach – is a sprig of Oregon Grape, Mahonia Nervosa. Yellow flowers that are the ally – the friend. The good medicine for the journey – the fall, the letting go into the mystery. The pull of the unknown has become inescapable. The body’s ploys for safety no longer hold. “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower”says Dylan Thomas….We are the flower in the green fuse.

Freefall with Oregon Grape framed