Vesta on Isig Mountain
1983, erasable crayon, 11x14", by Chris Wayan
'Vesta' are the horned animal guardians of the northern lands in Patricia McKillip's classic psychological fantasy The Riddlemaster of Hed. Becoming a vesta is an essential step of Morgon's quest--his transformation, and the greater ones that followed, had a dreamlike beauty that won the book enduring critical acclaim.
But such transformations had a private meaning for me; my own dreamwork had already begun letting me experience similar transformations. I merged with a wild creature or a tree, I became a spirit or a mountain. McKillip, though marketing her work as fantasy, was vividly describing and indeed clarifying my real shamanic experiences.
This picture was a first clumsy attempt to draw what the world looks like to me in shamanic dreams: oddly geometric or schematic, webbed with lines of energy or binding... what witches and druids once called ley-lines. The ley of the land.
When I'm in my human body, I don't see like this--but over the years I've begun realizing I do feel living creatures like this. I mostly recognize people and animals by their moods and energy patterns, not their faces at all.
I always thought I was just inept at drawing faces--it was only recently, when I took a drawing class, that I found I could do it just fine--if I ignored the distracting extra information I unconsciously rely on in daily life to recognize others. I had to look through or past that distracting aura to see the face!
The opposite of most mystics, who struggle to learn to see past the material world to sense this energy.
So this image shows you how I see the world normally--this way of seeing is superimposed on the ordinary world. And until recently I didn't understand that others don't see it.
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