My artwork is almost wholly shaped by current life experiences. After a recent craniosacral-focused healing session with shaman Peter Churchill, wings blossomed from my skull. (And with the wings came a growing sense of freedom.) Here's how it happened.
I met Peter at a small dinner gathering just after Thanksgiving. As the night deepened, so did our conversation. Days later, I had a copy of his book in my hands, and for the next month I was immersed in one of the most compelling stories imaginable, detailing the life of this remarkable 60-something-year-old shaman.
During this period, I experienced many odd things. Like the night I lay in my bed, and felt my skull as a vast sea, with the sphenoid bone (which houses the pituitary gland, and the structure of which surfaces at the temples) rocking side to side, as if it were a boat on a vast ocean.
During the reading of the book, I also experienced my first sensations of wings growing from my head, which led to this chalkboard, now hanging at Boulder's Southern Sun Pub & Brewery:
During our first session together, it happened again: wings unfolded from my head. I could feel their feathery presence, and I could see them with the inner vision that sees into the subtle realms, infused with a white-golden light. It was...Grace. (Just prior to this moment, a lifetime of head pain had squeezed/popped out of the left side of my skull, in the form of a potato-sized, pain-filled, subtle-energetic slug.)
I have experience massive headache pain since childhood, and the opening and release I was experiencing was tremendous, and it's difficult to convey the significance of this shift. (A shift which continues to stabilize and open, weeks later.)
So this time, when the wings spread from my skull, it was not just one pair. There were many. I illustrated it in this chalkboard, now at Boulder's Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery:
Later that week, I created this piece, at Denver's Vine Street Pub & Brewery:
Over the years, many people have been surprised to learn that I don't preserve the original chalkboards. That I erase them, making way for the next season's artwork. This might change some day, but for the past seventeen years, it's been an integral part of the process for me.
A shot of the erasing at Vine Street, and the sketches that would lead to the final artwork:
I've now had three sessions with Peter, and I feel vast changes underway. This, on top of the treasures I've gleaned inside of seven years of qigong (guided by my sifu, Stephen Joffe; more on this in a future post), has opened me up to a whole new world of subtlety, in which I am beginning to perceive the flow of cerebrospinal fluid pumping up and down my spine.
I've received a great deal of feedback from this series. If you have a moment, I'd love to hear your thoughts; comments are welcome!
And...one more chalkboard, this one at Boulder's Southern Sun Pub & Brewery, this one coming after my second session with Peter. The wings began taking the form of spiraling ram horns, and later, elk antlers:
Thanks for accompanying me in my unfolding journey.
. . .
If you are inspired to work with Peter Churchill, you can find more information here.