Tempering the spirit
Neighboring lives

The Language of the Imagination: The Art of Meinrad Craighead

The Enclosed Garden by Meinrad Craighead

From A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit:

"In dreams I have been an eagle and a green finch, have met a three-headed coyote, wolves, foxes, lynxes, dogs, lions, songbirds, fish, snakes, cattle, seals, many horses and cats, some who talk, a woman giving birth by cesarean to a full-grown stag that ran away, still wet with the juices of birth, down a dark, tree-shrouded road, a gazelle fawn that a woman breast-fed, a brown bear who married a woman. 'They are all beasts of burden in a sense,' Thoreau once remarked of animals, 'made to carry some portion of our thoughts.'

"Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech. A man once told me that much of my writing was about loss, that that was how I imagined the world, and I thought about that comment for a long time. In that sense of loss two streams mingled. One was the historian's yearning to hang onto everything, write everything down, to try to keep everything from slipping away, and the historian's joy in retrieving out of the archives and interviews what was almost forgotten, almost out of reach forever. But the other theme is the common experience that too many things are vanishing without replacement in our time. At any given moment the sun is setting  someplace on earth, and another day is slipping away largely undocumented as people slide into dreams that will seldom be remembered when they awaken. Only the continuation of abundance makes loss sustainable, makes it natural."

Entering the Ninth Cycle by Meinrad Craighead

The Grandmother & When Artemis Hunts by Meinrad Craighead

Moon Tree by Meinrad Craighead

Wisdom by Meinrad Craighead

The powerful images here are by Meinrad Craighead, a visionary artist based in New Mexico. To quote her biography:

"She has spent her life exploring in art the human-divine relationship, particularly in images of God as the Great Mother. Her work portrays in vivid color both an active visual dialogue with God and a keen sense of the brooding, watching, beckoning power she finds in the land around her, in the sky above, the earth below, in the animals, in our dreams....Subjects in Craighead's work range from the visions of the Catholic women mystics to images of the Rio Grande, scenes from the psalms and the 'Song of Songs,' figures from Greek and Norse mythology, Native American animal and divine spirits, wise grandmothers, angels clicking castanets, otherworldly beings. There are also women giving birth in a variety of ways, self-portraits, menstrual blood, icon-like scenes featuring dogs, crows, flickers, coyotes, magpies, turtles, and owls."

To see more of her art, visit her website and seek out her books (Crow Mother and God Dog, The Litany of the Great River, The Sign of the Tree, The Mother's Songs, and The Mother's Birds). In the video below (a preview of a documentary on Craighead), she discusses her work and her artistic process.

The paintings above are  "The Enclosed Garden," "Entering the 9th Cycle," " "The Grandmother," "When Artemis Hunts," "Moon Tree," and "Wisdom." All rights reserved by the artist.