Christina the Astonishing

Christina the Astonishing - St. Victor Diaries

Christina the Astonishing

Born in Belgium in 1150 and soon orphaned. At the age of 21 Christina suffered a massive seizure after which she was declared dead and said to have visited God who gave her a glimpse of both Purgatory and Hell where she saw numerous friends suffering. She made a deal with God to return to earth and let her suffer the torments there in the stead of her friends who would then be cleansed by her actions and they could then ascend to heaven.

When she returned to earth, she levitated to the ceiling of the shire where her body was lay in state, and after being coaxed down by a priest began her journey of living a life of poverty and torment for the sake of those she loved. She would sleep on rocks, wear rags and beg for food, throw herself into ovens and reportedly laid for hours in freezing rivers during the dead of winter. She even allowed herself to be dragged under the waters by a mill wheel, and through it all never suffered injury.

For this I chose to paint Christina in ice blue. Her hair rises as though carried by a great gust of wind ascending up towards the heavens and releasing the beauty and joy bestowed upon her friends and loved ones as the result of her torment. I try to show this through the flowers, bee, butterflies and doves evolving forth and the red flow behind represents the cleansing of the blood in transition and the release of it in loving and life giving sacrifice for the sake of others.

I think of Christina as the perfect empath. We can give her our pain and our stress and she will bear it out in our stead allowing us to refocus our gaze to the cosmos.

The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia

Martyrdom of St. Cecilia Patron Saint of Music - St. Victor Diaries

The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia

A second century Roman known for having the voice of the angels was condemned by the Catholic church for singing the liturgies of which women were not permitted to do. Although she bowed to the churches threats – she was soon accused of heresy for aiding two brothers condemned for burying martyrs who were supposed to lie in open for God to find them easier. Go figure. She was imprisoned and scheduled for execution. Three attemps were made to behead her, noted by the three notches in her neck – each time the executioner suffering a fatal accident prior. Set to burn, when priests came to retrieve her for execution, they found her cell empty with nothing but rose petals strewn across the floor.

The archangel is represented as a stained glass representing both the church that condemned her and the angelic presence that rescued her. The notch in the wall shows the cell’s inability to hold her.

Katrina the Unforseen

Katrina the Unforseen - St. Victor Diaries

Katrina the Unforseen

Since the dawn of human awareness three basic questions have burned on the tip of our collective cerebral cortex: Where did we come from, why are we here and what’s going to happen to us when we die. But there is a fourth question that soon arose as likely the result of a pterodactyl feces crashing down on the skull of a most beloved – why do bad things happen to good people.

For almost as long, the philosophical responses have flooded volumes of holy books and classrooms ranging in responses from the butterfly effect to shit happens to God is punishing us for allowing women to take off their bras and gays to marry. Of course there are a range of arguments in between these basic headers, but regardless of the reason, the fact remains – bad things do happen to good people. Often our very best. And it will continue to happen. What we need are thoughts on how to live with it ~

Katrina the Unforeseen is my way of sharing the words of Kahlil Gibran in his transcendent poem “A Tear and a Smile”.

“I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart for the joys of the multitude. And I would not have the tears that sadness makes to flow from my every part turn into laughter, I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding of life’s secret and hidden things.

A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and to be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of a broken heart; a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I lived weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the depths of my spirit, for I have seen those who are satisfied the most wretched of people. I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody. With evening’s coming the flower folds her petals and sleeps, embracing her longing. As morning’s approach she opens her lips to meet the sun’s kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfillment. A tear and a smile.

The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come together and are a cloud.

And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping to the fields and joins with the brooks and rivers to return to the sea, its home.

And so does the spirit become separated from the greater spirit to move in the world of matter and pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow and the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death and return whence it came.

To the ocean of Love and Beauty ~ to God.”

Sister Marteen of Tours

Sister Marteen of Tours - St. Victor Diaries

Sister Marteen of Tours

The Patron Saint of Gypsies

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, “Not all who wander are lost”. For much of my life I have felt a connection to this, not because I’m constantly in search of a place to call home but because it’s all home and exploring is not to be confused with searching. Searching implies a longing, a sense of something missing where exploring is a result of comfort in the unknown and a sense of wonderment at all that we are both a part of and is part of us. We are all everything that is.

Granted parts are not as pleasing to us as others and we find where our comfort and pride is strongest which is obviously empowering. By the same token however, our greatest strength comes not so much from that which empowers us, but from the knowledge that there is nowhere of which we need fear. Easier said than done, I know – but realizing, as Joseph Campbell states, that “Thou Art That” we can take the first steps to wander each new and narrow trail.

In Sister Marteen of Tours, I have combined the dark beauty of the Gypsy mysterium with the most gallant of travelers, the horse. It is interesting that it so reminds me of that rare and most beautiful of all breeds – the Gypsy Horse. It is a reminder to me that we are all one, all part of the same energetic and consciousness field, our molecules sharing dark matter and information.

We are all energy, and as such we are all receptors and transmitters of information. I believe the storehouse for that information is consciousness and retains the information from all life transmissions that have come before us, are being transmitted by us and will be shared after our current physical manifestations of energy (bodies) have degenerated with that which is born anew. And on and on. This is just a larger version of the Gypsy in our nature and I believe is simply one micro-cosmic yet the exponential way the universe / the multiverse / God evolves.

Dragons of St. George

Dragons of St. George - St. Victor Diaries

Dragons of St. George

This painting is about tolerance and communication, more specifically, the deluge of intolerance due to the limits of language and experience. I use George, the Patron Saint of England as the symbol in helping pave the way out of religious intolerance as a result of the self inflicted near genocide of Europe, not from Muslims or Visigoths, but from within the family of Christianity itself. The inability of language to communicate a single ultimate truth birthed the intolerance that led to one of the most merciless and devastating periods of history from 1618-1648 known as the 30 Year War. Based on an omniscient deity’s poor communication skills, the resulting intolerance between factions of two different “readings” of the text led to one of the most destructive wars in European history. So great was the loss of life, that one third of the population of Germany was destroyed as well as a third of the Czech population. A Christian bloodbath between Catholics and Protestant Calvinists over a text in Matthew 16, “And I tell you that you are Peter , and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” The Catholic Church claimed it’s authority from a succession of popes stemming from Peter. But was the “Rock” actually Peter – or his confession of faith?” This was the spark that lit the fuse that ignited the flame.

George’s mirrored tunic reminds us that we are each reflections of our own selves born in a different place, unto a different set of circumstances defined by a different set of interpretations. Would Pat Robertson be the same person he is today if he happened to be born in Tikrit, Iraq instead of Virginia? He would, except he’d be a Muslim cleric shouting death to infidels. Would Vladimir Putin be just as ego driven and power crazed if he were born a mere 58 miles to the east of Russia? Yes, but he’d be the mayor of Wasila instead.

The little Fire Chief car reminds us that the fires of intolerance are great, but there is no great super fire engine to extinguish them. Only millions of small ones, each doing its part to put out and contain the persistent brush fires of hate fueled by fear and insecurity. And the dragons, the self manifested evils we create in our minds in order to have a foe, an enemy to do battle with, to give us a sense of identity and belonging to a cause regardless of its validity.

Just shapes we see in the clouds based on a prejudiced and ignorant view of reality. It’s ALL just particles in the wind.

Spiderlilly

Spiderlilly - St. Victor Diaries

Spiderlilly

The cross is an ancient pagan symbol that dates back to Egypt 1500-2000BC.

It represents the merging of the physical form on the mundane plane (horizontal bar) with that of the true spirit nature (vertical bar) to present us with our unique roles of consciousness (spiritual) evolution.

I’ve coupled those images with a verse from the Priestly text of Genesis 1 to show a representation of all life being sacred, stamped with the handprint of the Universal Creative Force many calls God.

When mankind realizes the union of the cross, we learn that the little things that we take for granted are actually part of our own self.

The Roch

The Roch - St. Victor Diaries

The Roch

Roch was a French noble who early developed a sympathy for the poor and sick. While on pilgrimage Roch encountered an area afflicted with plague. He stayed to minister to the sick, and affected several miraculous cures, but contracted the plague himself. He walked into a forest to die, but was befriended by a dog. The dog fed him with food stolen from his master’s table, and Roch eventually recovered. Saint Roch’s compassion and loyalty for others regardless of the consequences is exemplified in the very nature of mankind’s truest friend — the dog.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Mary Mary Quite Contrary - St. Victor Diaries

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

The adage that states, “a picture paints a thousand words -” was clearly speaking of Mary Mary Quite Contrary. This provocative painting explores the relationship between Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary: Lover and Mother, Prostitute and Perpetual Virgin as signified by the early fathers of the Catholic Church.

Interestingly enough, this relationship mirrors the much older Gnostic dictate that describes the “Decent of Sophia” which reflects on the soul journey from perfect being, descending to the earthly plane where an awareness of false self sets in. Temptation through the vehicle of free will is the cause of her fall into the depths of human struggle where she is shown as a prostitute – living on the dark side. Yet it is this dark side that brings the brightness and beauty of her true self to light and she ascends back into the cosmos to be forever joined with her perfection. The ascension of Mary and the restoration of her virginity became dogma in 1950.

Symbolically, the tree represents the motif from the Garden of Eden that led to self-awareness and free will with the snake seen as temptation. The two Marys are adrift floating toward a rebirth as seen in the butterfly. The donkey represents the stubborn weight of dogma, which resists new wisdom and change as it weighs down the spiritual evolution of mankind. Depending on your personal view of this image – the donkey can be seen either as a background image standing onshore that the spirit journey is now bypassing or firmly planted in the center of the boat depicting a literal reading of this dogma as actual fact. The bloody handprints across the habit gown of the virgin, remind us of the millions of souls persecuted and slaughtered in the advancement of religious dogma.

St. Rita

St Rita - St. Victor Diaries

St. Rita

Quantum physicists call the world that we see before us the classical world. The basic needs of which are met with warmth, shelter, food, and light. However, the real world, that which lies within matter, but beyond its limits is the quantum world – reflected in the mirror. It is the world where information fused energy is the only thing that truly exists. Thought is energy. Thought creates a reality in the quatum world that manifests itself within the classical world. Mind into matter – not only is this not impossible, it’s the key to all that is possible.