Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Illustration Friday - Dec 2 - Blue

This peice is called Eyes of the Medicine Woman its 45" x 45". It is hand painted silk using the French Serti Technique of fencing in areas you want to paint. You first stretch the silk like canvas on a stretcher frame, then you treat the silk and paint. Its controlled chaos. The results are usually surprising.

A few years back I went to see a medicine woman. A real live Belizean medicine woman way out in the bush, because I needed help. Something was going on within myself and I had no idea what or why. Before I went to see her I had a dream and painted this image. I saw a mature woman, with eyes coming through the jungle and blue behind her.

I had had a series of mishaps, a devastating run of bad luck, jam packed into a 6 month stretch.
- was brutally assaulted.
- contracted spinal meningitis and became very very sick, and couldn't walk for a while. Or do anything except lay in bed very very still in excruciationg pain, except when I was sleeping knocked out from the narcotics they were giving me to control the pain.
-had a gun held to my head as I knelt on the side of the road in Mexico while 3 cops shook down the driver of the vehicle for mordita.
- won't even begin to describe the revelations regarding my now ex-husband.
-2 near drowning experiences.
-lost everything in a fire which turned out to be arson (landlord didn't want to fix the property so he burned it down) Lost Every Thing, 3 years worth of artwork, 53 original paintings, etc. etc.

I was in such a funk when I moved to Belize that I was afraid for the other people on the plane, because I was sure that it would crash because I was on it.
I'm not being a drama queen.

A close friend in Belize (a massage therapist) recognized some of the symptoms and referred me to the medicine woman. Beatrice Waight is her name. She practiced with Rosita Arviga (Rosita wrote the book Sastoon and 100 healing Herbs). Beatrice's father had practiced with the famous medicine man Don Elijo Pante, although he wouldn't teach her anything because she was a woman, she learned from her grandmother who was a Granny Healer.

I took the 8:30 boat from Caye Caulker, then the 10 a.m. express bus from Belize City to San Ignacio, arriving at noon. I caught a taxi to Bullet Tree Falls and 45 minutes later arrived in a little compound. The place is magical. Its like you're transported to another place and time.
Beatrice took me into her stick and pimento thatch examination room and had me lie down on a massage table. She lit copal which is an aromatic resin that produces a white smoke when placed on charcoal embers. She placed some herbs on my wrist and took my pulse. After a few moments she started praying in Mayan and Spanish and moved all around my body placing her hands and chanting. I felt a big rush of emotion and a gushing release. She ended the treatment with cupping her hands and blowing onto my chest.

Her diagnosis: a hex had been put on me and I needed to take the cure.

The cure was 7 herbal baths, over a period of 7 weeks, a herbal tincture with woman's herbs that you drink every morning (in a ginger wine base) and special prayers. The 7 baths were a ritual and had very curative effects. Some of the herbs were fresh white sage, marigolds, john charles, polly redhead, hibiscus, basil and the secret herb which I didn't recognize. I would pick a pigtail bucket full of herbs then add water and shred and crush them, letting the power of the sun soak into the mix. I would go into an outdoor wooden shower stall and pour and rub and scrub, leaving the herbs on my body. There was also 1 session of uterine massage to adjust my uteris and place it back into the proper position and to change my menstration so that it did not fall on the full moon. (does the picture of coyotes howling at the full moon come to mind here?) I would leave the sessions with grass in my hair and with what looked like oregano all over me, drying in the bus on the way home. Quite a site.
She told me who had placed the hex and why.
She sent it back.
The person died of stomach cancer 3 years later.
True story.


Marilyn said...

Heavy story. I'm so glad to have just found you. I saw that a blog I read via Bloglines got nominated for a Weblog award...I went to the Weblog Awards page to see some others who might be nominated (since historically that's a good way to find new reads). Having this year relocated back to the West Coast after five years in the Caribbean I was curious to see if there were any Caribbean blogs...yours jumped out at me. (It seems odd that the nomination pages don't include links to the nominees. I had to Google your blog title.) I love your painting...gorgeous. Okay, off to read more of your posts now. :)

Ginger*:)* said...

Now... write a book. This has best seller written all over it.. and it can be just as theraputic as the cures the medicine woman provided you with. Your image on silk is just as captivating as your true adventure.

And, of course, I am curious... are you well now? I hope and pray you are.

zordis said...

Isn´t life just adorable. Everything you give "good or bad" always comes back to you, but doubble. Sorry about that sorry soul and pray she is feeling better.

I like you!

Lolita Parker, Jr. said...

I am one of those I-came-across-your-blog-one midnight-morning folks. When I read your series of mishaps it took me back to my own seasons of highly dramatic episodes. Here's to herbal baths and woman teas...

Holly said...

First of all-thank you for sharing this with us. Second of all it is refeshing to see that you really went beyond to find a solution for what was happening. Sometimes the conventional does not work. I am a firm believer in Kharma. And it sounds like you are now on the right track. Your illustration is very fitting for what you have written. I agree with ginger-write a book!

Toni said...

Your story kept me reading till the end.
this is a good thing and I can see this a book.
Imagine a book of your stories and the paintings that go with them. Would be awesome

penelope said...

Thank you for writing this. I have been having a string of bad luck lately (nothing compared to what you went though). I put a note on my journal that I needed some warm wishes and a lovely commenter directed me to your blog. Your post gave me some perspective. Thank you very much. :)

krista said...

I'm with everyone on the book thing. Your illustration is so bright and wonderful it practically jums off the screen.

carla said...

That's quite a story...amazing, actually. I agree with those who think it would make a compelling book - either something autobiographical or the basis for a novel. The painting is very powerful...those colors and those eyes...wow!

Caribbean Colors said...

Thanks Marilyn, Ginger (my mom's nickname - which made my heart stop because I thought for a second that she found me out!) Zordis, Lolita, Holly, Toni, Penelope, Krista and Carla.
Hmm... about the book. Well Idunnobouthat. Mebbe.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I read this feeling so sad, for all the things that happened to you in 6 months.

I'm glad you found a way to heal. I hope lots of good happen for you now.

I'm sending good vibes to you, Caribbean.

Tatiana said...

I love this piece! I can feel the Belizean vibe with your colors and the rhythm of the piece.

Check out my blog from time to time. I will definately be stopping by your blog to check out your entries and work.

I'm actually part Belizean and heading there and Mexico to explore my art more.

kat said...

wow, i feel so lucky to have stumbled across your blog thru illustration friday. all i could think of when i read your about me blurb was imagine living a life like that!

your art is lovely. i'll be back. :-)