Shaman With Jaguar

Wildness, wilderness, jungle. It has been a year since I visited the Mayan jungle of the Yucatan. The wild in myself sets up a resonance in certain landscapes. The jungles of Sian Kan, the Mojave Desert, Death Valley, the Alvord Desert, the Steens Mountains, the Canyonlands, the slot canyons of the Paria. Many savage, magical places that pull at my solar plexus when I stay away too long.

I saw this young Mayan shaman in Tulum, Mexico, joining his friends for a few moments as dusk fell and the band played. Like any teenager, he hung out with his friends. I observed him, his parrot feathers making him beautiful, his bow and arrow making him seem powerful and dangerous to me. I observed him so briefly. He felt my eyes perhaps and he literally disappeared as I tried to keep him in view. Maybe he merged with the crowd or slipped into the night. The way I saw it, he vanished.

I think of him often-here in my suburban home, my cul-de-sac. Yes, I honor wildness in my gardens. It is represented as a house cat could be said to represent a jaguar. But I know there is knowledge and ways of being that I will never touch. There are landscapes more seductive than a lover. And so I draw, I paint. It is my way of extending my hand into the unknown. It is my call – and I wait.

3 thoughts on “Shaman With Jaguar”

  1. Cheryl,
    I wrote the story "Witness" after your painting and before I read your text, so I perceived the figure as female rather than male. I hope the story sufficiently honors the great and beautiful mystery of the painting.

  2. If anything, the gender shift adds another dimension, raises questions and honors both male and female energies. The story is amazingly powerful – it will take many readings to receive its full offering. It did raise the hair on my arms and neck and it makes me think about my life journey ahead. Dangerous enough, adventurous enough to merit special protection and instruction I think. The first message I receive is "pay attention." All is not as it seems.
    The painting has now taken on a whole new life and added level of meaning. What artist could ask for more than that from an artistic collaboration. Thank you.

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