This painting was created as a tribute to Jerry Garcia; to honor the man and the musician
and as a means to help heal our loss. The images were a gift
of inspiration stemming from my personal beliefs. It was only
when I reflected upon the images that the messages revealed
The figure of Jerry manifested as the archetype of the Wiseman, the
Lord of the Night, the Wounded Healer. He is the ancient guide
in the realms of death who brings understanding. He has the power
in his fingers to heal. His music still remains even though he
has physically died to the world of our everyday reality. His
upraised guitar reminds us of this.
The shamanic landscape has three worlds: Upper, Middle (our
dimension) and Lower with animal and spirit guides assisting the
shaman. In this painting he has just crossed over to the Lower
World from the Middle World represented by Sedona's
vortex of Cathedral Rocks.
Jerry is portrayed as riding a white horse.
In shamanic cultures, the horse is a psychopomp , an aide to celestial
journeys who carries the spirits of the dead into the other world.
The river is the gateway. The wolves guard the river and the souls
who cross over. They are howling a welcome to Jerry. The mountain
lions patiently await to guide him. The birds and hawk feathers
represent the soul's flight after death and are cosmic messengers
of Great Spirit.
As he begins his journey, a skull portal opens in the sky revealing
an Angel/Goddess of the Upper World awaiting his presence when
he is through exploring the Lower World. The blue roses represent
our tears while the skull/angel combination symbolizes life after
death. The full moon rising serves to remind us that all Life
is change, that energy cannot be destroyed, that we have the power
of creativity in our own hands. The stars reflect where we have
been and where we are going after passing over. They also humble
us into realizing that we as humans are quite small compared to
the vastness of the Universe. I chose his "Throwing Stones"
music video garb to reflect the message that we must all be responsible
for our actions, for each other and for Mother Earth. As Jerry
was a humble man who never assumed leadership in the Grateful
Dead, I thought he would have liked the size of his figure in
these mysteries of Life.
Through the process of creating this piece of art, we, the viewers
have the ability to commune with Jerry's spirit. This sums up
my own artistic process as I worked on this painting. May Jerry's
spirit live on in our hearts and in our actions.