Holy Fire: The Guide Appears (2019)

My image portrays an encounter with a psychopomp (“guide of souls”) in a dark plenum bedewed with points of spirit light, a bardo . (In Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the spiritual plane between life and death is called a “bardo”, an “intermediate state.”)

The Otherworld’s spirit guide appears in an unexpected guise: a blue man glowing with rainbow flames. Yet the portal, or outward-viewing mirror, that he holds reveals an ecstatic skull face alive with flowers and luminous leaves in a sky of day. This guide of souls across the rupture of life to death may be a daemonic, godly or angelic being according to inner perception— perhaps the hoop he holds is a halo, held at an angle new and strange.

What if the cessation of being is not “the end”,  but only the release of spiritual energy from specific form? Day-in-night, life in death, intersecting, intertwined in both the inner and the outer bardo realms— what appears next? Where will we go? What lies beyond?

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