Here is a piece I finished pretty recently that connects to my druidic path. It is a mixed media piece on a 12x17" canvas. Media: The found rusty chainsaw chain, blank canvas, acrylic paint, lumiere paint, sculpey (polymer clay), watercolor paper, and ink. About the art:
I’m originally from the wooded and rolling Appalachian mountains of Western Pennsylvania. As a child, I grew up in those forests that stretched far and wide behind my house. My childish eyes did not perceive the rotting enormous stumps that blanketed the forest nor the clear but overgrown roads as the products of logging, nor did I ever comprehend that such a thing would take place. I spent every waking hour as a child and early adolescent in the forest—building stick cabins, playing in the stream, identifying edible wild plants and animals, and following the forest’s many paths.
At the age of 14, when I was going through a time of tremendous personal turmoil, the forest behind my house was logged. It took them months to reach the areas where my cousins and I once built cabins or damns on the little stream behind our house we called “the little creek.” But we heard them coming for months, and finally they arrived at our part of the forest. For weeks, the chainsaws and heavy machinery could be heard, tearing away at those trees that I had long considered friends. My parents forbade me to enter the forest while it was going on, but I stood often at its edge with tears streaming down my face. I could see the devastation from the top of the mountain where we lived, see the mess of tangled branches and underbrush that lay behind—the remnants of the rape of the land by the loggers.
What I have come to understand since is that the forest—its logging and damage—was a reflection of my own inner turmoil and struggle. For years I shut it up the pain of my own childhood trauma within myself, just as for years, I refused to go into the forest to see its broken remains. I see it as no coincidence that at the age of 14, the repressed memories of my trauma were lifted and the forest that so reflected my own inner peace and strength was logged. Our joint suffering and pain were shared, like mirrors reflected onto one another.
For nearly ten years, I was unable to go into the forest. I would step foot in it, go maybe 30 or 40 feet, and be overwhelmed with the sorrow for what I thought was a broken and abused land. This changed when I started my journey with Druidry three years ago. For the first time, Druidry gave me the strength to go back into what I thought was a broken forest and to rediscover her secrets. But when I soon discovered was that nature has a tremendous power to heal—both herself and those who are close to her. This process of time and growth have healed both my own pain and that of the forest. Now, each time I visit my parents in Pennsylvania, I spend countless hours in the forest, and I am able to see its healing and growth. The forest has changed much since it was logged—dense thickets of birch, briers, and striped maples are present. Much of its so thick that its hard to travel through it—but I have found hidden paths and ways. But what I have come to discover is that my forest is as full of life as it ever was. This is parallel to recognizing that the process of learning about Druidry has aided in my own healing process.
When I was visiting Pennsylvania in May, I took my pan flute into the forest to play for the trees and the spirits there. While I was sitting on a rock among the tangle of new growth, I saw this rusted and old chainsaw chain lying there among the briers. From the instant I saw it, I knew that this was to be part of the piece I would create that demonstrated the lessons that I have learned as a druid.
And so, I created “The Forest Heals,” using the rusted chainsaw as a base. This is a piece of art that I believe epitomizes the most important lessons that I have learned as a Druid. These are: the healing power of nature; the ability for personal transformation and self-discovery through nature; and the importance of reflection, history, and storytelling.
The chainsaw blade itself is rusted together through the work of the elements, never be used again for destruction. When I found this in the forest, I had hope. It showed me that everything that humanity has done to the forest—to the planet itself—can be undone. While it is true that the forest I knew will never be the same, Nature has taught me in the power of healing. Druidry is a path of many things to many people, but I think we can all see the power of Nature’s ability to heal and grow at work.
The second lesson that I have learned is the power of Druidry and and nature to foster radical self-discovery and transformation. Had it not been for the strength that Druidry had given me, I never would have been able to walk in the forest again or learn her secrets. Druidry has much to teach us about the power of our own souls in overcoming tragedy and becoming reborn. The Tower card in the Tarot is a card of tremendous destruction—when everything that you know crashes down. But it is also a card of tremendous potential—something can rise from the ashes, and that something can be stronger and better than ever before. Nature, in all her suffering and in all of her life, teaches us a similar lesson. If a tree is struck by lighting, it continues to grow. If a tree is burnt in a forest fire or cut by loggers, sprouts will grow from its trunk. The tragedy we suffer at the hands of others can be overcome, and can be used to foster our own personal transformations. This lesson is reflected in the piece by the vine which has grown over the rusting chainsaw.
The final important lesson I have learned is the need for personal reflection and a better understanding of our own historical landscapes. Had I better understood the history of our area, learned its stories and tales, I may have prepared myself better for what was to come. We draw upon the wisdom and knowledge of an ancient people, and yet the tales that we are left with can teach us important lessons for today.Some close-up images of the piece of art
The piece in a different light:
A close up of the dimension of the piece:
Here is the story itself: