The Raven and The Wild Rose

The Raven and The Wild Rose — mixed media on water colour paper. Pgs 32 – 33 – Sheltered Wonder Art Journal

Raven appeared in my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal yesterday. He symbolizes transformation, and carries truth.

I hold many ideas and beliefs as ‘truth’. They create a framework for my life upon which my values and principles hang. Core to my beliefs is unwavering, redemptive, transformative Love.

Love is my weapon of choice. It is the only weapon I can safely deploy to keep my world spinning calmly, and to ensure I do not cause harm in the world around me.

Right now, standing in Love staves off the hopelessness, fear and sorrow that keeps riding in on waves of news articles touting the latest outbreaks, death tolls, and now, riots.

The world feels like it is spinning wildly off its axis. Like the cork that was stopping centuries-old anger and rage over social inequities, racism, prejudice and privilege of the few limiting the possibilities of the many, has been pulled out.

Rage, fury, anger, pain and trauma are gushing out of humanity’s collective consciousness. Unleashed from the genie’s bottle that has been held tightly in white man’s hands, human beings of every colour are spilling out into the streets demanding change, demanding they be seen, heard, taken note of – not as dehumanized symbols of an archaic and suffocating colonial structure that elevates man on the colour of his skin, but as fully actualized, worthy human beings.

When we measure another’s worth based on the colour of their skin or the depth of their pockets or the degrees on their walls or the power of their positions, we are setting those who were not born ‘the same’ to live in the shadows of our excesses. We are harming all humanity.

We are all culpable. I am culpable. For my sister’s pain, my brother’s anguish. I am culpable for my neighbour’s poverty, my dark-skinned brothers and sisters struggles and the struggles of those who identify differently than me and must fight for the right to be who they are. I am culpable.

Not because I actively do things to discriminate against others or cause anyone pain. No. My culpability comes from my inaction. My lack of giving voice to gather allies together who will help dismantle archaic systems that keep those who have not in their place, so that those of us who have can continue to live our privileged lives without having to unsettle the status quo.

The Raven appeared in my painting yesterday. He carries a message of transformation. Of truth.

The truth is, this world of ours, this planet that sustains us, nourishes us, keeps us alive is a better place to live for some than for many others.

I am one of the ‘some’. One of the sum total of humanity whose skin colour gives me natural and unquestioned access to what I need to create a beautiful life. A life that is free of fearing for my life when I walk down the street or get stopped by police or enter a hospital emergency room seeking to be treated like I matter.

I have never questioned whether or not I matter.

Too many of my brothers and sisters have been forced to ask themselves, “Do I matter?” They are the ‘many others’. The ones who have been deemed unequal to the arbitrary equation of worth set by white man’s structures. Structures that have been put in place to keep them playing a game of snakes and ladders where the ladders are blocked by the snakes pushing them back down. It is a game designed specifically so that they cannot win.

Raven is asking me to see the truth – My skin colour does not make me colour blind. It just makes me blind to the truth of the experiences of millions upon millions x millions of my brothers and sisters.

The Wild Rose which in mythology symbolizes Love and devotion is asking me to open the eyes of my heart so that I can see how my inaction hurts me and you and all humanity. My silence keeps others on the bottom rungs while I keep climbing up the ladder.

A Raven wandered into my painting yesterday.

I am grateful for his presence. He has illuminated a truth I have not been able to see.

I am not helpless.

I have the power to inspire action to address the effects of racism, discrimination, abuse, intolerance. Social constructs that are perpetuated by my silence.

The colour of my skin matters. Not because it’s white, (though that is unfortunately what makes it matter more in this world where racism and a culture of white supremacy that is unconsciously ingrained in each of us (and sometimes consciously) dominates) No. It matters because it comes with privilege.

It is that privilege that I must employ to influence others to stand united in calling out for change that will ensure those who are struggling on the bottom rungs of the very systems that give me privilege, can rise up to experience their colour, their ‘otherness’ without fearing it will matter so much to me and those like me, it will cost them their life.

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9 thoughts on “The Raven and The Wild Rose

  1. Strong, evocative, your words are forceful in their power to make one stop, think hard, goad one into realizing, accepting the truth that we are all somehow engaged in the unfortunate turmoil gripping the USA but also spilling out into different corners of the universe. I feared the worst, that some would seize this as the moment to do harm unto others by looting, burning, destroying livelihoods of many innocent people, regardless of their place in society. The ugly truth, professional protestors have no conscience, empathy. They use the concept of “herd mentality” to goad others to do what they normally would not. Your Raven arrived at just the right moment. Time to look within, to question one’s beliefs, sincerity, to take that first step towards accepting truth and responsibility. Without hope, has the point of no return been finally breached? I sincerely hope not. Will that change that you so eloquently yearn for, occur. Yes, but the question is – when?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alas, it seems true what you wrote Iwona – “They use the concept of “herd mentality” to goad others to do what they normally would not.” – Though I’m not sure “professional” and protesters belong together. 🙂 The sad truth is yes, some well cease upon these peaceful demonstrations as a means to achieve their ends, and to do so will use whatever means possible to do just that.

      The other sad part is, the police are not trained to ‘keep the peace’ but to quell violence and are as susceptible to their manipulations as the general public — and so the vicious cycle continues. All blood boils at the same temperature — and when the flames are fanned by those seeking to create chaos, everyone’s temperature rises.

      Sending you must love and gratitude my friend. ❤

      Like

      • Although “professional” and ” protesters” do not belong together anywhere, sadly I must report from personal experience, they do exist.

        Like

  2. I cannot tell you the level of my disappointment when Montreal joined the ranks of those where peaceful demonstration culminated in so much destruction.
    There is so much anger out there, right now and you are right. I am guilty of inaction myself. Racism is taught and I cannot help but wonder where it started and why. You are different from me, ergo, you are not good. What is up with that?

    As per, a wonderful post full of reflection

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dale. I think the most important thing I can do is look inside and see where my inaction has resulted in my complacency and an inherent acceptance of the inequities some of humanity experience simply because they are perceived to ‘not fit in’ to what some consider acceptable.
      And in that awareness, I awaken. Awakened, I dare…. (interestingly, your comment gave rise to two of the 3 words that are painted on my new two page spread in the Sheltered Wonder art journal — thank you for helping me ‘see’ their relevance.

      Much love.

      Liked by 1 person

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