Thursday, May 3, 2012
Every kid has a favourite Aunt, and I actually had a lot of great Aunts and Uncles and I knew it wasn't fair to say one was better over another. There are some you connect with, like my Auntie whom I go over family stories with who always knows the right thing to say to keep me in line and respectful. (I have quite a wicked sense of humour and an even worse tongue so I have to keep both in check) and some you can let your freak flag fly and go to the theatre with (I am such that Aunt) and there are those that even long gone are still there for you.
I had one Auntie whom lived in Glasgow, Scotland. She was a Nurse but also had another skill that I found fascinating. She helped to find lost children using psychic skills for the Scotland Yard. As I child she was my pen pal. I wrote her for "witchy" advice and eagerly await her visits each year where she presented me with the most amazing gifts , hand-knitted hooded sweaters. I then, and now, have this thing about my head (as I later found out many belief systems do) and felt for my protection as a child, especially when sleeping, it should be covered. She never made me feel weird for always wearing a hat or hood, in fact I think my whole family humoured me on this and still joke about till this day. I thought hats and blankets were magical objects and could protect you from "cooties" and things that go bump in the night.
In 1983, I had such a vivid dream. I was walking along a beach where I met a grey horse. Being a child that loved to ride horses any possible chance I got , having a dream of one was not out of the ordinary. As I mounted the horse and begun to ride along the rocky beach I noticed that I didn't hear any hoof beats, that I was kinda sad about as hearing the horses gallop is something that is comforting to me. I figured out this wasn't a normal dream journey and in my 9 year old mind, I thought something is up.
I found myself in am amazing place full of animals , mostly in cages, some of them bamboo. It looked to be a zoo and my whole family was there. I looked up and I was sitting in the lap of my Aunt Pat. Gone were her scars of the Blitz that covered her body, and she was wearing the green dress she wore the times we went to Great America where we would ride the rides together and I would wait for her and she rode the Demon, her favourite coaster.
She told me she was happy to see me and that she loved me and she told me over and over so that I wouldn't forget. I noticed that my other family didn't seem to be talking which I thought strange since we are a loud and fairly large family.
The visit was cut short and I was riding the horse with no hoof beats again exploring the coastline of ruins and caves.
The next day upon awaking I found my father and family sitting at the kitchen table. I was excited to tell him about my dream about his sister.
"I had a dream Da, and it was really neat! I was riding this horse, near the ocean, but it wasn't the Ocean by us, it was far away! I rode this grey horse and I couldn't hear it's hooves! It took me to a place where there were lots of animals in bamboo cages and you were all there and so was Aunt Pat! She told me that she loves me and misses me" I said that I missed her and I then asked him when she was coming, she was supposed to move into our house with us in the States, very soon, and I was excited and couldn't wait. I asked " is she coming soon?"
He invited me to crawl into his lap and he looked very sad, I felt bad I thought my story had somehow did that to him.. He then told me that they had found my Aunt had passed away in her home in Glasgow and that she had died of Lung Disease. He then told me that she must have come to say goodbye and that the London Zoo was her favourite place. He also explained that in Celtic Lore there are these creatures called Water Kelpies , that often would drag children into the depths of the ocean if they went near water, in my case they took me to see my Auntie in the land of the Dead. Hence why I couldn't hear the hooves.
Not much later they sent her ashes to us since because she was a Catholic she was not allow to be buried by her Protestant husband. My parents decided they would save up and get her a little cubbie next to their resting place so that she could be here with us.
Later when I had this idea to do painting of loved ones to process grief my Dad gave me some of my Aunt Pats ashes to be able to mix in with my paints to have a painting of her that truly is actually here (or some part there of) . This started my portrait painting business where I take ashes and mix them with paint and paint a portrait in the iconic fashion, like a Saint. I am still looking for the picture of my Aunt that really clicks as "the one". Till then part of her sits on my Ancestor Altar with her lighter and the rosary she gifted me with the last time I saw her.
I done several of these paintings and recently did this one of my 16th Birthday blessing: Little Bear,for my parents. Rather then move around with nomadic me, he ran his clan of dogs at my parents house for almost 20 years:
"Little Bear Gibbons" by Angelique X Stacy
What my Aunt inspired has become my lives work, since I am a new Mum and feel this is a good time to take a break from full time tattooing , and that it is a good time to offer this service to others too. Call it a "Calling" if you will. It does help with the grief to honour those have pasted.