Symbols and Synchronicity

July 29th, 2008

I really love the way this piece came together. I worked on it a long time, letting it linger, changing and re-changing, layering and building, letting it grow and hide and reappear as I worked. I had the hubster come in and give me some constructive criticism at one point. He was cautious, not wanting to hurt my feelings. Sometimes, I can be very sensitive. But for whatever reason, I felt really open and non-defensive with it and I really wanted to hear what he had to say. I feel like I've come to a stopping point with it and since it is such a gorgeous day today, I was able to snap some pictures with natural light. It's 20"x20" with acrylic on canvas.


Sometimes things appear in paintings that you don't intend. I'm used to this with collage as I try to create collaged images intuitively, being open to happy accidents and such. But it only recently started happening in paint. While I was working, I noticed a large number 3 had appeared. I flushed out the bottom a tiny bit, but mostly it was already there. Three is a number that pops up a lot for me (as do 7 and 17), so I left it in there, even though I'm not sure exactly what it means.

I dreamed this image before I painted it. In the dream, Ophelia was walking into the water and she had a tattoo on her back that represented rebirth and renewal. I knew that she was entering into the water as a ritual (not as suicide) and that part of the tattoo was a large circle. I tried to recall more about the tattoo, but couldn't see it, so I drew sketch after sketch after sketch of it. At some point, I had to stop sketching and just begin and I'm glad I did because some of it worked itself out right on the canvas. The bees are a symbol that has been popping up lately first in my own artwork, in fun bee-spotting exchanges with Karen, and then in things I've been reading. I'd completely forgotten until it came up in a book I was reading about dreams, that my middle name, Melissa, means honey bee. I looked up the origins of the word and found that in ancient Greece, bee goddesses or priestesses were called Melissas and had the gift of prophecy. Homer wrote of the bee goddesses which I thought was fascinating considering my recent painting of Penelope. Bees and honey were symbols of the cycle of life as well as rebirth, so I decided to include them in the tattoo.

The flame that is also a tree, developed in sketches and on the canvas itself. I like how the roots mirror the bare branches of the trees in the background. Trees have been a common symbol in my artwork since I was a teenager, believe it or not. I saw them in a spiritual sense, as symbols of rebirth and the cycle of life. In the water, I also painted a scarab beetle, although it is mostly covered in layers of paint. I felt that I had to include it after the weirdest synchronicity occurred a couple weeks ago. You may remember the ridiculous (and funny) story about the large beetle in my bathroom. If not, go read it for a laugh. Anyways, the weird part was , I had just picked up a book, in the bathroom (yes, I read in the bathroom) called "Synchronicity" by Carl Jung, right before I saw the giant beetle and ran out to get the hubster, sans pants. I left the book open to the page, but didn't get back to it til the next day. Well, the next day, I open it up to read the story about when one of Jung's patients dreamt about a scarab beetle and just then they heard a tapping noise at the window. Jung opened it and in flew a large beetle (the equivalent of a scarab beetle in that area.) I literally laughed out loud when I read it thinking of my own personal scarab visitation. Turns out, scarab beetles were also a symbol of rebirth in the ancient cultures of Egypt and Greece. They're also considered a symbol of positive change, self-generation, and creativity. Very cool.

Phew, that was a mouth-full! I hope that was somewhat interesting to read about. It's a bit hard to explain the thrill of the journey and the little synchronicities that lead up to the finished piece, but I figured I'd give it a try anyways.

The yoga class this morning went well. The teacher was very sweet and gentle. Hoping to attend another class tomorrow! The hubster and I are going to a Red Sox game tonight. I hope the weather stays as lovely as it's been all day!

22 Responses

This is an amazing painting. I really love it. It’s intersting to have seen it develop. Thanks for sharing with us.


I totally enjoyed that. Fascinating to hear your process and all the synchronicities and symbolisms.

It reminds me of the time I gave a painting to my uncle for his wedding. It was a handfasting and I thought I’d incorporate that, so I used the runes as inspiration, and then just painted the rest intuitively.

As he opened it and I told him the story, he pointed to the ocean waves that I painted and said, did you paint this on purpose?

And there was a Goddess reclining in the ocean! I did NOT do it consciously, she was just there.And I believe there was also a pentacle, completely unintentionally.

Isn’t it weird how these things happen?

Gosh, I completely forgot to say how I love the painting. The imagery, the colors, the tattoo, the imagery, the tree, the style. Love it.

I love the artwork, Leah and the beetle story is too weird for words. I enjoyed reading it & going back to read about your bathroom beetle story. Thanks for sharing your lovely artwork and your sense of humor.

This entire piece is so amazing…all of the symbolism and synchronicities that are incorporated into to….powerful.

Oh Leah…this takes my breath away. What an amazing piece, everything about it. Throwing yourself into it and getting lost is all I can think of with how it must have felt to create. Then the tears started welling up when I saw the bees. The synchronicity with your name and it’s orgins, I get chills on how it all comes together for you. Love that you included that beetle too, that really was a funny story.

You bet your honey buns this will bee in the next spotting…or I may have to just do a bee spotting spotlight!!

Love this painting! And how it came to you in a dream and you let it evolve. Thank you for explaining the process behind it too as I find that so inspiring.

Love this painting! And how it came to you in a dream and you let it evolve. Thank you for explaining the process behind it too as I find that so inspiring.

It’s so so so very beautiful – powerful, strong and a bit haunting. I admire your work Leah, this is so magic!

I am new to your blog and I so enjoy your process and your writing…I too have very intuitive dreams, so I love that you paint yours…I was wondering what is the title of the book on dreams that you mention in this posting??? I would love to check it out…

This painting is beautiful. I love the stars and the way her hair is flowing like there is a gentle breeze sweeping across her…

Leah, this piece is magical! Just magical! I love how her tattoo turned out. Her hair is swept perfectly. Three is a very important number, in all different sorts of religion. So, just a random thought, in Druidry there are three elements that are pretty vital: water, earth and fire. You have ALL THREE present here. The water, the tree and the fire. It’s so beautiful!

Let me know when you have prints available!

This really is the most amazing painting! All the synchronisity it fascinating too! I’m really enjoying the yoga dvd I started on a couple of weeks ago – apparantly my arms are beginning to look more toned already :)

What an *amazing* painting, and I loved hearing the story of its creation and synchronicities. Thank you for sharing!!

What a beautiful painting. And again what inspiration I find in your humble home. It is so comforting to come to your little nest and find peace and warmth and recharge with positve thoughts and then go on and be happy for the rest of my evening. Thank you for that privilege. I must confess I am not in the best of my condition and your place makes me feel good . Thanks

According to the book Tarot of the spirit, 3 stands for conception and manifestation. In reading the cards, 1 means something beings, 2 it grows in intensity, at 3 it grows stronger still and at 4 it reaches its initial peak. I’m crazy about art with symbols, intuitive or otherwise, and apparations. Daughter is always finding apparations (which she usually dubs scarey) in my paintings. This is wonderful.

Hi Leah,
I love the painting. The tatoo reminds me of a phoenix rising. Seems perfect for rebirth.

When I sat before this piece and let it sink in more and more- just thinking about it, the poingnacy hit me, pinched my heart and made me cry. So good, Leah. Not a bad thing. Really great art makes me cry.

I saw one of my own symbols of rebirth in the tatoo. The phoenix. I can’t express how much the feelings I get from this painting mean to me. I can only tell you I know that you’ve shared something very deep and authentic and I was very moved.

Oh, I love this painting. The girl walking into the water and the painting on her back. It is absolutely lovely! Great story too…Roxanne

when i look at the tattoo, i see it contained in a circle (wholeness/completion/individuation) with spirals (change)and what looks like a phoenix (rising up from the ashes/rebirth)…i have been learning about bees and that the hive represents collective consciousness…very cool stuff here, missy..bravo!

Found you through Karen’s Beespotting. What a fascinating and wonderful read to go with your amazing piece of artwork. TFS!!! Numbers figure strongly in our lives, since our teenage son was killed. We are sure it is a connection or message if you will from our Alex. #13 comes to us often and in so many different ways. There is so much mystery and beauty in life if we just take time to notice…..:)

Beautiful art, great post thank you
thought you might enjoy my machinima film on permaculture and the bees
bright blessings
elf ~

Hey… I came here googling sinchronicity and just as another sinchronicity… and this is so incredibly freaky… I have 2 tattoos one on my lower back which is celtic crann bethad which is the tree of life… and one on my upper back which is a fleur de lis which also represents the phoenix or Jesus, both togeher mean self evolution. and somehow to me it’s so related to your painting. hahha… in my opinion it just shows how we are all interconnected… thanks for your beautiful artwork though… I’m enjoying it.

Post a Comment