She Is a Living Mandala of Light and Shadow: How to Love a Tortured Artist.


She is a living mandala of light and shadow, and she is breathing whole worlds into being with her majestic art. Tell her of her worth.

Tell her to crawl over the red line she drew for herself long ago, the fabricated boundary between surviving and thriving, the self-built but so-small wall meant to keep her words quiet and her passion invisible.

Tell her to show the world the spells she casts with her hands, to claim the name Creatrix with all that she is, and to let her artistry be a beauteous, self-sustaining communion between her sacred self and the resplendent Earth.

She has inscribed articulate descriptions of her wounds on her bones with magenta calligraphy, and she has translated the language of the many-hued Feminine Divine onto canvas. Tell her the world deserves to see what she sees.

Tell her to drag her masterpieces out of her dark studio and onto the street to be blessed and penetrated by the sun-gods, to be licked alive by the milky moon, and to be worshiped like the venerable, priceless relics to the She-Gods they are. Bid the nine muses to have their way with her fear.

Howl-pray to the sainted Salome to temple-dance in slow spirals around her while she works, to infuse the paint, the ink, the metal, and the clay with the ancient, primal dark of women’s desire, then baptize the brush in the holy waterfall cascading down her dimpled thighs.

She is a living mandala of light and shadow, and she has been told her art is ugly enough to appall even the thirstiest eye. Tell her the birth of sacred work is bloody and painful. Tell her to paint away her worthlessness. Tell her of the compassionless critic, the jealous executioner of the most perfect art, the soul-vampire, and the predatory narcissist who craves others’ failure.

Tell her of them, then beg her to close her ears and eyes to their bitter metaphors and snide mockery. Ask her to reject the assessments of those who challenge and slay the gifted in imagined battles that could never be won, and praise her wild and wily ways.

Write her a letter of raw love and fierce support. Tell her the hearth-holders of her soul’s destiny will groundswell from beneath her feet and cushion her fall should she falter. She is the mother of curved lines and golden light. She has labored long nights, anesthetizing herself with turpentine and leaded chromium white paint. She has nursed her art with indigo breastmilk and cradled her designs like infants.

Tell her a mother to sacred work is still a mother. Tell her she is a full-breasted and wide-hipped giver of unconditionally divine love. Gift her with a bouquet of pink roses and forsythia branches then lie prostrate on the ground beneath her easel while she works long past sunset. Bring her a warm drink and some cake with thick icing, then kiss her on the cheek at midnight.

Tell her you love her, and tell her she is a weaver of worlds, a craftswoman who holds hot, molten love as her truest medium, and a wet-lipped lover who knows how to paint the folds of a Rubenesque cherub’s rump in a way that makes the real angels weep.

She is a living mandala of light and shadow, and her powers are not to be underestimated. Watch her lithe and lively fingers make the mundane majestic. Watch her willowy and wily hands wed moss green to a brushstroke and sanctify the most perfect marriage with her artist’s eye.

She is the Priestess of Paint, the Goddess of Craft, and masterpieces erupt from her rainbow psyche like melodiously humming raindrops from Saraswati’s storm cloud. Watch her work her darkness as a shadow-medium and her light as a gold-leaf accent. Watch her unlearn all she was taught about fine lines and artistic perfection.

She is a living mandala of light and shadow, and she owes you nothing; she is the cocooned Creatrix unfurling wings so fragile they would crumble in sunlight. Tell her you will wait for her until she emerges ready to be seen, and don’t be jealous of the long-lashed muses who are permitted entry into her space.

On these holy days, art is her only lover. Just at the witching hour, she will find you, exhausted from an indulgent evening and covered in the colorful blood of slaughtered subjects.

She will find you and beg you to hold her while she weeps, while she mourns for a landscape that refuses to be born, while she grieves with her whole body for a burst of jewel orange she cannot seem to pull from her mind’s eye onto the canvas.

Wrap your arms around her shaking bones and whisper words of admiration. Love her, but don’t dare pity her. She is a living mandala of light and shadow, and she is unbridled creativity housed neatly within the soft skin of a woman.


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Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. Author of 'Seasons of Moon and Flame: The Wild Dreamer’s Epic Journey of Becoming', 'The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman' and 'Woman Most Wild' (New World Library 2020, 2018, 2017), Danielle teaches internationally and has facilitated embodiment trainings, wild circles, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School and the lead teacher for the school’s Flame-Tender Facilitator Training and online coven, The Hag Ways Collective, an E-RYT 500 and YACEP, a Fire-Keeper for Ord Brighideach, and a dedicant to Irish-Celtic spirituality. She believes in the power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists as well as the importance of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting environmental unconsciousness and social injustice. Parent to two beloved wildings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, art-making, poetry, and intentional awe.
Danielle Dulsky