Thursday, June 19, 2008

Facing the Underworld Demons

This was painted in the fall of 2005. Being the healthy hypochondriac that I am, I've supposedly been dying from a host of fabricated maladies over my life span. For several years now, I often have dreams about illness or 'dis-ease.' Usually, the case being that I am 'ill-at-ease' with myself - as in not being congruent with my soul.

When these spooky dreams come, most often, I'm compromising in some fashion, living an unauthentic life of duty and pleasing others as opposed to being true to my soul's calling. My unconscious has an uncanny way of drawing my attention to my dis-ease, or to the things that are 'eating at me' from behind the scenes. Soul knows that if it really wants my attention, an image filled dream will come and then at the end of the dream, it will have something to do with illness, possibly cancer, or someone I've know from the past who has died of some dreaded illness. The unconscious does this to spoke me, to startle me awake so that I will pay tribute to these haunting apparitions. This is souls way of demanding my undivided attention.

This particular painting was done after such a dream. I've learned that to avoid such dreams and images is only an invitation for greater psychological disturbance - more unsettling dreams. So, I will often meditate on a dream, often record the dream in journal, and occasionally something clicks and along comes a shift of awareness and I move deeper into relationship with my self, and my truth, whatever it may be during a particular day or period in my life. Other times, journaling isn't enough, and the images must be approached in another fashion - without words or intellect. Seldom does the soul move from a linear pragmatical position, but instead answers and communion can only come by stepping into the non-linear imaginal real, where the attempt to literally translate is set aside and one's imagination is free to roam in areas that otherwise might be deemed as silly, stupid, childlike or childish, immature, bazaar, irresponsible, and at times even bordering on insane. This is where painting comes in for me. For others it can be honored in a host of different mediums.

Instead of telling you about the dream that prompted this painting, I'm going to let the images speak for themselves, or better yet, I'll remain silent and instead, let your imagination take over. I will say this, though: Over the years, most of what has haunted me in dreams often, after time passes, after I have engaged these 'spooks' in some sort of meditation and creative artistic expression, these so called 'dis-eases' and 'ill-at-ease' aspects of my dreamworld (my psyche/soul) have transformed into some of my closest and healthiest friends and have been the fueling catalyst behind my writing, the Malcolm Clay Trilogy included.

Mel Mathews, is the author of several novels, including the Malcolm Clay Trilogy (Fisher King Press). His books are available from your local bookstore, a host of on-line booksellers, or you can order them directly from his website at:

© Mel Mathews - permission to reprint granted with a link back to

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