Underlying Adelaide's artistic and even mundane expressions is a pulsing drive towards self-knowledge. Her impetus to know herself has taken the shape of bravery, such as solo international travels or exploring unknown territory internally and vulnerability, such as her willingness to share uncomfortable, taboo or shameful topics.
This painting, titled “The Mystic Void” came forward after her most recent Medicine journey in Peru, where Adelaide came to terms with many pArts of herself, both flattering and disgusting. Entering the void if you will, she stepped into a timeless space where her weakest moments became the most potent medicine. The mantra, “I Am Medicine” came forward. This painting shows this medicine… as a woman, as fragmented as the shattered constructs in her mind. She appears, broken in form yet solid in spirit. Holding the Rod of Asclepius, (often times referred to as Caduceus) she states her position as a healer. The rod is an ancient Greek symbol associated with medicine, consisting of a serpent coiled around it. In this case, the serpent is swallowing its tail, much like the symbol of Ouroboros. Originating in Ancient Egyptian iconography, the Ouroboros entered western tradition via Greek magical tradition and plays a big role in alchemy. Ouroboros symbolizes introspection, the eternal return or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, and represents the infinite cycle of nature's creation and destruction. Another notable aspect of this paintings serpent is its wings. The winged serpent/feathered dragon has appeared in numerous ancient traditions, of which would have never interacted at the time. In Mayan tradition Kukulkan, winged-serpent diety, was respected as the bringer of light and referred to as Quetzalcoatl in Aztec tradition. Light emanates from the smaller circular ‘void’ placed in the center of the space between each wing. The spiral nature of the serpent represents kundalini or released energy that springs up and wraps around each chakra (energy center) along our spine. Flowing/flying kundalini is a sign of aligned chakras, easeful prana (breath/life energy), and expressed sensuality. The woman also emanates light from her third eye and crown chakra as she holds the Gyana mudra (hand position). This mudra increases concentration, creativity, and is a gesture of knowledge. The direction of the palm makes a difference in terms of being more receptive or more grounded. Her wrists are adorned with mala beads, yet another tool to help in meditation, especially chanting.
While painting this piece Adelaide allowed herself the freedom to loosen up, and not worry about ‘messing it up.’ She eliminated the notion that it should end up looking like anything specific, a practice to work around the "control freak." As Adelaide says, " My art reveals more to me about myself than a mirror ever could. I got lost AND found in it!"
Is it possible to get lost in yourself? To get over yourself? To move beyond yourself? To fully know yourself? Dive deeper into the mystery... into the void!