By Victoria Pendragon
Victoria Pendragon is an artist whose art “is informed by Spirit, Soul, and a love of color.” Her one-woman exhibition “Witness” brings awareness about incest, the resilience of the human spirit, and much more. She is also a self-described inner-faith minister with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, specializing in counseling. She is the author of Sleep Magic: Surrender to Success and Feng Shui from the Inside, Out. I am honored that she has graciously offered to share this article with you about the healing power of art. ~ Renée Phillips
On July 31, 1992, after a seemingly innocuous conversation with one of my sisters about the differences between the vices of our maternal grandfather and our actual father, I entered an unusual trance kind of a mental state during which time I somehow moved myself from the driveway in front of the condo in which I was living to the kitchen of that condo. I have no memory of how that transpired but in that condition, at some point, countless memories of incest poured into my consciousness.
I found myself, standing in the middle of my small kitchen, reeling from the effects of having just had an experience unlike anything I’d experienced before in which what had been seconds-long memories that had lingered around the edges of my consciousness for decades suddenly expanded into full-blown memories of sexual activity between my father and myself. It reminded me of what happens when you drop dried-out sponges into water. Pfoof! Suddenly, there it is, three or four times as big, juicy and dripping. Suddenly alive again.
Without a second thought I ran to my studio, grabbed the small sketchbook that I had been using to accompany me to the hospital where I was going monthly to receive experimental treatments for a disease – rapidly advancing diffuse progressive systemic sclerosis, (also known as scleroderma at its worst) that was – and is – generally both incurable and fatal – found my acrylics and brushes ( I took watercolor pencils to the hospital), and with no thought whatsoever in my head, painted a small image of a helpless golden being inside what appeared to be a vaginal opening.
I had been using art throughout the illness, which had begun in 1988, to document images from my dreams and from shamanic journeying which I had been learning. I had also been making small images of chakra energies in the sketchbook. Right up until that day in the kitchen, I had been using art as a tool to record the mystical and energetic experiences I’d been having. On July 31, 1992 art became a different kind of tool for me, one I would use first to gain access to a world I had hidden from myself and then to set myself free. That was my intention, anyway.
The Birth of the ‘Witness” Series
As it turned out, the story was far more twisted and complex than I’d taken it to be. It took longer and it took more than just art to set me free but making art was a constant part of my process and eventually allowed me to turn what had been a kind of living nightmare into a one-woman show of collage called “Witness” that I offer as a public service both on my website and in interested and appropriate venues.
The goal of “Witness” is to allow other people who have been sexually trafficked or incested to see that someone else who has experienced those things is out there, talking about it, refusing to be a victim and pointing out that shame belongs rightly on the heads of the perpetrators.
What the change does for me is allows me to be honest about the fact that I am free of the pain I carried… and does not imply in any way that I am free of the fact that what happened, happened. The creation and exhibition of “Witness” marked my release from the tethers that had heretofore defined my life. I am still creating art that is informed by the need to restore to women the power that has been denied them for centuries but I am also, now that I have a joyful way of being in the world, immersing myself in color and expressionism, free at last.
The book Sleep Magic: Surrender to Success by Victoria Pendragon is described as “a do-it-yourself technique that will assist you in clearing away old and outdated emotional programming from your body, allowing you to live an easier and more comfortable life.”
You can order this book on Amazon.
Visit Victoria Pendragon’s Witness Series visit https://victoriapendragon.com/art-of-the-thriver/witness/
Join her Sleep Magic page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Sleep-Magic-329361060496336/
Artists, Please Share Your Story!
If you are an artist who has experienced art-making as a catalyst for healing we invite you to submit your story to our editors for consideration. How has creating visual art helped you cope with an emotional, psychological or physical challenge? We want to know. Please send me an email. Describe your experience in a 3-4 sentence paragraph and provide a link to your website or blog where I can see the art related to your experience. Please do not send any attachments. Thank you.