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Call to the Spirits

Call to the Spirits

I painted this particular painting to say that everything has life: the rocks, the water, the air... A lone wolf under a full moon is out calling to all life.

Many amazing things have happened to me because of this painting. One of the most interesting was when I was at a show in Billings, Montana. I had a lot of people gathered around my painting of "Call to the Spirits". They were all trying to find the 57 hidden images when I noticed a Native American man standing away from the crowd. He finally came up to me and asked me where I had gotten the idea for the painting. I told him I really didn't know, that I hadn't intended to paint anymore than a wolf under a full moon. All the images just started to show up as I painted on this for over a year. He said "I don't know if you know anything about the Sun Dance, but I am a Crow Indian and a Sun Dancer, last year while I was dancing at the Sun Dance I saw your painting in my vision." Then he turned around and left.

I spent the rest of the night packing up my artwork and driving home. I drove through an area called Lodge Grass, Montana which later, I found out was the Crow Indian Reservation. A magical thing happened. I had been staring out at the stars when I decided to look and make sure I was still on the road. I looked out at the sky again and suddenly there were all these beams of parallel lights that seemed to be pulsing with electricity. I stopped the car and grabbed my map to see what big city could be out here making this phenomenal light show. There wasn't any city within a hundred miles. I turned off my truck and watched the sky for over an hour. I was never so amazed with this silent mystery. (This is what inspired my 3 part series "Silent Mystery") After I got home I couldn't quit thinking about what this native man had said and the experience I'd had with the lights in Lodge Grass.

I told my mother about the experience and asked her if she would be interested in going back out there with me. One month later we headed back. We had decided to go to a Native American art show on the other side of Billings, MT from where I had been before. By the time we got there the show was over and the people were packed up and leaving. There was left on a table a book that was entitled "Sun Dance." I picked it up immediately, remembering the man I had met at my show. He sadi, "It is interesting you're here now, because tomorrow is the Sun Dance. Would you like to come?

Of course we said yes. I don't know how we ever found the dance. It was out on a hilltop in the middle of the Reservation. They looked at us strangely when we first drove up, until we told them Walter Old Elk invited us. We were the only white people there. We were asked to remove our shoes while they smudged us with an Eagle wing fanning the smoke of the burning sage on and around us. This is supposed to cleanse us of any negativity and must be done to all befor entereing the sacred circle. We sat down under an arbor made of freshly cut trees and tree branches that cirecled the sacred dance site. In the middle a very tall pole had been placed in the ground. I found out later that it was called the tree of life. The circle was lined with 3-ft tall sticks with little red bundles tied to them.

We watched as men, one and two at a time, would come out dressed in red and lay in the circle. We watched as they were pierced on either side of their chest, never flinching, with two sticks over a quarter of an inch wide. There were leather straps dangling from the tree of life that were then attached to each of these sticks. The drums beat and they danced and pulled against the tree until the stick broke free of their bodies. They included us in their ceremony that lasted until the sun set that night. With the last drum beat there was a second of silence before a bolt of lightning lit up the sky and the crash of thunder boomed around us. There was never any lightning and thunder before or after that.

I wasn't able to talk with Walter Old Elk that day, but he showed up at my gallery 900 miles away almost a year later. He said he had a gift for me and that to some people it would be a very strange gift. He went on to explain the purpose of the Sun Dance. He said he had trained for over a year mentally and physically and that he fasted and prayed before the dance and decided the purpose of his prayers: this dance would be for me. Walter said he believed in what I was trying to say with my art and that he had prayed for my success as an artist. He handed me a small bundle. As I unwrapped it he told me that these were the sticks he was pierced with the day of the Sun Dance, and that he thought I should have them. Each was tied with a red cloth strip and the wood was stained with blood. He went on to say that when they are pierced with these sticks they have been trained to feel no pain and as they dance they pull against the tree of life until the sticks break free of their skin. They believe if it releases easily their prayers will be answered and if not they won't. Walter Old Elk then said,"If you noticed they released very quickly!" Walter has shown up at my gallery a few more times over the years. He was a man at the time in his late fifties. When I met him he was going to college so he could help the people of his reservation, the Crow nation. He lives on a land that is still the way it has been for hundreds of years. This is the area of the battle of the Little Big Horn and Custer's Last Stand.


Just the prints, no matting
Prints can be personalized by Lori either on the print itself or on the back. You give us the information when you place the order.

Call to the Spirits 5X7 - $10.00       Buy Now

Call to the Spirits 8X10 - $20.00     Buy Now

Call to the Spirits 11X14 - $45.00     Buy Now

Call to the Spirits 16x20 - $99.00     Buy Now

Each image comes hand signed by Lori and double matted.
The size represents the total matting size, thus making the image one size smaller. That means, the 16X20 Matted has an 11X14 image. 11 X 14's and 16 X 20's come with an inlaid brass nameplate.

Call to the Spirits 8x10 - $29.00       Buy Now

Call to the Spirits 11x14 - $69.00     Buy Now

Call to the Spirits 16x20 - $99.00     Buy Now

Click here for shipping information
Note: All images have been digitally watermarked

Limited Editions Available
23 X 30 5/8
Call to the Spirits Print - $325.00 Buy Now
Call to the Spirits Matted - $495.00 Buy Now
Call to the Spirits Framed - $725.00 Buy Now

All rights reserved. All paintings, contents, images and text, are copyright Lori Salisbury, 2008. This web site, or any portion thereof may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission.


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