Talisman: Compassion’s Companion

20150710_104301-1Talisman, (c) Cat Charissage, 2015

Dear Friends,

This is personally a very busy time for me and my family, but I’ve finished the painting I’ve been working on for several weeks.  I hope you find it intriguing and inspiring.  The prose/poem below that accompanies it explains some of the symbolism.  Some of!  What is she saying to you?

I will be away for about a week, learning again from Dr. Estes, and therefore away from my computer.  I’ll respond to any comments when I get back.

With love,


Compassion’s Companion:  Becoming Whole, Becoming Holy

I recognize you, dear three eyed mystery.

You’ve visited me since I was a teenager first exploring

the quiet books that invited me into contemplative depths.

Your third eye travels through time and space

noticing, watching, understanding — from an inclusive view

offering unending compassion.

You’ve seen much, you ancient of days.

Your aged face still, always, beautiful.

Your regal shawl is reminiscent of the Blessed Mother’s mantle

offering shelter, respite, prayerfulness,

its purple mix of passionate red and introspective blue threaded with gold.

Gold — the treasure, the divine in the mundane.


You hold golden seeds, are sheltered by infinite seeds within seeds,

this world’s memorandum of the life-death-life cycle in all,

these seeds brimming with mystery metamorphosing into vitality,

nourishment, sustenance:  abundant provision.

Even your face is the shape of the acorn,  seed of the stalwart oak.

Tree of Life, indeed!


You are surrounded by stars, tiny yet immense  centers of light.

Five fingered stars, like hands, like humans, our community,

where we’re embedded to be light for each other, to walk each other home,

to be with.  Companions in compassion.

Our nights are also illumined by stars that no longer exist,

whose dying light has not yet reached us,

just as many of those who have lighted our path are no longer with us

yet continue to shine.

Across time, across space ,our light extends to each other, none of us ever truly alone.


Tongues of fire crown you, beauteous as a sunflower.

You kindle the divine fire within; flaming out, it is light for us.

Thirteen flowers, a baker’s dozen of holiness, abundance of spirit,

more than enough for all of us who weren’t in that upper room 2000 years ago.


And your gifts to me!

The bone, that which endures when all else has decayed. . .

You remind me to sing over the bones with pen and paintbrush,

to show others how to gather what is left of old stories, old lives, dismembered selves

and find the songs that re-member the (w)holiness.

You hand me the grail, and my cup overflows.


Not only enough, but plenty.

Not only plenty, but fathomless.

You charge me to dive deep into these numinous, luminous waters, to

understand  language that is not translatable to the common tongue.


And finally, you offer me my life:  the cross, encircled.

This is my Catholic past and my interspiritual future,

where I sit at the crux of my matter

joining human with divine, and remembering the circles of

medicine wheel, mandala, Celtic cross.

You’ve transformed my lived experience into a plethora of symbols which

now offer me crucial daily discernment into how to best live who I am.

I am brought full circle to you.  To myself.

I bow to you, dear three eyed mystery, accepting the call.



4 thoughts on “Talisman: Compassion’s Companion

  1. Nury Stevens

    Cat: I have been thinking all this time what it means for me your painting. I see serenity. I still thinking what it means for me. I keep reflecting on that. Thank you for posting. I love your paintings and reflections (BlogSpot).

    1. Cat Charissage

      Nury, that is the greatest compliment that an artist can receive, that their artwork causes someone to think about and reflect on it. ESPECIALLY when what is prompted is serenity or another positive sentiment (the news gives us plenty of negative sentiment.). For me, one of the symbols of the painting that keeps speaking to me is the seeds: that they are all around, seeds within seeds within seeds. Where will we allow our seeds to be planted? How shall we nourish them? Love to you and yours.


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