The narrative I have created for this image is my fabricated mythos. As part of this mythos, I believe we all have a spirit animal. At the end of our lives a representative of our spirit animal whose job it is to carry us over, comes to collect us to take us to the spirit world. These are specially assigned spirit guides. It's their responsibility to ensure our soul is safely carried over without incident. They are fierce and will fight to protect our souls, yet gentle to ensure a smooth and comfortable journey for their precious charges. They carry us on their backs through the varied terrains between this world and the final destination of our soul.
Here, Junebug's spirit animal the mighty bear is carrying her across to the other side. His crown of antlers is his required uniform; it shows his guild allegiance, his responsibility and rank. The bells of the crown are to break space before him as he travels, to ward off any evil spirits that might try to steal this kitties beautiful kitty soul along the way. The owl being one of those nefarious characters who might be improved by having her soul. The bear is traveling left / back / into a known state of dis-ease - which is to say at this stage of the journey, the cat's soul is not out of harms way yet.
Mid January 2011, my beloved companion animal for 14 years, Junebug Osita Fuzzles Prickle Fingers McGraw the Uber Puss-Puss Gallaher, went out for an evening stroll and has yet to return. I chose this background to depict winter as her actual time of departure, and as one of the realms she must pass through as a part of her passage into death.
In this image, the owl has a double meaning, as it is the last (known) thing we both heard together. Through the help of an animal communicator, I have been able to have brief conversations with Junebug, revealing that she had been hiding from the owl, and I can hear it from my deck. The reality of the owl is that they are a bird of prey. I researched owls local to the Portland area, most are little but the Great Horned owl lives here too, they will pick off small dogs and cats as well as their usual food, which include raccoons and porcupines as well as squirrels and other little mammals. I cannot imagine Junebug being so afraid of a smaller owl that she would not come out of hiding. A great Horned Owl though seems a reasonable fear. A terror even. An owl may be a protector beast for a person; it is quite the opposite for a kitty.
I do not know for sure if Junebug has passed out of this world. I do know that she no longer lives with me. Her departure has broken my heart so open, my usual tough exterior is has been destroyed. Working on this image has been cathartic, if even in a tiny little way.
This images structure is informed by artifacts of the Silla Dynasty, Old Beliefs of Sami culture, and the Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen.