A dear friend of mine has been under a lot of stress lately, and he's contemplating the possibility of taking a job that will require him to move halfway around the world for three years. I decided to make him a little painting to cheer him up and remind him that I've got his back no matter what. Here it is:
And an explanation:
I chose a blue color scheme to make sure the painting would look right to my friend, who is red-green colorblind.
The labyrinth at the center symbolizes the path of life -- the idea that we are all exactly where we are supposed to be, and all our choices lead us to the places we need to go. (You can get lost in a maze, but you can't get lost in a labyrinth, because there's only one path in and out, with no dead ends or wrong turns.) For reasons too complicated to go into, labyrinths have kind of become a symbol of our friendship.
The 12-pointed sun is a Choctaw symbol that represents happiness, which is obviously my wish for my friend -- and a nod to his Choctaw heritage.
The stars are constellations. Aquila, the eagle, is in the upper right; a Choctaw symbol of strength and peace and a spiritual messenger, he also represents flight and freedom to many cultures and seemed a fitting symbol for my friend. Equuleus, the "little horse," is in the upper left and represents my friend's wife, an accomplished equestrian, who is the most understanding and supportive woman I know. In the lower left, Canis Major represents their faithful dog, and in the lower right, Ursa Major -- the Great Bear -- represents my infamous "Mama Bear" streak protecting him wherever he goes. In Zuni mythology, the bear also symbolizes strength, healing, and wisdom and peace during times of transition.
Finally, the song lyrics are from "Across the Universe." I chose them because he's a Beatles fan. The Sanskrit refrain, jai guru deva,
translates to something like, "Glory to the divine dispeller of darkness," followed by the "OM" that supposedly mimics the vibration of the universe.
I hope he likes it. If he doesn't, maybe he can swap it to some hippie for a bag of weed or a copy of Rubber Soul
on vinyl or something.