Honoring our teachers

meinrad

Meinrad Craighead in her studio, 2009. Photo by David Ondrik

Without honoring the teacher
and loving the resource,
no amount of wisdom can prevent vast confusion.
This is called the essential mystery.
Chapter 27, Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu / translated by David Hinton

In April of this year, my dear friend and mentor Meinrad Craighead passed away into the Mystery. Where did she go? Sometimes, I feel so strongly that she is still here, particularly when I am hiking in the woods, solitary, except for the companionship of my dog, and the trees seem to whisper of energy never dying, only changing.

Meinrad was utterly herself, through and through. Her work–both the artworks and writing–is fierce, and beautiful in a provocative way. Not easy beauty, but magnetic. Her images are portals into the Sacred, with animals and trees as guides at the threshold; dogs, and canids in general, are favored.

Meinrad changed my life, no doubt. My first encounter with her–at Langell’s Art Supply, in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1997–and my last time with her in 2018 (during which she drew me by the hand around her property, introducing me to her most beloved trees)–both of these encounters were shot through with wonder, curiosity, and open-heartedness. They are the bookends to an experience of friendship, and mentorship, that still strikes me as magical–not a word that I use lightly.

Thank you, Meinrad. I hope there are lots of trees, and dogs, wherever you are.

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