No Longer Solo-Offering the Painted Body Ritualistic Photography work to YOU

Until last June, I had done all of my Painted Body ritualistic photography alone, well alone as earth-plane humans are concerned. I had been in the cave for seven years after my husband’s death, and a massive alchemical process had occurred.  The Painted Body work was a central part of this journey that brought me to myself. It was always done alone because I was able to  open so much easier solo; it is such an intensive process that managing my own energy is enough. I had to deeply apprentice to the process myself before I could hold the container for others.

March 2009, I was called out of the cave. I had experienced the entire range of death and rebirth, over and over again, and it was time to return from my 40 days in the wilderness. Experiences and entities will emerge to meet your new levels of development, and a beautiful exchange presented itself when I received an e-mail from Trevahr Ryann Hughes in San Diego. Trevahr is a mutual friend of sacred drum maker Lisa Starr, and she had shown him some of my Painted Body Oracle of Initiation images . Lisa’s site:

Trevahr is a sparkly and connected person, organizing a variety of Shamanic, Yogic & Alchemical gatherings and events in the larger San Diego area. He has established the group Waking Within, and the Meet-Up “Center for Divination, Alchemy, Tarot & Futuresight.”

He wrote wanting to learn more about my work and introduce me to his community. I looked him up on facebook and saw the magic in his eyes. We made plans to attend the Rainbow Gathering here in New Mexico together, and collaborate around creativity, ritual and divination. Our time together was enchanting. He is the first person I have chosen to share my previously private Painted Body process with.

Trevahr was a truly divine co-creator, meeting the process with the zeal and reverence of a fellow mystic. We danced and frolicked on the land, making sacred play. As you can see on our faces, the process was pure joy. A channel of delight and intimacy was opened as we both stepped deeply into that space between the worlds. He had never done anything like this, meeting his own resistance to truly embrace the awakening that was calling him.

It was also very intense. I have been told in readings that I do not truly, “get” how intense my work is. This is true. I did it. I am the one who is able to show up, having the courage and abilities to create from such a primal place. It is not for everyone, but for the people who are hungry for it, who’s souls are calling to this level of engagement, we are a match. It takes guts to open yourself to such an elemental, tribal, and exposed process. And sometimes this is exactly what is needed to shift you to the next level. Initiation does not have to be intense, and some of it is. I have great reverence for people willing to meet their depth, power and complexity. Getting naked and ritually photographing yourself on the land is not for everyone. But for those who can go there, they will never be the same.

Trevahr and I had an absolute BLAST, and as he says, “I initiated him.” I am an initiator. That is the role I have been groomed for. I carry this in this lifetime. It is intense, intimate, transformative work that reaches a core place.

I am sharing these photos 9 months later  because I am steeping into offering this powerful work to others. There are times to gather and hone your skills, and then one is asked to return to the community, offering your sacred gifts. The Painted Body ritualistic photography process is grounded within me, and it is time to offer this elemental and fiercely joyful process to others. On my trip west this March,  I will be exploring this work more in depth with others. I will keep you posted on how these offerings will emerge.

Early March I am off to the West Coast to lecture and teach with the Limited Edition Oracle of Initiation deck. I will be in Big Sur, and then in San Diego for three weeks.  The schedule so far is two events with Trevahr’s divination community on the evenings of March 22nd and 24th. Private divination readings with the Oracle deck offered at Controversial Bookstore 11-6 Tuesday March 23rd and by appointment at other times, and a workshop/lecture at Controversial bookstore Friday April 2nd, 7-9pm.

5 Replies to “No Longer Solo-Offering the Painted Body Ritualistic Photography work to YOU”

  1. Lisa, thanks for the support venturing out. I actually think there are ALOT of us that are dealing with this. and we have gifts to share. Looking forward to meeting you too in 3-D, Yogi Trevahr knows such groovy folks. xoxx M


  2. Such beautiful work, Melissa. I recall seeing the photos right after that experience and feeling from the energy that it was a very real, emotional, awakening experience. Thank you for sharing your gifts of photos and blogs with us. It is such an honor to know you!


  3. Melissa ~

    I’m thankful that your journey in the cave has been completed and you are now venturing forth. I look forward to stepping into the road with you as I would love to experience this truly powerful ritual of healing, exploration and fun! I love Trevahr – he is a great shaman!

    I will attend one of your workshops here in SD when you come in March/April! Look forward to meeting you ~

    With a warm embrace ~


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