Finally she came to a small house. An old woman was peering out from inside. She had very large teeth, which frightened the girl, and she wanted to run away. But the old woman called out to her, "Don't be afraid, dear child. Stay here with me, and if you do my housework in an orderly fashion, it will go well with you. Only you must take care to make my bed well and shake it diligently until the feathers fly, then it will snow in the world.* I am Frau Holle."
- Grimm's Tales #24 - Frau Holle, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
I once had a dream that felt more like a visitation than a dream. All the old stories agree that the creatures of the otherworld visit us in our dreams. Not in every dream you understand, but sometimes when conditions are right and they have something to say.
My story begins as I drifted off to sleep. I was in that moment between true sleep and wakefulness. When you can still hear things around the house, but your thoughts begin to wander away. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw a goblin perched on the ceiling in the corner of my room. As I turned to get a better look at him he scuttled away. Soon I began to hear more scuttling and everywhere I looked I had just missed another goblin creature, until my room filled with dark shapes. In time the dark shapes overtook my vision, and all I could see was darkness that I knew was made up of goblins.
In time a small pin prick of light appeared. It grew larger and at the same time closer to me. As I looked passed the light I discovered it was a glowing finger, attached to an old hand. A hand that belonged to an old woman with a covered head and shifting patches of darkness all around her. She looked right at me, with deep glowing eyes…
…then she said, “Do not forget the spirits of darkness. It is not for you to only paint the spirits of the light.”
As she spoke the light of her finger got closer and closer, until light filled my vision. Suddenly I awoke. My heart beat quickly and I glanced around my room. It was empty.I calmed myself and knew that the woman was Mother Holle.
Most dreams leave me, like so much sand through a sifter, but this one stuck with me. Stuck right to my bones. Through the years I think back on Frau Holle, and her message to me. I hope she’s pleased with my depiction of her and the other spirits I honor in paint.
The original fantasy painting was done in oil and measures 18" x 24".