Volcano Dreams Series

by Sue Corbin

Volcano Dreams is a series of digital art paintings that have been spawned off of a single painting that Dr. Rodney ‘Pygoya’ Chang created while reflecting on memories of his 2007 Volcano Marathon on the island of Hawaii.  Unbeknownst to him and a surprise to me, this watercolor-digital was the actual depiction of a vision that came to me 30 years ago and keeps recurring in my mind’s eye in most of my meditations.  Therefore, that one picture was named, Sue’s Dream.  A month later, Rodney created his Volcano Dreams Series.

Like most artists, he creates because he is inspired.  Sometimes a single thought may arise, sometimes many but no matter what he sees that drives him to paint or sculpt, what the audience perceives may not have any resemblance to the focused or abstract thoughts of the artist.

With that in mind, let me share some messages that have come to me as a result of seeing two paintings in the series.  Sue’s Dream, the outer manifestation of my vision, has always represented the path to enlightenment for me.  It has always been the beautiful, mythical Garden of Eden, with a path leading to some unknown, mystical destination.  Coincidentally, in my original dream, the destination was a volcano…the pyres of Pele, the Hawaiian Fire Goddess.

My ethnic background as a Hawaiian has given me the opportunity to hear and read old Hawaiian stories and myths. In Rodney’s Volcano Dream #4, I was shocked to see something that I feel could only have come out of one of those stories.

Pele, who resides in volcanoes, from time to time, chooses to appear to man.  Now, the following may be true, and there have been sworn accounts of its veracity…but it can also be stuff of ‘urban legend’.  In accounts given over the past 80 or more years, Pele has been said to take on four different forms.  One is as a child seeking help; another is a woman offering help; the third is a crone who gives advice about pending doom to the individual who befriends her; and the last is a big black dog, a harbinger of death whose soul purpose is to turn you away from a sacred path that is kapu (taboo). 

The first time that I looked upon Dream #4, I froze because what stared back at me were two large gray eyes in the head of an ominous looking hell hound.  The fact that Rodney was inspired by volcanoes and yet, unaware of the numerous stories that abound about Pele, makes this picture even more unique.

What hidden message is inherent in this picture and in the whole series for you?  Is it the artist’s message or one meant for you alone?  One thing that I know for certain is that Rodney didn’t intend to draw the dog, in fact, he doesn’t even see it! 

Many, many years ago, I was in the home of a kahuna (shaman).  As I gazed upon the painting of a raging volcano, I was told that if you look closely at any painting of a volcano, you will always see Pele.  It was certainly true of that particular painting the paintings in the Volcano Dreams Series for me.

Therefore, as you go through the Volcano Dream Series look closely and see what images arise from your psyche.  Be sure to look for Pele’s black dog in Dream #4 and if you don’t see it, no worries - you weren’t meant to.