Ruth Schowalter - Shaman Guiding the Earth


I take a firm stance that we have the obligation and privilege to be responsible stewards of the Earth. My artwork reflects my strong connections to the plant and animal world and blurs the boundaries between these realms. I believe the crisis we find ourselves in with global warming is the result of our broken relationship to nature. To restore the physical equilibrium of temperatures, clean water and air, habitat loss, and endangered species, we must first realign our spiritual equilibrium.
Shaman Guiding the Earth In this work, “Shaman Guiding the Earth,” I was inspired by a pre-Colombian terra cotta sculpture of a jaguar sitting on the back of a crocodile in an exhibit at the Carlos Museum in 2013. The Indigenous people of the Americas were guided by their shamans, who conflated their human and animal selves in order to be guides for their communities. To be part human and part jaguar was one of the most powerful shamanic forms a spiritual healer could assume. Using dance, music, and plants to induce trances, shamans’ realms extended beyond their villages. Their dual consciousness allowed them to find solutions needed to heal what was wrong. In their belief system, crocodiles were often used to symbolize the Earth. Hence to have a jaguar sitting astride a crocodile represents a guardian caring for the Earth. As we become more aware of the potential destructiveness of global warming, this artwork reminds us to reach inside ourselves to find the guardian within.

Member of WCA Georgia Chapter


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Ruth Schowalter
"Shaman Guiding the Earth"
10” x 15”
Pen drawing digitally altered

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