artwork & words
by Duncan C. Mason

art & artistry & philosophy & inspiration & whimsy & wonder & nature

In traditional cultures the shaman, the medicine woman, the witch doctor, perform 

the role of healer, counsellor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or seer. 

This role in society is often taken up  by people who are, to a greater or lesser extent, 

different from the rest - loners, visionaries, outcasts.

This series of paintings is the result of wondering where in the great chain of being 

the medicine man (or woman) stands. 

What is the relationship between the shaman & the angel? 

And is the artist too a kind of shaman?

The Medicine Angel series was painted while living 

above Wood Lake in the Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada.

You can see the view from my studio in the first 

painting in the series (NightBear) - those are Ponderosa pines.

The paintings are all

acrylic (some sand) on canvas 

24x36 (61cm x 91.5cm) or 30x40 (76cm x 102cm)

You can download a pdf of the book by clicking on the title below: 


A hardcover book is available at:


Nightbear, jester, holy fool,

reminder of what men choose to forget,

bearer of the sacred rattle, the healing feather.

Lake power, stone power, crystal shaman,

the thoughts of tomorrow speeding spinal

from base to crown,

breaking into a new day

from an old way.

Shaman Wearing a White Man Mask

The blood is red

beneath the skin.

The skin is red,

brown, black, white, yellow.


sacred drum

four sacred directions,

one burning heart:

I am the fire in my lodge of stars.



ancient calling,

pulling thunder

from the sky.

Walking on water

dancing through flame,

searching for the name,

the unspoken syllables

of our calling - home.

In the Crying Desert

Dark night of the soul,

crystal mountains of memory,

shards of memory,

the past pulls downwards through quicksand time.

But the heart, 

opening to the healing sun, 

draws the fragment 

from the wound.

The Acquisition of Healing Hands

Wounded healer, 

silent seeker, 

chasing thunder.

The gifts of solitude: 

lightning in the palm of the hand, 

an empty ocean full of cold love

soothing ancient fires... love’s storm.

The Lessons of Solitude


vision quest,



friends lost,

love gone.

The aching heart and the floating lily

sustained by invisible root,

the iris by invisible stem.

No, Man is an Island

The silence

is broken

by birdsong

and the aching heart, 

redeemed by Her voices, 


chooses water,

standing firm

on ancient limbs,

begins again to see

from the heart.



in buffalo robes

of forest green,

birthing eagles

from nests of memory. 

Full moon calls & the ghosteagle 

flies from my heart 

to the heart of the sun, 

palms pouring water,

soles drawing 

lightning gifts.

Spirit Dancer

Spirit dancer, singing healer

stardust stealer,

Omsong hearer,

Call down lightning,

Conquer time,

Transform eternity

into rhyme.


No longer human,

what will we be?

Eye single, heart lotus,

small mountainsong?

Bearing gifts with no giver,

Singing songs with no singer.

Walking softly 

on pure water?

Healing angels

in the depths of time?

Thangka for a New Age

Threshold breaker, 

earth shaker, 

sky spanner, 

singer from the depths of time,

Stepping into this moment

from the timeless,

Bringing stardust and pollen

from skycenter.




bringing gifts from the mountain snow 

to the valley below, 

belly full of salmon, 

mind full of stars.

Heartsong, thunderbird, 

four sacred directions in sacred skin: 

black, white, brown, yellow.

Palms pouring truth 

- Life is Water.

The two paintings below are not part of the Medicine Angel series 

(in fact they were only painted in 2012); 

however, they have a similar 'feel'. 

On the left, Moss, & on the right, Lily, both West Coast shamans.

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Sky Hermit

A begging bowl, 

beads for prayer, 

herbs to soothe my hunger, 

a quiet cave to ease my lonely heart

acrylic on canvas board