The lives of surprisingly many people have been touched by the death of a child before or after birth.

As a shamanic painter I make what I call spirit-led paintings. This means that my work is guided and informed by other worlds, by evolved luminous beings on the other side of the Veil, by the Invisible Realm, you could say.

Work that I pioneered years ago was painting Spirit Children. By Spirit Children I mean children no longer on earth in physical form: children that died in infancy, any other age, or even at any time during pregnancy.

When an older child dies, the parents have photographs and memories of the child. They got to know the child and his/her appearance, preferences and personality. When a child dies during pregnancy the parents are left with little idea of what the child would have looked like or been like. When a miscarriage occurs in early pregnancy, the parents often don’t even have a scan (ultra sound) picture. And our society has no rites or ceremonies to honour the passing of pre-term babies. We have no words to talk to the parents either so often they feel lonely with their great loss.

A few years ago I had a show my paintings in Geneva and I was asked to do a talk about spirit children. Images of Spirit Children (that is to say: paintings of them) were projected onto the wall behind me as I did my presentation. It turned out that everyone in the room had a connection to a spirit child in one way or another. The images of spirit children touched many hearts and many people had a story to tell. People always say: but I had no idea that this work existed! That’s what made me write this blog today.

To visit a spirit child I do a (so called) shamanic journey and go to meet the spirit of the child in the other world (also known as the spirit world or the Land of the Dead). I then ask the child how it wishes to be painted. Sometimes there are messages to be passed between parent and child. Then I go to work and make a painting based on all the information I received.

I cannot return a dead child to their parents, but what I can do is create an image that represents the child in physical form (and often spirit children ask to be painted in the spirit world, riding power animals or swimming with dolphins and so forth). The parents can then put the painting on their wall and so give the child a physical place in their lives and house. This also means that they have an image, a way of thinking of the child.

This is privileged work and so far I have never turned down a request to make a painting of a spirit child.

Imelda Almqvist