Writing From the Rite: Honoring My Dad

Rawlyn Richter Pygmalion La Madeleine Mechanical Wings Photos by Shiloh Richter

 Color Square Quilt with Pygmalion, La Madeleine and my dad making me wings 

Many years ago my dad built a solid wooden rocking horse for my mom named Pygmalion. Throughout my life he showed his purest love by what he created--even in the movie we made together for two years, 2005-2007, where he would often, between days of filming or on those evenings go to work in his workshop creating some new equipment for us to use for filming. When I was at the ranch in Texas near Christmas 2018, sitting at the dining room table he had built, we talked about whether this horse/creation, Pygmalion, should stay at the ranch or go with me.  I was writing about the horses of Grotte Chauvet, and I thought it would be wonderful to have this inspiring, magical creation with me. Both my parents said they wanted it left there for my nieces and the rest of the family, the home place being there at the ranch.

In January, less than a month later, the last message, the last e-mail, I had with my dad, the last thing we would ever speak to each other (in his form) about, was on Friday, 11 January 2019, three days before he passed on 14 January, and was about that he had the idea that he wanted to make me my own Pygmalion so that I could have one just for me. There I was in New Mexico, having been writing about horses at this prehistoric place so significant of the eternal, and these would be our last messages to each other--about his horse creation. This “loving the art so much that it comes to life,” of the Pygmalion myth would now come to life in the realest senses, even in his passing into a different way of Being, formless, but somehow wonderfully through nature, and with a hard passage of my own: no longer mere Art or creation of Art from hands, or just a girl born, but now through rite, into Being itself, and in all the vast array of aspects that means. Through my own art and writing and that of like-minded Beings, I would see the light shined on these new ways of Being and learn how to breathe and live in the light, of the light. I wrote to my dad that Friday--the day On Being was published--that if he ever had time to build me one, I would name her Samothrace, after the Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre in Paris and from ancient Greece.

 Color Square Quilt with Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre, the last e-mail with my dad, wild horses outside my house, and a photo to John Mayer in October 2012

Color Square Quilt with Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre, the last e-mail with my dad, wild horses outside my house, and a photo to John in October 2012

The Monday morning that he passed (as my Moonbeam had on a Monday morning, and on a 13/14th), at about 1:20 a.m. (I had been born to him at 1:40 a.m.), I was awake in my bed looking at Katy Perry’s posting of a story on her Instagram with her dad (a minister like mine) wearing a t-shirt with wings on his back and going through his things, something Doc from Back to the Future had signed.  She was teasing him about getting rid of all his things.  At that moment I also read on-line about Lady Gaga’s white horse Arabella (“yielding to prayer”) passing after the Critics Choice Awards as she wrote about her devastating loss and goodbye in real time. These are both two people I had just written about on the cover of On Being in their world-transformative work. 


View this post on Instagram

Goodbye, my angel 💔

A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) on


As soon as I had set the phone down to go back to sleep, the phone rang with my mother telling me, “Your dad is gone.” He suffered horrible seizures with his hugely strong body--pure muscle--its strength and his powerful heart refusing to give out and finally his massively strong heart giving way. The white horse I had just read about passing had gone directly before him-really at the same time, and giving him passage.

As I drove to my parents’ house in Alpine, Texas, that very early morning, driving east, the sunrise that came up as I was nearly there was a bright and misty saffron color. I did not make it to the hospital on time to see his body when he looked like himself, before nature and regeneration would start taking over. The color of the sunrise that morning is one reason why the bunny in my children’s book (to be published) is named Saffron Beatrice Sunrise. I wrote it around drawings I found in his things from his sister, one of the many creative projects he had carefully and lovingly put together in his lifetime.

Saffron Beatrice Sunrise Through the Woods Lee Hauber Richter Copyright 2000, 2019 Shiloh Richter

Saffron Beatrice Sunrise and the Bunny on the Moon Illustration by Lee Hauber Richter ©Copyright 2000 Books of the Southwest, ©2019 Shiloh Richter; also on Hermesesque:  The Grateful Universe © August 2019 that Taylor Swift took the idea in December 2019 for her drive back to her "Christmas Tree Farm"

Walks here in Ruidoso everyday with Custard photo by Shiloh Richter

Walks here in Ruidoso everyday with Vanilla Custard Pudding

Another reason for naming her that is because of the mythology of the Apache White Painted Woman being born of darkness and the dawn, and having driven into that transformative dawn with him urging me on:  a "door ajar" alarm had been going off in my car the entire trip, trying to get me there in this emergency, and definitely a "door" had been opened.

Rawlyn Richter Wings_Design-4  © Copyright 2017 Shiloh Richter in My Love Affair with Moonbeam

Rawlyn Richter Wings_Design-2  © Copyright 2017 Shiloh Richter in My Love Affair with Moonbeam

Part of my dad's drawing plans for the mechanical wings design; Rawlyn Richter © Copyright 2017 Shiloh Richter in My Love Affair with Moonbeam

In my dad’s passage was already many elements of the Spirit Horse and these wings of Samothrace, not to be as mere Art, our small creations, but to come to new light and new life, with many more signs to come in this hard transition. But to speak to this, of his aliveness, the incredible beauty and pure love powerfully coming through, and my own path through this I know is to show something wonderful of the multi-verse and Spirit. My dad was immediately with me and was speaking.  I felt a most powerful, present love, but I also felt his urgency for me to get to my mother who had never been without him and had gone through his passing alone.  Because I have been on the mountaintop in New Mexico for a long while now, I had become sensitive to what is perceived as the "other side," and know it to be actually very present.  That is one reason I write of these things, to bring it through to awareness.  There is immense comfort in being communicated with from someone so close who has "passed."  The messages have been immense.

Color Square Quilt with Road to El Paso and my father's interment by Shiloh Richter

 Color Square Quilt with Road to El Paso and my father's interment

Dad Rawlyn Richter filming Wild Horses for Road to El Paso in New Mexico November 2005

My dad, Rawlyn Richter, Jr., filming the wild horses for Road to El Paso in New Mexico, November 2005

Rawlyn Richter My Dad Working on Horse Heads on our Ranch Spring 2005

My Dad Placing Horse Heads on our Ranch Spring 2005
Rawlyn Richter Placing Horse Heads on our Ranch Spring 2005
Rawlyn Richter, my dad, in our independent western Road to El Paso (2007)
Rawlyn Richter Jr. (II) with acoustic guitar, he played and sang his whole life
My dad; He played guitar and sang his whole life with an amazing tenor voice
King David with Lyre painting c. 1410
King David with Lyre, painting c. 1408- 1410
Ark of the Covenant built by my dad, Rawlyn Richter, near the ranch in Texas
An Ark of the Covenant built by my dad at a church near the ranch in Texas

My Grandfather Rawlyn Richter's copper engraving hunt scene Shiloh Richter

Like the artwork of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave after the hunt and the bear skull chambers, my grandfather's copper engraving hunt scene with the bear; My grandfather was born on Michelangelo's birthdate, March 6, 1922, and passed on Halloween the same fall as Jerry Garcia

Cave Bear Detail Don's Maps

Cave Bear Detail Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave Don's Maps
Red Bear Grotte Chauvet Ardeche
Bear Skull Chamber Chauvet Cave Photo Don's Maps
Bear Skull Chamber Photo Don's Maps
Rawlyn Richter Sr. and his twin Paul
Rawlyn Richter, Sr. and his twin, Paul.  My grandfather, the first of three Rawlyn's born '22, '44, and '66, was a twin; John and Kanye were born '77
Rawlyn Richter Sr.'s Ohio Hunting License 1977 Olive Branch Road 
Rawlyn Richter Sr.'s Ohio Hunting License 1977 Olive Branch Road
 My grandpa's hunting licenses, 1958-1977. When I was born my grandparents lived on Olive Branch Road in Amelia, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, where my dad grew up (and where they lived the rest of their lives).  They had an apple orchard in their back acreage.  According to my Aunt Lee, it is where my parents fell in love (at 15--they met in church--and spent 58 years together) and my dad carved my mom's initial into his arm (it remained his whole life).
Rawlyn Richter Jr. (II) and Frances Ramsey
Rawlyn Richter, Jr. (II) and Frances Ramsey
Rawlyn Richter Jr. (II)
Rawlyn Richter, Jr. (II)
Frances Ramsey (Richter) Age 16 First photo she gave to my dad Rawlyn Richter Jr.
Frances Ramsey (Richter) at 16, Indianapolis, Indiana;
It is the first photo that she gave to my dad
Rawlyn Richter, minister, 1987
In my dad's passing I wanted to honor him with the tremendous discovery I had made of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France because of his life being so much like that original lineage--he loved the wild outdoors and animals and sunrises and sunsets, was always inventing hunting tools and applying for patents because of their originality, and built his own rifles (days before he passed he said he was building an entirely new concept, of which I have his final notes he had just been writing); he was an excellent marksman and said he never killed anything that wasn't for food (I do not choose to harm anything and encourage "capturing" to be by camera to see the magnificence alive in animals' eyes)--and loved creating priceless hand-created art (there wasn't anything he couldn't do and was a wall of astounding muscle, even the last time I hugged him goodbye--twice), and because we had spent decades together going to the French café La Madeleine because of the earth elements of stone, fire, wood, bread, salad, and coffee . . .  And because his favorite hunt was Montana.  In the days before his burial I slept with the hide over me of the elk bull he hunted there so that my presence and my care and love would go with him.  On the day of the green burial, I wrapped the hide over him, matching the spiritual journey the super-shaman makes in accompanying the animal spirit back into the eternal recesses of the womb of the cave, my dad now returning the same spiritual way with the elk he dearly loved and stepping into the eternal.  Cloaked as such, he matches the half-man, half-beast of the shaman deep inside the cave.  He was ever-devoted to my mother like a Venus, and although now my lineage was to change there and bring something tremendous through, I also know he knows now how dearly I love him.
"The Sorcerer is one name for an enigmatic cave painting found in the cavern known as 'The Sanctuary' at the Cave of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France, made around 13,000 BC.
"'The Sorcerer' cave painting found in 'The Sanctuary' of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France, painted around 13,000 BC"; Replica drawing by Henri Breuil
My mom and dad, Rawlyn and Francine Richter in La Madeleine
Mom and dad at La Madeleine in El Paso, probably the last time, in July 2018
 Rawlyn Richter Montana Elk Hunt 2005
Dad on his elk hunt in Montana

A video of his green burial.  He was buried on the land he loves, the ranch, wrapped in a blanket of mine, and with the hide, and re-impregnating the earth with the swollen belly of mound to be regenerated into new life.  I got a permit at the Smokey the Bear Ranger Station (Smokey as a cub was found 10 miles from my home in a fire, the public campaign having begun the year my dad was born in 1944) and went into the Lincoln National Forest, the wilds that he loves, in New Mexico and found him a very large wing/heart shaped boulder that I learned to hand-engrave myself, like the cave walls.

Like the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, the night before, a calf stepped (fell) into the hole and had to be pulled out.
Shiloh Richter La Madeleine
Me and my dad in La Madeleine with his hand like Michelangelo's ceiling

Reading Further