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Beyond Words: An Otherworldly Q+A

In April 2023, I was an artist-in-residence in Lily Dale, NY, the world's oldest and largest Spiritualist community. I brought a collection of handwritten personal questions from my audience and collaborated with the town's psychic mediums to channel answers from beyond our world. This guidance was then reinterpreted by me into the series of artworks you are about to see.

 

The best part? I recorded our sessions, and now you can listen to the medium speak in their own words when you click the audio track next to each artwork. I hope this multimedia journey brings you clarity, insight, and peace of mind in these uncertain times.

 

This project was made possible by the Normalize Talking to the Dead artist residency at Lily Dale.

An overhead view of handwritten questions on notecards spread on a table. The cards are the inspiration for the art project Beyond Words: An Otherworldly Q&A by artist John A. Rice.
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01. "How do I know when to leave?"

Oil pastel on paper with key

18 in x 24 in

"HOW DO I KNOW when to leave? This is what I say: you know when to leave when you can walk out the front door and leave everything behind and not care. . . . We have to live for those moments when everything aligns. We don't get to choose when we leave. A door will open."   

       

                                    —Natalie Scobercia, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

01. How do I know when to leave? - Natalie ScoberciaNatalie Scobercia
00:00 / 01:51

02. "Where do I find peace?"

Oil pastel and clock face with acrylic paint on paper

18 in x 24 in

"PEACE IS A RELATIVE term. Some people's peace: a little bit of chaos in there. It's how they like it. It's spicy. . . . Other people: it's like when [a] lake is calm like glass. . . . When all the rest of that drops away, and you're just in a moment where you don't even know what time it is, and you don't care. That's what peace is, just being in that moment. . . . Peace is not about the harp and the cloud. . . . Peace can be playing jazz in [a] jazz band. . . . People need to stop thinking it's just one box."   

       

                                       —Willa White, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

Where do you find peace? - Willa WhiteWilla White
00:00 / 02:58
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"Where do I find peace?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Artwork depicts a colorful jazz club at night with a saxophonist, girl reading a book, and a passerby. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
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"How do I start a new beginning?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Artwork depicts a colorful horizon with the sun rising on the left and setting on the right in the top margin of a book with curled pages. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"How do I start a new beginning?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Artwork depicts a colorful horizon with the sun rising on the left and setting on the right in the top margin of a book with curled pages. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"How do I start a new beginning?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Artwork depicts a colorful horizon with the sun rising on the left and setting on the right in the top margin of a book with curled pages. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"How do I start a new beginning?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Artwork depicts a colorful horizon with the sun rising on the left and setting on the right in the top margin of a book with curled pages. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.

03. "How do I start a new beginning?"

Oil pastel on vintage book, 'The Ascent of Man' by J. Bronowski

10 in x 14 in

"THINK OF SHORT STORIES. . . . because our life becomes a story, and each day is a page, chapter, or verse of that story. And recognize that you will face all of these before your days are completed here. So try not to get impatient. Try to be forgiving. . . . Start a new beginning with each new day."   

       

                                      —Kathleen Boldt, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

How do I start a new beginning? - Kathleen BoldtKathleen Boldt
00:00 / 01:41

04. "How can I stay true to myself while being in love?"

Oil pastel on paper with vintage wedding ring

18 in x 24 in

"BEING IN LOVE IS an exercise in vulnerability. Do not sleep beside anyone that you can't sleep next to."   

       

                                       —Willa White, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

How do I stay true to myself while being in love?Willa White
00:00 / 02:52
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How can I stay true to myself while being in love_ by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words
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What unexpected circumstance can I prepare myself for_ by artist John A. Rice for Beyond W

05. "What unexpected circumstance can I prepare myself for?"

Oil pastel on paper with string

14 in x 17 in

"[YOU CAN PREPARE YOURSELF for] discovering the divine is within you. . . . That you're not the person you think you are."   

       

                                       —Kathleen Boldt, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

What unexpected circumstance can I prepare myself for?Kathleen Boldt
00:00 / 00:31

06. "Why do we carry on...?"

Devotional shrine with printed transparency and found objects

18 in x 24 in

"WE CARRY ON BECAUSE deep down inside of each and every one of us, we know we have a purpose. . . . Because we know, deep in our soul, we can have it better than we have it. Because we know the goodness is there, and that we can get to it if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. . . . [This person] sees the big picture, and if he could just bring that down into a small picture for himself . . . this person could make a difference."

                         —Michaelene Clevenger, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

Why do we carry on...?Michaelene Clevenger
00:00 / 01:54
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How can I be free closeup - John A Rice artist
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07. "How can I be free?"

Oil pastel on paper with jewelry, cords, rope, rosary, wristbands, coins, and scissors on custom frame

18 in x 24 in

"WHATEVER WE DIRECT OUR attention to, the heart can expand it, because the heart is where divine wisdom is. A person must identify: What do you want to be free of? Drop into that heart space and just ask—from the heart, not the head—What do I need to be free of? What am I not seeing that is binding me? . . . It may feel like a cord. Cut those cords. . . . We're so much more powerful than we even think we are. So you have to take that power that you already have within your heart to find the ways to freedom that you desire."   

       

                          —Michaelene Clevenger, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

How can I be free?Michaelene Clevenger
00:00 / 02:10

08. "What does it mean to be good?"

Oil pastel on paper with pearl earring

18 in x 24 in

PROMPTED BY THIS PROFOUND question, psychic medium Bobbie Caswell was touched by the spirit of a young man searching for his purpose. The breathtaking beauty of the Southwest was his sanctuary, a place where he sought solace. Though he was tragically overcome by his inner battles, he left behind words of love and hope for his family, especially his heartbroken mother. This artwork is an homage not only to him but to everyone grappling with societal expectations and pondering who truly defines the "good" in our lives.

Click to listen to the full audio below:

What does it mean to be good - Bobbie Caswell_shortBobbie Caswell
00:00 / 03:24
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What does it mean to be good_ by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words_ An Otherworldly Q&A
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09. "How do I find inspiration?"

Cardboard shipping box with found objects and magnifying glass

20 in x 20 in

"STEPPING OUT OF YOUR box. It's as simple as that. If you're feeling uninspired, do something you never thought you would do. We look too much to the big things. Look for small things. . . . It's always in the smaller picture."   

       

                          —Michaelene Clevenger, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

How do I find inspiration?Michaelene Clevenger
00:00 / 02:02

10. "What will real happiness look and feel like?"

Oil pastel on paper with plastic jack-o'-lantern and candy

8 in x 10 in

"REAL HAPPINESS IS BEING in the moment and experiencing life thoroughly, and not thinking about tomorrow. . . . Think of Halloween, when you're a child and you're dressed up as a little ghostie, and you're walking and you've got your friend with you and you're so excited that you're getting candy. That childlike innocence and thrill: real happiness."

                                    —Natalie Scobercia, psychic medium

Click to listen to the full audio below:

What will real happiness look and feel like?Natalie Scobercia
00:00 / 01:14
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"What do I do with all this anxiety?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Image contains one tablecloth that has been painted to look like a compass and another that has been painted to look like a map. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"What do I do with all this anxiety?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Image contains one tablecloth that has been painted to look like a compass and another that has been painted to look like a map. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"What do I do with all this anxiety?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Image contains one tablecloth that has been painted to look like a compass and another that has been painted to look like a map. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"What do I do with all this anxiety?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Image contains one tablecloth that has been painted to look like a compass and another that has been painted to look like a map. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.
"What do I do with all this anxiety?" oil pastel painting by artist John A. Rice for Beyond Words: an Otherworldly Q&A at Lily Dale. Image contains one tablecloth that has been painted to look like a compass and another that has been painted to look like a map. Classification is mystical art, spiritual art, visionary art, metaphysical art, healing art, intuitive art, occult art, esoteric art, psychic art, channeled art, meditative art, fantasy art. The style is impressionism and symbolism.

11. "What do I do with all this anxiety?"

Tea, coffee, spices, and acrylic paint on vintage tablecloths

68 in. round / 5' x 7'

MEDIUM HAVI RICHARDS AND I embarked on a thrilling journey using a technique called "table tipping" to answer this question. This mysterious spirit phenomena involves a heavy table that rotates, tilts, or even levitates, responding to yes-or-no questions by mere contact of the participants' fingertips. As soon as Havi and I lightly touched her table, it sprang to life, dancing wildly around the room and producing astonishing results on my recorder. Below is the transcript of our riveting session, where we asked, "What do I do with all this anxiety?" 

 

"Does this individual need to change their environment?" YES

"Do they need to change themselves?" NO

"Do they need to talk to a professional about their anxiety?" YES

(A new spirit takes over.)

"Are they going to be okay?" YES

"Should they stay on their current path?" NO

(A new spirit takes over.)

"Yes-and-no's are hard!" YES

(A new spirit takes over.)

"Are you showing off?" YES

"Do they change their profession?" YES

"Or their relationships?" YES

"Is it a romantic relationship?" NO

"Is it friends?" YES

"Is this a long-term process?" YES

(At this point, the table leg breaks.)

Click to listen to the full audio below:

What do I do with all this anxiety? - Havi RichardsHavi Richards
00:00 / 07:16

More artwork is on the way!

In the meantime, feel free to browse this photo gallery of images from my time in Lily Dale. It was a profound and transformative experience, and I can't wait to share it with you!

"Beyond Words: An Otherworldly Q&A" by artist John A. Rice at Lily Dale.
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