Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Paint animals to receive shamanic teaching. Part 2

All animals are shamanic teachers. All creatures are our elders, as they were here first, and so deserve our respect and attention to what they have to show us.  In Part 1 of this blog I wrote about how I created these paintings,  but it is not the painting that makes the teaching, it is how the animals appear in relationship with place, and with each other, that teaches us.

To receive shamanic teaching from animals I have to trust that what I intuit and feel from the interaction is true, and not something I am making up.  This is harder than it seems.  In this western culture we are trained from an early age to believe what our unruly mind tells us, and to not attend to the subtlety of intuition.

So how did these animals come to be in these relationships with each other, and with the places they inhabit?   These paintings are based on dreams I asked for as part of my creating the Journey Oracle divination deck.  The paintings are not illustrations of dream scenes, but composites of all the elements in the dream.  First and most importantly,  I have to trust that the parts are fitting together in a way that is necessary for the meaning to emerge, and not the result of my editorial manipulation. 

In this dream, the geese were definitely taking off to the right, and the storm front was moving from left to right, so the geese are taking off with the wind behind them which is not what they do in ordinary reality.  The woman's hair is blowing up, but the paper is falling straight down.  To me, these are not accidents, but lessons in noticing that we sometimes see what we think is appropriate, rather than see what is actually happening.

In this painting it is easy to see the snake as threatening the pine marten, and the pine marten as being vulnerable,

but a closer look shows the snake to be neutral--curious even--without any evil but what we humans assign to it,

and the marten to be quite animated and engaged, without attending to a threat.  Is the marten just stupid? Or is it we who have unlearned the cues that keep us safe in nature?

It seems we feel we must create barriers to protect us from harm.  Fences and ropes, and stories of their inferiority,  to keep animals where we think they belong.

Yet we are inside the enclosure with the charging horse, who appears to running from fright more than toward harming us,

and the dog may not be tied at all, and certainly has a unsettling curiosity in its gaze.

Do we see an intelligent mind in its investigation of how things are?

Are we willing to receive an appraisal of our valuing the human mind above all else?

These elder brothers and sisters are our shamanic teachers.

When we keep them trapped inside our mental judgments, while we occupy the more spacious terrain of self-importance, we forget the true nature of mind,

What Tenzim Palmo said of love without judgement is equally so of the mind, "it's totally impartial.  It's just love.  It's like the sun--it shines on everyone."