Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why make a new year's resolution?

The reason I make a new year`s resolution has less to do with changing a bad habit or difficult pattern in my life, and more to do with focusing my unbending intent upon a situation that I want to manifest. This is a phrase used by Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book, The Power of Intention. This year I am especially working to manifest my intention for the Journey Oracle Deck: that the cards and stories of the oracle deck help people receive guidance from the unseen world of spirit in a clear and usable way.

If I focus on removing the obstacles that prevent the Journey Oracle cards from finding the people who will be helped by their unique way of sharing spirit-filled insight, I may find myself dwelling on low energy feelings of frustration and doubt, which helps create more frustration and doubt. The best way to remove these low energy pulsations, as described by Dr. David Hawkins in Power Vs. Force, is to raise my energy level by imagining the Journey Oracle cards fulfilling their destiny as a welcome and effective addition in the history of Oracles.

I ask the Oracle herself to show me how to manifest my intention for the Oracle cards and of course I draw the perfect card: the card representing the blue moon. I see a spiralling energy flowing toward the infinite eternal blue of spirit; the curling shell pattern of rose and deep wine red like a staircase lit by the sunrise of passionate resolve. The ink blots of doubt flow away from this turning wheel, becoming lace-edged feathers. The phrase: Returning to the source is also perfect. This year I resolve to let go of my individual will regarding the next steps that move the Journey Oracle out into the world, and surrender to the source that generated the Oracle in the first place. I place my petition before the Queen of all the Wise: the Blue Moon that was the first card imagined and the original name of the Journey Oracle deck. When I turn the card over I receive the only question worth asking about the power of my intention: Will I say yes or no.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice from the Journey Oracle

Happy Winter Solstice from the Journey Oracle. May the Sun always return in your life, and the fire of your soul's purpose continue to keep you warm.

Thank you for visiting the Oracle during this past year, and I hope you return to share in my weekly thoughts and readings. Next week I'll be writing about
Why make a New Year's resolution?
Every Blessing, Kristen

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why make a sacrifice on Winter Solstice?

I have been writing about the meaning behind my solstice decorations, but more importantly for me, the meaning of this time of year is about sacrifice. This is a time of year when I take a pause from making drums and doing Journey Oracle readings, and so have been reading an illustrated history of the Aztec and Maya civilizations. I came to this beautiful passage about why make a sacrifice to the gods during this yearly celebration of transition from the dark to the light.

At the start of the fifth or current world age, the existing race of humankind was made from the bones of the men and women who had lived in the fourth world age. These bones had been languishing in the underworld, but the Feathered Serpent god Quetzalcoatl ventured into that dark realm to rescue them. However, the Feathered Serpent was tricked during his escape from the underworld and dropped the bones, which broke into many pieces. He carried the remains to the home of the gods, where all the divine lords and ladies agreed that the bones should be ground to a powder, then moistened with the gods' blood and mixed into a paste. From this paste the first people of the fifth world age were made. People suffered illness, old age and death because they were originally made from broken bones. However, they had a special calling to serve the gods because they were fashioned from the gods' blood.

This story has important teachings for me that I translate into gifts of sacrifice on Winter Solstice. My human fragility, illness and death is not something I have earned as punishment because of bad behavior--it is the core condition of being human. I translate this teaching by spending Solstice day in the woods, eating over an open fire without the comfort of a warm house or the convenience of a plate and fork. I sacrifice my warmth to honor my origin as broken bones. Before I begin my Solstice feast I make sacrifices of hand made beads and shavings of copal to the fire, in honor of remembering that all the gods agreed that the alchemy of transformation was required to create new life. I conclude my sacrifices on winter solstice by pricking my finger and offering my blood on a braid of sweetgrass that is laid on the coals, so that my life force will rise on the smokey breath of this blessing plant to honor the gods' blood that gives me life force.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Solstice decorations

When I begin preparing my winter solstice decorations, I look to nature for ideas. Here on Cortes Island the dominant outdoor color is a vivid green, usually enhanced by the sparkle of recent rain or mist. Many of our winter storms, which can be very dramatic in November, bring down lots of cedar and fir boughs, which make for easy gathering in this quiet of December before the cold and snow of January. I bring in cedar, fir and holly boughs because these trees hold special meaning for me. Cedars are considered the Grandmother / Grandfather trees along these north coasts, giving homes to many in their majestic heights and drawing up groundwater for the plants that live under their protection in times of drought. The Fir is a great helping tree in this place--the slowest burning deep winter firewood is fir; our houses and outbuildings are held up by fir, and dressed on floor and ceiling with its beauty.

The holly is a sacred tree in many mystical traditions. It was understood that the holly would shelter elves and fairies who could come into the homes of mortals during this time of year without doing them harm. It is considered a plant of good omen since its evergreen leaves appear invulnerable to the passage of time. It symbolizes the tenacity of life even in a time of death, which it keeps at bay with its strong protective powers.

I enjoy using representations of apples in my winter solstice decorations. In ancient myths the apple is symbolic of giving love, and of the goddesses of love. As Leigh Ann Hussey wrote, in Celtic times apples were the focus of the winter solstice wassailing ceremony in which prayers and blessings were said to trees. Cider was poured onto the roots to call back the sun to aid in the growth of blossoms and fruit, insuring a plentiful harvest for the next year.

As I gather my winter solstice decorations this year--I am asking trees to bless me with strength and protection, to provide shelter for the other-than-human creatures that visit my home, and to call back the sun, whose strengthening light brings love and prosperity to all beings. May the Journey Oracle bring you blessings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rituals for Winter Solstice

As the light dims in these northern forests of Cortes Island, I begin planning rituals for Winter Solstice. I especially want to honor the old ways that have soaked into this land from long ago and so I go to the Journey Oracle card that was painted during the time of Winter Solstice and therefore contains in its images the energy of this time of darkness giving way to light.

This image is of old age, bent with weakness and cold. The colors are monochromatic and the application of ink looks like the surface is sparkled with frost. This oracle card gives me the idea to create a ritual for "longest night." I think of spending time with close friends, remembering the past year month by month. This occurs to me because I understand from the creatures and forces of the spirit world that what all want most from us is to be remembered. This evening of laughter and sadness with friends as we sit in circle telling each other the stories of our year will begin with this month of December, and wind slowly back through autumn, summer and spring to arrive at memories from days just like this one, with winter's cold breath against the windows and the kettle rocking gently in the rising heat from the wood stove.

The "shortest day" of winter solstice is for me a day spent out of doors--usually in the rain or maybe snow but hopefully sunshine, feeding the smaller birds by decorating trees with suet ornaments and sprinkled with popcorn; offering small twists of sweetgrass to the coals of the cooking fire to feed smoke prayers to all the other-than-human creatures that help me; leaving small chunks of salmon on the rocks by the ocean for the seagulls, ravens and eagles to find.
This other image from the Winter Solstice oracle card expresses my wanting to be part of the song of this special time, when the new sun is born and my northern world again turns toward the light.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why have personal certainty about values?

Sometimes I wonder why have personal certainty about values. My values reflect a shamanic awareness of the world in which everything is alive and has conscious intention for life. I believe my drums are alive and are able to affect the choice made by the humans attracted to them. Sometimes a drum will be ordered by a person who upon receipt says "this is not my drum." When this happens I do not react with a typically human-centered business notion of you ordered it--pay for it.

This is because what I hear is the drum saying, "this is not my person." So what happens? I understand this drum is awake is a different way and is actively going to choose its human companion. From this point on, when someone is attracted to the drum, I try to watch and listen for the energetic connection, and not to the making of a sale. The process becomes spirit journey work--in which I am just like this bird balancing on a large force that is directing its own way forward.

Of course most folks do not have the personal certainty that objects are alive, and are intending their own destiny, and do not want an object that has been rejected by someone else. Sometimes I find myself in a conversation about how something used has less worth. I might even find myself doubting my personal certainty about my values. When this happens I draw a Journey Oracle card for guidance from the Spirit world. I look at this image of a column of murky color rising and enveloping a face with a pleasant, detached expression--I see this is the column of doubt--pushing aside the strong yellow color of the third chakra of my personal power. I do not wish to be pleasant and detached from the values that express my personal power. The question on this oracle card is a good one when I reflect on my conversations that cause me to doubt my values: Why didn't I stop it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Secrets for accomplishing a big project

My best secret for successfully accomplishing a big project is to not think about the accomplishing. My shamanic paintings take many months to complete, and if I focus on the big, I feel too overwhelmed to get much done on the little. So each day that I paint, I choose a very modest area of effort: "draw to this branch; complete this area of underpainting; apply these two color washes." If more is able to be accomplished, this creates a wonderful feeling of satisfaction in full measure, but if working on a drum beater or beginning a Journey Oracle card reading for a client must come next, then the feeling of satisfaction from painting to my day's goal is still real.

My second secret is to always paint to my day's goal. This is an important aspect of artistic discipline for me. My time in the studio is potentially the most easily eroded part of the day; employment and chores and unexpected diversions all clammer to be seen as more significant. Yet when I honor my work by giving it consistent attention, I find a paint better, as if the brush were the effortless voice of an opera star, and I its conductor.

My third secret is to choose a day for painting that actually has time available in it to be devoted to art. Even twenty minutes--enough time to mix and apply one color wash--counts as success for me. But the frustration of thinking that I will be able to find time for painting, and then watch it be eaten by the vacuum cleaner and going to the bank and a longer dog walk than usual creates instead a vibration of frustration. Better for me to "develop a mind that inclines to abandoning" as Ajan Brahmavamso writes of the basic method of meditation--and let go of the burden of wanting what is not able to happen.

So as you see, my secrets for successfully accomplishing a big project are really quite small: stay in the now, find the time, show up.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A new drum for cosmic awakening

Sometimes something small turns out to be huge. This new drum was made on October 28, 2011. According to Barbara Hand Clow, this is the date of the awakening of world mind, the completion of our ascension through the 9 underworlds and 13 heavens of the Mayan calendar.

This little drum carries the numerical significance of this climb in the 13 thongs that fas
ten the drum skin to the cedar ring, and in the 9 cords with spiral or French hitching that suspend the little smoke-tan medicine bag in the center of the ring. In fact, the leather bag looks like a little temple; it's easy to see the ridges made by the draw string as columns of stairs leading to the temple opening at the top. So what could be important enough, considering the acceleration of time and the dramatic events happening around the globe, to be inside the bag?

A pebble.

My choosing to place an ordinary pebble inside the medicine bag--found in the bottom of our boat when leaving the dock for a day of oyster work-- is a gesture about something not at all ordinary. I have long remembered a quote from His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman: "A single pebble can change the course of a river, if you know where to place it." I believe that we are each capable of shifting the river. We are each a seed of awareness, a pebble of awakened consciousness. The right timing is now, and all it takes is a little drum to make a huge sound.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finding ideas for art

My process for finding ideas for art often involves not an idea first, but some physical work with my hands first. When completing this new felted drum stick I used St Mary's hitching because I love how complicated it looks and how easy it is to do. As I worked I became interested in how the spiral wound itself visually down the driftwood stick. This winding staircase became the pattern I rediscovered when I decided to use the hitching lacing to fasten together the smoke-tan sheathing. This pattern of spiraling, repeating diagonals became the visual idea I used to hold all the parts of the drum stick together.

Using wool from sheep here on Cortes Island is another important material for my shamanic art, but making the join between the wool and the tanned hide can be visually challenging. My guiding art idea of a repeating diagonal caused me to choose two different colors of hide for making this beautiful four strand braid.

Most of my art initially begins with some kind of physical action; it is the action itself that starts the exploration for a guiding idea--like having a dialog with stone or paper or wood. This is the way I began each Journey Oracle card of the oracle deck I created. I gazed into the surface of one of three things--a slice of agate, an ammonite shell, or a dried disk of deer skin--and began painting with no notion of what or who would appear. The oracle card directed its own visual story, just like the physical wrapping of this new drum stick directed its unifying idea.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What to do with a lucky penny

Recently my friend Ann Mortifee gave me a lucky penny. We were in a crowded restaurant at the end of the tourist season here on Cortes Island, and midst the beet salad and views of Desolation Sound, she dramatically reached across the table and placed a penny in my palm, declaring this was a lucky penny that would bring me good luck and good fortune. Ann pointed to a beautiful necklace of silver rings she was wearing, from which dangled a penny. The necklace was from her mother, she said, and the penny came from a friend who offered her in jest a penny he had just found. She chose to receive the penny with a full sense of honor and serious purpose. I could have thought her gesture was silly and the sentiment old-fashioned, but I chose to believe her statement: this is my lucky penny.

I asked my friend Irene Blueth of Silver Sea Jewelry to to honor my penny by setting it in silver so I could keep it close by wearing it. I also have a necklace my mother gave me, but instead of planished silver, it is a steel or tin chain hung with plastic circles that my mother brought back from a trip to India many years ago; the sort of token thrown by street performers during a festival. I could have accepted the necklace was cheap and undignified to wear, but I chose to believe this gift from my mother has been waiting a long time to be received.

In this time of great change, I can choose to be in fear and disappointment, or I can choose to be in love and generosity. I can believe that my work toward spiritual fulfillment is joy, or just work. I can believe that I am too small to help others, or I can believe that my artful effort is big enough to turn the tide. I am choosing to believe in my lucky penny, and I am wearing the Queen like the Queen that I am.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

shamanic counseling fees

How to set my shamanic counseling fees is always a dilemma of need vs. want. For both the client and myself, I want my oracle card readings, shamanic mentoring and dream work sessions to be accessible, yet I need a fee schedule that honors my skill in entering the spirit realms, enabling that world to do the work of this world. I also want those folks who most need spirit-filled guidance--young adults, parents, elders, those who are struggling with hard times and hard choices--to be empowered by this clarity without the limitations imposed by lack of financial resources. I asked the Journey Oracle for a reading about how to balance these needs and wants. This oracle card is of the Celtic tree month Birch, which encompasses the time from late December until mid-January. My first impression of the Oracle's answer is that this time is metaphorically the bones of the year. Bare branches rattle in the wind that sends achingly cold fingers into pockets and tucks chins into coat collars. This is the time when, if we live a rural life, we gather inside around a wood stove to visit, share stories, and eat apple crisp made from the fall harvest. This is the true time of the Oracle, and of looking deeply within. I therefore believe this image and its question applies to me more than those who come to me.

I see a woman swimming in a sea of yellow empowerment and blue seeking, carrying her heart before her head. Above her flows the red passion and orange attraction of the dreamtime snakes, swimming with her in a flowing stream toward the side of intuition and revelation. This image is confirming of my skills in helping others access through me the spirit guidance they seek.

But the question is also significant and provoking. When I am mostly giving away my skill--creating work trades that don't quite get finished, allowing sessions to go over time but only asking for the original rate, accommodating my energy to the schedules of others--I am making situations where I am not getting to finish my story.

I was recently told by a stone that they were "helping me compete against time for honoring." I don't yet know what that means, but I do think it means I must begin by honoring myself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The spiritual meaning of doorknobs

Several years ago a man gave me a doorknob as partial payment for some shamanic counseling I gave him. Although it is a very beautiful object, I didn't think deeply about the spiritual meaning of receiving a doorknob until I recently read this passage in Iron John, the book by Robert Bly that gave form and speech to the men's movement of the 1990's.

"Every adult or older sibling who wants to enter the child's psychic room does so, because it is as if there is no doorknob at all on the inside of the door. The door moves freely in, opening us to improper intimacies.... The door moves freely, we could say, because the doorknob is on the outside."

The receiving of a doorknob all at once felt like a gift of revelation to me, much like when an oracle card reading alerts me to something hidden and yet in plain view in a situation I am examining. I really looked at the doorknob. It is ceramic and brass of a very old design, not capable of operating an ordinary door, and therefore it must be able to operate a non-ordinary door. So what kinds of non-ordinary situations need a doorknob on the "inside" that I can control?
Two types of situation occur to me. One is when I want to shut a door on interaction and maintain silence. I don't mean the kind of not talking that originates in hurt or disinterest, but rather the wise silence that grows from insight and compassion. The other situation is when I want to open a door to speak my truth. This is not the speaking that originates in emotional drama, but the calm speaking that expands awareness in a quiet respectful way.

Sometimes I meet someone who is her or himself a doorknob to these ways of being. Perhaps a friend holds silence in a loving way while I rail away against some difficulty, or she speaks plainly about a commitment still to be met...and I can hear a doorknob turning, and feel the choice of moving.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What is a shamanic retreat?

I have just returned from a four day shamanic retreat, and while I had originally planned to write about the spiritual meaning of door knobs, the journey into the other realities ate all my time, as if I were serving to each minute a feast of giving blessings, re-committing to my spiritual teachers, and receiving blessings.

I cannot answer the question yet, "What is a shamanic retreat?" I am still waiting and not watching the pot that is my journal as it continues cooking. I know it took lots of letting go to get off the map. While it feels good to return to my Journey Oracle card readings, and painted frame drums, and shamanic art--I realize I have been in a landscape inhabited by the Other, the place where the torrents of ritual and sacrifice cut deep channels though my comfortable paths.
I wanted to be guided by these lines from Antonio Marchado:

Mankind owns four things
That are no good at sea--
Rudder, anchor, oars,
And a fear of going down.

Of course my cultural and personal version of these four: my anxieties, expectations, skills and fears accompanied me, yet I do think I mostly let the ship of the spirit world carry me. Turns out I got to sail on a beautiful boat.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why give flowers?

I always have a dilemma when I have an reason to give flowers. Although I too love their spectacular color and form, years ago I made a commitment to the spirits of place here on my property on Cortes Island. Because I made a mistake and allowed a special place to damaged, I said I would only give the flowers of this place to make beautiful the wound I had caused. I even wrote a story about my unwillingness to give flowers for other occasions as one of the oracle stories that correspond to each oracle card in my Journey Oracle card deck.

Yet now I am preparing for a series of rituals I am conducting at a shamanic retreat I have been planning, and I need flowers for the offerings. What to do? It doesn't seem right to go buy flowers, and of course I cannot pick the last ones still blooming in my early autumn garden because of my promise. I asked my spirit guidance to bring me a solution and a few days later, into our island cabin walked a friend carrying these!

We had been helping her through a difficult time, and she brought a perfectly spirit-directed thank you. But the ritual is still a week away and this extravagant beauty will not last until then. Again I am pondering what to do while another friend is helping me dismantle an old filing cabinet, and her solution for creating a drying rack feels equally spirit-directed.

The drying flowers are now like colored tissue paper, and the helpful effort of my friends will become delicious food for spirit in my bundles. So thanks to all you who do give flowers, you never know but that gesture may be the answer to a prayer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to read an Oracle card

I have just finished conducting an oracle reading on line using this Journey Oracle card. When I first drew the card, according to my client's choice of # 41, I wrote:

I see a bird shape—lightly outlined in black with lost and found edges; its entire form is not visible. One leg and the lower part of the wing are not seen. This is a flightless bird, perhaps a turkey. The form is showered from above with yellow and cornflower blue. Also a sap green color and a deep teal blue are flowing down. The colors are most dense over the bird’s head and chest, and least present over the tail area. The colors are fainter in hue as they begin in the upper center of the card, and gain intensity and saturation as they reach the lower rim. In the upper portion, the brush strokes applying the color are laid on with considerable water to form a wash, while the strokes along the lower rim are applied with a dry brush.

I decided to share this description of an oracle card because I hope you will find something significant about it. There are no judgments or assumptions or statements of meaning in it. Although there are descriptive words that create an image--flightless, showered, considerable--these words describe a physical quality and not an interpretation. I believe writing a physical description with no personal meaning is a necessary first step when creating a successful oracle reading. This allows the reading to grow toward meaning, instead of beginning, perhaps unconsciously, with the assumptions we already have about the situation for which we want advice.

These unconsidered assumptions of meaning can cause us lots of confusion and difficulty. I recently found a copy of Iron John, by Robert Bly, at the Cortes Island free store and had a revelation when I read this passage:

Many women today say, "The earth is female." A man told me that when he hears that, he feels he has lost the right to breathe. And when a man says, "God is male," women have said that they feel they have no right to pray....Today when a man or woman dreams of a lake, the therapist assumes that the water refers to the feminine....For those who know Latin, mare (the sea) associates with Mary, and pretty soon the sea is female, and since the sea is the unconscious, the unconscious is female as well, and so on.

This describes exactly a great risk in doing Oracle readings for yourself or others. When we include value and feeling statements in our initial description, our unconsidered assumptions become embedded in the reading, and the Oracle cannot reach beyond our unconscious judgments to show us the revelation we are asking to receive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to release anger

Most of us have moments when we need to release anger. I have just come home, late and tired from doing a Journey Oracle reading, to find our wwoofer watching Japanese comics on the internet and my partner meditating, apparently leaving me to begin preparing dinner at a time when we are usually sitting down to eat it. So how to release the anger of feeling unsupported? I decided since I was still thinking about the Journey Oracle cards I had just been working with, I would conduct my own oracle reading for insight.

I drew this card; one of my least favorite images in the entire deck. I guess anger feels like that, something we don't want to identify with, yet a thing that keeps us in its thrall. I see an anxious and distracted face, made unpleasant by a running nose and pinched features, surrounded by fractured lines of ice blue. Colorless, tight, self-absorbed. My perfect description of anger. So how to release this? I am drawn to the phrase, "Mother inside looking out." and immediately I remember my own mother. I think she felt oppressed by three children and all the usual family duties, at the same time that she was working full time as a high school literature and English teacher. I think my anger is my Mother inside looking out. This card is the full moon in January, and certainly I relate to the deep cold of that moon in this oracle card image.

I turned the card over and received a revelation. Again, the phrase from the Oracle sounded a truth: "Will the rim hold if the center falls out?" It is easier for me to pull together a meal in quick time that it is for our wwoofer from Japan, who is unfamiliar with our Canadian food. And of course my partner didn't just come home from the oyster farm to lie about, but had begun replacing the skylight panels before taking a moment to himself.

Anger is all a matter of perspective, and the Journey Oracle gives me a different view of my situation. This reading helped me shift my perspective to one containing more common sense and kindness. I hope it helped you too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shamanic lessons from a new painted drum

I have been writing about this new shaman drum on a previous blog for my Journey Oracle website. I described this new direction for my drum back fastenings: interlacement patterns that form webs of protection because of the single flowing line of the thong. I wrote about how I was looking into the drum's surface to see what spirit would emerge. And this remarkable painting is what came.
I received many shamanic lessons gazing into this new painted drum. I now call it Estrella and understand that this is an image of a spirit guide, just like the shamanic frame drum is a guide to the alternate realities. The human and the animal share one eye: hers the left and the Other the right. This contains an important lesson for me. When I look through the eye of my spirit or 'mother' side, I see through the eye of my guide's action or 'father' side. So my intuitive non-linear vision in this reality is my active, communicating vision in the spirit realms.

The most significant feature for me of this painted drum is the woman's hand. This was the last feature of the painting to appear; before I found her gesture the drum felt potent but somehow incomplete. I notice that the woman's right hand is holding a finger to her lips in the global gesture that means, "Shhh. be quiet." This means to me to be quiet about our relationships with the Others in the spirit world. I feel it is important not to talk casually about who comes to visit us from that world, or how we are together in this world. I believe we create great consequence when we show off with words, and great alliance when we keep silence.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Receiving technology advice in an Oracle reading

I have been considering buying a net book and besides comparing various models and features on line, I decided to do a Journey Oracle reading about my possible purchase. I especially wanted guidance about whether this technology would actually be useful in my business selling painted shamanic drums and oracle card decks on my website, or was I just wanting a new gadget?

I drew card #17, which represents the Path in the Journey suit of cards. Immediately I connected to the image and the question: Am I keeping all the parts? The image appears to me to be a caterpillar or some sort--all mouth and stomach--resting on a yellow-colored foot pointing to the right. A caterpillar is a symbol of imminent transformation for me, a creature whose only task is preparing for dramatic change. The yellow foot going right represents personal power moving into this ordinary, or "right hand" reality. The shapes made of black lines arching above the creature look like the outlines of net books to me.They begin in the clear white space but take on the color and shape of the catepilliar's head as they seem to join with its form.

The card feels like it is saying this purchase would be useful, but what are "all the parts" I am needing to keep track of? To answer this question I read the story aligned with the energy of this card. As I recommend to my clients who receive online oracle card readings from me--I read the story and then asked myself what "jumped" into my awareness. The last phrase, "meeting fellow travelers who revealed the next message" caught my full attention. I most want to keep connected with my Journey Oracle website, write my blogs and respond to emails when I travel, and a net book would enable this.

When I turned the card story over and read the 5 pieces of advice from the Journey Oracle, I smiled at the first two sentences:
The creative force is sure-footed.
The momentum is fed by self-generated struggle.
I recalled what a friend said earlier when I asked her advice about my planned purchase, "Why not buy it? Its never a struggle for you to find something interesting to do with a new tool."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why admit a mistake?

Most of us try to avoid making these, so why admit a mistake? I recently made a mistake that has been a good teacher for making sure I have more than my opinion before acting. I was contacted by a web designer who wanted to use images of my paintings on a website under construction. She wanted the use of my work in exchange for links to my Journey Oracle website and credit on the images. I was careful to ask permission from my other than human guidance because the images were of my painted frame drums and shamanic paintings. I also spent some time checking out the recommended royalties for the use of fixed images on the internet, as suggested by the Canadian Artist's Registration Copyright Collective.

I did a Journey Oracle card reading to receive advice about how to proceed. This card reading was most interesting because the question asks "Will I accept direct experience?" In this situation I don't have any direct experience. Besides, while the figure in the card image has lots of radiating colors that I associate with personal power and self-approval, she is not 'upright' in this energy. I sent my Yes and a copy of the recommended royalties anyway, without exploring further.

The web designer withdrew her interest because of my request for money, and when I spoke to Dianne Bersea, a fellow artist here on Cortes Island, she said that web-links and artist credit is currently a good offer. "The internet is not the same as exhibiting in a gallery. It's a whole different world out there." After all, she pointed out, until recently many sites just took whatever art images they found on the web, without any acknowledgment at all.

It seems that the Oracle card reading was trying to point me in the right direction all along. I literally needed to accept some direct experience with the situation, if not mine then from someone else. I did write back to the web designer asking for a reconsideration, and although I haven't received a response, I feel I have come upright in the energy of this story, by admitting to her I made a mistake.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding summer work

Islands are beautiful places for finding summer work, and Cortes is one of the best. Lots of interesting things are happening on the water and in the gardens of this special place. We invite Wwoofers to come and learn about oysters on the rafts of our sea farm in Gorge Harbor. Our helpers this week are Kathy from Cobble Hill and Ito from Japan. The Wwoof program is a great way to travel, meet local people and do interesting summer work.

This is also a good time for me to be making new drums and giving Journey Oracle readings at the Friday Farmer's Market. With so much happening I only have time this week to wish you a Great Canadian Summer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Time for art

During most summer days it is a struggle to find time for art. I have been wanting to finish this new shamanic frame drum, but life seems to conspire to get in the way. The dog wants walking, the basil was mostly eaten by slugs last night and needs protecting, and the garden still must be watered. The paint brushes require cleaning to be ready for tomorrow's next coat of varnish on the sailboat, and I'm still hoping to bring up a bucket of gravel, left in the verge from the recent road work on Cortes, to put around the pond.

I recently finished reading Masters of the Living Energy, by Joan Parisi Wilcox, and discovered a new perspective about time for making art. One of the paqos (shaman) interviewed in this wonderful book about the mystical world of the Q'ero of Peru described time as a being. A completely new perspective to my north American mind! Seems this time person is a difficult one to have a relationship with. The being who is time for art is demanding that I enter a sort of "no time." How I find to do a thing is most often discovered by finding out how not to do the thing, over and over, until at last all the necessary elements of sturdiness and beauty come together in technique. And this requires being fully present with gererous time.
So how to make this time being a friend, instead of a stranger in my full summer days? Probably the same way we visit with any of our asking for their company, setting aside space to be together, maybe bringing a small gift or some food to share. I am imagining that the best food to share will be my full attention, and the gift to bring is my efforts to make beauty when we are together.