Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New shamanic drum

This new drum has an unusual fastening in the back, and a wonderful story that spans two cultures. When I first made this frame drum with a Cortes Island deer skin stretched on a 17 " hoop of spruce wood, I called it the Star drum because I created the hand hold in the back with a Ninefold Goddess interlacement pattern. This star recalls the sacred feminine in European mythology and folklore, and because it is composed of a single unbroken line, it also represents spiritual protection.

When reading a new book about the mystical world of the Q'ero of Peru I discovered that this ancient shamanic culture believes that when a person is called to the sacred path of the Paqo, or shaman, he or she receives an Estrella, which is spanish for star. This estrella is the outward manifestation of an Apu, or spirit of a sacred mountain. The estrella commonly take the form of hummingbirds, pumas, bulls, and condors. In dreams, an estrella may appear as a glowing man or woman in white clothing.

I am now beginning to gaze into the new drum's surface to see who is coming for me to paint. If I am honored to receive an image, I will post a picture of the Estrella that comes to be the spirit of this painted drum.
You can purchase this drum, and see and read more drum stories by clicking on Purchase a Journey Drum on my website www.journeyoracle.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shamanic lessons from a child

Last weekend I received shamanic lessons from a child when I attended Cortes Days, our annual community picnic here on Cortes Island. Even though I am a drum maker and creator of oracle cards, and do shamanic mentoring, I believe that my shamanic path is fully a part of my daily life, and not something I do only in a separate or special way. So while sitting on the beach I noticed this boy and asked to be shown some shamanic lessons.
#1: Have the courage to appear different.
A shamanic path requires a lack of concern for how we appear to others. Our choices of how we look and what we do becomes directed by our relationship with the other-than-human world, and not by social pressure or current style.
#2: Be willing to follow your own vision.
A shamanic path often directs us away from where the group is looking. Our teachers become the stones and plants and natural forces that surround us. Our willingness to turn toward nature opens the way for the spirit world to enchant us.
#3: Learn to go where no one else is going .
When we explore deeply into what surrounds and sustains us, we discover that everything is full of life force, and that each thing, even as small as a grain of sand, has its own story and purpose. We discover our story and purpose, not by beating our own drum, but by listening to spirit's drum.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where is the spirit world in climate change?

I was recently hitching a ride home in Pearl, the truck and trailer rig of Cortes Transport, and the driver asked me this question: Where is the spirit world in climate change? He knows I make frame drums and give oracle card readings, and so perhaps thought I would know about the relationship between what is happening to our weather, and the spirit presences whose living energy manifests as wind and rain; tempest and drought.

I have continued to think about this question. While we were sailing this past week in Desolation Sound I kept watching the flow of forces in this vast landscape. I believe that the world of nature is as conscious of us as we are of it, and I feel that while climate change may be a human-generated crisis, it is self-absorbed to the point of peril to think it is a human-solved one. Why are we not asking, in all our many forms of communion with nature, where is the spirit world in climate change?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Negotiating reproduction rights for original art

I recently finished the original art for a series of tarot cards, and now I feel like my cat Meisa when she jumped into a place where she didn't fit very well. My friend and I, who asked me to join in his vision of making and marketing the cards, are in the difficult business of trying to mutually find the right words to both honor the original enthusiasm of our working together, and to create a business relationship. I think maybe we didn't think before we jumped in, or maybe we made assumptions about what we were going to do once we got there, only to discover that the "there" wasn't anywhere we knew.

Of course it would have been vastly preferable to have written a contract before we started the project, but it seems that us humans are like curious cats: with no pre-planning--into the cage we go.

On the advice of a sister artist here on Cortes Island who has recently created illustrations for a children's book, I contacted the Canadian Artists Representation Copyright Collective. What an education I have been receiving! I didn't explain to my friend that my wanting royalties meant I was retaining reproductions rights, and my friend didn't understand that reproduction rights are not automatically included in the sale of original art work. Hopefully we will be able to jump out of this situation together with the same good will we had when we jumped in--but in the meantime we are stuck sifting though words like bird seed, trying to find the ones that will nourish both of us equally.

Even though creating, publishing, and marketing my own Journey Oracle card deck has been at times frustrating, at least the place I jumped into had to only be a good fit for me.