Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creating an Oracle card deck

Creating the Journey Oracle card deck has so far taken 20 years and apparently I am not quite finished yet.   When I began in 1992 my experience was like looking at these rocks in the Forbes Bay river, on the northern coast of British Columbia.  Such a welter of confusing beauty—painting the cards, discovering versions for conducting readings, receiving spirit-filled insights about correspondences between the oracle cards and the full moons, Celtic tree months, Wiccan wheel of the year and the shamanic journey—as the Journey Oracle rushed into my life as a river of creativity.

But then came years of complicated deciphering of the vision.  How are the cards to be laid out?  How are the phrases collected from the cards’ first viewing to be used?  Where do the dream questions fit into the reading?  For a long time it has been difficult to see a way through the dense tangle of possible directions, and yet the river of creativity keeps flowing, always eventually bringing me back to its main channel of manifestation.

Now at last I believe I am seeing glimmers of the shore where the Journey Oracle meets the vast ocean of human consultation with an Oracle. There are still areas to be explored: the how the dream question is homework; what is the intention for the phrase from Divine Will.  Yet I am realizing that the scale of the conversation with Spirit contained within a living Oracle is matched by the scale of transformation required to be the river of its creation.  From the pebbles worn smooth by the river’s constant tumbling to the mingling of waters as the fresh daughter flows into the salt mother—it’s been quite a journey.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good house guests

House guests trump blogging.  Especially when both of them like quiet time in the window seat with a good book and afternoon sunshine.  I'll write soon about new dream information confirming that the Journey Oracle cards are now coming into a complete form ...but after a dog walk.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Answering life questions in dreams

 Many years ago I learned to pose a question before going to sleep, asking to receive the answer in my dreams.   This idea initially came from a little book called Teach Yourself to Dream.  The very first exercise describes a process for choosing the winner of a horse race by making two columns  of  the hopefuls and then editing either the right or the left list according to messages or images favoring the right or left side in that night’s dream.  The next night the remaining horses are again split into two columns and again one side is edited until the winner is revealed.

Although it seemed a clever exercise upon first reading, it wasn’t until a friend told me, after returning from a shamanic drum journey, that the spirit world wanted me to know there was “something I was not using,” that I remembered the dream exercise, and decided to make a list of all my magical tools, frame drums, oracle cards, and teaching stones.  It was quite a list.  My inventory at the time contained 54 items, which I assigned numbers and then randomly separated into two columns.    In trying to answer this life question in my dreams,  many evenings were spent shuffling numbers into columns and waking to write about peculiar images of glasses vertically half full and pastures with horses all on one side.  My dreams ultimately chose a pipe I had made years ago by hollowing a small bowl from a piece of chert and fitting this to a shard of pre-Columbian flute for the stem.  I understood that this and its smoke were to be offered in gratitude for this gift of receiving answers to questions in dreams.

I never did use the technique to bet the horses, but over the years I have learned to see and remember my dreams in great detail, and more importantly, I have come to realize that my dreams do contain the answer to my questions, and that just like shamanic drum journeys to the unseen world, I can journey in my dreams for insight and advice to help myself and others.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Finding new images for a shamanic painting

 I am looking for my next painting image, which means I am looking for my next painting idea.  Because I paint in a photo-realist style, my images come first to my attention in my camera.  And I take pictures because I am looking for a visual manifestation of an idea.  More accurately, I am seeking a picture of something I don’t quite grasp, whose sight will cause revelation.  

During a recent sailing cruise through Desolation Sound and into Toba Inlet, I was seeking revelation in the consciousness of clouds.  I did not find my next painting image, but my understanding why not creates insight that brings me closer to the thrill of recognizing my next shamanic painting.

The mystery of air as consciousness was flowing over this mountain ridge in the still morning near Walsh Cove Marine Park, and I do not blame either the camera or myself for our inability to record the majesty of mist rising up to feed the sun.

The vast elemental forms of Pryce Channel cannot be brought into the studio as paint on matte board without a reduction of aliveness that the human scale seems to require.

Perhaps in the close regard of nature at its most intimate I will find new images for a shamanic painting of consciousness in all matter. It may be in detail that the camera, and my paintbrush, will be able to apprehend that the vastness of everything that is, is awake.