Saturday, February 28, 2015

Create a little travel ritual

When I travel I like to find little rituals that other people have created.  The arranged sea shells draped with seaweed, feathers pinned into hollow spaces in tree bark, a spiral of leaves held in place by stones on a forest trail.  These say to me someone was in this place, and took a moment, and made a gift of their effort to the Holy that lives in all of nature.

Sometimes the little ritual comes home with the traveler and becomes a memory of summer found feathers against a rain streaked window.  Maybe they become quiet under the dust of winter inattention, or maybe they become an altar to what stays bright and warm in the heart.

When I travel I like to make little rituals that feed the places I stay or pass through, asking that these alien spirits of place receive my small gift in the name of the spirits of place I had to leave behind.
The water carries the blessing of sage to all water.

A little ritual can also be the footprint of a larger ceremony, left for the sun after the moon has been honored.

Some little travel rituals grow in scale and presence until they become a symbol, an emblem for a way of being, a way of making a journey to the oracle.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to title a painting

The titles for my acrylic paintings are very important to me, because they reflect the idea behind the image, and also direct how I apply the paint.   Often, I have the title at the same moment I have the image--sometimes even before. This dappled forest image was taken while walking in the backwoods of Nova Scotia, near Tantallon.

At home that night I was watching TV when an commercial came on for After Eight Chocolates. There was a line of dialog that when something like, "Marie worked her usual magic" showing a woman offering a plate of after dinner mints to a guest. I remember saying, "that's what that stream was today--usual magic."  And so the painting, and the idea directing the painting, had a name.

The first thing I establish is the focus which is a function of light and distance.  This is usual, which to me means common, regular; downed branches, twigs and moss.

Light is movement.

Focus, light and movement create magic on the painted surface. 

Contrast is drama.  Watching the usual magic of water flowing, and how the light juxtaposes darkest dark and lightest light becomes a lesson in creating drama. 

I think the secret of usual magic in nature, as well as in art, is to not let the net be broken.  No matter how dense or small the detail, every part and every part within the part, is whole.

Usual Magic
acrylic on matte board

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A story in west coast BC pictures of my path to the Journey Oracle

Creativity for me often begins with a foggy notion and lots of unmarked territory, like saying "I think I'll make a deck of Oracle cards."

A direction appears, a way to go forward. Plans take a firm shape from watery intentions. I paint 47 cards and create a book of the Oracle speaking in metaphor and analogy.

Lots of obstacles also appear. How to read the cards? How to use the Oracle book? Who is the Oracle that is speaking?

Many people join in to help and bring lots of skill and suggestions. The path gets easier.

The path also stays difficult. Many versions of interpretation are tried and rejected. Publishers are tried and reject many versions.

Yet the message from Nature, the Oracle, is always be fearless. Don't give up. The sun comes out, and the way to go forward is in the dream work of C.G. Jung.

Even though fog lingers, the blue sky widens. After 23 years of work on the path I meet the Oracle. 

But I must do more than feel satisfied with the path that opens the book of Oracle wisdom.

As the Journey Oracle cards go into their second printing, now I must find the pathways that lead others to this remarkable, never-before-seen divination tool.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Walking the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, BC

What a great time to go to the wild pacific coast in Ucluelet.  So far this late January / early February holiday is with sunshine and without too much rain.  It's been years since I have visited the west coast of British Columbia, and the Wild Pacific Trail is new to me.

If easy walking on a beautiful bed of pea gravel, without puddles or muddy slides can be called wild.

The trees are beyond a believable size, even with a tall person for comparison.

Sunlight sparkling on surf has been an unexpected companion.

The Journey Oracle card deck has just gone into its second printing, which is both exciting and a bit scary since now is the time to do any polishing.  A break feels just right.  Happy winter pause from the Journey Oracle.