Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The importance of drums in Death

This is a drum to die for.

What an idea for our time.  To celebrate death as an opening to new beginnings.  And yet we each do this every day, every moment.  Nothing can be born without a dying.  Every death is a cause of something new to appear.

This new drum from the Journey Oracle is a celebration of death as a doorway. Death is the doorway.

This beautiful blacktail deer on Cortes Island died and so this drum could be born.  So our spiritual practice could have a voice.  This is not bad.  This is normal.  We all die.  We all have a voice that will become another voice. 

Like fractals in Nature—a nonlinear pattern that repeats itself—the handhold of this drum repeats the pattern of the opening in the deer’s hide.  This polished circle of Australian moonstone is a celebration of the space inside the stone. 

It is not the material that surrounds a hole that is so much important.  It is the space inside that is being outlined for us to see.  This opening.  Held in a spider’s web of possibility.  So fragile and yet strong enough to hold a new beginning that is worth the dying for.

This drum is available through my Etsy webstore.  Click on this link to enjoy more stories about how I became a drum maker, 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How to celebrate Summer Solstice

Here are some thoughts about how to celebrate Summer Solstice from the Journey Oracle.  First, go someplace a little unusual; choose a path not usually taken.

It might be best if this path goes into nature, since after all, Summer Solstice is the Sun's wedding day. Contemplate how old the sun is; take a moment to honor how everything goes old, and also is born.

Try and see something clearly that you do not usually take to the time to notice.  Everything is alive, and turns its face to feel the Sun shining warm. 

Of course life contains risk, but just for this Summer Solstice, feel the support instead of the danger.

 It is good to find someone to celebrate Summer Solstice with you, perhaps a person who works hard, just like the Sun does.  

An invitation to lunch might be just the enticement to have a partner for your celebration.

It's good to keep the setting casual--not too fancy a restaurant--with comfortable seating

and a dress code that is easy to accommodate so everyone can feel relaxed.

Together you might ponder the impermanence of everything, how even this beautifully sunny day is filled with bones.

Yet be sure to look up, and see the bigger vision.  The clouds are just clouds, and the eternal blue sky is not bothered by their passing. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Step out of your comfort zone using art

When I painted the Journey Oracle card images, I discovered how to step out of my comfort zone using art.  I did this, perhaps oddly, by setting limitations not on what I could paint, but on how.   Here are some of the stories behind the cards that took me furthest out of my comfort zone.

My first limitation was that each card could only have one image.  In other words, I could not paint several oracle card pictures and then choose my preferred one.  Perhaps seeing a partially naked body is outside a comfort zone.  This image, however, seemed to add layers of discomfort.  The veil implied a reference to cultures that value a covered body.  The gaze  and expression suggested apprehension and caution.  So many ways to be uncomfortable.  I would have thrown this picture out for the discomfort I felt, yet when we want to consult an Oracle, we often do so because we are feeling discomfort. 

The second limitation was that each image had to be painted in one sitting.  I could not take a break, walk away, reconsider how the image was developing.  I don't care for this fuzzy, unresolved image that is maybe this, possibly that.  My large shamanic paintings are in a photo-realist style that definitely show I value complex detail.  Yet here it is.  The image of Mystery.  And of course this is the oracle card painted to represent Mystery. 

There is something so uppity about this creature.  Arrogant, entitled, vastly annoyed at being interrupted. And then there is the sort-of smiling skull behind.  Altogether creepy.  Each Oracle card had to be aligned to its time of the year, if it corresponded to a season, a phase of the year, a full moon.  This is the Oracle card of Lammas--the earth holiday celebrated on August 1st.  A time of hope and fear when what we have planted is standing, ripe and ready for harvesting, but not yet gathered into the storehouse.  There is lots of hope and fear in this image.

I like this image.  As an art image it is quite satisfying.  The strange perspective, the detached gaze, the elegant gesture.  And yet there is something "other than human" in the odd distortion, the peculiar angle, the lack of connection between movement and form.  There is a saying in belly-dancing, which I spent 9 years performing:  "Go big or go home."  Stepping out of your comfort zone using art is like this dance.  Don't be timid.  Don't be lazy. Get out there and be something outrageous.