Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to organize a community food festival

For many years my partner and I have organized Seafest, an oyster festival on Cortes Island.  We serve approximately 700 people a gourmet 10 course lunch cooked on camp stoves, with the help of about 75 volunteers.  Organizing such a community food festival is like putting together a puzzle, and not much different from trying to read oracle cards to see what the future will hold: the weather, the crowds, the food. Here are some of my favorite tips for success.

Start planning early with a "master board" that lists every task to be done and every person to be contacted.  There are just too many details to keep in the front of one's awareness, and success comes in skillfully managing the details.

Do the specialty shopping yourself.  It is OK for your local grocery outlet to buy the green onions and cooking oil but trust yourself to find the right kind of chipotle mayonnaise that will keep your chef's happy.

Pay attention to good signs and put them everywhere someone will need to make a choice about where to go.  If your event can afford it, provide free transportation at a separate gathering location to and from the festival site.  The money spent on the van and driver will be offset in the number of happy visitors who did not have to wait in long lines and search for parking.

Keep your chefs happy. We believe that we are organizing the festival for their benefit, rather than that they are cooking for our benefit.

Share the wealth.  We encourage vendors to set up tables of their beautiful crafts and cooking, as long as they don't serve what we are serving.  We ask 10% of the day's net profit instead of a table fee, knowing that everyone prospers where there is an abundance.

Music always makes magic, and local musicians appreciate that we pay an honorarium for their talent, rather than asking them to entertain for just a thank you.

Find volunteers that are willing to stand in the fire.  It is not easy to spend 4 hours cooking over a hot wok, so best to find folks that thrive on the hustle and intensity.

Hope that something unusual happens.  This is the magic of a community festival.  When someone decides to come dressed as the ocean.

Go to the trouble of finding out the name of everyone who helped, and thank the volunteers publicly. We all appreciate being appreciated.  Happy beginning of summer from the Journey Oracle.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fun with Instagram and art

When I told a friend I wanted to promote the Journey Oracle deck on Instagram, and she said, "Have fun with it," I didn't really know how to begin.  I love to post images of my oracle cards, shamanic journey drums and acrylic paintings but how to have fun?

First I decided to use the oracle card images and create a brief meaningful phrase using the wise words in the Oracle pronouncements.

Some of these felt quite profound.

Others were a bit more creepy and didn't receive much instragram response.

The instagram posts become more fun when I decided to match interesting life quotes from well known personalities with oracle card images.

My acrylic paintings provided some beautiful visuals for quotes about art.

Yet the most successful images and statements seem to be from my journeys in nature. Here a momentary play of light on water creates something of inspiration,

A glimpse of creativity echos like a song in these beautiful words. 

A rush of light and energy reflects thoughts about the transpersonal self.  So this fun with instagram is creating its own kind of art.  Have a look.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to overcome impatience

I am an impatient person, especially when I don't want to be.  Waiting in a line for service, traveling to meet someone, keeping an appointment--my inner quiet is jangled by increasingly dire stories of not getting what I want when I want it.  I have read that impatience has a root of fear, but what do I do about it?  I decided to see what the Journey Oracle might suggest so I conducted a 4 card reading for advice.

This oracle card is a picture of my situation.  Very jagged marks. I see lots of faces and they are all looking down. The question this oracle card asks is this: Will you gladly donate your share?  How perfect a question is that for creating a pause to consider.  Perhaps impatience has at its core the fear of not getting enough, of not receiving one's share.

The oracle card representing my experience in this situation is the Oracle of Imbolc, the Celtic earth holiday of initiation.  Its question is Who will pick this up if you don't?  Since the person representing me in the oracle card image is lying down, perhaps the "this" is about picking my energy and gratitude up. That's also quite a revelation--to be shown to stop telling myself versions of situations that may thwart me, instead of focusing on gratitude for what enables me.

This oracle card is a picture of the change that is trying to find me. What a peculiar image!  I see an animal or human face lying down, mostly surrounded by a brown fog except for a clear area over the left eye.  The question from this oracle card is, What are you actually doing to get rid of them? The most arresting part of this question is the word, "actually."  I know many ways to increase patience: focusing on the present moment, reflecting inward, practicing self-compassion and equanimity. but am I actually doing these skills to get rid of the fog of impatience?

This image is the oracle card representing the resolution of  my situation.  The Oracle of the August full moon.  This image is somewhat difficult to decipher but a face slowly emerges in the lower portion.  It appears to be holding a book, or looking out over a book. This oracle card has a statement instead of a question, A safe place.  After I read the Journey Oracle fairy tale about my resolution I am drawn to what appears to be an ear in the upper center of the card, seemingly splashed by lines of blue water.

suit:  FULL MOON (Aug)   card name:  CORN MOON   #28 


A Journey Oracle fairy tale 


There was a young girl who was always moving. She had a determination to be useful and so she moved her hands in purposeful ways, but sometimes to the loss of her eyes and ears, which mostly saw and heard the world in a maze. 

 As she grew her mother encouraged her to be a student of stillness, and taught her a special way of looking at things. “Do you want to see this eye?” Her mother would ask, which meant do you want to see this object in a way that belongs to the object and not to the human looking at it. She would show her how to look at the surface of something, and then find a smaller space on that surface and look into it, and then find a smaller space in that smaller space, and to do this smaller and smaller looking until finally the young girl was seeing cells of wood and hairs on plants and dust on butterfly wings. And of course her mother knew that to look that closely, one must hold quite still.  

The young girl’s mother taught her a special way of listening to things. She said “Be in your heart when you listen.” She told the young girl to sit by water and listen for a small sound, like a gurgle riffling over a stone. And then listen for another, slightly larger sound, like the chuckle of water pouring over a rock—without losing the little gurgling sound, and then listen for another larger sound without losing the two smaller sounds. The young girl practiced listening by holding these separate sounds together. When she was able to hear many at the same time, it seemed her awareness expanded into a vast dreamscape of stillness. When the girl was older she still moved her hands in useful ways, but was also able to go inside, meditate, and be still. She would pause in her purposeful work—and see a spider’s eye looking back at her; she would close her eyes, and hear the voices of water. 

This is what I will do to overcome impatience.  I will close my eyes and listen to the sounds within the sounds, go inside, be still and hear the voices that move in every living moment. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A mystical cloud drum

This new drum from the Journey Oracle has its head in the clouds! I am never too sure how a drum will dry and what kind of surface pattern of lights and dark will result.

I have been thinking about cloud forms as a kind of oracle card or divination technique.  I notice an image in the clouds, and try to remember the thought that just occupied my mind at the same moment.  The image and the thought together will bring a message, a confirmation, a revelation.  I believe this kind of conversation is not an accident but the other-than-human realms using all of nature to communicate with us.

Usually I expect to paint a drum, but sometimes the drum face itself is more varied and interesting than anything I can imagine.  Leonardo da Vinci spoke of a method of "quickening the spirit of invention" by advising, "You should look at certain walls stained with damp, or a stones of uneven colour....In such walls the same thing happens as in the sound of bells, in whose stroke you may find every named word which you can imagine."

This drum is a mystical oracle that combines both vision and sound.  And takes you to the stars.


It was not until after this frame drum dried that I realized the connection between its cloud surface and the pentacle design on the reverse.

Playing this cloud drum will take you into sacred sound while holding onto a star.  How is that for a journey to the alternate realities!

You can hear this shamanic journey drum being played with a felted drumstick by clicking on this youtube link: