Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Journey Oracle reading for 2019

Before I begin a Journey Oracle reading, I decide who is the reading for: myself, an acquaintance or client, a place, the planet?  This Oracle reading seems to be for me, but if you follow along with the oracle card images and messages, it might be for you also. All text in bold and italics are quotes directly from the Journey Oracle book of pronouncements by the Oracle.


Oracle card 45 shows my situation this year, and represents the energy of the West.  This is the way of dreams, visions, feelings, mysticism and sexuality.  The message for my situation in 2019 is dream is still around me.  This feels very appropriate since I am continuing a massive art project of 47 paintings based on dreams received when creating the Journey Oracle

Although to me the image looks confusing--a jumble of squiggles and smudges, the little figure at the bottom looks sheltered rather than crushed. The Oracle says that for me this year, the momentum of this situation is fed by taking care of business. 

Oracle card 10, Nion or the Ash tree in the Celtic tree calendar, represents my experience in this situation.  Although this oracle image is one of my favorite when upright, when turned in this direction it appears the figure in the lower portion of the card, wearing the staring spirit face mask, is going underwater due to the weight of the headdress. 

The message from this Oracle card is endless dancing, and I need to be careful not to let my many projects pull me under.  The year will bring lots of trauma, magic in places I can only imagine, and awareness of spirit skills and limits.  Sounds like quite a ride! 

The oracle card says that sensuousness will be a support for the situation this year, and rising from the water to emerge at the top of the card I see a flower and leaf shape on a stem. I see to attend to the sensuousness of nature in all its steady pace and beauty. 

Oracle card 13 is an image of the change trying to find me.  This oracle card represents the full moon in April, a time of rapid growth, change, emergence.  So do not get stuck underneath the confusion or swamped by the endless effort.  The message from this oracle card is predator gaze.  Stay focused on the immediate present moment, rather than get lost in anticipation or resistance. 


I like that the small central motif looks like a tiny opening, a way through. This card says that the wisdom of letting go into growth will empower the transformation.  Also that the power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of stones being fitted together.  I like that.  Build a solid structure but leave a small opening to grow through. 

The fourth card in my 2019 Journey Oracle reading is the resolution of this situation. The Oracle representing Mystery; my finding truth, wisdom. The image is very vague, indeterminate.  And then I notice what seems like a trace, a trail flickering through the foggy surface.  

This oracle card's message is a glimmering.  I am just beginning the book, On Trails, by Robert Moor.  All about paths and trails and tracks and traces.  How we recognize them, when we make them, where they take us.  

The summarizing message of this Journey Oracle reading is coming clear to me.  Don't get too comfortable and become crushed under the weight of work; receive support this year from the sensuousness of nature while experiencing my skills and limits; let go into growth rather than resist change, and follow the glimmering trail, however faint at times, that leads to truth and wisdom.  

Happy New Year from the Journey Oracle

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Winter Solstice make a shaman drum

My winter solstice celebrations are full of traditions in nature, and sometimes there is also a celebration indoors when I make a frame drum to honour the sun's birthday.

My solstice celebrations begin the night before when John and I make "bird cookies" of suet and seeds.

These become ornaments to decorate a solstice tree at the location in nature where we have our shortest day feast.

My drum preparations begin months before these cold days and nights.  I prepare a Cortes Island deer hide while the weather is still kindly toward working outside with almost bare hands.

This may be the last year my winter solstice drum will have an ash wood hoop.  My planks have come from the east coast, and I only have enough ash for three more frames.  However, there is an exciting possibility of working with yellow cedar in the new year--making drums with a truly west coast spirit.


Winter solstice morning finds me first in the garden making a ceremony of greeting the sun and asking that all my human and other-than-human family be well and happy.

The shortest day finds me then out at the beach or in the forest with whatever weather is happening, creating a feast of thank you to all the creatures that keep us well and happy, both in this and in the alternate realities.

My solstice drum will be made in the gathering darkness of mid-afternoon, near the woodstove, and lit by glowing green lights.

Even though we will not have snow yet this year, I will remember the peace and comfort of  its deep silence, as I reflect on the gifts I have received: the blessings from friends, the  kindness from students, the love from this place.

Happy Solstice from the Journey Oracle

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What makes a good spiritual mentor

A good spiritual mentor does not have answers so much as 
she is willing to share her own difficult questions.

A good mentor recognizes that like the fastening on the back of a frame drum, it is the strength of her inner work, and its ability to hold steady, that enables her outer voice to be heard as a guide.

Mentoring is not the same as teaching.  There is a requirement of shared action on a parallel level, rather than someone who is giving to others who are receiving in an uneven dynamic.

This interlacement pattern of a double 7 is a good visual example.  Between the outer pattern of 7 and the ring is where the drummer puts her fingers, but what makes the star have good space is the inner pattern of 7. So both are different and yet each needs the other to do the work.

In a mentoring relationship that has a shamanic dimension, there is of course a third participant: the spirit world itself.  The wise, old Lady Nature who wraps around something fixed, which is our identity--with something stretchy, which is her reaching toward us in all her many guises.

A good spiritual mentor is like a shelter that allows our uncertainty, 
our halting gestures to the Mystery find the quiet to be visible. 

This shelter is just enough to keep the streamers of snow 
from making cold and inflexible
 our hopeful attempts at contact with the Divine, 
however we may understand this word.

But a shelter not so enveloping that we are prevented from seeing with our own eyes, 
and through our own experiences, 
how joy and pain can wound and heal us.  

Sunday, December 2, 2018

How to critique art: especially your own

Begin with these questions about the your inspirations and 
willingness to take risks:

Because art is a language of evolving new meanings from old ones—
individually as well as culturally:  
Am I repeating what has already been said?

Because we do not create information so much as it creates us:  
Am I dealing with more than what I know?

Because the first requirement of taking a risk is being willing to fail:  
Do I see what is before me—
not what I think I see or want to see?

Next ask these questions about your technique.

Because material is the work’s first identity and mastering technique 
protects the content, or meaning, of your work: 
Do I choose a material to match the form of my meaning?

Because the vocabulary of sight is composition, harmony, 
proportion, light, color, line, texture, mass, motion: 
Is my doing the work a conversation, or a monologue?

Because physical presence is a form of power: 
Does my body read my art as metaphoric space 
or actual space? 

Then, ask these questions about the consequences of  making art.

Because the viewer activates the thing perceived: 
Do I complicate the image and therefore slow the revelation?

Because all visual art is a form of abstraction and interpretation,
and is therefore political: 
Are my art choices describing a world that I, as the maker, promote?

Because you will not be available to explain 
or defend your work out in the world:  
Do I allow the work the succeed or fail on its own merits 
in the eyes of others?

The images illustrating these questions are oracle cards from my Journey Oracle deck.  Enjoy the story of how they were painted by reading about "the journey of the Oracle."