Saturday, December 26, 2020

Maintaining traditions in changing times

 How is making a new something a way of maintaining tradition? 

Click on this link to read about our winter solstice traditions, 

old and new, during this changing time. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Thinking about art is a teacher

 Every picture tells a story, and every picture is also a teacher.  

Click on this link to meet my most recent art teacher. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

What art is, and is not


Click on this link to read some
personal reflections about what art is,
and is not. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Make a Granddaughter drum


Sometimes we get to choose our family, 

and then honour our connection by making something special together. 

Click on this link to read about a little girl

and a little drum

that became a big story. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Bringing family together in a time of dissention

     Click on this link to share in a Journey Oracle reading asking advice
for bringing my family together after the US election.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Painting illustrations for a children's book


Click on this link to read about how I combined 

acrylic paint and chalk pastel 

to create the images for Mother's Reindeer's Journey to the Sun.

Friday, October 16, 2020

New children's book a tribute to mountain caribou

Calling all Grandparents, Moms, Dads and Kids.  

Here is a story about a special animal mom that can fly to the sun! 

Click on this link to learn more about of 
Mother Reindeer's adventures!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

A drum for Transformation


This new drum has wisdom for these times.

Read the story by clicking on this link to 

the Journey Oracle blog: Visit the Oracle.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A drum between the worlds


Click on this link to read a story about a drum 

that is not yet, but might yet be. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What matters most in art?


Here are some thoughts about art, reflections on What Matters Most, the theme of the 2020 Member's show at the Old School House Gallery on Cortes Island. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

How I paint a drum


Here is a story about how I paint a drum, and who I met while doing so. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Showing up to a shamanic experience

Here is a story about how sailing to Lund, BC became a metaphor for another kind of journey. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Shark teeth drum rattle

Click on this link for a story 
about how an old gift 
became a new voice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020

Creativity in a time of pandemic

Here are some thoughts on creativity
and on learning not to be perfect. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Letting nature take its course

Here is a recent blog from the Journey Oracle about learning to let nature take its course... while going to a picnic.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Helping our cat after surgery

Click on this link for a story about a untypical solution for an outdoor kitty recovering from surgery

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dream painting from the Journey Oracle

Enjoy this new post with images from the 12th painting in a series of 47,
 based on dream questions from the Journey Oracle divination cards

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A new post from the Journey Oracle. Finally!  
Go to my new site here to read about 
why I am asking Jupiter for a miracle. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Shamanic journey to Universal Consciousness

So we have some time on our hands, eh?  I love the notion of "time on my hands," as if it was a creature or being I am holding, carefully, lest it slip off like mist.

These two shell rattles made for a shamanic journey to the middle world are the result of  holding several years of time on my hands.  Only now has there been enough time to take the time to finish them.

A middle world journey is a trance journey into this earth reality, with the veils removed so the plants, birds, animals, stones and forces of nature bring answers to our questions.

Made of oyster shell, salmon skin, glass beads, freshwater snail and abalone shell strung on smoke-tanned leather, these rattles layer a complexity of sound for trance work.  You can hear them played, and listen to my way of creating a middle world journey, by clicking on this youtube link:

But wait.  What was that about journeying to Universal Consciousness?  Right now seems like a particularly potent time on the planet to understand these thoughts from Ayya Khema.  Within universal consciousness, everything that consciousness can produce exists.  If we--one, two, ten, or a hundred of us--have inner peace and are able to sustain it for some length of time and so change the quality of our own lives, then that enters into universal consciousness and will always be accessible, always available.  Also, what we produce in our own consciousness returns to us from universal consciousness, like an echo.  We can only latch onto what we have already produced within. There is no way in which universal consciousness will give us peacefulness, if we do not have the inner experience that can be touched.

Shamanic journey work teaches the skill of absorbed concentration.  When one is completely attentive--in the silence at the centre of a rattle journey--to the feel of spider feet walking up one's arm, the faint breath of wind, the warm and cool of dappled sun and shadow, one is necessarily in deep inner peace and calm.

This inner calm opens to the realization that we are not separate from each other.  We are all participating in consciousness, each in the unique ways of our particular forms.

Especially in this time of uncertainty, we realize there is no "me" and "other," there is only loving kindness and compassion for what we share. 

You can see more images of these rattles in my Etsy webstore .

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A free Divination Reading for uncertain times

We are all of us suddenly on a journey.  Loss of comfort, heightened awareness, and unexpected discoveries characterize a journey.  We are seeing paths everywhere, made of choices and actions that are tangled by hope and fear.

Why consult an Oracle during uncertain times?  Isn't this just fakery woo woo?  Maybe, but then again, maybe not.  The Journey Oracle guides by showing traces of choices and possibilities that cross and parallel the ones we are presently seeing.  It causes sudden shifts of perspective through symbol, metaphor and poem.  This happens not by providing answers or offering advice, but by prompting revelation.

I just had this experience while reading Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  When describing his black experience, he references Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address.  He says that the issue is not "government of the people, for the people, and by the people," but rather, who defines "the people."  Not people of colour, and not Indigenous people, and not people of my gender until maybe recently.  I never even noticed the assumption inside that famous statement.  This is the kind of revelation I mean when I say an Oracle prompts revelation.  All of a sudden we see differently, and we find we have changed a view, a behavior, a circumstance.

Here is a Journey Oracle reading I did for guidance in these times of tangled hope and fear.   The Oracle pronouncements are given in full in hopes that these Oracle cards will also speak to you.  Insights from my own reading are in blue text.  I share these to show what jumps out for me, not to influence your inner wisdom.

An Oracle translates a problem or question into a language of image and symbol like that of dreams.  It changes the way you experience a situation to connect you with the inner forces that are shaping it.  An Oracle dialogues with your imagination—the creative basis of experience we call the unconscious. 
This is a picture of

Describe your first impressions of this image using simple phrases.  Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  When you feel inner quiet, go to the Oracle’s identity.

This strongest of creatures, a metaphor for humans, is helpless, upside down, caught by something. 

Identity of Oracle: Duir (Oak) Qualities of this Oracle: durability, memory, protection, inspiration
Time of year associated with this Oracle: June 10 - July 7
Why this is the Oracle of your situation?

Message from the Oracle about your situation: no feminine bones in the body
Why are you receiving this message? 

"Feminine bones" might be an antidote to grasping, to aggression, to delusion about our human strength


An Oracle reveals the forces that are moving beneath your situation.  These sentences are not statements of logic or reason.  Write brief first impressions next to the statement. If a statement draws a blank from your unconscious, move on to the next sentence.


This situation began by looking for the source.

The prevailing energy of this situation is gathering clouds.

The core energy pattern of this situation is a holed stone.

The Mother of this situation is growing out.

The Father of this situation is growing tendrils.


Your relationship to the prevailing energy is like a bright eye.

Your perception of the situation is luminous.

The impact of your perception is glowing.

The connection between the core energy pattern and the situation
 is felt as a soft touch.

The momentum of this situation is fed by looking beyond to deep truth.

  This is a picture of

Describe your first impressions of this image using simple phrases.  Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  When you feel inner quiet, go to the Oracle’s identity.

 Even though the little deer seems sliding downward, it appears alert rather than panicked.

Identity of Oracle: Fearn (Alder)  Qualities of this Oracle: prophecy, clear-sightedness
Time of year associated with this Oracle  March 18 - April 14
Why this is the Oracle of your experience?

Question from the Oracle your experience:  Do you have first aid?
Why are you receiving this question?

I love this question. It seems to suggest stay calm, pay attention, do only what is required in each moment. 


Why is this the name of your experience?


a difficult day, taking care of the child
accidents from inattention

fragile energy in being sweet

 Which of the above phrases are you experiencing most directly right now?

 Which phrases are you trying to avoid experiencing?

 Which phrases are you seeking to experience?

 If these phrases and spaces are a map of your experience--where are you on the map?


An exterior or support system for the situation is tenacity.

What is the meaning of this for your situation?

The Journey Oracle’s answers change the way you see things. Your anxieties, fears and desires emerge to be recognized and resolved, and hidden transformative energies are released.

This is a picture of

Describe your first impressions of this image using simple phrases.  Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  When you feel inner quiet, go to the Oracle’s identity.

This image is not clear.  Maybe two faces touching.  Perhaps about helping rather than harming.  

Identity of Oracle: North
Qualities of this Oracle: the Earth of physicality, solidity, stability, form  
Time of year associated with this Oracle:  all time
Why this is the Oracle of change?

 Message from the Oracle about change:  the message will be revealed
Why are you receiving this message?


These statements bring an in-depth recognition of the change you feel coming.  This change is an expression of the healing that is asking to happen. Write brief first impressions next to each statement.  If a statement draws a blank from your unconscious, move on to the next sentence.  


The power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of community. Very profound for me!

Change will come by chanting the seeds.

Your relationship to the change in this situation is like a sparkle.

The moment of letting go into the change will be a heightened smell.

The concern to be avoided within this change will taste exotic.

The wisdom of taking too long will empower the transformation.

Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of mothering.  

A beautiful thought for everyone and for the Earth. 


Where will you dispose of the rest, after you've used it?



This is a picture of

Describe your first impressions of this image using simple phrases.  Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  When you feel inner quiet, go to the Oracle’s identity.

The woman is paying attention to the black bug with hooks, maybe not seeing the growing seed.  

 Identity of Oracle: South Qualities of this Oracle: the Fire of will, desire, intuition, action, courage  Time of year associated with this Oracle: all time
Why this is the Oracle of your resolution?

Question from the Oracle about your resolution:  Are you the one willing to undo it?
Why are you receiving this question?

Undo the freak out.  Just take care of each other with compassion and equanimity.


The dense weave of meaning in a fairy tale provides insight into the hidden forces behind your situation, and points to the resolution sought by your unconscious wisdom.  In this fairy tale, your unconscious wisdom knows the names of all the characters, all the connections to your situation, and what is the happy ending. 

A man accepted a position at a school that was famous for its intensity. Although people on the outside envied him his work, from the inside he felt a loss of freedom. One day after a harsh exchange with his co-workers he was walking along the street—feeling unworthy—when a small stone caught his attention. It was obviously natural and yet shaped in a triangle, with smooth edges and regularly even sides. When he picked it up he heard inside his head, “remember who you are.” He did remember and so he left his job and moved far away. He kept the little stone always with him, hidden from view in a braided grass basket.
Then the man met a woman who had great oracular auricular power. The man spent time learning from the woman who one day said they should exchange significant objects so each would have a part of the other to care for. Although the man heard murmurs of trespass inside his head he felt himself giving in, and gave her the little stone.
Years went by and the man never forgot the stone who had helped him remember who he was. Finally he decided to return the woman’s object to her, and ask in exchange for the little stone. “Oh no,” she replied, I just gave that stone away yesterday to another woman who seemed in need of it.” The man was bereft. How could he have waited so long to only just miss his treasure.
The man wanted the new person to know of his request and so the woman gave the man the new address. The man sent his story, but then months went by and the man gave in to sorrow. Like family memories of past times that shift with the telling, he believed the story that he was unworthy to have the stone, and that now it was lost to him forever.

And then one day a package arrived. It contained the little stone in its braided grass basket, and a note that said, “Do you remember who this is?”

Monday, March 9, 2020

Little rituals for a baby deer

We love these animals so much, and some of these pictures might be unsettling, so please proceed after asking your intuition if this is suitable for you.   A friend called to say a baby deer was found dead in an old barn--would I be able to use it, perhaps for a drum skin?

When I first come upon a dead animal I make a small, significant ceremony that I can tell you about but cannot photograph.  I understand that whenever and animal or bird dies, its last wish is for a drink of water.  So I offer the baby deer a drink of water, slowly poured along the edges of its still mouth. I then sprinkle some tobacco on its ears, eyes, nose and mouth, so the Plant Chief of this place will ease any last painful or frightening sound, sight, smell or taste.   If I photograph this I am holding onto a part of that gift for myself, when it belongs entirely to the baby deer, so I never take pictures of rituals of respect.

I next pull the deer up by its hind legs into the supports of the carport and begin to "knuckle" off the hide, alternating  my pulling of the skin with drawing a sharp knife carefully between the skin and the muscle along a layer of fine membrane.

I keep working the hide down until cutting around the forelegs and neck are the final steps.

This little deer may have been ill, or malnourished, as its coat is only healthy looking only along the spine, and dry, short and rough to the touch on the sides.

The resulting membrane looks thinner than tissue paper and will be almost transparent when made into a small frame drum.  I imagine the voice will be as multi-layered as the colours and patterns that shine and weave though the surface.

I think the final ritual for the dead baby deer is as significant as the gifts of water and tobacco. But this time it is the wild creatures of nature that will receive the feast.

And this part of what I do needs a helper.  Plus a boat is good to move the deer"s body far away from people's homes so wild animals are not attracted into a unsafe situation. 

The baby deer is laid with prayers of gratitude in the warm sun on a beautiful rocky island.   Raven and several eagles are already turning their attention to us from trees along the jagged shore of Cortes Island.  Their many visits to the deer will help them recover from winter's challenge, so they become strong for the mating and nesting season ahead.

I feel sad that the little deer did not know springtime abundance--after the cold rain of winter--in this beautiful place, but I also know that everything lives because something dies.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Big Magic makes a birthday present

Big Magic has changed my view of the art muse. I recently finished this book by Elizabeth Gilbert, just before my chosen granddaughter's 3rd birthday.  Her mom mentioned that Zyla wanted “animals and their houses.” What to do with that?
Gilbert writes about how ideas are alive, and go about searching for a collaborator to give them an eloquent voice and thumbs through human expression.  I certainly know this experience from the 16 years it took me to create the Journey Oracle Divination cards--so now this baby idea and I are sitting around, wondering what to do with each other, when the art muse shows up. I see her as quite Victorian in manner, mine anyway: stern, excessively disciplined,  given to small expressions of impatience at frivolity. Not someone who would win a smile from a 3 year old, but still, a present needs to come. 
I decide to “follow from in front,” and wait for a clear inspiration to guide each step.  Zyla loves my chalk pastels. Her mom said, “5 minutes and a crayon would make her happy.” 
So paper and chalk.  I find a package of folded note cards, missing their envelopes, in a box while looking for something else. Humm. What about a drawing of an animal house on the front, and an animal in the house on the inside? Each one a different version of “Who lives here?” Wait.  Each one a different version? Two drawings per card? What happened to 5 minutes and a crayon? Oh well. When the art switch flips, I am a moth drawn to the shine.  
What about cutting out photos of the animals but painting the houses. Might satisfy the muse without my falling down the time investment rabbit hole. 
My partner John walks by and wonders why I am making paper toilet seats.  Really.  A quite astonishing mess ensues. Big magic has caused my own 3 year old to appear. 
After every object, including the floor, has a requisite layer of chalk dust, 5 creatures and 2 birds are laminated into 7 environments.  Here are some small big magic moments met during the progress. 
In a small area, simple has more drama.
Emphasize the unexpected and uncontrolled,
rather than try and hide the bumps.
In art, and perhaps life, attitude is everything. 
So what does a 3 year old's paper birthday present have to teach about big magic and inspiration from the art muse? Art is art, no matter where one finds it. The creative gesture deserves respect, regardless of its intended purpose.
Certainly Gilbert says it best with regards to the forces of creativity: ...this is how I want to spend my life--collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand. Sort of like receiving a present from someone you don't know well, but certainly would like to know better.