New painting – Sun Panther

Watercolor painting "Sun Panther" All life is energy. We are one with universal energy. The spinning of the Earth, the turning and burning of the Sun, the wind in the trees, the slinking panther in the grass, and the grass, how it grows…All one. Breathe, and become transparent to it, for you, too, encompass it all…

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Animal totem art reading: Fox and Spider

This is another art reading I did for a fellow writer. Interpretation below (edited to protect her privacy)!

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This is another art reading I did for a fellow writer. Interpretation below (edited to protect her privacy)!

Fox totem animal reading

This little fellow took a LONG time to decide to show himself. Foxes are considered tricksters in many traditions, but I think that comes from their intelligence and ability to disappear into their environment in the blink of an eye. Not being noticed can sometimes be an advantage, and foxes are able to choose to be highly visible or invisible as the occasion calls for. In your own life, you can use this to your advantage as well. Sometimes it pays to watch from the shadows, or “shapeshift” – blending into your surroundings or into whatever society you are in at the time.

Fox  & Spider animal totem reading
This is the drawing I did during the original reading.

This fox is at home in its den. Home is very important to foxes. Once they leave the nest, young foxes will wander – sometimes for hundreds of miles – until they find a territory of their own. Then they stay in that home range for the rest of their lives, raising their young underground in dens. It may be important for you to make your home a place of refuge, and be sure you are allowing yourself time and space to relax there.

Finally, foxes are more or less nocturnal. As a creature of the night they are associated in many traditions with feminine energy. Don’t doubt your creative power and ability – nurture and protect your creative impulses until they’re ready to bring out into the world.

Like I said, it took a very long time for this fox to decide it was safe show up here. If you are dealing with trust issues at all (whether your own or someone else’s), you may need to cultivate patience and quietude. Practices that help you do this, such as meditation, yoga, or just walking in nature, can help.

There are a couple of other animal totems in this image. The deer showed up in the beginning, and stuck around long enough for me to include her shadow on the rock wall, but then took off again. Deer have some of the same ability to quietly disappear and camouflage themselves as foxes, so I think her presence may just underscore this quality.

The spider hung out long enough to be significant (although I kept feeling that there was something more, and eventually the fox showed up). A lot of people are afraid of spiders, but I don’t get a negative feeling from this one. The spider’s web is both exquisitely beautiful and practical. I think it’s a reminder of your constructive power to support yourself and weave beauty into your life in the process.

One final note – foxes are the most feline of the dog family. If you have a dog or a cat at home, watch them and learn from them – they will teach you important lessons about how to live your life!

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The Songbird’s Message

I was dabbling about in the kitchen tonight, when I suddenly thought of a friend. The word “sing” came to me, as it did when we first met two weeks ago. Then, a few moments later, the impression of a song bird.

Nightingale singing
“Nightingale,” watercolor on paper. Collection Anne Michelsen.  

It reminded me of this lovely poem by Victor Hugo:

Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her — and sings — knowing she hath wings.

​I got the feeling that the ‘singing’ is metaphorical – whatever makes your heart sing, do it and don’t hold back, even if it seems foolish or impossible. (Although if you want to sing while doing it, so much the better!)

This time of year some of the birds are already starting to stake out their territories in the woods – and singing to attract a mate.

If this resonates with you at any level, think about what you would like to manifest in your life…

…and sing your heart out. If your wings aren’t fully developed yet, your song will help them grow!

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Power symbol art reading: Blackbirds and Tree

Here is another totem animal/power symbol reading. This one is for the child of a gifted empathic healer. The feeling I got from the reading is that the child is probably gifted in this area as well.

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Here is another totem animal/power symbol reading. This one is for the child of a gifted empathic healer. The feeling I got from the reading is that the child is probably gifted in this area as well. (The young woman in the painting is not a physical portrait of the child. I think it represents her soul or some aspect of her spirit.)

The reading below is edited slightly to protect the privacy of the people involved.

7 blackbirds power symbol art reading“The impression I get is of someone who is extremely sensitive, and who has a special need to connect with the natural world.

“I’m feeling that music is very important, and sound in general. Natural sounds would be good for her, like birdsong and the breeze in the treetops and the sound of water. One of those little indoor waterfalls might be something she would find delightful and relaxing. However if she was told it was there because it was good for her she would probably not like it so much.

Power symbol drawing: blackbirds, tree and nature spirit
This is the original drawing. I added a few elements to the final painting based on some of the impressions I got, which didn’t come through until a bit later.

“There are seven birds. Birds are often associated with spirit. I get the feeling the number of birds here is important. Seven is a number associated with spiritual awareness, introversion, an analytical mind, non-conformity, and natural healing.

“It feels like she’s very thirsty for the presence of nature. It might be good to take her to (a nearby botanical garden) some weekend. But don’t force it on her, and if you do, take her just one on one, don’t try to turn it into an educational field trip, just focus entirely on her and her relationship with the environment, and let her just experience it. And if she resists it, just let it go and do something else with her.
“Listening is important. She needs time and space to listen, and be listened to. I think she has need for un-structured time in her life.

“Oh, one more thing: something about hands, and smooth pebbles, and maybe water and soil. She might enjoy gardening or flower arranging. She needs to experience nature at the physical, tactile level.”

(The child’s mother told me later that the number seven is highly significant in their religious tradition (Orthodox Judaism.) It is associated with the Sabbath, amongst other things. The Sabbath being a day of rest devoted to Spirit, I believe this does relate very much to the message.)

Additional notes: Blackbirds are often associated with the creative forces of nature, mysticism and spirituality. They are also quite territorial during their breeding season, so it may be important for this individual (or her parents while she is still young) to set boundaries protecting her need for space, in order for her to fulfill her creative potential.

Spirals appear in this painting as well. Spiral imagery is symbolic of creative growth and expanding spiritual consciousness.

The tree in the painting is a young sapling, and the energy of the piece is that of Springtime – reflections of this child’s stage of life.

Most of the readings I do come through as animal symbols. Every once in a while human imagery comes in. This happens especially when I am doing a general reading (for the planet and/or humanity.) Are they nature spirits? Angels? Do they just signify higher consciousness? I’m not sure at this point. If you have any insight into this please comment!

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Animal guides – spirit and otherwise

Me and my dog Jasmine
Me and my dog Jasmine. This was taken last summer at Seney Wildlife Refuge up in Michigan's U.P.

In my life, animals figure most often as spirit guides.  They come to me in dreams, as premonitions, and of course through my art.  They help me decipher the mystery of my own psyche and guide me through the swamps and deserts of life’s journey.

But it’s pretty hard to relate this way to spirit animals without inviting flesh-and-blood ones into one’s life.  Right now the Michelsen roof shelters two goldfish, a couple of hooded rats and two rescued dogs, 15-year-old Pavlov and a goofy Lab-Boxer mix named Jasmine (a.k.a. The Lummox.)

This morning Jasmine proved to me that spirit animals aren’t the only ones who can guide us to what we need.

I realized the other day that it’s coming up on three years since we moved into our house and I still don’t have a full-length mirror.  Which doesn’t bother my husband but darn it, it’s just not right for me! (Or my daughter Clara, who at age 11 is intent on developing her own personal  style. )

(As a side note, I wonder if the mirror thing has any significance: I read somewhere that men tend to look at themselves from the face up, while women favor the full-length view.  How does it affect people spiritually to consistently  see only fractured images of themselves?)

Anyway, darn it, I need a long mirror!

Well, this morning my dogs and I were returning from our morning walk when rather than accompany me on a loose lead round the last corner home, Jasmine suddenly pulled to the right.  I don’t usually let the dogs drive, but this time I thought, “what the heck” and went her way to make an extra swing around the block the long way.

Well, we’d only gone a few paces when I looked down and saw it- a perfectly good full-length mirror someone had left out with the trash.

Good dog!

The mirror had a broken frame but was otherwise in perfect condition.  And I think I know a gal who can figure out how to install a frame…

Landscape painting from Seney Wildlife Refuge
No critters in this little plein aire of the Seney Refuge - but Jazz Dog helped me paint it!

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