While away on retreat this year I have been doing a lot of inner journeying drumming with my new Drum that I got just before coming away, and path working in the quiet moments, with the Shining Paths by Dolores Ashcroft Norwicki. When I first arrived a couple of weeks ago, during the first drum journey I saw very clearly the face of a Lion. And subsequent journeys have allowed this guardian to emerge and come closer as the sun enters the constellation of Leo. The Initiate’s `Way Arcana and path working associated with this time of year in the Tarot is that of Strength and finding inner strength. To discover ones own latent talents and gifts and shine like the star you have always meant to be, but perhaps didn’t have the courage to do so until now… for whatever reason.
The image for strength in the Initiate’s Way Tarot has a half face of a lion / lioness and half a face of the goddess which I painted while sitting in the space from which I am writing this now.
The month of August for the last nine years has consisted of lazy afternoons in the sun, walks in the ancient woodland and night time stargazing and aligning with nature. Coming back into alignment with the elements and returning to enter the gate of the underworld to explore that which lies within.
To me the underworld is nothing sinister. Quite the opposite in fact. Entering the underworld is to discover the magic and beauty of the hidden realms that lie within the earth, and within each of us. I have been thinking a lot about how this year has panned out. Since late April the boys have been with me and we have had an amazing journey together of learning how to balance work, rest and play. They never cease to amaze me with their resilience and especially in these strange times. They have taken it all in their stride and like the rest of us are looking forward to some semblance of normality returning in the fall.
I don’t want to dwell too much on the events of the last three months as I’m painfully aware that it has been difficult for everyone, but I would like to say a hail and farewell to those who have passed during this time, wishing them well on their journey to the otherworld, with love and blessings and I hope that they are finding their way through to their next plane of evolvement, wherever that may be. Death is a part of life that we all must accept at different times in our lives, and has affected most of us in one way or another during this crisis. An end is a beginning and a beginning is an end, of which death itself is the great awakener.
That said I have been spending some time in meditation over death as a spiritual journey or transition. Not necessarily from this life and physical realm to elsewhere, but that of a death of a way of being to make way for new ways to be. A breaking down of the old to way make for the new. 2012 was supposed to be the big game changer of the old being destroyed to make way for the new, but over this last year it seems during 2020 this has played out on a global scale. So how do we emerge from this? What have we learned from this experience. Community, certainly has been one of the most important things to come out of this. Neighbourhood communities coming together and looking out for each other. Care and concern for the vulnerable.
On our arrival on the first evening, when we had just about unpacked the car and the boys were safely tucked up in bed, I went to survey the sunset and was graced with the presence of two young deer running across the field. When I got my first drum a few years ago and I was painting it with my totem animals, one of the first animal spirits to make themselves known to me in the inner realm was that of a young fawn. That spirit has always led me within to the place where I found my inner teacher. Deer Medicine has been instrumental in the healing process for me over the last few years, and I was so happy to see these two young deer dancing across the field in their natural environment.
I painted the Deer above image using a photo that appeared on my newsfeed on facebook, to get the characteristics of the deer in proportion and the background colours were ‘felt’ rather than copied, using the wrong end of the brush to get some of the strokes of grass into the image for some texture. Art has always been for me a way of documenting experiences as well as committing stages of my life to a canvas, capturing memories and feelings in the colour. The inner becoming the outer and expression of what goes in in the internal world. If I am not painting… then I know something is not right.