Sunday, March 27, 2011

Call on Owl

This weekend Paul and I attended the Carolina Raptor Center's PhotoWild event. I've never been so close to these beautiful creatures with my camera before and I so enjoyed photographing them.

I was drawn to the owls with their soulful eyes and beautiful feathers, each one with a distinct personality. That shouldn't have surprised me since owls seem to turn up regularly in my life, and have recently been showing up on my SoulCollage cards too.

Getting close to these feathered creatures made me even more appreciative of the amazing details in each of these creatures. Each one is so unique and so perfect - much like we might think of ourselves in a world without advertising and comparisons.

We were also lucky enough to see Peregrine Falcons, a Red-tailed hawk,  a Bald Eagle, a Cooper's Hawk and Mississippi Kites and more.

But it was the owls that spoke to me.

The owls you can see here are (from top to bottom):
Barred Owl
Great horned Owl
Barred Owl
British Barn Owl

According to the book Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer if Owl shows up in your life:Meditate in silence and in darkness for a few minutes each evening for the next few days and see what is revealed to you.

This is a particularly ripe period to tap into the fount of intuitive wisdom that's available to you.

Quietly observe your environment, watching and listening for signs and omens that will give you answers to any questions you may have.

Your most creative cycle now is the night, so set aside time in the evening to work on any projects.

And the book suggests that you call on Owl when:

You're facing a difficult decision, one that has considerable consequences, and you want to make the decision that will reap the best benefits for all concerned.

You've undertaken a new and challenging course of study and want to increase your confidence in your ability to learn this new material.

You want to uncover the hidden qualities, talents, and aspects in yourself and bring them into the light.

So if you need Owl in your life gaze at these photographs and see what owl has to tell you ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Collaborative Color Journals

My daughter keeps asking me to post some of the art work I have been doing and today I finished binding the yellow collaborative journals my yahoo group has been working on and thought it would be fun to show them.  There are nine of us in the group and over the past eighteen months we have created red, orange, blue, purple, green and now yellow journals.  Working with one color palette is quite a challenge.  Often one has to think about texture as a way to keep the color interesting.  I constructed the yellow books as accordion style books, sewing the different pages together with old grapefruit bag sacking as the connector fabric.  As the hostess of this group I have so enjoyed the challenge of thinking of different ways to bind the pages in the books.  Each book is a little different in the way it is put together, and I tried where possible to recycle.  For example, my yellow bird page is created on an old photograph left over from my sports photography business which I soaked in water,then dried and sanded and finally painted.  On top of that is the outside of a teabag.  Interesting what you can find around your house to use in your art!  And then of course, I couldn't resist putting yellow caution tape around the finished books!

Thanks to a wonderful group of collaborative artists for making these color journals possible: Michele Unger, Dawn Shepherd, Karen Dorcas, Mary Mouat, Janice Woodland, Kristy Duncan Johnson, Sheila Scott and Nadine Wong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Walking the Chartres Labyrinth

 This past Friday, March 11th, I fulfilled one of my life dreams by walking the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, France.  Even though I have my own labyrinth I have always wanted to walk the original labyrinth in Chartres which was built in 1200 and has been walked by thousands of pilgrims over the years.  On my first visit to Chartres  in 2002 I was very disappointed to find that the labyrinth was covered with chairs and could not be walked.  One can never be sure that the labyrinth will be open for walking, but my research had indicated that the labyrinth would be open on Fridays from Lent until September.  Lent started on the 9th March and so the day I walked was the first day this year that the labyrinth was open to the public.  Perfect timing!

At times the labyrinth was full of people, and at times it was completely empty.  I decided to take my shoes off and walk in my socks as I love walking barefoot on my labyrinth.  I did this for my first walk, but stopped walking before I reached the center as a large noisy group of schoolchildren arrived and started rushing through the labyrinth.  I almost wanted to stop them and explain to them that they would get more out of their walk if they slowed down a little, but I kept quiet! It was probably a good thing in retrospect as the floor was really cold and my socks got very dirty.  Needless to say on my second walk I kept my shoes on.

The instructions in the Cathedral on how to walk the labyrinth say:

Walk the path with your whole being.

This really touched me as it is how I believe we should live our lives: with our whole being.  Later, when I walked there were only a few people on the labyrinth, but I ended the walk alone on the labyrinth.  I had wanted the labyrinth all to myself (that is how I am used to walking it), but it felt right that I was walking with others for that is what makes the journey of life meaningful.  And when I completed my walk I noticed that I was the last one out of the labyrinth, although I hadn't been the first one in, and that felt just right too.

We were also able to take a tour of the Cathedral with Malcolm Miller.   Mr. Miller is an historian who has been studying Chartres Cathedral and leading tours there for the past 53 years.  He moved to Chartres when he was 24 (he is now 77) and says he is still learning about the cathedral.  I so admire people who can take their passion and create a living from doing what they love.  Everyone should be able to do this.

The Cathedral is being renovated at present and so there is scaffolding on the outside and at the front of the Cathedral.  The renovations will take a couple of years, but will make a huge difference.

The Cathedral is truly beautiful and one can spend a whole day there looking at the windows and the statues, both inside and outside.

Amy and I ended the afternoon at La Chocolaterie where I had hot chocolate and a chocolate crepe (you can't have too much chocolate), and Amy had cafe (French coffee which is like expresso) and a raspberry crepe.

Perfect end to a perfect day.