My Cherokee mentor used to say that bathing in salt water (the ocean but also in salt baths) would heal you, and she said this could even change your DNA–check out this HeartMath Institute article on that http://www.heartmath.org/templates/ihm/e-newsletter/publication/2011/summer/you-can-change-your-dna.php. If our intentions and our emotions and thoughts as well as our environment can change who we think and feel we are, as well as who we are to come to be, then meaningful healing rituals such as salt baths are a great idea. Not a new idea. Think of John the Mikveh Man (otherwise known as “John the Baptist”) and his practice of submerging people to renew them in spirit, and long before that the mayyim hayyim (healing waters) Fount of Miriam where the Israelites drank while in the desert. Siloham, a pool cut into rocks in the center of the City of David is another ancient healing source to ponder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pool_of_Siloam. There is Lourdes where young Bernadette tended sheep and said she saw and spoke with “The Lady” and many other places. And in Ireland, I visited “The Warty Well” where you take a copper penny (if I remember correctly) and with the water and penny, rub the wart to make it fall off. (It works by testimony of people I know very well!). And of course there is consecrated holy water in many religions, but you don’t to go to ancient sites or even to new places where holy water can be found because at home you can put a cup of salt water in a bath, or instead, a cup of apple cider vinegar in a very hot bath and this is also known to help clear out your sinuses (as you breathe the steam) and draw toxins from the skin and glands. If you know of any other bathing sites or tips for healing in water, please let us know!
Detail from Dreaming of Shin and Shekinah /Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
There is a moment in the Friday night Shabbat service when everyone turns to face the open doors, to welcome the Sabbath Bride. She is Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, feminine aspect of God. I was late getting to the temple a few weeks ago, and saw that everyone had already started as I walked down the corridor to the sanctuary. Just as I walked through the doors, it just so happened that this was the moment everyone turned to greet the Sabbath Bride. It was funny, and I laughed and so did a few others. But actually, it felt really cool to get to walk in with Shekinah that night! I am painting this (see above, a detail) meditation of the Hebrew letter shin and of the spirit of Shekinah, a presence unseen but felt.
From my dream journal sketchbook/ Elaine Claytoncopyright 2014
It is worth while to get into the habit of remaining in the hypnogogic state upon waking. This is when you are still completely relaxed, and may have visions or have realizations that emerge without any effort on your part. What dreaming offers has a way of continuing to offer even in waking moments, even beyond the hypnogogic state. Once you’re moving around with daily tasks, you can still slip into that relaxed and blissful state of receiving.
Detail from Plantagenet in Heaven copyright 2013 Elaine Clayton
He was with me, we were on a flying carpet, flying about 7th floor level through New York City, we could see into apartments, my dog and I. And one person, a young woman in her twenties, was delighted to see us as we flew on soft air currents by her window at eye level to her. Plantaganet was beside me, as he had been for so many years. Sometimes now I think I feel him beside me, in dreams and during moments when I least expect it.
If you’ve had a pet that is no longer on earth, have this pet appeared to you in dreams or visions or in other ways? I’d love to hear about hit. They all go straight up to heaven, we know it.
The Presence acrylic on canvas 8″x10″ Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
Do you see angels? They’re sometimes powerfully brilliant sparks and colors (blissful to behold!) and other times orbs of luminescent light, gliding softly, shimmering of love and calm (or are those orbs something other than angels, such as new souls or ?). I have seen some that move en masse (small) the way great flocks of birds do, in that mesmerizing swoosh, creating a changing shape as they fly together. I like to close my eyes and meditate, seeing what I see in the dark of my 3rd eye vision, until something happens. I’ll say out loud, “I’d like to see my guardian angel now.” Often a most glorious purple light comes into view, cloud-like and bright as ever. The reason I say they are angels is because there is a distinctive feeling of utter majesty and true bliss when seeing them. It’s the feeling that comes with the vision that counts. And the feeling is of deep love.
This is one of the 40 different Illuminara Intuitive Journal cards (you can get it if you like, available on Amazon). I painted it years ago during a session with a model in NYC. What comes to mind for you when you gaze at this image? I always feel a certain kind of determination, it faces the right (future for me). Yet, she looks as though she has knowledge of life’s sadness, too, and love’s travails. But what I think about it isn’t the point, it’s what you think or feel about it that matters.
Detail from Shabbat, Autumn Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
Even though it is about 5 degrees outside and frozen snow is stiff, like white styrofoam, covering every surface, the trees are singing to me. I am painting the colors of emotion and thought, the colors of memory and dreams. The gray bare limbs I see out the window become bright and vibrant in my studio, I am inspired. Winter whispers to me, snow falling or on the ground lulls me into another realm where anything good is possible.
Today I just realized that I think trees have Near Death Experiences. Or rather, they leave the earth in winter and go to heaven until spring, when they bring all the colors, magic, love and abundance from heaven back to us on earth. The only ones who do not do this are the everlasting evergreens who for some reason have volunteered to remain with us all throughout the winter, to nurture us and make the air smell so green and good. They’re noble for that, so I think I’ll go give one a sappy hug. You, too?
The unfinished galley of my new book due out in May, MAKING MARKS
Whenever I read Near Death Experiences, I think of what a powerful teacher a ”life review” is. Life reviews are common in many of NDEs. This is when you see your entire life as a movie, either every scene or very important ones, and you not only see yourself interacting with others, you feel everything the other people around you were feeling. People who experience this say that they re-emerge (after becoming conscious again) with so much more compassion and concern for others and it helps them love life more. Another thing I often read is that such NDE experiences make people want to live life to the fullest, appreciating each moment.
This new book of mine coming out in May is an expression of so much of what I love about life because the book’s truest message is about empathy for others and living life to the fullest —creative self-expression combined with empathy, for me, is the ultimate way to LOVE each moment of every day! We make our marks, we live and interact, and if we can create while we support and love others, what could be better? (I want to have a life-review, when I leave the earth, that I could feel good about, and all that matters is loving others and creating and generating good things, even if learning to be truly loving is not easy, I want to be better as each day goes by.)
My wish for the New Year is to develop more empathy and be more creative, knowing that the creative expression of others is a great gift to me and to celebrate that with every breath I take.