Sojourner’s Garden

prayerletter2In this sketchbook entry from 2004, when we lived out in the country in a pre-revolutionary war house, I dreamed the most wondrous dream.  I was of black skin, and was wandering around in what felt like a revolutionary war-era town. I was on the outskirts of the town. There were people who welcomed me into a garden where they were working. I was aware that this was not a realm visible to others, it was as if this little town had another town existing within it, one that was invisible to everyone, everyone but me it seemed.  The people who were invisible showed me what they were doing. They were growing food. I saw rows and rows of things like sprouts and lettuce, carrots and tomatoes, potatoes and onion. I saw pumpkins, too, growing along the old stone wall, but they had old glass windows tipped over them at an angle, leaning against the wall, so the pumpkins would benefit as though in a greenhouse.  The sun was magnified on them as they grew under the glass windows.  Then I turned looking up toward the hill. I saw Sojourner Truth, the woman who was born a slave and became an abolitionist and spoke out for women’s rights.  She was bathed in sunlight. She was singing a song. I stopped and asked one of the women who was gardening, “Where am I? What is the name of this town?” and she looked up at Sojourner, smiling and said, “Ointz, 2004.”  I have no idea what “ointz” means, but when I woke up I stayed true to what I heard in the dream and just recorded it as I had heard it.  To me, it sounds like a language from another world, a lilliputian kind of world!  After that dream, I always looked longingly at the old stone wall running down the side of our property. I felt that Ointz existed right there, but I couldn’t see it. I grew pumpkins and we started a small vegetable garden after I had that dream.  This work is a tribute to Sojourner Truth and “Ointz, 2004”.

“It’s for you!”

prayerletter1I like to watch for signs and see what “messages” I get in the day. For me it’s a playful way of learning to truly pay attention, to follow both my instincts and my intuition.  I hope for nature and anything and everything around me to add to my sense of insight or “quiet knowing”. Iam happier if I play with this in every way.  After having my tea or coffee, I look at the bottom of the cup to see what images are there (these can be very detailed visual treats!).  I try to pay attention to synchronistic detail in small matters throughout the day. It makes doing anything way more fun for me.  It means that I’m tuned in to the way things feel more than having to always use logic.(I’m not saying I intentionally throw logic out the window, it just means I am trying to allow my feelings to tune me in).  It means there is an immediate cognition which seems to deliver worthy intelligence. It’s like when the phone rings and moments before you knew who was going to call you, or you were thinking of someone and then the phone rings and it’s them. Or what about when you go somewhere and your stomach tells you (by the way it feels) that this is a place you don’t want to be, so you either listen to your stomach while it gives you the feeling you should go, or you ignore it and probably dislike where you’re spending your time and energy. This painting was done with these things on my mind, that moment when you say to yourself, “Why didn’t I listen to myself?” because you KNEW something would happen, or had a hunch something would turn out the way it eventually did, but ignored it because it wasn’t “logical” to have thought that way.


boywithsword“Archetypes are ancient, universal patterns of behavior that are embedded in what Carl Jung called our ‘collective unconscious'”.  This quote is from Caroline Myss (  We have several archetypes within, attributes and symbols we identify with from a very early age.  Learning which archetypes drive our emotions and actions is a wonderfully exciting adventure of self discovery. Princess, Hero, Temptress, Outcast, Magician, Clown, Hermit, etc. etc. The light and shadow attributes of each archetype we have within will have an impact on how we relate to ourselves and others.  This sketch is of my younger son when he was about 3.  He has the Warrior or Knight archetype activated here, at play.

A Proper Burial

jackie_0005As a kid, at my grandmother’s place in Kansas City, I remember seeing the cover of a tabloid with the most strange photograph on the front.  It looked like a bewitched pirate, a beautiful, mysterious expression on her face.  It was Jackie Kennedy and she was from that moment on my favorite subject to draw.  I’d draw that face over and over–it was a captivating face because it was symmetrical and there was a serene expression, a sphinx like inscrutable quality.  This curiosity of mine grew into a great spring board for learning about politics during the Kennedy era. I liked reading about that family.  They were a large Catholic family, as was my own immediate family. The life of Rose and Joseph and their children Joe Jr., John F., Rosemary, Kathleen, Patricia, Eunice, Bobby, Jean and Teddy (did I leave anyone out?) was fascinating.  The tension in the story was compelling–theirs was a wondrous 20th Century tale of the triumphant rise of the family through discrimination against the Irish in very Brahmin Boston.  Even a descendant of one of the original Boston Brahmins like me had to fall in love with their story. Even though my brothers and sisters were all raised Catholic (in a large family not so different maybe from the Kennedys in some ways I imagined) my mother is descended from the very Puritan, first appointed (and later elected) governor of Mass. Bay Colony, Governor John Endecott.  He is my ten-times-going-back g-grandfather.  And a year and a half ago when some distant cousins wanted corrections made on the burial site of Gov. Endecott at the Granery Burial Ground in Boston, I volunteered to write a letter to Senator Edward Kennedy. Not that he didn’t have other pressing matters to attend to in Massachusetts, but it was fun to have an excuse to write to him.  As I sat down to write the letter, I became overwhelmed with a feeling of sentimental appreciation for the senator.  It was 2008 and the end of the era of the Kennedys, or at least of that original clan of the 20th Century, they’d all gone but a few and their time was truly closing. Images of Teddy as a boy, the youngest one in the family, floated through my mind in slow motion. The rest of his life and what I knew about it from all those books I read, slowly streamed by in my mind, too. I wondered what it would feel like to be born youngest of all in this dynastic family, a family with a major mission to change America and put each one of it’s male members in charge of the nation in one way or another.  And Teddy had seen it all happen, and as the youngest, had been left holding the bag. He was shoved into his career by a domineering but loving and nurturing father, and had no choice but to serve, and though he got to live when his brothers had died, I felt at that moment that it is much harder to be the one still living after Camelot waned.  It would be great to live in Camelot in it’s zenith as John and Bobby had, but how ’bout after it had all broken up?  Not easy at all, I felt. Yet, in exchange for what Teddy endured, and for the sacrifice of being born into his role, he was given a lot of support in the way of inheritance and handlers.  I reflected on the reasons many came to disrespect him, things he had done and choices he made which had horrible consequences.  I felt that I was considering a man who had perhaps served the country first as his duty from birth and later as his penance.  He was born to serve and through his life, through mistakes made and through losses, he served consistently and honorably. He might have just lived without doing anything but be rich and idle.  Be he served the nation.  And as I sat to write the letter, I felt it was time to appreciate how well he handled his role in this family legacy, and I tried to draw his portrait in the letter I was writing. I only managed a so-so little ink drawing beside a little ink drawing of Gov. Endecott, with a bubble caption asking for help with the Founding Father’s burial site.  Also, I wrote that he had done a remarkable thing to be the last man standing in that family, and had shouldered the legacy for the nation. A few nights after I mailed the letter, I dreamed of meeting Ted Kennedy.  He saw me and I saw him (I had seen him in real life once in Cape Cod, walking on the pier after docking his beloved boat). In the dream we said hello as old friends might, with an embrace. I had read that he was kind like that, and friendly like that to people.  As we briefly embraced, I felt a thin tube coming down his spine. I pulled away and knew something was very wrong with him. When I woke up, I assumed I dreamed of the tube going down his spine because he had always had back trouble. I told myself that the tube, which was like a thin hospital tube with a fluid running through it, probably signified what I consciously already knew from all the books I read; that there was the sense there had always been a wound or “something wrong” with Teddy in a way, suffering the assassinations of his brothers and then with what happened at Chappaquiddick. A month after the dream, though, I was at the airport and saw on the television a CNN news alert. Senator Kennedy had had a seizure. I was awash in a feeling that, even though it had only been a dream, it surely seemed like a psychic dream I had had about Teddy with a hospital tube. A bit later everyone knew he had a brain tumor. For me, I felt I had said my goodbyes already, and had sent my letter of appreciation for a life woven into the story of America.  I doubted he personally ever saw it, though.  In the month after I sent my letter, and before the report of his illness, I did get a remarkably positive and helpful letter from Senator Kennedy promising to help my cousins get Gov. John Endecott’s burial site properly marked. And even though I know it’s only an auto-signature and not written by hand, I know it comes from the office he held, and from his staff who he expected to take seriously all the concerns of his constituents. And I respect that.

Big Dummies, Funny Winks

Body Opponent_0001Last spring, my younger son wanted a body opponent (a big rubber dummy) for his birthday.  At his karate dojo, they have these and use them for martial arts training. After talking it over, in spite of my son’s heartfelt wish, and his begging and pleading to receive one of these for his birthday, we decided it was better if he used those at the dojo but had a less human looking Everlast punching bag at home (the thought of having my son punch and kick a rubber boy/man was not my idea of how to encourage non-violence in the house!). So, his dream of having a body opponent was denied. Yesterday I went to his room to open his curtains, and what did I see out his bedroom window?  A big dummy!  There it was, in the next door neighbor’s garden/yard.  I called my son in quickly to see this unexpected bountiful vision of rubber stealth right outside his very own window.  We were amazed!  I told him he must have a guardian angel who wanted to send him a message about wishes.  It was like a wink from heaven. Later I met the new neighbors and asked them about their big dummy guy there in the yard.  I told them it was my son’s ardent wish to have one those for his birthday last year.  They kindly promised to include my son in martial arts practice with their body opponent right away.  I walked away smiling, thinking these small happy signs and unexpected gifts are what I live for!

What the Cat Knew: A Chakra Dream (part 2)

chakrachart1_0005This dream I had about the chakras (dream of August 1st, 2007) is the most instructional and well functioning dream I’ve ever had I think.  I say this because I was able to actually listen, see and understand in a great way during the dream.

First, the dream was very cinematic, I was shown what I’d call a “visual animation chart”, with a clear, instructional voice explaining to me the seven chakras and how energy in people travels through their bodies.  There was not just one row of 7 chakras, but multiple rows. The energy flowed through us, I was shown, from one row of 7 to the next, back and forth.

I was shown a female subject.  Her name was Rachel, she was 35 and living alone in apartment in NYC, with her cat.  Feelings of “resentment energy” had traveled into the energy field of Rachel.  At first, the energy settled in her root chakra, at the base of the spine, where survival and grounding/stability energy resides.  The voice explained to me that Rachel feels resentment because she has been asked to help her much younger female cousin who is married and well-off and about to have a baby uptown. Rachel’s family has asked Rachel to help be supportive of this much younger cousin during childbirth, as no other family members live close by. Rachel is unaware of her feelings of anger toward this cousin, and does as her family has asked.  But because Rachel feels her cousin is spoiled and has it all, while Rachel herself is still living alone, unmarried and without children (and she sees her dream of having a family diminishing), she has increasing amounts of built up anger.

I was shown a scene where Rachel returns home after helping her cousin at the hospital. Rachel’s cat instinctively senses the energy Rachel has in her root chakra and sits on Rachel’s lap.  The voice teaching me in this dream explained that the cat’s purpose in part is to help move the energy from chakra to chakra.  I watch and see as the purring and general presence of the cat helps move the energy from Rachel’s root chakra up to Rachel’s stomach (sacral chakra), where she holds the cat, and up into her heart chakra, and finally into her throat chakra where it became stuck.

The animated chart in the dream showed how the energy did move back and forth from her stomach to her throat, throughout the course of the day, but it was primarily in her throat, where most of the energy became stuck. Because Rachel was angry about her cousin’s good fortune, and her perceived lack and frustration over her own situation (wanting a family, newborn baby of her own but not having one), she had this “resentment energy” moving through her body while at work, and it often caused her to communicate more and more aggressively as time passed, since most of it was stuck in her throat.  Rachel was striking out at others, not even conscious of doing that with her anger.

The dream showed me this so clearly!  Then the dream shifted and a conclusion was drawn.  I was so fascinated by the last scene in this amazing dream. The instructor’s voice seemed to ride along with me as we swooped over into a temple.  From above, I was facing a row of people in a temple. They were bathed in golden light.  They were chanting beautiful tones in Hebrew.  I was told (by the same instructional voice which had explained the dream from the beginning) that the ancient Hebrews understood how energy flowed through the body, and that they developed the chanting tones so that difficult energy would leave the throat chakra (as it often gets stuck there in people) once the person began to chant.  The dream ended with that last scene, and I was so moved by the chanting, I sang certain chants I remembered all day long and wish to understand more about this.

Elaine Clayton copyright 2011

Astral Travels

My mentor for many years was Karen Four Stars, a Cherokee healer and seer.  She was extremely psychic.  I talked with her about everything in life, but was most excited about learning psychic and intuitive lessons from her.  I wanted to explore anything having to do with the spirit realm.  I remember talking with her about a strange dream I had when I was a child.  She listened to me describe the dream and then told me that I had been “astral projecting”, that I had not just dreamed what I had seen in the dream, but I had in fact seen and witnessed a real thing which was happening at the time.  I was astonished because I had previously accepted that dreams often are psychic, yes.   But I had not thought that we actually zoom around in spirit form when we are sleeping, exploring places and situations.  I was thrilled to realize there was another way to look at what dreaming is at times, and what “quiet knowing” is. It can be that you know something because you did not just dream it, but you actually traveled to a destination, during your sleep or the period of waking when you are absolutely relaxed, but no longer asleep.  You have not just imagined something or dreamed about it but have truly been there.  There are many levels of astral travel, many ways to experience moving along in spirit form, seeing with your “third eye” and actually countless places to go.  Those places are astral realms you might think of as dreamscapes, an infinite number of sites where we learn and experience all kinds of things.  The best way for me to try experiencing a genuine astral trip and to go where I choose to go (which is better than just skimming as though pulled by a magnet) is to visualize myself flying around before I fall asleep.  It takes practice but if you do it often enough, it is truly fabulous fun because you start to be more conscious while you are dreaming, and you begin to make conscious choices while you are dreaming.  So in my practice sessions before I fall asleep, I picture myself in bed from above. Then I picture the house we’re in from above. I picture the town, and then soar around a bit.  Sometimes I fall asleep in this visualization, in mid-flight.  Doing this visualization helps me have a great flying dream sometimes, and other times it just helps me get a better perspective of life.  It may or may not lead to a real astral travel, but to picture the Earth from way up there feels promising and mystical, no matter what is going on in my life or in the world.  You look down at the world and think what a lovely, magical place it truly is.


How Hank Aaron Taught Me About Auras

hankaaronsauraThe fabulous home-run baseball star Hank Aaron came to the school in Atlanta (where I taught in the 1980’s).  We all sat on the floor in the “Multi-purpose Room” to hear him speak to us, and I was right at Hank Aaron’s feet, sitting, looking up at him.  He was friendly and handsome and I saw what I had seen around people ever since I could remember–the soft glow of whitish-yellowish light.  Hank Aaron’s head was surrounded by that wonderful, soothing light. I watched it as he spoke to all of us.  Then, I noticed to my astonishment that Jackie, the school coach, was sitting on a bench across the room. He had something I had never and still have not seen since–the most colorful, enormous light surrounding his entire body. I wondered why Jackie’s glow was so brilliant! I even thought perhaps Hank Aaron’s “halo” would be brightest–after all, HE was the famous star, etc., right?  I later found out that Jackie had with him his childhood Hank Aaron baseball bat –and that he was SO excited to see his hero in person.  I realized that must have something to do with all that light surrounding Jackie.  I decided to tell my colleague what I was seeing. She very calmly said, “Girl, you are seeing auras!”  And the next day she came in with a book all about auras.  Before Hank Aaron, Jackie and my teacher friend enlightened me about auras, I just passively watched without understanding.  I was thrilled, and still am, about what I learned that day.