Your Virtue, Your Shield

Detail from my painting, the Paideia Tree of Life mural/2012

Often in intuitive healing sessions, “personal shield” imagery comes up. For me, a shield signals what you believe in and what you would be willing to fight for in life.  As we grow and develop a persona, a sense of ourselves and what we want others to see in us, we collect meanings and symbols we identify with.  Archetypal meaning and characters accompany us on our way growing up in the form of heroes and symbolic mentors. What we think is good, fair, right and wrong builds and changes as we grow. But in one way or another, we each carry an invisible shield representing what we we defend about ourselves, our ideals. It is interesting to try and locate what our personal shield at the current phase of life might be. For me, one of my personal shields would be a shield of truth. I want to live by truth (or my truths) and I do think nothing of much good flows in life when I am not open to and working with truth. Ignoring the truth or avoiding seeing it or putting it off only causes me to trip and stumble. If you could see yourself holding a shield, possibly even with a motto written on it, or a symbolic image across it, what would it be?

Moose Dream

This is from my sketchbook, drawn while hiking in the woods in Canada/2010

I had a dream a few weeks ago that I was with a friend and we were walking in nature, maybe on the edge of a town. I became aware of an animal (heard footsteps on the country road) and when I looked up, it was a triumphant, enormous moose. It marched right down the center of the road.  I was in awe of it. It seemed to know exactly where it was going.  That feeling of self assurance and independence stayed with me all the next day, and enters my field of awareness when I recall the dream. It stirs me in just such a way as to make me feel a deep fortitude.

Last Friday of the Summer 2012/Sketch of Alistair

Sketchbook/Summer 2012/ Alistair and Georgia

The last Friday of the summer is here. In the morning, I saw my son at the coffee table. I asked him what he was doing. “Fixing my army men. Georgia chewed off the heads.” Looking over at Georgia (the pug) her expression seemed to be, “OK, I did it (but don’t you love me, anyway?).”

Active Dreams


My dreams last night were the most active ever. I had so many people and things going on, crowded places, relatives who have crossed over, Princess Diana, a strange visitor, an art installation, etc. etc. I woke up and jotted details down before going back to sleep to dream of even more very eventful dreams. I am not sure why last night I had so many, or was aware of them the entire time I slept. Usually there are a few that surface, along with emotions or impressions of other dreams. This time, it was a real bonanza. I sense something is up, an energy shift, a major something….

The astral level seemed equivalent to earth’s plane (although of course there are many dimensions to our earth plane, depending on where YOU are and how you feel) but in general, the lighting was “normal”—not low and dark, not especially bright or blissful. It all felt like being in a place where so many walk through, where so many gather, like a long party of all kinds of activity. Everyone doing what they do. Just like it is on earth. Only I slipped easily from one place to another, for example, a room full of people and furniture would transition into an outer landscape (at the same time as being a room) as I walked through it, depending on the shifts of purpose in the dream. It all makes me feel as if we are all here, figuring life out, living and dealing, but it is more than ordinary, it is meaningful and a mystery.

Sketching on the Saugutuck with Children at the Westport Library

It was a glorious day to be by the river with 20 children, drawing the light and shadows, the trees and water. I was so taken by the depth of sincerity of each child, the genuine seriousness that they held for drawing.

Everyone took places under the trees to get the view they wanted. It was a serene and satisfying thing to behold, several children in so many places, intently studying the scenery and the marks they were making.

We had time to talk about the different discoveries of each individual child, and to appreciate the many unique approaches to drawing and problem solving. One in particular: how to draw sparkling water with charcoal? Another was capturing movement. There were paddle boarders going by and people walking, cars moving on the bridge, etc. The only thing I regret about the drawing session is that the time went by so very fast! We’ll do this again at the library, I’m sure!

Upon a Bird’s-Eye-View, and Keats

One summer on the Isle of Arran, I saw from the second story window on the stair case landing, a bird’s-eye-view of the family below in the garden, having tea. I had gone up to get my sketchbook and sketched this before going back down.  My father-in-law must have quoted Keats when I came back down into the garden, so I jotted it here beside this sketch capturing a moment “of beechen green and shadows numberless/ Singest of summer and full throated ease”–( from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats)

Spirit Paintings by Elaine Clayton

Detail of a recent Spirit Painting/2012

By commission, unique and created during meditation on behalf of the subject, I offer Spirit Paintings. I try to keep the prices low enough so just about anyone could commission one if they’d like to have one. See on the home page of this site, under “Gallery” my page for Spirit Paintings.

When Guides Appear In Your Dreams

from one of my 1980’s sketchbook-dream journals

I was recently the guest of Dr. Marcia Emery on her wonderful VoiceAmerica radio show, The Partnership of Intuition and Dreams. (To hear the show, click here)We spoke about Spirit Guides and how they often appear in dreams. I described a very powerful dream I had where I was guided  (and given real empowerment) to shift my life in an enormous way.  If you have dreams where you are being told something, shown something or instructed in anyway, it is so worth paying close attention to the message. I really do believe in our core, deeply within our subconscious, we have an eternal source of love and life. We truly are that source, and that source animates our bodies as we practice our free will as humans making choices and responding to the world around us.

The dream above was when a Frog Shaman appeared and told me off. Spirit Guides and angels can be very clear, decisive and forthright. You know to listen. This guide appeared during a time that I didn’t know if I’d find my true love and be able to have children. I really did want that, but had not found a man I was truly in love with. I wore a ring I got in Ireland with two hands holding a heart. I was told if the point of the heart faced me, I was already taken. If the point of the heart faced outward on my finger, I was available. Constantly, this ring reminded me that I was available for Mr. Right. It put me in the “it has not happened yet” mode or dimension. The emotional energy I was fluffing up inside me was one of lack rather than abundance, but I was not very conscious of that. So one night I was in a dream, standing by a country road on a beautiful country day. I saw down the lane, two figures walking and talking. Gradually they came closer. I remained on the side of the road. As they got closer, I could see that one of them, the one walking on my side of the road, was a Frog Shaman. How did I know? He was in a robe and had a great Frog headdress on. He was authoritative and had a very important presence about him. As the two strolled by me, deep in conversation, the Frog Shaman turned his head toward me and said, “Take that ring off right now!”

I awoke with a start. It was morning anyway. I jumped out of bed, took the ring off and never wore it again. I realized that this Frog Shaman Spirit Guide (part of my unconscious?) guided me to disengage from the emotion of lacking and wanting, from pain and/or fear, basically. From that day on, I felt a weight of expectancy and anxiety lift from me. In good time, I met the true love of my life.

Be Italy

Be Italy With World Famous Photojournalists John Kane and Wendy Carlson

There are two photographers (who happened to be married) who we’ve known for years and who have put together the most wonderful trip imaginable. John Kane and Wendy Carlson’s work is known the world over (you’ll recognize his excellent photographs of  Pilobolus dancers, for example, and Wendy’s work, both photography and writing, is regularly in The New York Times).  The brochure says, “Cooking, culture, art and photography-all rolled into one incredible week with hostess Baronessa Cecilia Bellelli” and that is all I need to hear. I want to go, I want to Be Italy.

I love drawing the people, the architecture and capturing the golden light of Italy as much as eating and being relaxed yet completely enchanted. Taking photographs with Wendy and John and celebrating the visual feast as well as the food with a real Baronessa sounds magnifica! And John, an Italian citizen, is her nephew (that makes him royalty I believe!). What could be more magical than to join John and Wendy? I hope to go, and hope to see you there, too. To learn more about the trip, click here.