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.
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.
In a recent intuitive reading session, the subject of time came up. Time in the spirit realm is not as we experience it, it is not linear. There is not a past-present-future dynamic like the one we have here in our daily lives. In this particular reading, a figure stretched to put her toe through the door of a future event. It seemed to say to me that the client in a spiritual way was “already there” and the saying, “Fake it ’till you make it” came to mind. She laughed as she had been saying that phrase to herself a lot lately. Seeing ourselves “already there” helps us get to where we feel we have not yet arrived. The intuitive stream drawing made me feel that this client was already in that great future place, though she did not experience it yet in “real time”. What was holding her back from experiencing that? She saw all the obstacles and felt the weight of all the worries, which is natural, especially when we are being responsible and thoughtful of others. But since she’s “already there” and just has to catch up to herself, we talked about meditating to see herself already there, in her beautiful future. She does not have to perceive any obstacles or allow anything to function as an obstacle.
When you feel like you aren’t there yet–where you’d like to be in life, imagine that all time that is yours to experience, and your creative energy, is one big kaleidoscopic image. That kaleidoscopic image is YOU in the utterly stunning life design and pattern that shifts and becomes more and more wonderful each time it shifts. And you ARE all parts of this image at once, and it is shimmering and divine. Imagine and see your best self in the “future”, reaching to you to step into your ideal light, your best dream. It will become “real” once you accept that it is already very real! The kaleidoscope will shift and there you are, in the place you have aspired to be.
Mary and Martha/ painted sketch/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
I am studying Torah and taking Hebrew and LOVE IT. I recently had an exchange with the very brilliant Jewish scholar and author of several books, including The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Amy-Jill Levine. Her work helps bridge a gap of misunderstanding between two traditions that spring from the same source, Judaism and Christianity. Her concentration and love of this study has improved how we see and read the New Testament and I am so grateful that she dedicated herself to it for everyone’s benefit. I was recently called a “Bridge Person” myself by a rabbi and I think I am that, actually having had a meditation recently where I am on a bridge that connects the two religions. When I asked Ms. Levine what she liked most in the NT, one was the story of Mary and Martha. I admit that I have to actually study it myself to see what I think of it, but I enjoyed painting Mary as she is on her way to see Jesus while her sister Martha remains behind preparing food. I would probably relate more to Mary as I’m not always enthralled with preparing food, but am getting better as time goes by.
Detail from a recent Intuitive Stream Drawing/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
There is a technique for intuitive discoveries that I developed, and I call it “intuitive stream drawing”. Often in my meditations prior to an intuitive reading sessions, animal imagery appears somewhere in the intuitive stream drawing (these are created while I’m alone, before a session begins). In this one, at the crown and 3rd eye, there is a fierce rhino facing the past. This to me has to do with desire and the fierce look may say, “desire is threatened” or “I am going to have what I desire!” or possibly there is anger from a past experience in where a particular desire was taken away. Since the crown chakra and the 3rd eye chakra have to do with awareness of the presence of the divine within, and how it is recognized and attuned with the self, this single (of many possible) interpretation of this intuitive stream drawing makes me want to talk about getting assertive about any past event that holds a threat in regard to creating and having what the soul desires moving forward. There are many other ways to look at it.
Below we see what may be a fox–it could be a cat. The fox is a terrific symbol. I almost ran over one a few evenings ago and thought, “Time to become invisible”. Fox in Native American animal wisdom can be about “becoming invisible”—since this is a huge fox and it’s in the heart and solar chakra it feels like the need to be unseen in matters of love and even in terms of home life in some way. If it’s a cat, I feel it has something to do with intuition, the mysterious aspects of life– and possibly about trust. We can’t train or control a cat, and so it is in matters of love in some ways, there is no way to control others or make everything go the way we’d like. Fox and Cat could indicate many other things as well. Interpreting intuitive stream drawings is wonderful because it gives us a chance to explore the meanings and to discover which one is most powerful for the client personally.
More about intuitive stream drawings in my new book MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Stream Drawings (Simon and Schuster/ Beyond Words due out 2014)
Clothes. Shirts, dresses, pants. Ties. I am tired of ties. Why do all men seem to wear ties, and weren’t cod pieces interesting? I like the clothes of other eras better than the generally boxy man-suit thing we have now.
Clothes can be symbolic, even holy (think of tallit and priest’s collars, etc.) yet I struggle almost every day with what to wear, shivering in the early morning air, not liking anything that I reach for in the dresser. I guess because clothes are so standard and none of them express how I feel inside enough for me to feel satisfied putting them on. I remember being in an elevator with Robert Shaw who was symphony director in Atlanta when I was there (Arts Alliance) and he said how Madison Avenue decides all these things in the way of fashion. We had been talking about my plum colored ballet flats which someone else in the elevator admired. Plum was “in” in the 1980′s. I was 18. I had not thought about how there is an industry that shapes how we clothe ourselves. Ever since, I have wanted to design and wear my own since then, or to forsake all standard industry attire and wear tunics of linen with robe of wool overlay when it is cold out. Preferably with tall boots because I like those. But this wouldn’t go over well in suburbia or anywhere–me going around in clothes of my own design–although it would be much more interesting if we all expressed ourselves this way, wouldn’t it? I dreamed a few nights ago about how we use clothes to make ourselves feel accepted in groups. The dream had scenes of golf shirt wearing people and things like that. I still fantasize about creating my own for myself.
What are your ideas about clothes? What do you love most about any particular clothing item? What era would you live in based on your taste in clothes?
The point of change, the moment of mercy comes when I finally ask, “What is it I’m supposed to learn here?” Some situations, goals or thoughts are held hostage by the ego to the point where no shift seems possible. I had a client recently who said she’d been having a terrible streak spanning many years, and felt cursed. We all relate to that feeling, but what is it that shifts us out of that? I don’t believe we’re cursed, even in bad times because I believe every moment holds the Light in it, but there can be very difficult times in our lives. I told this client that I’d found in my own suffering times that there is no shift out of misery until I surrender and ask, “What is it I’m supposed to learn in this situation?” It’s like looking up at the sky and surrendering, waving a white flag as big as the Milky Way, and the ego can’t stand it! This “breaking point” does not come easily, the ego refuses to be put in a position to have to “learn”–it thinks it already knows everything, and it asserts itself as to what it wants with great authority. “I know what is best for you,” ego seems to say. But when things are sorrowful, painful, forced or simply dysfunctional, it is a good moment when that ego has to surrender and the humble question of what should be learned arises from within. Tears may follow, but the good kind.
Yellow Blue with Rabbit/ mono print acrylic, pink and colored pencil Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
Rabbit symbolizes many things, including abundance or fertility and fears. I’d also encourage anyone to allow their own personal meanings and associations guide them as to the meaning of rabbit (when coming across rabbit on any ordinary day or dream). In this intuitive mono print, I found a person tossing coins and the yellow circle became sunshine and reminded me of a coin. Coins are tossed to make wishes (and to place bets?). Fertility sometimes translates as being “rich” and having abundance. Fears want to be conquered or worked with so they evolve into strengths. Wishes are perhaps urges toward abundance and away from fears, making bets or taking risks may be foolish at times and at others the only way to go. What risks would you have to take to remove or to overcome certain fears? What would be lost or changed?