I recently immersed in the mikvah, holy and blessed water, mayyim hayyim. I did this because I love healing rituals and because I think there is something sacred about renewing the body and spirit symbolically–I needed to do that. You can do this in the ocean, I have done it before (just stating the prayer intention to heal, to be renewed as I swam). In Judaism, it is one of the commandments, or mitzvot, to honor God’s wishes by immersing in water. (Not everyone likes some of the sexist-feeling aspects of women having to immerse after their menstruation, for example, because it implies we are “unclean”, but some of that is, I think, due to the fact that commandments were developed centuries ago when that was probably arguably good hygienic advice. Now we know menstruation is not a health threat to anyone, won’t make anyone ill or hurt anyone. And yet, Orthodox Jews still go by the ancient ways and there have been many who say it is a spiritually fulfilling practice.)
I immersed as a way to acknowledge a willingness to heal, to be blessed by God, to surrender to the will of God while consciously choosing life, choosing vitality and empowerment. For me, the mikvah is a symbolic ritual inviting me to see the opportunity to thrive in a way that aligns me with God. I personally can’t feel I am thriving without that alignment. And I need to step out of the ordinary daily routines to make that spiritual connection.
If you are Jewish and have any experience with going to the mikvah, or strong opinions about it, I’d love to hear them. If you are Christian, you will remember in Isaiah the Pool of Siloam, and in the Christian bible, that Jesus healed people and sent them to Siloam, the Jewish mikvah. And some Jewish scholars refer to John the Baptist as “John the Mikvah Man” since he was immersing people in water to renew their spirit and connection with God.
In this recent Spirit Painting, I had feelings of the human personality in contrast (yet in unison) with the soul. In other words, I felt that we get born and develop in a growing body and our personality evolves as we mature. We are all that has conditioned us and contributed to our sense of self. And then there is the soul-essence which, every now and then, we may feel very strongly, a deep inner sense of self. An identity not necessarily like the personality at all. The soul seems to be a force or source informing our sense of ideals and capacity to love, it is above our human responses often, and the more we remember who we truly are “deep down inside” as some would say, we begin to fully integrate, becoming more conscious, of our soul as we respond to the world around as human personalities within a body.
The person who commissioned this painting, I felt during meditation, has strong ideals and desire to go and do good in the world, with archetypal heroes built into the sense of self, and a powerful spiritual motivation to find support and offer support to others.
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 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)
Light Up Your Mind Poster / copyright Elaine Clayton 2013
I posted this art on Facebook recently and many people have asked me to have it printed up as a poster. I am happy to say posters are now available for ordering! Each one is 16″ x 20″ on semi-gloss paper. They are $ 25.00 each, plus $3.00 shipping (to cover the mailing tube and postage). To order your LIGHT UP YOUR MIND poster, just go to the Intuitive Readings page here on Illuminara.com and send me a message by using the message box on the right of the page. Thank you!
An underpainting (or a painting underway) Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
So much of painting is a meditation, a blissful trance-state of color, form, light and shadow.And dreaming and intuiting as I go along. I often don’t want to lose the quality of various stages of art. Thousands of images in my life time have been painted over by me and I regret it at times, but the mood shifts and then so does the painting. I’m still “being with” this stage of this particular Spirit Painting.
“Root Chakra Spirals–Good to Go”: This is a visual-intuitive drawing from my sketchbook during a spiritual conversation/copyright Elaine Clayton 2012
Motivation and intention working together can create a feeling of mobility, of having wheels, of getting somewhere we’ve always wanted to go. Sometimes, at the root chakra, we need to get going rather than deeply entrench, and other times we are not at all rooted in wellbeing. Both of these root chakra experiences (if we tune into them) serve us well to help us stay a while or zip away. Have you felt that light-footed feeling, the feeling that signals nervous energy? When I have this, it might be that I ‘m excited and motivated or inspired, but don’t know what to do with it. Before I can create something with that feeling, giving it momentum, I have to ground myself and direct that inspiration. The feeling of light-footedness is like never really touching the ground, and it makes me feel that I’ve got to get substantial, get secure, be in a position to hold my own. It is a form of wellbeing that makes everything “okay”, even if all things are not yet figured out. Another root chakra sensation is one of being too, too deeply rooted, like someone’s got you at the ankles, pulling you down, and you are going nowhere you want to go and maybe stuck where you don’t want to be. Have you felt that heavy feeling of weight from the head or shoulders straight down to the feet? It makes it damn near impossible to make decisions, changes and to activate wishes. This morning, I stood for a few moments in the studio and captured the feeling I have in my root chakra. It is mild, a neither here nor there kind of sensation today. I am going to check in a few times today, paying attention to root chakra and what it is telling me. For now, I’ll use the balanced feeling I have to make some sound decisions and complete a commissioned Spirit Painting. I can feel that there is more activity in the heart chakra, and I have to make sense of that.
From my one of my sketchbooks/ink and colored pencil/2011
When I do intuitive readings, I meditate for at least a half hour prior to each reading and create a “Chakra Chart”. I am writing about this process in my second book on intuition (with Beyond Words/Simon and Schuster) due out in 2014.
One of the most empowering aspects of the process is that of becoming aware of what each chakra center feels like and paying attention to what it is telling us. There are ways in which we hold energy without really being conscious of it. For example, I had a sore throat for years. I eventually became conscious of the fact that I was holding back a lot of emotion, not speaking “my truth”. I was literally not saying what I desperately wanted to say to people in situations. My body was telling me, but I didn’t get it (thank you Sharon Bauer in the Boston area for helping with this one, so many years ago!).
If I notice what part of my body is speaking to me, it relieves some tension. For example, I might feel a strong activation in the heart chakra, manifesting as a sore upper-middle back, or a literal heavy pang in the heart area. On another day or occasion, it might be my stomach (solar and/or sacral) that aches or feels active in some notable way. I also believe that life events shake us up at certain chakra centers to help us, like when I was thrown from my horse and injured my tail bone (primal root chakra). That event “unseated me” and in the course of healing that energy, I became conscious of needing a major shift in life.
What do you feel today? From Crown to Primal root, what is being activated, what is hurting or getting your attention in some other way, from head-to-toe? Acknowledging the emotional communication manifested in the body is a kind of interesting and fulfilling journey, and as one thing leads to another, the thrill of it is following the messages to see where it takes you!
Detail of one of my recent Reiki Chakra Drawings/2012
When I practice Reiki, I see colors of the aura (I see these anyway, not just during Reiki) and some other dynamics pop into my third-eye vision. Often, clients receive visual imagery during sessions and I ask them to share them with me if they like. Healing is a multi-dimensional experience I have found, and enriching information surfaces during the process if we pay attention.
Try to see your emotions as color. And feel where they activate your body. Sitting here now, I feel a particular pressure in my throat. That color feels like it might be midnight blue-purple. I am sure I have communicated today, but do not necessarily feel resolved, so this might be why I have this energy in my throat chakra. The midnight blue color I “see” when I tune into this feeling simply reminds me to rest, to go deep and be calm. There is also a feeling of excitement in my solar/sacral chakras. I am happy, looking forward to tomorrow. This color feels yellow and white. Like sunshine. And I notice a feeling of stress between the eyes. Third-eye chakra wants me to stop seeing so hard, stop worrying. Relax. This color seems green and white, knitted or braided. I need to relax those worrying strands. I over think sometimes.
Tune in today to your emotions and your body and try and see the color of that feeling. To heal myself and feel well, I like to also see healing light as bright as ever, maybe sparkling colors or white misty streams flowing from head to toe, from up above me straight through me. Seeing the colors of all this energy is not just about seeing what is there, but about putting there what you need in order to have wellbeing.