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.
I had a synchronistic event this morning, posting this detail from a painted stream drawing, I saw a rabbit there with a carrot (rabbit symbolizing for me fears and getting over fears, as well as a sense of prolific fertility) and one of the first messages I received in my email as I was posting was a message from a much beloved friend with a work of art depicting a rabbit with a crown of carrot, parsnip and turnip. I was very delighted also to look out my studio window to see a RABBIT hopping up the hill! I love life when things connect like this!
Summer time is good for dreaming and streaming. Start keeping a dream journal if you have not, or pick up the habit of journaling if you’ve stopped (I tend to go in and out of cycles where I record every morning and then stop for some reason, getting back to it as soon as I can). The value in stream drawing during the day, is it 1.) Gets you into a stream of consciousness flow so that you can tap into the knowings you have but may not be aware of, and 2.) Gets you into a playful place where dreams, aspirations and a sense of joy can be cultivated. As sculptor Maria Artemis says, it can shift you into the “realm of the possible”. Go there! Just take a few moments to close your eyes and draw with the non-dominant hand and then gaze it the drawing to see what it may hold for you in terms of meaning, associations, etc. For more info on how to do this, get a copy of MAKING MARKS and let me know what you discover! http://www.illuminara.com/books/making-marks-discover-the-art-of-intuitive-drawing/
At my recent book event for MAKING MARKS at Barnes and Noble, participants practiced intuitive stream drawing
Stream drawing is a great way to relax and create all at once, to be passive yet active, to receive yet give. Drawing, mark making, is so naturally compelling for humans, it feels good. The techniques in MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing help get to that place we used to go to with complete joy. As children we didn’t have to be reminded to experiment and express, we just did it. Gradually, our mark making became centered on created letters, numbers, words and the occasional work of art for an assignment. We need to make marks freely and reclaim that natural, exciting form of expression that we literally have just at our fingertips.
Have you noticed that when you get a great idea, there is this enthralling feeling of, “How did I get that idea?” We often even have such a great idea, that we say, “It’s so obvious, why didn’t I think of a long time ago?” or something similar.
I have found that the same feeling of elation comes to me when I open myself up to my intuitive impressions. There is a sense of wonder, even in the moment of feeling a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right, or having a hunch to try something one way or another. Usually when I do not follow those gut feelings or hunches, I have some regret. I have read that the vagus vein in the stomach has a way of sending signals to the brain, so often we do have literally a gut feeling that has something figured out before our rational and logical mind has it figured out. With intuitive sensing, as well as with creative sensing, things arrive in the way of knowings or ideas without our truly being able to necessarily establish how or why we got the information. We can retrace all the steps leading up to the moment an idea came, but we still cannot totally explain how it came to be.
With this book, MAKING MARKS, I have put together drawing freely, in a stream of consciousness way, something I call “intuitive stream drawing” or simply “stream drawing” along with intuitive sensing–exploring the knowings that we get seemingly out of the blue. We can use stream drawing to open up to creative inspiration, to intuitive, empathic sensing, and we can make great shifts in our lives while experiencing the joy of imagination and the feeling that all good things are possible!
This week at Westport Barnes and Noble I am having a book event 7-8 pm and I hope you’ll join me for some drawing (with eyes closed–totally freely!) and discussion.
This is a recent Spirit Painting commission Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
In a recent Spirit Painting commission, while meditating on the one who commissioned it, I felt the sense of deep inner peace commingling with movement and change and felt I was in a realm of the possible. Memories of the past blended with future visions of good days ahead, sunshine and a return to the sea. This painting took me on some adventures, but I still felt at peace inside through the many places and changes the painting the painting took me to. I felt as though the most real adventure is the internal one, and all external experiences are strongly influenced by how we perceive them. I felt a sense of grace and love while painting this, and it made me realize that when we feel grace and love inside, we bring that out into every place we go and to every person we meet. Then that inner peace truly is in our surroundings, as we are the host or vessel of that peace.
A recent commissioned Spirit Painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
In this recent commissioned Spirit Painting, I felt the feeling of great creative energy, a sense of the new based on past knowledge gained, and of working with a spiritual openness. The gift of nature bringing a wisdom and feeling of security, in that life renews time and time again, also came forth in this one.
This is a detail taken from a recent intuitive stream drawing, and below that I colored it in so you could see how I saw it:
In a recent intuitive stream drawing reading, on the far right of the drawing (done in meditation with my eyes closed) I saw what to me looked like a penguin with an egg. Male penguins do take care of the eggs and it made me feel inwardly that for this client, talking about partnerships and love relationships and caring for children might be very important. Of course there are many other ways to interpret this image, but I went with what felt most powerful for me. Whenever I see an egg shape, I think of it as potential not yet hatched, great things to come within a person–wonderful strengths to realize. It turned out that this topic of partnerships and children, in particular raising children, was of the utmost concern to this client. The day after her reading session, she told me that as a matter of fact, she has loads of penguin images in her house for this very reason–the wish and desire to have a mate who will join in the raising of a child. I thought that synchronicity was a thrilling thing! It confirmed for me that somehow, at our finger tips, through drawing, we can discover and explore what matters to us and find ways to support one another. (This intuitive drawing technique is available to anyone who is interested. MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing will be out in May!).
From my sketchbook/ copyright Elaine Clayton 20014
I’m cold and want it to be like March normally is, which is mostly pleasant temperatures. I’m looking out the studio window and I see a few green blades of grass springing up in hard, frozen earth. Winter will not let go, and we expect snow tonight. Many people remark on the extreme oddity of the weather. We are in “earth changes” and we see extremes in climate and storms. For more on earth changes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Changes