One year later… March 15, 2021

It is difficult to believe a year has cycled around since the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I had returned from my vacation in Florida on March 13th, 2020 and it was in the airports that I realized something momentous was taking place. The terminals were eerily deserted, my flights re-scheduled and  gates changed several times while I was at the airport. The planes were pretty empty also which was disconcerting, even as I enjoyed having extra room in my row. I arrived home safely which is more than can be said for people caught in the worldwide desperation to ‘get back home’ wherever in the world that happened to be. Everything was changing. The world was becoming a new place, reinventing itself daily.
As the days and weeks and months stretched on with more closures, more restrictions, more rules to now live by I became more content to stay home finding a daily rhythm that suited the new lifestyle I found myself in: awaken early(the cats took care of this step), yoga, tai chi(cats ‘helped’ with these practices too), coffee while checking emails and text messages(cats sat on the keyboard to ‘help’ with my typing), paint and/or collage in my art journal or on a tile or canvas, spent time outside in any kind of weather and especially sitting by the lake either in flip-flops or bundled in a winter coat.  I also stopped listening to, watching and reading ‘news’ which was depressing at best and alarming at worst. I began to pay more attention to the phases of the moon, the planetary line-ups heralding in the long awaited Age of Aquarius, the cycling of the constellations, the angle of the sun as the seasons changed. I wrote haikus, kept little journals to record these celestial events and sketched and painted images to go with my writings. Below are my sky-watching journal page and collages of January Full Moon in Leo and February Full Moon in Virgo.
 When 2020 turned into 2021 I decided to challenge myself to learn new technologies and methods of expressing myself through art. It’s not like I need more challenges than are presented in the world each day. These are personal to my life and will not sound like challenges to most other people. I started an Instagram account in January – pattycarley50 – in order to share my artwork and writings. It has been a fun project and I have already connected with people I haven’t heard from in quite some time. Then one morning in February I woke up with the idea to have an account for my son John’s artwork. I believe he suggested this to me in a dream.  You can find his artwork at heart2heart_artworks.
So..2 technological missions accomplished! My next challenge is to submit my writings to publications and  contests. No grand prizes yet but I plan to continue submitting my work. The practice of  readying poems and stories keeps me focused and dedicated to writing each day. Following is a ‘non-winner’ containing the word icicles.

icicles on eaves

tears that freeze while spilling down

plash into my heart

Over the past year I have participated in many online art classes, spiritual enhancement courses, goddess/priestess rituals, seasonal practices. Each has shown me something I need to learn, a new way of looking at life and people, a new way of expressing myself.
I have loved them all!
 Goddess Brigid is celebrated on Imbolc, February 3rd.(above)
  Nimue is my Lady of the Lake.(right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Full Moon or First Full Moon of the Decade?

People disagree over when one decade ends and the next one begins. Tonight’s Full Moon at 10:38 P.M. EST on December 29, 2020 could be either the last one of the 2nd decade or the first one of the 3rd. Does it matter? All I know is She is bright, beautiful and rising over the trees in all Her splendor. I doubt She cares for our earthly calculations. She has Her own way of marking time and space. She rises and sets, waxes and wanes to our eyes only. She is always in the sky, round and  shining all the time just like the Sun. Our rotations and revolutions around one another and the Sun change our perspective. Over the centuries we have named her Luna, Selene, Artemis, Diana, Hecate and my favorite Tecciztecati!  I wonder what she calls herself? Our Moon by any other name shines on just as brightly. As I peered at this Moon Goddess through my living room window earlier, Her beams of light looked like a cross high in the sky.    Ah…I am blessed.

I stand outside on this cold December night gazing at the Moon as She rises in the constellation Cancer. I squint to locate the Beehive Cluster, the asterism of 1,000+ stars within Cancer, that has 1 star with 2 planets circling ’round it. Are they earth-like? I ponder the immensity of the universe and my place in it. I think back over the years and all that has been taken away from me and all that I have been given and I am grateful for both.

As I balance on the cusp of 2020 turning into 2021 I stretch my arms wide and embrace this moment with joy.

 

 

2020 is drawing to an end…what a year!

This is the Happy New Year doll I made last year when I thought 2020 was going to be an exciting, enlightening, happy year filled with clear 20/20 vision, new adventures, new pathways to explore in my artwork and writings. I couldn’t wait for the clock to strike midnight and the shiny, new year to begin! See how fun and sparkly she is? Dressed for Mardi Gras celebrations too!

Well…we certainly got new adventures-staying away from loved ones and our work environments for the most part; figuring out how to use Zoom, Skype and Facetime on our electronic devices so we could still see people and do our work from home; trying to get our money back from the airlines, vacation places and Amtrak for trips not taken; and finally understanding this pandemic is not going away any time soon and it is a dangerous, insidious little bug.

Gratefully, I live near a lovely lake and I was able to sit on a dock each morning and again at sunset as soon as the weather permitted in the Spring, and watch Nature unfurl while furry and feathered creatures were hatched/born near me. I wrote and sketched and painted, consulted my Goddess card decks, performed rituals, had fires in my backyard, watched the stars, planets and moon wax and wane at night.  As it became colder and darker in December and I could no longer be outside for any length of time, I found it more difficult to stay optimistic about the future of this planet and Her inhabitants.  However, I signed up for several online Advent and Solstice retreats involving rituals, artwork, music and  celebrations which gave me renewed hope and an eagerness to say goodbye to 2020 and look ahead to 2021 and all this year has to offer me. During one of the retreats I was reminded of a poem I wrote many years ago – in 1993 as it turns out – that captured the Christmas Spirit back then and does again today.

The Gifting

I did not see at once he sported angel’s wings.

He stood on a street corner in busy downtown Troy

dancing and singing to his own private band,

asking for spare change from the passersby

who answered with polite refusals, heads hanging down.

I approached him with coins in hand and smiled into sky-blue eyes.

‘Have a beautiful day, lady!’ as he danced a happy jig,

threw his hands into the air.

An angel he was in blue jeans carrying his halo in his smile.

He blessed my life from that day forth

in exchange for my spare change.

 

 

 

October, 2020 – A Time For Clearing Away and Welcoming In the New

It seems like I zoomed right through September. Although I am a Summer-baby (September 8th) I have always loved Autumn with her cool evenings and crystal clear skies day and night. The constellations are easier to discern and planets stand out against a dark canvas backdrop. It has been too chilly some mornings to sit by the lake so I have sat in my backyard sipping coffee and watching the various creatures zoom about: scurrying squirrels, chirping chipmunks, buzzing bees, darting dragonflies, swooping songbirds. They are either getting ready to fly south or are gathering food to hide around my yard for the Winter months. 

 

I also ‘caught the fever’ to ready myself and my cottage for the months ahead. I participated in the town-wide yard sale earlier in September by displaying 40+ pieces of my artwork on tables, fences and trees around my yard. It was a glorious 2 days. My neighbors and friends showed up along with several people I did not know and all but 4 pieces have now found a new home. I gave everything away for free.

I’m now waiting to see what new art ideas come to me to fill the blank walls and newly empty floor space in and around my Enchanted Cottage.

 

The Full Harvest Moon on October 1st is also known as the Artist’s Moon so while preparing my ceremony to welcome artistic ideas into my life I created a Medicine Wheel in my side yard where an old deck was recently removed. I can see it from my kitchen window as a reminder each day to walk my Path as best I can while staying mindful of others’ paths and to treat them with kindness and compassion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each day I choose 2 Animal Medicine cards to guide me. Following are some haikus I wrote connected with the animal spirits that chose me.

like the tiny ant

patience is my keyword too

and I want it now!

 

playful otter sister

goddess of rivers, streams, lakes

share your dreams with me

 

salmon, swim with me

take me upstream and downstream

back to my future

 

keeper of secrets

knower of your desires and dreams

I am the lynx

 

in water, on land

turtle embraces them both

I strive for balance too

 

 

Thoughts, Haikus and Sketches as August 2020 Ends

I spent most of July and August out-of-doors

either by the lake or in my backyard. I immersed myself

in Nature learning to sit quietly and welcoming

birds and wild creatures of land and lake, water and airborne bugs

to come near to me. I luxuriated in the hot sunlight,

cool breezes coming off the lake and the smoke of

my little backyard campfires. The clouds held messages

for me in their constantly shifting shapes while the

hummingbirds sent whispered salutations on their

wings. Many Goddesses and Native Priestesses

came to me in visions and dreams and found their way onto                                                                                              

my canvases and sketchbook pages.

 

Haikus

blue heron squawks past

landing at her fishing spot

frogs and fish beware!

 

daily dockside dance

ducks, drakes, dragonflies and damsels

dive, dip, delightful

 

water bugs madly swirl

form perfect rippling spheres                                                                                                                                                               Hummingbird Spirit

Nature’s preferred shape

 

little hummingbird

flits from flower to flower

seeking sweet nectar

 

searching high and low

for an answer to my prayers

hummingbird zips past

 

acorn drops on head

wake up and look around you

Nature is calling                                                                                                                                                                                          Butterfly Maiden

 

orange/black butterfly

floats among herbs and weeds

stark contrast to green

 

monarch butterfly

sails betwixt weeds, grasses, blooms

filling tank for travel

 

one butterfly’s wings

beat African winds into frenzy

hurricane hits here

 

how does Miss Spider know                                                                                                                                                                     Dreamweaver

in order to catch my dreams

she must weave a web

 

spider’s web is strong

yet delicate as fine silk

trapping flies and dreams

 

 

 

 

More Musings From My Lakeside Retreat – July 2020

On July 17th I decided to do a silent retreat day at my Enchanted Cottage. I dedicated this one to Mary Magdalene since she has been appearing to me in my thoughts and daydreams, maybe in my night dreams also, but I don’t remember those. The first set of Haikus are for Mary and the second set from my musings lakeside and in my backyard the same day.

a plain name, Mary

it holds the whole universe

she is the Beloved

 

think, say what you please

she cares naught for your thoughts

she knows her true self

 

the rose, the lily

symbols of Mary’s pure heart

abide in my garden too

 

 

raindrops pelting down

each one a whisper, a word

Heaven’s telegraph

 

hawk screeches: Listen!

salmon gulps: Trust inner knowing!

wisdom from my cards

 

squirrels everywhere

zigzag across fence and yard

mirroring my thoughts

 

wind chimes dance on breeze

water ripples on bird bath

incense wafts on wind

 

Greetings From My Lakeside Retreat – July 2020

I have always loved this quote of Einstein’s:

‘There are two ways to live life – one as if nothing is a miracle and one as if everything is.’

As I have had enormous amounts of time to contemplate my life, and Life in general, over the past several months of enforced Retreat I have come to believe life is ‘both – and’ as far as miracles go. Life since mid-March has been filled with anxiety, fear and eventual surrender to what is happening around the world right now. So, any little thing that is beautiful or sounds enchanting or sails by my vision into the heavens seems like a miracle. And it is! On the other hand, everything in the world is appearing and happening and evolving as it should so is not a miracle but just Life rolling out in front of me. And it is!

I feel it is a Miracle I am alive at all in this wondrous, random universe and also perfectly reasonable that I Am here. Why not be here now? I have my part to play, whatever that might be, and I pray I can be a source of strength or solace to someone else on this Path we collectively find ourselves on. Everything that transpires now is a miracle and also natural: a paradox, the Great Paradox (as I am learning through the Shamanism teachings  I have been listening to online).

So…as I sat by the lake each morning at dawn’s early light this summer I started writing about the ‘miraculous wonders of Nature’ surrounding me. These flora and fauna don’t know I see them as miracles, they just Are:

Lakeside Haikus

lake is a mirror

reflecting sky and trees

ducks paddle past me

 

eagle, heron, hawk

gliding with outstretched wings

I sit in silent awe

 

silently she glides

eyes and ears alert for foe

mother duck on patrol

 

splash and flash of hooves

frolicking on  yonder shore

teenage deer show off

 

ripples on lake surface

turtle, fish or leaping frog

stir the water’s soul

 

flap, flap, flap, flap, glide

paddle, paddle, paddle, glide

I alone don’t glide

 

bird stands on a rock

wings outstretched to catch a breeze

lovely fan dancer

 

ghost moon riding high

paused betwixt new and full

luminous halfling

 

sun peeks through trees

lotus petals open wide

greet the day smiling

 

Then I wrote about my human experience as contemplated lakeside during my personal silent retreat July 5th:

my words drop like stones

how will they ripple out-out

open your ears and heart

 

sitting in silence

thoughts flit like butterflies

by noon they cease

 

time and space are one

pay attention to your dreams

they whisper the truth

 

life is illusion

dip your toe in the waters

stir your reality

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice Is Upon Us – 6/20/2020

Summer Solstice – (a poem in the Pantoum form)

My legs are lolling over the arm of the Adirondack chair

I sip lemonade through a pale green straw

My book forgotten on the grass

I stare at the leaves overhead as they sway in the air

 

I sip lemonade through a pale green straw

Wondering, dreamily, what this day will bring

I stare at the leaves overhead as they sway in the air

Will it rain today?

 

Wondering, dreamily, what this day will bring

My hands brush the tops of buttercups at my sides

Will it rain today?

Or will the clouds just drift apart and vanish?

 

My hands brush the tops of buttercups at my sides

I sip lemonade through a pale green straw

I think I must look like a painting of summer

My legs are lolling over the arm of the Adirondack chair

 

Dragonfly Dreams

You come to me in lucid dreams

In that magical space betwixt awake and asleep,

Flitting in and around my fantasies,

Weaving your medicine

Like a spider weaves her web.

You glide along on the winds of change

Bringing to me the wisdom of the Ages:

This earthly life is all illusion!

Lift me, transform me, into

My true Spiritual self.

 

Art Continues To Sustain Me 6/3/2020

A question often asked of me and probably of all artists is: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Especially over these past few months I have had plenty of time and space to create a piece of artwork per day – many days I produce more depending upon what classes/lessons/free offerings I am pursuing online. My daily art journal usually has a prompt I receive online or think about as I arise in the wee hours of the morning to feed my pesky kitties looking for their ‘first breakfast’ at 3 a.m. I have the pages already prepped with Gesso and sometimes an acrylic color so I can begin straightaway. Here’s an example:

Often I sit in front of an empty, white canvas propped on my small step ladder which has become the perfect easel for me to either stand at or sit in front of. On a small table nearby I have various acrylic paints, swatches of fabric and lace, pieces of paper, ribbons, feathers, magazine pictures, pages ripped from old dictionaries and books and a mason jar filled with brushes. The plain, white canvas is daunting so I start to glue on pieces of paper, music, lace and whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. I add whatever colors appeal to me and things start to take shape. In this particular painting I wasn’t thinking about a person but suddenly I saw her chin and the outline of a nose and realized she was looking up not out at me like my other Goddesses.  I kept layering and redoing her facial features until this Goddess of the Waterfall appeared.

This next painting is a perfect example of  how an outside influence changes everything I thought I was going to create on the canvas. I started with stencils normally used for quilting and added colors and textures around them. I was listening to Peter, Paul and Mary on my phone and the song The Great Mandala (the Wheel of Life) came on and I said out loud ‘Aha! these are mandalas!’ Peter Yarrow wrote it back in the ’60s in protest of the Vietnam War,  but when you listen to the words they ring true in today’s world. So, I offer this artwork as a representation of how the cogs of my ‘wheel’ and spaces in your ‘wheel’ fit together to mesh and turn and  move forward as One.

A Quest For Real Mail

I have to stay vigilant. My mail lady arrives at different times each day. Usually between 11:30 and 1:30 but this can be altered in an instant. Like the other day when I finally ventured out to pick up a prescription at Walgreens at 10:30 thinking it was safe to do so. But no! she is already on the main highway down the road from my street.

A dilemma faces me. Should I speed to Walgreens and hope there isn’t a long line at the pharmacy or should I go back home and wait on my front porch? I decide to turn around and follow her to my street’s row of roadside mailboxes. This way I can find out how much mail other people are getting. How long does she stop at each mailbox? Are people getting lots of packages? I have become a calculating stalker in my mostly ‘stay-at-home’ solitude. Mail is my new lifeline to the outer world. I crave anything showing up in my mailbox: the Advertiser with supermarket inserts, hearing aid ads, real estate ads, gutter-cleaning ads, pest control ads, junk mail for people who lived at my address a decade ago. I cherish them all.

I order things on Amazon almost every day just to have packages delivered on a regular basis to my mailbox or doorstep. I am highly disappointed when items are bundled together for easier delivery. I don’t want easier delivery! I want individual packages day after day after day.

Today was a bonus day. The item I had ordered was broken inside the box.  Yay!  I have to package it back up, have it picked up by UPS tomorrow and then reorder the item to be delivered next week. Three transactions with a live person for one item ordered – heavenly…

So, while emails and text messages and Facetime are sweet at this time of social separation, I want Real Mail. Solid pieces of paper and cardboard. I want to feel the paper and cardboard – after wiping them down with Clorox of course, smell the paper and cardboard – after the Clorox dries of course, examine the artwork of the stamps and savor the card or letter or even the ad/flyer whether intended for me or ‘current occupant.’