I have not added to this website in a while due to technical issues with it, but now all is well and I am up and running once again. My wonderful publisher/friend Jessika Hazelton at The Troy Bookmakers updated the site and made it easier for me to add to on my own. Disclaimer: all mistakes are mine alone…
The most exciting news is the publication of my 5th book – Margot’s Journey – last Spring. I have decided to give copies of the book away as my ‘gift to the world’ in order for her story to reach a wide audience.
One of the beautiful outcomes of giving the book away was an offer from Glennpeter Jewelers to hold a book signing event at their Colonie Diamond Centre location on November 30, 2022. After consulting with Margot’s daughter, Linda, we decided to give whatever donations we received that evening to the Kinderstransport Association in NYC(kindertransport.org) The evening was magical with donations topping $1300.
Jeff Weiss, owner of Glennpeter Jewelers, with me at the book signing event. All staff members were so sweet and accommodating throughout the evening.
Margot’s daughter Linda poses with me at the event. She was thrilled with the turn-out to honor her mom’s memory and support Kindertransport Assn.
Since the event I have been offered opportunites to speak at local libraries, write an article for the Kindertransport Association’s newsletter and give away another 100 books. Margot’s story continues to ripple out into the world.
The Great Library Treasure Hunt
The first week of November, 2022 my friend Diane Dearborn and I began our ‘treasure hunt’ of visiting all 36 branches of the Upper Hudson Library System(uhls.org). Armed with lists and maps Diane downloaded from their website and my trusty GPS we ventured forth into parts of Rensselaer and Albany Counties previously unknown by us. Our love of all things related to books, libraries and meeting new people have led us on a wonderful adventure. As of this writing we have visited 30 branches and learned so much history about the individual sites and the communities they serve. Each library, whether expansive or in small buildings, are vital parts of their neighborhoods. People always ask us which place is our favorite. We answer: ‘You are!’
My home library is Sand Lake Town Library and Diane’s is Brunswick Community Library. We love them best, of course! But, shhh…don’t tell the others.
We carry hand-crafted ‘passports’ with us to get stamped and signed at each library, check out an item at each place, have our photo taken in front of their sign and inside the buildings and even with some of the librarians. Then we post on Facebook and Instagram and zoom off to the next branch. If you have an interest in books, historic buildings and learning about the Capital Region, this is the best way to fulfill all those desires. We have made many new friends throughout Rensselaer and Albany counties, too.
Spiritual Retreats, Art Retreats, Online Ceremonies
The Advent/Holiday Season of 2022 gave me several opportunities to participate in online retreats and contemplative practices offered in books. I created journals to accompany these practices, wrote my own prayers and offered blessings and healing to the world through rituals. My favorite creation is:
Blessed is she with wounded wings…for she shall be taught how to fly.
Blessed is she with clouded eyes…for she shall be taught how to see.
Blessed is she with ears that ring…for she shall be taught how to hear.
Blessed is she with addled brain…for she shall be taught how to think.
Blessed is she with hurried steps…for she shall be taught how to stop.
Blessed is she with money to share…for she shall be taught how to give.
Blessed is she with no worldly goods…for she shall be taught to receive.
Blessed is she who lives alone…for she shall be a friend to herself.
Blessed is she who asks Spirit for help…for it is arriving post haste.
Blessed is she who loves the earth…for she shall be called a goddess.
Blessed is she who has suffered abuse…for she shall be a sister to others.
Blessed is she who sits in silence…for she shall be taught how to Be.
Blessed is she who, each morning can say…’Thank you, God, for this beautiful day.’
…for it shall be given to her.
This is all for now…
I will be adding more photos and text in the coming weeks. I want to get this offering up to make sure it all looks okay.
Happy New Year!!
Following the advice of my ‘artsy friends’ I submitted my writings to publications and contests and, amazingly to me, had a couple of them accepted. The first submission was to the Golden Haiku Challenge in Washington DC. My haiku was one of 200 chosen out of @thousand submissions from 60 countries and displayed on a poster for 2 months on DuPont Circle’s Golden Triangle district. I wrote this haiku while in Florida in March 2020.
My second submission was to the Stillpoint Quarterly magazine which is a beautiful publication of both photographs and the written word. The theme for the Fall issue was Living On the Water and I thought ‘how perfect for me.’ You can read my story by going to http://www.shantiarts.co>landing_SPAQ then clicking on Nature, Art, Spirit-Shanti Arts. The Fall publication information should appear. Scroll down a little until you see the picture of a wooden dock with my name under the photo. Click on that for my story: ‘Lessons Learned While Living Lakeside.’
My next submission was in answer to a request from a friend who is a board member at Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. They are looking for stories of people who are interred there in more ‘modern times.’ Most of the stories are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I was so honored to share about my son John’s life and artwork: oakwoodcemetery.org/who-is-buried-in-oakwood. His photo and story should pop right up.
Every month I submit a haiku to Tricycle magazine. No winners yet, but I enjoy writing them.
I am in the middle of an online art course titled ‘Water Spirits’ with Michal Shimoni who lives on the Sea of Galilee. Each lesson has revealed a new Water Goddess to me, materializing out of the blank canvas as I apply layers of textures and paint.
First is perhaps Mary Magdalene, next is Miriam, Moses’ sister, at the parting of the Red Sea and last is an as yet un-named Goddess rising from the sacred waters. These women came to me in dreams and visions during meditation.
I love to create paintings of Goddesses in honor of the New and Full Moons each month. Here’s a sampling: the New Moon Goddess in Virgo on September 6th and the Goddess Aquarius filling up the Moon on August 22nd.
I continue to walk to the lake each day but with the rising of the water level due to fierce storms and heavy rains all summer my dock has often been underwater so I now sit by the sweet little creek across the lane from my cottage. I have my favorite boulder to sit on while dangling my feet in the cold, clear water rushing down from the mountain. I can sit for hours listening to the water falling over the rocks and watching the sunlight play on the leaves and stones. It is during this time that the visions of goddesses and words for poems and stories flow into me. Ah…life is good.
Full Flower Super Blood Total Eclipse Moon arrived on May 26, 2021 at 7:14 a.m. EDT! She made quite an entrance and I decided to imagine this bold lady as the fierce, independent artist Frida Kahlo. Who better to fire up the imagination of how this New World might look as we move into New Patterns of living post-pandemic, post-isolation, post-the way we used to view our world…
I have taken the opportunity of being home to partake in many webinars, seminars and Summits regarding the Path of the Priestess/Goddess. This Path has been calling to me for years now, I suddenly realized: at first in whispers, and now more loudly. These online programs kept popping up and I kept signing on until I no longer desired to even watch movies on Netflix or Prime altogether (I stopped watching mainstream TV 3 years ago) and committed to ‘living my life in ceremony’ as Shaman Fredy Puma from the Andes mountains has inspired me to do. In my artwork new Goddesses and Priestesses have been showing up, emerging from the collaged backgrounds as I build layer upon layer over old paintings. A metaphor for the New Pattern of my life? Seems reasonable…
I have been studying the teachings of St. Hildegard of Bingen – An amazing 12th century Benedictine Abbess who could have been writing about today! Reading and learning about alternative stories of Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary, Hathor, Isis, Circe, Cleopatra and many more powerful ‘ancient’ women whose stories are coming back to light. This has prompted me to write ‘Herstory:’
History is marked by wars, Herstory by peace.
History recounts dates and facts, timelines of kingdoms and kings.
While Herstory flows through time and space riding on angels’ wings.
Male energy drives the war machines, Female-the looms that weave.
Women create a Sisterhood that sails above men’s turbulent waves
entwining the threads of our inner strength
telling stories of how we were saved
by one another’s whispered tales
that now we can share by choice.
Together we stand side by side as
Herstory gives them a voice.
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 plane to continue submitting my work. The practice of reading 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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Nature’s preferred shape
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
floats among herbs and weeds
stark contrast to green
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
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
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
hawk screeches: Listen!
salmon gulps: Trust inner knowing!
wisdom from my cards
zigzag across fence and yard
mirroring my thoughts
wind chimes dance on breeze
water ripples on bird bath
incense wafts on wind
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:
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
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