Talisman is the key, in more ways than one.  It took most of us further than we imagined we could go, or needed to go, or would be able to go.

Talisman was a tricky one for me, too, because so many people wanted to call this module Taliswoman or Talisperson.  Talisman is not a gendered noun.  Taliswoman makes no sense.  But who am I to shove grammar or etymology into a common feminist reaction?

Aurora june 2017

Aurora speaks, throughout the keys

Oh, my darling girl, all these things you had forgotten, or chosen not to remember.  Can you stand to recall so much? Is the fire burning you yet?  The fire of shame, the fire of redemption, the fire of learning what it is you are to be….. the knowledge gained here will be a talisman, to be worn like an amulet around your neck, replacing the albatross.

You know life is short, it is fleeting.  You know what you are, and what you are supposed to be.  You know what is standing in the way, what is making you unhappy.  The obvious and less obvious, the spoken and unspoken.  Be honest.

I am not willing to participate in the game(s) any longer.

My intention is to understand more fully, to be stronger, to take necessary steps toward completion.

Realizing that I was not just dissuaded but that I consciously stepped back due to fear of failure, that I only did what was naturally easy, what I couldn’t fail at.  The times I did fail were such a big fucking deal that I didn’t let myself go back there if I could prevent it. And I cannot lie, the return on investment was a calculation done long before I knew the term. Some things were not worth the effort.

Young girl: if I hide my love away, I can’t be rejected.  Young wife: If I hide away my sadness, I can’t be pitied.  Dead inside decade: if I hide away the dysfunction, I won’t reject the institution, the tradition, him.  At forty years, I came alive.

The critic says to me, little girl, you fought against being special, all those years, you rejected your gifts.  And now, now you want to be special?

Yes.  Give me that damned key.  Thank you and good night.

The critic says to me, you wasted so much time, girl.

It’s okay.  It’s okay.  I’m making up for it now.  I know now that it’s not too late.

I declare that I am alive with intent.

Aurora rises, bringing me, carrying me along a path to bring art and joy and healing to the beloveds who need me, to those who feel stifled and boxed in, who feel they cannot use their voices, who feel they cannot speak, who need to paint their freedom.

Rediscovering my IC roots

I recently retrieved some of my extra paintings from the gallery I’m affiliated with because I may be able to hang some works in another venue and one that I brought home I had kind of forgotten about.  It was very unlike my other works.

How it came into being:  On November 13, 2015, I was sitting at home when news of the bombing in Paris started trickling in.  I was so angry and upset.  I went to the easel.  I had a background painted, and I began painting small circles radiating out from one corner. But instead of relaxing me, I just got angrier, and ended up painting large swooshes and swashes across the canvas.  And I wrote a poem on the back.

When I saw it again recently, I was struck by how it was really my first IC work, the first time I explicitly expressed the subject matter behind a painting and let it stand for my voice.  And just then a couple of days later, the bombing at Manchester happened.  I’ve never been to Paris, but I’ve traveled in England, and I’ve been in the station right next to that venue, and things like that make you feel weird, and make the world seem small, and make the need to cause love even greater.

The painting is titled: 13.XI.15 pour Antoine LEIRIS et son fils

The poem on the back:

they may destroy the night but the dawn will come,

and in the morning, all day, every day, we must not fear.

we must love.

and may we forever insult them with our joy.

Deal yourself a better hand

I combined my first red thread circle with my affirmation card workshop.  I’m planning to call future affirmation card workshops “Deal Yourself a Better Hand.”

Here is a slideshow of my personal deck.  Many of my cards deal with themes of making choices, finding time, and believing in myself.

A year or two ago, I heard about red thread circles, the idea of a ceremony with everyone having their piece of the red thread, and that being all they need to worry about or take care of.  Not the whole ball of red thread, not anyone else’s red thread.  This was stuck in my head when I learned about Shiloh and IC and all of this beautiful world.  For my first red thread circle, I combined this notion, with some of the background explanations and histories learned from our CoW materials, particularly the lovely idea that those who are supposed to meet are connected with red thread, connected on a red thread.

After sharing these ideas, I invited the participants to wrap the red thread around their wrist while thinking or stating things that they wanted to let go of, to stop worrying about.  After we talked about those ideas a bit, I then passed the scissors around, inviting them to imagine letting those things go as we cut the threads.

This theme connected very well with the exercise of the cards, identifying limiting thoughts and ways to transform those into more positive actions.

Legendary Self

What am I leaving behind, what am I taking up now?  What does my Legend painting mean to me, what has she taught me?

I am leaving behind thread, yarn, beads, the fiddly trinkets associated with adornment, the fibers associated with women’s work. I am leaving behind the bits and pieces of mixed media, of scraps and bits and every marker under the sun.  I am using paint, brushes, canvas.   I am also embracing pen and paper to write, write, write.  To capture the thoughts, to work through the ideas, to not hide from the emotions and memories that need to be processed.

During the Legend course, I pulled three cards from the Goddess Guidance deck.  The three cards, representing the immediate past, present and future in relation to my quest with Color of Woman, were exceptionally meaningful.  Brigit. Sedna. Sarasvati.

Brigit’s card includes tag lines of “Don’t Back Down” and “Stand up for what you believe is right,” so I felt very good about that card. Sarasvati’s tag line is “The Arts.” Pulling “The Arts” as my future card for my thoughts of  “am I on the right track? is Color of Woman really right for me? is my plan to transition out of full time academia and part time art into being a full time creative a reasonable objective?” was very exciting. I was not familiar with Sedna.

I read more about the cards. Brigit’s meanings include exhortations to be assertive, to not worry about what others think, to put your foot down, to speak your truth, to stick to your opinions, and to trust yourself. The Legend course with Shiloh, Mary and Amber, and the writing of the chronicles, had me reflecting on where I had been, and times I had been most successful, so this card was meaningful.

When I read about Sedna, I literally sucked in my breath. Meanings of the Sedna card include “don’t worry about the future” and “you will always have enough to eat.” I have worried that if I give up my full-time administrator’s salary, I might not be able to afford food. Also, the card suggests spending time at the ocean or moving to a beach or island community, doing activities in the water, such as sailing or swimming, and contributing to causes that protect the ocean or water.  Born under a water sign, always drawn to the water, and feeling alive for the first time when my feet were in the ocean, this card makes sense on many powerful levels.

As for Sarasvati, her advice to the holder to change to a career that gives creative freedom, to join a creative class, to join a writing club, to do creative things and keep a journal couldn’t be much more spot on.

I have been on this adventure several times, it seems, coming to realize now for certain that the life being lived is not authentic and needs to be altered.  I have done the work, made improvements, and felt better.  I have gone through major changes and felt much better upon emerging on the other side.  I see now that my aspirations when younger – to be a writer, to be a musician – were real and true.  I wish I had had more faith, more drive, more will.  I wish I had been braver, more willing to take chances, to live an unconventional life, to be less worried, to be less concerned about material things.

But none of that matters now.  I will not be choked by the “tyranny of the shoulds.”  I will not be paralyzed by replaying memories and imagining what could have been.  I have heard the call.  I understand what my soul wants.  I understand how I can use my gifts.  I understand what I can do.  All the earlier quests have been trial runs for this big one.  I will be embracing what’s real.  I won’t be wasting any more time.