This has been a little seed of an idea for quite some time now, but the growing conditions were never quite right. The start of November 2015 seemed to bring the perfect 'weather' as all of a sudden I looked and a shoot had formed. While out walking the dog one day, the idea and answer to how I needed to move forward came to me, and after a simple Facebook post to see who might be interested (the response was fabulous) I knew this was what had to be done. As I worked on a mandala, the ideas flowed and the excitement grew.
Recovering from a car accident, I've been forced to drop everything I had been carrying. Almost all plans were stopped in their tracks. I'd been pushing myself all summer to prepare for a show in London. Working hard to create enough stock to sell and showcase. All the things that were calling me to paint and explore them had been put to one side.
I couldn't look at the work that had been in progress. It took a week or so before I even attempted to pick up a pencil again. When I did, I decided (and was advised) to start filling in a journal. The work has flowed since, with a desire to use new materials and try new things. As I am entering new-ish territory, I thought it would be fun to have a few others along for the journey.
Shakti Mandala is the name I use for my Etsy Store and pendants, I've also just renamed my website to the same. Shakti is the Sanskrit word for energy and the expression of the creative power of the Divine Feminine. Shakti also refers to cosmic energy and the active power of the Great Goddess. The word is also used to describe the mother, womb, spirit-wife, feminine guardian angel and the manifestation of the creative principle. Shakti energy promotes being independent and enhances our connection with the whole universe.
Mandala means circle, container of essence, and 'that which encircles'. It is the mind and the universe, the eye and the earth. Mandalas are often circular symmetrical designs, used in meditation and various cultures around the world. They represent the beauty, intricacy and impermanence of life. For me they are a way to meditate and focus my mind, while producing something beautiful and meaningful. Mandalas are not just images on paper things to look at, they are a group of friends around the fire, the seasons and cycles of life.
So, to simplify life as I move forward, the Shakti Mandala Facebook page will close, and in it's place will be the Shakti Mandala Shamanic Art Group. My art page will be the point of contact on Facebook for my art, and the Shakti Mandala group is where we will share and learn from each other in a closed and more private environment. I will post pictures of my work, and progress pics, mini tutorials, links to journal and art ideas, and I will try and help to encourage members to begin to create their own work. I will share more about my own shamanic processes and how pieces of art come about.
What is Shamanic art? I can only tell you how I see Shamanic art. I'm sure you may find other ideas of what shamanic art is, and I urge you to contemplate ALL ideas and try anything that appeals to you. All I can do is share how I do what I do and encourage you to eventually find your own creative way. Traditionally, Shamans work on your behalf to encourage healing in you from whatever it is that is ailing your spirit, soul and body. What they do is symbolic and powerful, healing you on many levels, in ways that will usually be most unexpected.
I have found that life brings it's own opportunities for profound healing, and when you actively follow a spiritual path you tend to be more in tune with these opportunities when they arrive. Bringing art into the equation is to me one of the highest forms of magic. From a blank piece of paper or canvas a whole new world can appear. YOU are the creator. You are the Master of the Empty Page, the Magician who can bring about form, line, colour, a message, a memory, and healing through expression.
As a small child we play with making marks, we enjoy seeing a line where there wasn't one before, we just enjoy creating for no other reason other than it's a fun way to pass the time. As we get older, the ego takes over, the establishment tells us what art is and isn't, what's good and what's not, they tell us how to draw and how to see. No longer is art fun, but a another way to be judged. I have always created art, always... I have had abundant years and years of drought when nothing grows. The key is to keep going. For me personally, abandoning my art and creative practices would be as detrimental as trying to abandon my spiritual path. I tried it once, to move away from the spiritual 'stuff' and ended up sicker than I have ever been. My art has lulls, but I never give up, and even if I'm not creating on paper or canvas, I find many other ways to be creative and express whatever needs to be expressed.
In my eyes, Shamanic art is art that is made to bring about healing and change in some way. By creating art regularly you can learn and develop insights into life and yourself. You can challenge yourself, overcome fears, celebrate and create happiness. Look at how popular colouring books for adults have become, it is because colouring and drawing helps to focus and relax the brain. It can give you an escape from the daily grind, and gives you an opportunity to create something with all that energy. Creating art regularly helps us assimilate things in a different way. Like dreams, that clear up all the nonsense in our brains, art can allow us to express ideas, visions, images and create things we love to look at. There is something very special about drawing, but I'll cover that in another blog post.
You could call what I do spiritual art, soul art, or art therapy. I see all of those things in what I do. I call it Shamanic because it's part of my life, I listen to the messages, I see signs and inspiration. Those things take me down learning paths, they lead me to meet people, or discover techniques, it is an inter-connected part of my life. I allow my spirit to guide me to what I do next. My creations sometimes feel like they aren't mine, as I really can't say where they came from! Shamanic art is also the celebration of all that is, art can be created in honour, art can be created in memory of something. Art an be offered, given and shared. Art created in the pure joy of being is powerful, transformations, liberating and uplifting. Using symbols, colours, inspiration from nature and the world around us, we have plenty of resources to delve into when working creatively, the trick is to get out of your own way and allow yourself to play.
With love and blessings