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Friday, March 1, 2013

A Bit on Good Medicine


Good Medicine: Feathered
(watercolor on fabriano wc paper)

I've been speaking of "good medicine" for some time now, and it's finally coming out in watercolor.  Mind if I tell you this week's story?
Monday was rough.  Somedays are like that; the tired old voices of doubt and scarcity sit heavy upon the chest until a deep, full breath is near impossible to be had.  The old self-care tricks seem feeble and single-note.  I arrived home from banality of errands ready to write the day off, stepped out of the jeep, and into a circle of feathers ringing the cedar.  The reality of death and the truth of life cycles cut through the fog.  
Here was something sacred: 
One life in exchange for another.  I hoped it was my peregrine, grown into adulthood.  I gathered the feathers with ruddy, freezing fingers, that no part should go to waste.  I preened through them, noting small color variations, laying out a wing's worth of flight feathers.  And in that gift, I re-found my light.
* * *
Sometimes Good Medicine is straight-forward; a gift arrives in the midst of shadow and brings back the light.  But more often I find the process subtle, requiring our open minds, receptive hearts and disciplined spirit.  Sometimes good medicine is held within historical symbolism, in a stone that offers luck and protection, in a leaf that heals the heart, in a creature that teaches us to use our voice.  There is magic in belief, but just as much magic in intention and self-written mantras.  When I go nestering, when I gather those natural homes on mantles and arrange them on walls, I think of them as tiny vessels of safety, of warmth and comfort, as places to gestate ideas and plans, as home, a concept this nomadic spirit craves deeply.  Thinking of them this way brings me comfort and joy; indeed they are good medicine for my soul.  
* * *
One day I as I wore flicker feathers in my hair (ok, that's most days), I was stopped by a silver haired woman who nodded as she spoke: "Flicker feathers, from the flicker who carries our prayers to the heavens."  And now, every time I pin them into my curls I think of her words and give whisper to a tiny prayer for the day.  To me it matters less whether those prayers are actually reaching heaven with a winged creature; it is all in the reminder to pray, to breath out deep hopes and beautiful intentions, because that creates the state in which I wish to walk through my days.  
And to me, that is Good Medicine.
* * *

As a final note, I've been remiss!  This watercolor, plus the few other I've shown here and on my Flickr  (hehe) page are destined for my upcoming show at Ghost Gallery here in Seattle!  The show opens with the art walk on March 14 which means I need to keep those brushes busy!  For all you locals, I'll keep you posted with the details shortly.  Until then, the studio calls and I shall answer.
~ Umber ~

9 comments:

Brandi said...

Many happy and hearty congratulations on your upcoming show! I hope it goes magnificently for you.

bev said...

word smith, silver smith, alchemist, conjurer, shaman, moonlight magician . . . earth woman and sky dancer.
Congratulations on your show :)

prairiegirl said...

It's all so beautiful, your find around the tree, a new idea and your brush strokes telling a story of good medicine, in feathers, just when you needed it most.
I need to be patient for my good medicine. It will come when it's my turn.
Your watercolors have a delicate and peaceful effect. What a show that will be!
X

Unknown said...

Congratulations on the upcoming show!!! How exciting! I hope you take lots of pics for those of us who are not lucky enough to live close by.

Valerie

pencilfox said...

o amen, to this post.
i was right there with you, stepping out of the jeep to find the feathers....hearing the woman speak of prayers carried heavenward....breathing in and out with you, knowing it is most important to create the good medicine and intentions.

Cat said...


wise woman you

love and light

dawn pierro said...

Your words are as beautiful and meaningful as your art! Stay blessed. Dawn

MJ said...

I leave here in awe most times I visit. Your words, your insight and connection with all that surrounds you are just magical, and all of it comes through in your work. You are a beautiful messenger dear lady and I am always glad to read, inhale, exhale and marvel. Congratulations on your art show, your paintings---you-- are breathtaking.
xoxo

emmy d said...

I love seeing your process - thanks for sharing! It makes it less daunting for those of us aspiring artists :)