Dear forest friend,
if you are interested in Shamanism or earth-based spirituality, this post might be for you. Over the last winter, I lived the life of a hermit and dedicated myself to my visionary journey, writing and drawing every day. In this process, I started illustrating some of the key concepts and teachings I encountered during my time of training with the Druid College and my bushcraft teacher.
Further down this page, you’ll find six of the images I created, with descriptions and practical exercises. I hope this post will inspire your journey and I am grateful for your feedback and support!
Ten signed copies of each one of the six pictures are available as eco-friendly art prints in my Etsy shop. The paper is strong enough to be coloured with colouring pencils and makes a great gift or altar decorations. For canvas prints or others products, please get in touch.
This picture is dedicated to the Ancestors of Blood. It speaks about the human quest for belonging and its many layers. On a very real and primal level, each one of us is connected to the river of blood, through our parents, grandparents and all the previous generations. This current of intelligence and evolution goes all the way back to the animal kingdom and the first living cells in the ocean. Accessing this stream through meditation can lead to a deep sense of remembrance and inter-connectedness. Many of us experience trans-generational burdens and patterns of abuse or addiction, passed down unconsciously from one generation to the next. When we make these burdens conscious by acknowledging them and change the dysfunctional patterns in ourselves, the ancestral burdens transform into ancestral blessings and guide us deeper into communion with life. Working with the ancestors creates a sense of belonging, that is experienced in the body, as well as on more subtle energetic and spiritual level.
I invite you to connect to this picture by imagining your father’s hand on your right shoulder and your mothers hand on your left shoulder. They also have their parents hands on their shoulders. Place your hands on your heart and say “I am here because of you”. Be aware of feelings, voices or images that come towards you, whilst connecting with your ancestors.
This picture is dedicated to Animal Spirits. It shows different animals and how they might perceive the world. The human senses are hardwired to the energetic matrix of life in a specific way, that is different from the sensory perception of other animals. The nose of a dog, the eyes of an owl or the underwater communication of dolphins are just a few examples of others types of sensory pathways. We only see, hear or smell a fraction of what is actually going on around us. Each animal is an expression of the soul and creativity of the Earth and embodies deep beauty and wisdom. When we listen and tune-in to the collective spirit of bear or deer, raven or fox, they can teach us many lessons and give us glimpses into others ways of perceiving the world.
I invite you to connect to this picture by selecting one of the five animals in the picture and feel into it more deeply. Imagine what it would be like to be this animal. How would you move? What rhythms do you experience? Where does your awareness travel?
This picture is dedicated to Meditation. On the bottom of the page, we see a snake representing life-force, rising from the ground, from deep within the Earth, bringing the power of the four elements into the body. life-force is also descending from the sky above, entering the top of the head, bringing the power of the sun and the stars into the body. The spine is the tree of life, the axis mundi and the bridge between Gaia’s planetary intelligence and the cosmic energy of the Universe. The electromagnetic energy field around the body has the shape of a Thorus and within it is the physical body. In some spiritual practices we encounter believes like “high is good, low is bad, expansion is good, contraction is bad, light is good, dark is bad, soul is good, body is bad” and so on. Meditation is the art of being with what is really happening on all levels and not an escape-route that merely generates positive feelings through dissociation. Just like every tree grows roots as well as branches, the development of physical and emotional health is of equal importance to the spiritual quest.
I invite you to connect to this picture by placing your focus on it, with a relaxed soft gaze for several minutes. Then close your eyes and be present with yourself as much as you can. Don’t try to change anything, just allow your awareness to include all levels of your experience, from your body sensations to your emotions and thoughts, to the environment you are in. Give yourself space and relax.
This picture is dedicated to Nature Spirits. The term “nature spirits” describes a whole range of non-human beings. Some of them are embodied, like trees and animals, whilst others are non-embodied or beyond direct human perception, like dragons and gnomes. As humans, we are so used to being incarnated in a body, that we forget that other forms of non-human intelligence can exist in non-embodied ways. Forces of fertility in the ground, water elementals or guardian spirits are less attached to one particular form, but when they communicate with us, they use our imagination as a template to show themselves in ways that are potentially meaningful to us. The visual aspect of nature spirit communication is exciting, but for most people, it is much easier to sense them as presences with distinct qualities. I like to sit in the Forest and doodle, whilst listening with my body, to the different subtle sensations of the ecosystem around me. Often the nature spirits respond to my receptiveness and inspire my imagination with their qualities, or at least that’s how I see it.
I invite you to connect to this picture in a playful way. Imagine yourself to enter the picture and go for a walk in the magical forest. Visit some of the spirits you see in the picture and hang out with them. They might share some of their magic with you.
This picture is called Pagan Paradise. Its theme is Mythology and how it impacts us. Mythology is the collective dream of a culture, the underlying story that gives meaning to the people. In the Christian creation Myth, Adam and Eve were exiled from paradise, because they ate the forbidden fruit. The story of Adam and Eve creates strong psychological imagery, that influenced the subconscious mind on deep levels. In the process of consciously reclaiming and reshaping my world-view, I imagined a different version of Adam and Eve in pagan Paradise. In my story, they are sacred human animals, aware that they are naked and not at all ashamed of it. life-force is rising, the fruits are yummy and made by the Goddess to be enjoyed by her children. As guardians and children of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve listen to the Wisdom of the Snake, the Swan and the apple. They understand the dance of the flowers and the bees. In pagan Paradise, there is no split between sexuality and spirituality. They are both expressions of the same love and intelligence that creates all there is.
I invite you to connect to this picture by writing about your own Mythology. What world-view do you believe in? Have you been influenced by religious or scientific viewpoints? What images and stories are there when you think about the creation or purpose of the world and our place in it? ? Once you identified your biggest stories, you can actively choose to reinforce or replace them.
This picture is called Sacred Union. The Union described in this picture is the ongoing dance of co-creation between the masculine and feminine essences. The rays of light penetrate the ocean, in which all life begins. In India, the Shiva Lingam and Yoni represent the masculine and feminine mysteries and in the Native American tradition, the Chanupa pipe is joined by bringing the masculine pipe-stem and the feminine pipe-head together. In Celtic Mythology, these archetypes are represented by the spear and the cauldron and later on developed into the sword and the grail of Arthurian legend. In a purely geometrical sense, this union is represented by two overlapping triangles, one pointing upwards, one pointing downwards. Carl Gustav Jung described the archetypes as forces that were already part of life before the first human ever described them. They are the energetic blueprints that all ancient cultures recognized and experienced through observation and direct relationship.
I invite you to connect to this picture by finding both the feminine and masculine energies inside of you. Reflect on how you express them in your life. If you want to take it a step furthers, you can ask yourself questions like: are they well integrated? What do they think of each other? How do they meet? Internally ask to be given a symbol to connect with the feminine and masculine archetypes and see what comes up.