Saturday, March 19, 2011

Searching for Ground

Traveling to town one day not long ago, 
delicate mists hovering over frozen water 
called to me to pause and dream. Its seems 
there hasn't been much time for dreaming of late, 
and I feel out of sorts. One moment deep and 
sorrowful, the next, feeling a slight glimmer of hope -
my mood brightening or darkening, like the sunshine 
on a day of blowing clouds. 

On my calendar today, I marked the morning with 
DREAMING TIME. Strange, when the gentle flow 
of my days seem more like a staccato dance between
lists and to find my center I must schedule it. Its not 
my way, and its at these times I'm most aware of 
how the life I've crafted is so different from 
cultural norms. 

After my Qigong routine, I sat at my altar, noticing 
 the crow feather shadow dancing on my drum. I wonder
if you notice the bear hiding in the skin? I've never 
photographed this drum before, and as I write, 
I see that the bear is very visible. There is a story 
here, from many moons ago, when I first came to 
this land and found myself surrounded by large and 
friendly bears. I not only met them in the forest, 
but they came to me in dreams and meditations, 
and quite clearly wanted my attention. 

During that time, I had a sound healing practice, 
and needed a new drum. At a sound healing conference, 
I picked up a drum, and was instantly in love. The maker 
told me it was a bear drum, and way out of my price range. 
I played the others, and was much taken with the drum 
above, though not in the "gut" way I had been with the bear 
drum. After a few days of playing it however, I began to see a 
bear-like picture emerge from the skin. So I wonder, do you see it? 
It is just to the right of the feather shadow, and has dark 
eyes. I think of it as a Spirit Bear. Maybe someday, if I'm 
lucky, I'll travel to British Columbia and see one. 

Bears find their way onto my shelves, along with owls, 
trees, cats, a woman with her sacred broom, 
and my Santo from years ago when my father 
had a factory in Puerto Rico. Today, however, 
was a day full of crows. 

This one visited as Pasha and I sat below the big hemlock 
in the moss garden. I in a chair that is accessible without snow
shoes for the first time since late December, and Pasha on bare ground
snoozing in the sun. All day the crows flew by, 
many landing in nearby trees to squawk for a while. 

Pasha has been a happy kitty lately, outside a lot 
enjoying the mossy hillsides where the snow has melted.
Even the snow mountain in front of the studio is 
melting away. I almost lost my boot in the deep 
mud at the edges of the driveway
twice today, a soggy, mucky mess!

A bunch of self-inflicted business deadlines have kept
me out of the studio, but since in this post I seem to be 
telling you new things about myself, I think I'll share 
another thread of my work. I sometimes wonder if 
I scatter my focus with the different kinds of 
work I do, but it has always been this way, so 
I continue. In a way, its all these threads that 
weave together the many stories that live in me. 

Sometimes I must make these drawings - 
a bit more narrative or mythic. 
Here, A Man. 

Here, A Woman with Ravens.

Lately, as I find myself searching for my
ground, these Women Who Live in the Roots
keep appearing to me. They feel like 
important allies right now, 
holding rootedness for me, 
holding spirals: 
the keepers of 
ancient women's 


Dreaming Woods said...

mist so often reminds me of Mists of Avalon book, which was so very dear to me years ago. it is magical when mist is wandering in summer meadows or even in winter.

i now watch from the windows and it is snowing...

stregata said...

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself! Love the drawings...
and always a treat to see Pasha.

Donna~Q~ said...

I see the bear :~) Just finished Alice Hoffman's latest, "The Red Garden," and bears weave their way in and out of the plot. Also, I'm thoroughly smitten with your "root women" ~ they do "feel" deeply mythic!

barbara said...

I love these Women Who Live in the Roots, holding a spiral / well / web or maybe spinning wheel. I know them. It is good to draw this. And good that people can see them, to remember that Life is crafted in Roots and different from cultural norms :-)

I had to search him but now I see him clearly : beautiful round bear face and huge arms.

Lynn said...

I love the drawings. And your drum is wonderful. I couldn't see the bear, but - and maybe I'm still moon-struck from last night- I see it as the surface of the full moon.

yew tree nights said...

Oh, mists and ice, bears and crows, what a lovely post! I didn't see the bear you meant at first either... instead I saw the face of an animal with the feather shadow pointing at its eye.

But most of all I wanted to say I love these drawings!

mairedodd said...

my heart rate picked up at the sight of your spirit bear on the drum... i too surround myself with bears and ravens... i love your drawings, your cadence, your posts... thank you for sharing... i love seeing the different things that you make and learning how you connect to them...

Lauren Raine said...

how i envy you mud season (although I doubt you believe me on that......)! The slow unpeeling of the naked earth, the sudden appearance of new life, glorious. But what I most relate to are the drawings here of women and roots - I've been making masks lately that have roots, and I think this is a very important image for now. To stay rooted in the earth, strong, roots intertwined, the earth sustaining. Thanks for this inspiration.

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

Magical pictures of the mists over the ice, almost spectral... though it looks like spring has finally begun to tread softly through your woods now!
I love the concept of the Root Women, so many symbolisms in there and they do seem linked to your spiral paintings... theres something ancient, rooted and primordial in all that body of work I think...
Also what a beautiful picture of your drum with the sun-shadows, I think I see the bear...

Beacee said...

Love the women who live in the roots - perhaps because I feel rootless myself. Good to see Pasha enjoying the sun too.

Velma Bolyard said...

snow is almost all gone here, i listened to robins singing, and crows, too, today.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Beautiful root women...maybe I need some roots too, right now, I feel all over the shop. I'm very out of sorts (a 3 day headache doesn't help), feeling very moody and uncreative lately. I'm desperately waiting for autumn, but there is not a sign of it, none of my fruit trees have started to turn their leaves, and we are in for another long hot dry week...I think I need rain to reawaken and 're-green' like the land around me.

I could not see the bear, and that made me sad. Then I went back and had a another look, and still no bear, but instead, there is a wolf with a scar on his cheek. I think I've met him before.

Unknown said...

V, we have many bears on our island, and you have an open invitation to come visit anytime. I think the up-down-up-down psychic state may be global during this particular time; I have had such a similar state of mind the past week and know the same of quite a few others... May spring warmth continue to melt the snow in both our parts of the Forest.

Penny Berens said...

For sure I see your spirit bear!
I too am feeling out of sorts these days.
Up here in the North East the only sign of spring are still underground keeping company with your women of the roots.

AM said...

this is my first visit here. love your blog.. interesting in so many different ways.

p.s. a big hug to pasha :)

Valerianna said...

Robin and the Sage - A great book, I re-read it last year, still good! Snow here today as well... wet and heavy and Pasha is sleeping in front of the fire instead of out on a day when he's not on house arrest, too bad for him
cause he will be in all day again tomorrow.

Stregata - thanks, I think its time to share more of me....

Donna-Q- Glad you see the bear, the root women are whispering to me to do some more drawings of them.... I'll keep you posted.

Stille Linde - Yes, the root women are holding all those things and more. I feel them spinning tales and spinning earth /tree energy and making harmonic sounds like singing bowls or overtone chanting.

Lynn -Yes, definitely the drum is a moon!

Jodi - I see that big animal, too.... glad you like the drawings!

mairedodd - thanks... I think writing about all my "threads" here helps me to make sense of the whole tapestry.

Lauren - I have a few songs I've written about roots... they are such medicine for me. Having these root women come so strongly in right now is surely something I am working deeply with. I'd love to see your masks with roots.

Swan Artworks - I love what you see in my spirals and the root women. I know they are connected, they represent my deep soul story. I feel a very ancient presence with these, something to keep exploring.

Beabee - Hope you find a bit of rootedness, I know how much I need that!

Velma - snow back since yesterday - a few more inches. All white and wet and dripping. Pasha is in by the fire, too bad, he was so inspired by the sun!

mermaid - I hope by today you're feeling better! I don't see the wolf, but I do know that scar. Interesting what people see or don't see in the drum, mysterious. Hope the autumn shift comes now that the equinox has passed. Wishing you inspiration!

susan - Thanks for the invitation, are there Spirit Bears on your island?

Penny - Oooo, glad you see my Spirit Bear! Spring has gone under to live with the root women again here, too!

lines n shades - thanks for visiting... Pasha glady accepts big hugs, but he gets very wiggly after a very short time....!

rivergardenstudio said...

I love your "women who live in the roots" and all of your figures. And the bears that you collect and dream of. I was in British Columbia last summer and saw many beautiful bears. Spring is taking forever to get here too, and mud is thick under the snow. Wishing you sun to warm the ground and your face. roxanne

Valerianna said...

rivergardenstudio- more snow expected tomorrow afternoon/eve. Only 3-6" or so, and this time of year it melts fast. It doesn't bother me much, it will be gone soon enough and then I'll need to rake the parts of the yard I didn't get to before the snow! Glad you enjoyed your visit.

Velma Bolyard said...

i forgot to say the women in the roots are fine, really fine.

jennlui said...

oh yes, you're bear spirit is undeniable! such a beautiful drum companion... and i am sweep away by your root women. they speak to me of tree medicine, which i have been working with lately. for grounding, rootedness, for keeping me firm on my feet.

Valerianna said...

Velma -thanks!

jennlui - good to work with trees and roots!

Tammie Lee said...

your art is wonderful, each and every piece.
yes I see the bear, because you pointed it out. I too think it looks like a spirit bear. mist on water is so lovely~

Umā said...

Interesting, I've been experiencing that out-of-sorts feeling myself these past few weeks...and I definitely hear what you're saying about having a life that's different from cultural norms. It's been a struggle for me to try and protect/explain that to others recently without hurting their feelings.

I do see a bear in your drum but the one I see has kind of light eyes and the dark spot is his nose and mouth. Years ago a friend gave me an Earth Medicine Brown Bear book for my birthday, as apparently the brown bear is my primary birth totem.

Jo Potter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo Potter said...

Valerianna, this is another beautiful post!
You live in such a special place for dreaming.
I enjoyed hearing about the bears and the drums, it is so magical. I'm glad to hear you like middle eastern music too!
Pasha looks like she is sensing the changing of the seasons and enjoying the spring air. :-)
Your images of root woman are powerful. I love all the earthy paintings you are creating.
Ziggy and I send our love.

abby jenkins said...

Oh to dream.....some mornings I wake up so filled with inspiration from a dream I have had...they are so vivid. Maybe the real trick is to try and stay in a dreamlike state and be inspired all day...not easy to do when I have to deal with my taxes, going through receipts and statements this week...blech...what a wakeup call!

Can't wait to come back when I have more time to check out your glorious part of the world. Pasha is so handsome and I am so intrigued by the women in the roots. Very cool.