Monday, June 15, 2015

Earth Medicine

If I told all the stories of the months between the last time I came here -
the story of an exceptionally challenging winter: deep, deep snow, arctic cold, 
storm after storm, roof raking, food poisoning, sledding a new cord of wood over 
the enormous snowplow mound to the woodshed, a major flood in the house 
when the washing machine overflowed (luckily missing the new bamboo floor) 
burn out and exhaustion -  it might explain my absence here, and how, 
when spring arrived and school ended, the only thing I wanted to do was to 
be outside reveling in the sensual medicine of the earth. 

I appreciate the emails from people wondering if all was OK. I am very much 
better than I've been in a few years, but, coming out of a very long, dark, 
underworld journey has meant a shifting so profound that, in my emerging, 
I am blinded and taking time to refocus. As anyone who has gone to 
the underworld knows, there are great gifts to be mined if one stays in the 
dark mystery, trusting that it will be done only when it is done. 

Being quiet, with my hands in the earth planting, moving stones and gathering 
them from the river, listening to frogs and birds and the gentle ringing of Japanese 
Temple bells in the Medicine Garden is replenishing the places that felt hollowed 
and emptied. 

I haven't been painting, all my creative energy is going into nurturing myself 
and the plants and finishing projects in the Medicine Garden. I have forced 
myself to do some of the business end of art, with a goal of finding a few 
new galleries to represent me as I am shifting away from the ones I've worked 
with before. Like most artists, this is my least favorite part of it all, but to balance
it with so much outside time is good. So if I am not in the studio, I am creating
beauty in the garden, and, for me, it is all about beauty, in the many ways 
that it can be defined. 

Rhu Bear is a big kitty now, just over a year, and over ten pounds. He is really
quite a character, mostly well behaved, but sometimes very, very naughty. He 
has obviously come here to fill my heart with joy and to throw in an occasional 
monkey wrench in case I'm getting too comfortable. 

Though these paintings were made while the snow was still waist deep (which 
actually wasn't that long ago!) I just got them back from my photographer and 
wanted to share them with you as I don't believe they were posted here yet. 
We'll see what happens when I get back into the studio, which will be soon, 
but I was finding lots of pathways to explore with these last ones.  

"Blue Shadows" watercolor on paper, 15" x 22", V. Claff, 2015

"Winter Forest" watercolor on paper, 15" x 22", V. Claff, 2015


Rowan said...

I love the photos of your garden and your beautiful new feline friend. I really like the sound of a Medicine garden too. Is this something new or do I need to look at past posts to find out more about it?

Valerianna said...

My Medicine Garden is the place that holds green healing for me, Rowan. I do have some medicinal woodland plants, but mainly, I'm using the word "medicine" in the Native way meaning something that brings healing. This particular place was just a flat area of compacted post-construction sandy soil. Its been transformed over the years, little by little. I put in the stones pation a few years ago and have been working on the planting for a few years now as well. The plants are all ones I find particulary healing, like ferns. Hope this covers it!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Valerianna, you are doing exactly what fills the spirit inside you...such a lovely post.. Your garden makes me so happy to see. I love it!!
2015 has been a year of enormous change and upheaval. lets hope the summer solstice brings calm and restful peace. xo

Valerianna said...

I can't believe Solstice is this weekend!! And, yes, calm and restful peace is a good thing to strive for! Glad you are enjoying my garden, I always enjoy yours. My poor front garden is being neglected, though it is much more established, but I see holes and weeds and work that needs to be done there, but still must follow my soul's calling to be in the Medicine Garden for now.

Tammie Lee said...

so lovely to have a post from you
life is so full
of twists and turns
depths and floating on the surface
lovely to have a glimpse into your world
sweet days and nights to you ~

Paper rainbow said...

I am so glad you have returned. Self healing takes time and as you say energy. Your garden looks beautiful as does rhu bear. A born star ! Those watercolour paintings are ethereal. I can feel the biting chill and solitude. Wonderful work. Good luck on the gallery front.

stregata said...

It is good to hear from you. And good to hear that you are finding healing, working in your medicine garden. Rhu Bear has become quite a stately cat, but I am sure his antics fill your heart with laughter. May it be filled with serenity also. xo

Rowan said...

Yes it does - I had wondered whether you meant medicine garden in the Native American sense.

india flint said...

Such a sweet cat

Valerianna said...

Thanks... yes, twists and turns, that is for sure!

Valerianna said...

Thanks... hard to keep myself on track when rest is really all I want!

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Stregata. Yes, Rhu has a stately presence to him... and is quite regal, when not being quite unruly!

Valerianna said...

Very lovey, and sleeps curled into my side all night, very sweet.

Mo Crow said...

these new paintings glow with winter light V

Valerianna said...

Perfect for the season down under!

summertime dreams said...

Glad to hear from you again! Glad to know you're ok. Always appreciative of the kitty photos! :) I'm not going anywhere, so post as you can and I'll be here with a comment or two. No rush. I'm feeling rather exhausted myself lately. Not sure what change that precedes. Time will tell.

Barry said...

Hi VA - the earth, renewal, spring - so very healing and re-energising. F and I like to get out into our garden each day but twice a week we spend digging, tending, pruning etc - tethered to the earth - renewed by its energy and gifts of produce. May this year be a healing and joy filled year for you. Peace. B

Starr White said...

So happy to see a post here from you. It sounds like we have been on the same path. All of my creative energy lately has gone into the earth. I like to think of it that way - like a seed that has been planted. Waiting to see what will come of it later. Now that it is hot as Hades and nothing to do but water and weed, I am finally feeling the urge to make something again. Just looking for direction. Love all the photos. Love that kitty!

Beach-Combing Magpie said...

Is your beautiful feline a Norweigan or a Maine Coon? I have a Siberian, who looks quite similar, and would LOVE to climb up trees and roam freely as your cat does. It really is in his blood, as none of my other cats were drawn to escalating heights in this way. We live in a flat now, but he has a little wilderness on his part of the balcony... Not quite the same, but even Nature from potted plants is very calming and inspiring for Man and Beast alike. And he seems to enjoy this fifth-floor vantage point, looking down on the world below.

Lunar Hine said...

Wonderful. What an abundance of beauty you have surrounded yourself with. Strength for your journey x

Sandra Dunn said...

I like how your medicine garden is coming along. I can see how nurturing it must be and the temple bells, and sweet Rhu by your side... I pray peace and love to you. Root deep and rest.

Velma Bolyard said...

it was a hard/harsh winter for so many of us...i am glad you've emerged and are enjoying. i am emerging myself, too. i wish for you a glorious summer of many new and good things; and may uyour little trickster keep you on your toes.

Hedgecraft Studio said...

I love the photos of the lush wildness that surrounds your home, medicine of the earth, indeed. Thank you for sharing them. It is the midst of a typically brutal summer here and just looking at that greenery soothes my sunburned heart. And the pictures of Rhu Bear - what a gorgeous boy!

Valerianna said...

Thanks... I'll be popping in again soon, I think. Wishing you well :)

Valerianna said...

Digging in the earth is a healing thing, for sure, Barry. Glad to know you have earth medicine in your schedule every week :)

Valerianna said...

Hi Starr - hope you are melting this summer down there and that your creativity has come bubbling up!

Valerianna said...

Rhu Bear came to me as a rescue kitty, so I'm not sure exactly of his breed. The vet is calling him a Maine Coon, though he might well be a Norwegian as I have read that they love climbing. They are sweet, wild things, these three breeds, I think. Hope your kitty is finding adventures on the flats!

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Lunar <3

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Sandra, always good to have blessings come my way from you. :)

Valerianna said...

Yeah, I'm hoping next winter is a tad gentler with us, Velma, and Rhu Bear is definitely doing his part to keep my running!

Valerianna said...

Sending cooling breezes you way, I don't do well in brutal summers, so I am very grateful that ours has been gentle on us!

Saskia said...

very happy to read about your exploits once more, it has been a long winter for you (in many respects)
I wonder what you will be doing in the weeks to come, hope you'll share some
Also, how fortunate you are to have Rhu to keep you company, I know from personal experience how much a pet can bring happiness and cheer, especially on those days one doesn't want to leave the house!

Judy Martin said...

Hello Valerianna.
Be well xx

dori said...

Oh! A new bear Rhu bear!

Greetings from the Bavarian Forest! I lost my White Bear Timmi just one year ago, he was old and had a happy going himself beneath the tree. Then I had a very dangerous wolf-dog Rambo - BIG LOVE - just for 4 months, he lost his life ten years old by an accident. Now dog Lady is with me as a nice guest.

I have some cats and one very big PUMA at my little farm sleeping like your Rhu Bear. He is my happines for my lost tiger Biau - I never knew what happened with her

Blessings and happiness and good art-inspirations I whish you! You have wonderful photos!

goldenflower said...

Thank you dear one for sharing the delights of nature as only you can. Your words, as much as your photos, exude the fragrance of your garden and woods, which is always refreshing to take in. And as a sister soul in this journey into the Mystery, i bow in namaste to your willingness to allow this journey into the deeps, to be had fully. Thanks for sharing, your posts always touch me on many levels. with love. padma

thewiildmagnola said...

Not blogging for awhile, or checking on bloggers, I was unaware of your dark time.
Earth medicine was unknown to me a few years ago. To see the earth, ground and trees, flowers, soils, waters, animals, is to be in love.
Change is a struggle for us all, sometimes hitting us over the head, to get our attention.
You seem to be still on a journey through a gray path. Prayers.
Love the Rhu Bear, younger babies, keep us stirred.
The woods, trees, darkness and light graduations, is spellbinding for me. I do love the painting.
Be blessed.

the wild magnolia.

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