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July 2017
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Canticle for the Creatures
Small Miracles and Other Graces


“To everything there is a season
and a time to every purpose under Heaven”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1


Life's Sweet Nectar by CJ Shelton
 
As we blaze into summer on the heels of all the birthday celebrations for our nations’ 150th year, I’m eagerly shifting gears into creative mode. And, as if to mirror these activities, an extraordinary thing occurred just before the Summer Solstice – the space between the wall of my kitchen and a boarded up window on the outside of the building became home to a hive of wild honey bees.
 
Now, while I’m not all that keen on what is physically going on between those walls, I am thrilled about the multiple symbolic messages the bees are delivering during their temporary stay (yes, it's in the works to have these little endangered creatures adopted and re-homed by a local beekeeper).
 
Bee “medicine” or totemic power, teaches the importance of “stopping to smell the flowers” and enjoying life’s sweetness, life’s nectar. As a spirit animal, Bee is also about abundance, persistence, industry, communication, teamwork and fruitfulness, all wonderful qualities to support creativity and right-relationship between work, play and fulfilling one’s life purpose.
 
Honey Bee Hexagonal CellsWe all know bees are amazing little engineers, but probably less well known is that the blueprint of their honeycomb is based on the Genesis Pattern or Flower of Life, a form of sacred geometry. That pattern is featured in the mandala at the beginning of this newsletter which I did a week ago during a "Bloom" workshop, part of my Flower of Life Manifestation Series. The six-sided hexagonal cells bees build are not only containers for life’s sweetness but also the inherent “architecture” underlying many other structures, both physically and energetically … which leads me to the real reason I find the bee’s message particularly poignant.
 
For the last two years my three year old grand-nephew Cole has been battling an aggressive cancer Hepatic Lobuleswhich began in his liver. The human liver, just like a beehive, happens to be built of thousands of hexagonal shaped hepatic lobules. The day Cole was diagnosed hundreds of honeybees swarmed for a few hours outside my window. A dead one even ended up in the middle of my living room floor. As a shamanic practitioner I don’t take such “meaningful coincidences” lightly. The bees were clearly offering their “medicine” and in no uncertain terms.
 
Point taken, I honored their fallen comrade and symbolically placed a piece of honeycomb in my Medicine Wheel. I also began working in earnest with the Genesis pattern. Later that same year, Cole had a liver re-section where two-thirds of his liver was removed. Now livers are pretty amazing things. They re-grow. And Cole’s did. So I have a strong feeling my little bee visitors had the inside track that summer day two years ago and were giving me a heads-up on exactly how that outcome was going to be achieved …
 
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and, sadly, Cole’s right lung has now also had to be removed as the cancer has spread. Of course, lungs can’t re-grow, nor are they made up of “hexagons” like a liver. But as all energy healers know, many multiple planes and alternate realities surround our bodies, which means there are many ways to “re-build” things, other than just on the physical plane. So, was it just mere coincidence that Cole’s lung surgery just happened to take place right before the Summer Solstice  ... exactly when the honey bees returned in full force to move in behind my kitchen window?
 
Flying Honey BeeOf course, some may laugh this off as the wishful thinking of a concerned Great-Auntie. Or was that all it was? You see, bees work miracles in so many ways and shouldn’t actually be able to do a lot of the things they do. Big things, like flying. They are aerodynamically designed all wrong and their physical weight is actually too much for their tiny wings. But bees do fly. Why? Because bees don’t know they can’t fly. They just DO.
 
Here’s another little story of a miracle baby. One Sunday late last summer on my evening walk, I came across two tiny baby skunks, huddled together by a fence near a vacant lot near my home. As I knelt down beside them I saw that one baby was clearly still breathing. The other was not. My heart ached to scoop the little survivor up and take it home but my mind was wrangling with the logistics of caring for it in my second floor unit with a resident cat and nowhere to keep it safely.
 
As I pondered how best to pull this rescue operation off successfully, I spotted a young man in his early twenties walking towards me. He stopped too and then a woman from a house across the street joined us. After some conversation she ran back to her house, returned with a cardboard box and handed it to me.
 
In the short time she was gone, the young man had, surprisingly, just revealed he was a recovering alcoholic and struggling to put his life back together. In fact, that very evening he was on the way back home from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Again, as a shamanic practitioner, I don’t take a sudden and unbidden confession like that from a complete stranger lightly, especially one so personal and seemingly not relevant to the current situation. Or was it … ?
 
My instincts as a healer were now pulled in two directions but the solution was obvious. This little skunk was in desperate need of rescue and this young man desperately needed validation that his journey to sobriety was one worth taking. In short, none of what was unfolding at that moment was by “chance”.
 
Baby Skunks in a BoxIt was now up to me to trust, without a shadow of a doubt, that this down-and-out young man could do right by this helpless baby animal - and the little skunk by him. They both needed a miracle. So I held out the box and made the suggestion. As I did, I saw hope illuminate that haggard young man’s face. And I watched in silence as he knelt down and, very tenderly, eased the baby skunk into the box. The little skunk immediately started to whimper plaintively. After a few moments, the young man then gently picked up the life-less sibling and also placed it carefully in the box. Looking up at me sheepishly he said, “He needs his brother. It will comfort him tonight if I keep them together”.
 
Needless to say, I cried a lot of tears after we went our separate ways, for oh-so-many reasons. But through my tears a smile was also beaming from ear-to-ear. By letting go of my own need to rescue I knew putting trust and faith in someone else - and a higher power - might work some magic.
 
My trust and faith proved not to have been misplaced. Just a few weeks ago, as I was walking down the railway tracks near where we had found the skunks, I encountered that young man again. This time he was carrying an old discarded lamp he had picked up from the curb. When I commented on it he made a joke about how it was “lighting his way”. At first I hadn’t recognize him but then realized who he was. Tentatively I asked, “You’re the fellow who rescued the baby skunk last fall?”
 
Baby Skunk“Yes,” he said. Then he turned slowly and very deliberately so that he could look straight into my eyes … and gently corrected me: “The skunk WE rescued”. I smiled and a look of unspoken knowing passed between us.

He then proceeded to tell me how he had cared for the skunk all that night and taken it to the OSPCA the next morning. There they discovered it had a broken leg and multiple internal injuries. The OSPCA folks fixed the leg no-charge and arranged for rehab. Just like the honey bees, our community had pulled together to complete this sacred mission and amazingly, the now almost adult skunk had just been released back to the wild, only a couple of days before I met up again with his young saviour.
 
After listening to this wonderful update I turned to my unlikely hero and asked very pointedly, “So, how are YOU?”
 
“I’m fine”, he said. “I’m sober, I have a job and I’m moving out on my own again. That’s where this old lamp is going – my new home”.

As I stood watching him continue his way down the railway track I was in awe. To be a lamp that lights the way during a dark patch in a fellow creature’s journey, whatever form that lamp or creature may take ... that is surely a taste of life’s sweet nectar! And I’m sure any bees that might have happened to been flying by at that moment would have agreed. Because it doesn’t matter that humans think they can’t fly, sometimes they just DO.
 
Believe ...Faith, hope and charity … these lovely tenets are not always just wishful thinking. They are the very building blocks of life as well as the spiritual path. And so my song - my hymn - to celebrate all that is beautiful and good in this magnificent country of ours, is for the wonder of small miracles and other acts of grace, the kind that I’ve related here. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi’s enchanting Canticle of the Creatures:  “Praised be You, my Lord, for all Your creatures”.
 
Please be sure to read on or visit my Upcoming Workshops page to see what sweet opportunities I have going on in my busy little hive of a studio for you to enjoy throughout the summer!
 
May you enjoy the dance!

CJ Shelton
Artist, Instructor & Facilitator


Dancing Moon Designs
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THE STORY BEHIND THE PIECE:  "Sunny Daisies"
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady was a delightful book I discovered as a teenager filled with sweet little watercolour sketches of the natural world. Edith Holden, the gentle soul that painted them, definitely knew how to “stop and smell the flowers”.
 
Her book also had the feel of another young woman’s diary I am very familiar with, this one an original handed down through my father’s paternal line and now residing in my care. This leather-bound volume of hand-written poems is the legacy of my five times Great Aunt Caroline Lauga. And it too is illustrated with her intricate ink drawings of flowers and birds tinted with watercolour. The diary fascinated me as a young girl and I would often go down to the basement, dig it out from the bookshelves and wonder over its delicate beauty and the ancestor who created it.
 
Such inspiring women from a distant era contributed so much to my own love of art and nature and over the years both pen & ink and watercolour were to become two of my favourite mediums. I also have the distinct feeling I may now be following in these ladies' footsteps with my own ways of gathering Nature’s sweetness.

My daisy sketch above is one of several I have done recently, not only as samples for my watercolour workshops but also as studies for a much larger scale project I am working on … to be revealed when the time is right!
 
If you would like to try your own hand at being a “country lady” join one of my watercolour workshops this summer
"INTO THE MYSTICAL" Learning & Sharing Circle
Moon Quest
Share spiritual wisdom, experiences and all things of a mystical nature with like-minded souls at this monthly gathering of 'friends on the journey’. Circles are held each third Thursday of the month. PLEASE RSVP or email to be added to the notification list

UPCOMING CIRCLES

Thurs. July 20, 2017
Thurs. August 24, 2017 (NOTE - this Circle is one week later than usual to accommodate my summer holidays)
Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017
“ART IN THE ROUND” MANDALA and “ZEN-DOODLING” Parties
Book your own custom session anytime to fit your schedule. For groups of two or more. Great for families, girls-day-out or wedding groups. Please email for more info.
DRAWING LESSONS - "Seeing With New Eyes"
ONGOING Start anytime.
Pay as you go.

FOR ADULTS

Sun. Afternoons, 1-3 pm
Wed. Afternoons, 1-3 pm

Student DrawingBuild your drawing skills and learn to see the world through an artist's eyes. Newbies and more advanced welcome.

FOR YOUNG ARTISTS
Sun. Mornings, 10am-Noon
Suitable for budding artists ages 10-14 with a love of drawing. NOTE: The kids and I will be taking a break during July and August but this class resumes in September. Please contact me for info or to have your child put on the wait-list

**NEW**  ACRYLIC PAINTING CIRCLE
ONGOING Start anytime.
Pay as you go.
Thursdays
Mornings 10am-12 Noon
Afternoons 1-3 pm

Let's paint together! Bring your paints and your latest painting and join me in my studio for inspiration, ideas and help with all those tricky bits. Contact me for more info.
SUMMER WATERCOLOUR PAINTING WORKSHOPS
These are great sessions for those new to watercolour as well as those who have painted before. Each session is being offered several times throughout the summer with weekday and Saturday options.

EXPRESSIVE FLOWERS
1- 4 pm, $75 per person

CHOOSE YOUR DATE:
Saturday July 15

Friday July 28
Saturday August 5

Foxglove by CJ Shelton

SUMMER BOTANICALS
1- 4 pm, $75 per person

CHOOSE YOUR DATE:
Saturday July 15
Friday July 14

Saturday August 26

Summer Reflections by CJ Shelton
SUMMER REFLECTIONS
1-4 pm, $75 per person

CHOOSE YOUR DATE:
Sat. July 29
Fri. August 25


GARDEN PRAYER STICK WORKSHOP
NEW DATE ADDED FOR NEXT MONDAY!
Mon. July 10, 2017
9:30 am to 12:30 pm
@ Whisper Lane Wellness (between Marsville and Erin)


Garden Prayer Sticks

Every Prayer Stick has a story to tell ... what will yours say? Find your own story in this fun workshop where we creatively conjure guardian spirits to protect your garden all summer long. Enjoy a beautiful summer morning painting and decorating your very own bit of "garden art". This is a fun outdoor activity around a sacred fire that will end with a blessing ceremony.

$135 per person
JOURNEYING THROUGH THE TAROT

Tarot Mandala Spread

Have you always been curious about Tarot cards, the meaning behind their intriguing symbols and images as well as other mysteries they may hold? Look for an announcement in next month's newsletter of the Intro session for this four part series of workshops beginning again in September ... and prepare yourself for an amazing voyage of self-discovery! Email me to reserve your spot
WEARABLE ART Pendants
$45 each. 10 different designs. Drop by the studio or email your order.

Moon Tree Pendant
"Moon Tree" Design
Shamanic Consultations & Spiritual Mentoring
Are you in search of answers or experiencing a challenging life transition? 1-on-1 sessions can be booked with me at the Alton Mill to help you find solutions.

MARI® Mandala "Soul Symbol" Interpretation
Explore the 'language of your soul' in a 1-on-1 self-discovery mandala making session with interpretation and a symbol 'reading' that lets your inner wisdom shine through. Sessions by appointment at my studio. Visit my website to learn more.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so that you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. The goal is not to change who you are but to become more of who you are at your best.”

~ Author unknown
Copyright © 2017 Dancing Moon Designs, All rights reserved.


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