The Return of the Spring Goddess
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Art in the Garden

Sharing Nature's Canvas

Ahhh … was there ever anything more beautiful than fresh green leaves, a bright yellow sun and gardens full of pink, white, purple and red flowers. Nature’s colourful canvas has finally burst out all over and I’m sure we can all agree it’s about time!
As we welcome the return of the Spring Goddess it is a time to rejoice, although it can be bittersweet as we remember and honour some of the harshness and losses of this past winter. All are part of the cycle between dark and light, birth and death on the ever-turning Great Wheel of Life. This is Nature’s way – out of endings come beginnings and out of birth comes growth. Growth means constant change and inevitably a return to some sort of ending. And so the Wheel goes round and round …
But now we can release memories of the cold and ice and revel in Nature's simple beauty. So this month I decided to share some pictures taken on my daily walks through one of the local conservation areas along the Credit River. This particular spot is my slice of paradise. I have been watching the wildflowers unfold here in this little wooded copse I call the ‘trillium forest’. Have you ever noticed that some trilliums are pink? Pink and white trilliums are actually one and the same — the flower’s white petals simply turn pink as they age.
Along with the trilliums this forest is also home to a multitude of chipmunks who chatter and chirp back and forth with each other the moment someone enters their 'chippy-condo' haven. Elsewhere, the flycatchers, orioles and tree swallows are less gossipy, singing their sweet hearts out to passers-by.
The path to the trillium forest is through a field that is now in the long process of being converted to naturalized tall-grass prairie habitat. Two tree ‘guardians’ hold the sides of a subtle energy portal within this landscape. It is a lovely place to stand and soak up vibrations from Mother Earth while the wind blows through you… and I do mean through you. There is a definite shift in the energies at this particular spot.
It seemed like the magnolia blossoms were here and gone in the blink of an eye. So too were the hawthorne and apple which seemed to have taken a hard hit this winter … some bloomed gloriously while other trees didn’t produce at all.
Winter’s toll can be seen elsewhere in this ancient ‘standing one’ I have named the 'Venerable Old Tree of the Forest’, a pine that has probably seen at least 200 years. Its top section broke off during the ice storm this past winter, but still it thrives, lord over all other trees in the area which pale in comparison to its mighty size.
And finally, here is the end product of the goose nest that was in last month's newsletter. The Alton millpond functions each spring as a nursery and I am happy to report that seven little goslings were safely hatched to this very protective pair.

For me this Solstice is the beginning of a wonderful summer of showing my canvases alongside Nature's. Fellow artist Lucille Weber is busy preparing her gorgeous home and garden in Inglewood to welcome visitors to her annual Art in the Garden Show. I am very excited to have been asked to be a guest artist along with our colleague, glass artist Bridget Wilson. All of us will be exhibiting a selection of works at this unique indoor/outdoor venue. The show runs two weekends Saturday June 14/Sunday June 15 and Saturday June 21/Sunday June 22 and I will be running Prayer Stick workshops in honour of the Solstice so please join us and create a bit of your own garden art! More info is on Lucille’s website at

My other exciting event this summer is A Weekend in the Woods – An Experience in the Elements of Nature. At this totally outdoors holistic festival in the Hockley Valley August 16 & 17 you can learn about the elements of Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Storm and how balancing them within ourselves improves our health and well-being. There will be an outdoor wellness marketplace (be sure to stop by my tent!), one-on-one sessions with local practitioners, workshops and other interactive activities. I am thrilled to be creating a series of paintings especially for this event. You can check out the first one, “Genesis – The Wheel of All” and its creation story at as well as read other details about this amazing show.

So as spring and summer flirt with each other throughout the month of June, I hope you find time to stop, smell the roses (because the trilliums are almost gone now!) and soak up Nature’s bounty as well as the Solstice sunshine!

May you enjoy the dance!

CJ Shelton
Artist & Shamanic Practitioner

Dancing Moon Designs
Illuminating the Creative Spirit ...

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THE STORY BEHIND THE PIECE ..."Return of the Spring Goddess"
This piece was created for the cover of In Vibe magazine, Spring 2012 edition. It captures the moment of the Spring Goddess’ return and the greening of the earth.

Nature is personified in many cultures as a Great Mother Goddess who can appear in one or all of three aspects: Maiden, Mother or Old Wise Woman. The Maiden aspect is a metaphor for when winter gives way to spring. One of the most familiar stories about 'Mother Nature' is in the Greek myth of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, and her daughter Persephone who was abducted by Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Demeter (the Mother aspect of the Goddess) was so grief stricken she caused all vegetation to die unless her daughter was returned to her. Only after a deal was struck whereby Persephone (the Maiden) agreed to spend six months of each year in the Underworld as Hade's Queen (Wise Woman) could she return bringing the sun and new life to the world above.

This piece celebrates the Maiden's annual return and with it the understanding that the Great Wheel of Life is ever-turning - out of any kind of loss or change eventually comes rebirth.

Prints are available of this image

Art in the Garden
Two weekends, June 14/15 and 21/22 in Inglewood An exhibition of new work with fellow artists Lucille Weber and Bridget Wilson.


A Weekend in the Woods - Experience the Elements of Nature - Hockley Valley, August 16/17
An inspiring holistic event to empower mind, body and spirit.

The Quest Within with CJ Shelton - 5 day Retreat at Grail Springs Wellness Centre & Spa in Bancroft - August 24-29
Treat yourself to a week of peace, pampering and self-discovery this summer.
Art in the Round Intro to Mandala Making

Sat. June 28
"Nature Made" Theme

Sat. July 26
"Animal Spirit" Theme

Drawing Lessons - "Seeing With New Eyes"
Wednesdays throughout the summer.
Start anytime. Pay as you go. (pre-registration required)
The Seasonal Cycle of the Year Workshop Series
Discover inspired and magical ways of engaging with Nature.

Summer Solstice Prayer Stick Workshops
During Art in the Garden Show in Inglewood
Sat. June 14, 1-4 pm
Sat. June 21, 1-4 pm
Shamanic Sessions
By appointment Wednesdays through Fridays at the Alton Mill and twice monthly at Breakthrough Centre in Brampton

MARI® Mandala "Soul Symbol" Interpretation
Explore the 'language of your soul' in a one-on-one self-discovery session. The MARI system provides a visual and symbolic snapshot of what's currently going on in your life, allowing you to access your own inner wisdom and achieve more clarity. You already have the answers within you. Sessions by appointment in my studio at the Alton Mill. Visit my website to learn more about this fascinating process.
"Nature's own masterpieces will never go away. If I am able to cast just a few of them in favorable light, and convince you, the viewer, to look at them again with greater appreciation and perhaps a fresh perspective, then I have succeeded as an artist."
~ Scott L. Christensen

"Nature seems to have poured forth her riches so without calculation, merely to mark the fullness of her joy."
~  Margaret Fuller

Copyright © 2014 Dancing Moon Designs, All rights reserved.

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