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July 2016
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Wild at Heart
Real Life, Real Magic ... 


“And above all, watch with glittering eyes
the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” 

~ Roald Dahl

Mother Loon on Nest

As I look back on the first half of this summer I find myself savouring a storehouse of “walks on the wild side”, those sudden magical encounters with Nature that occur in an unexpected manner. These spontaneous happenstances are my soul’s delight, yet, it is a well-known fact that good things also come to those who wait ...

In last month’s newsletter I wrote about my trip down memory lane this past June, enroute to a retreat in Algonquin Park. One of my primary goals that weekend was to go “moose-hunting”. In all my years I was yet to have a close encounter with two of our greatest Canadian icons, the loon and the moose; hearing a loon’s mournful cry on a Haliburton lake in the morning mist and squinting through binoculars at a far-off meandering moose in British Columbia when I was a teenager was all I could lay claim to.

Water LilyDuring my retreat I had an opportunity to take a boat ride with a retired park ranger on Little Joe Lake. No moose were to be found that day, only stories about the mother and baby seen on yesterday’s trip ... which only made me hungrier for my own story.

As we searched several typical “moosey” haunts like swamps, secluded coves and such, the ranger told us how moose are frequently seen in June when lily pad shoots are fresh and inviting. Moose are salt-deprived all winter long and the tender new lily pads are full of sodium, hence the many iconic photos of moose standing knee-deep in water with long dripping strands of greenery hanging from their mouths. The ditches along roads like Highway 60 through Algonquin Park are also known to collect water that is laden with salt run-off from winter road-clearing. The moose eagerly seek these ditches out to drink from and replenish themselves.

Although I was disappointed, yet again, to not see the elusive moose, I was rewarded in another most unexpected way. Turns out the ranger was keeping quiet about something he discovered two days earlier. Mother Loon on NestWithout explanation he suddenly cut the motor of the boat and let it drift as we entered a shallow cove. I was the first to spot flashes of black and white and there, among the reeds, a loon was sitting on its nest. I was enthralled! And while I was concerned as the boat drifted just a tad too close, the mother loon never flinched. In fact, if anything, she appeared totally unruffled. I like to think it was perhaps because I spoke quietly to her the whole time, assuring her we meant no harm. Nonetheless, the result was the two utterly spectacular photos (if I do say so myself) in this newsletter, which I shot from only about six feet away from her.

As amazing as that experience was, I had made a wish upon a moose and gosh-darn-it, a moose I was determined to find. So, to wind up my retreat I vowed to drive Highway 60 until I found one. A word of advice? The best way to spot moose - a tricky affair at the best of times but especially when you are driving solo and trying to eyeball both the road ahead and ditches to the side - is to look for cars parked on the shoulder. After just missing seeing yet another mother and baby, I was told by a fellow moose-hunting driver that a bull moose had been spotted just 5 km down the road. So off I went again, a-hunting!

And yes, I was finally rewarded with my very first moose encounter, a huge young bull, standing majestically, only twenty feet from the side of the road ... as if he was waiting for ME to finally show up.

Young Bull Moose

I was shaking so much from excitement I barely managed to get the amazing photo above in focus. But what a classic it is! And worth every moment I have waited to get it.

Even after that thrill though, I still continued on Highway 60 to the East Gate of Algonquin and back again, marveling the whole way at how many times I have said I want to see a moose, just preferably not right in front of my car. But you know that other oft-use phrase, “be careful what you wish for?" In this case it was more like, "be careful what you repeat many times over", which I believe is a critical factor when invoking the Law of Attraction.

Young Female Moose in DitchAnd yes, you guessed it! Fortunately, I saw my next close encounter coming in plenty of time, because this second moose was a pretty road-savvy female who stopped to look both ways before crossing. Amazingly, not until my car and the one coming towards me had slowed to a complete halt did she amble across the road with a nod to each of us to say, “thanks”. She then waded into the ditch for a drink. With the straight-from-the-ranger’s mouth information I had gotten the day before, I knew exactly what she was after.

Moose are the most ungainly creatures, all legs and long snout. And huge! They are pretty spectacular up close, which is exactly what I wanted to experience. As do most people. Moose are frequently the cause of traffic jams in Algonquin, which was how my third (yes, third!) encounter in less than two hours happened. Driving around a large curve I suddenly came upon a dozen or more cars at the side of the road, parked at haphazard angles. And yes, the source of commotion was yet another female. This one had attracted so much attention that a park ranger soon pulled up with car siren blaring. But the moose simply stared at him nonchalantly as she kept swilling salt water.

Moose AttitudeIt seems the rangers literally have to “pull out the big guns” to deal with such situations. Much to the dismay of everyone watching, out came what appeared to be a very large rifle which, thank goodness, turned out to be merely a paint-ball gun. But this particular moose wasn’t having any of it. Yes, she jumped when he fired it loudly up in the air. And she jumped again with the second shot, but then stood and turned her head to slyly look back at him … and proceeded to give him what can only be politely referred to as the veritable “moose finger”, a perfectly steaming pile of it! You could literally hear her saying, “take that Ranger-Man!” as she sauntered off slowly, totally the Mistress of her Domain. Needless to say, she had everyone howling with laughter at the ranger’s expense. No one rules the moose in Algonquin; the moose rule Algonquin.

I am most satisfied that I put the Law of Attraction to very good use on that trip, in more ways than one. Moose is what I went for and moose I got - times three, no less - along with some totally unexpected bonuses thrown in for good measure. Of course, in my world that is not just real life, its real magic. My moose encounters may have been a lifetime in the making but for those of us wild at heart, we know good things do indeed come to those who wait.

The lazy, hazy days of August are now right on our doorstep so be sure to make the most of them. While I will be taking some down time myself, there are still plenty of opportunities to gift yourself with a creative experience at my studio, so be sure to check out the remainder of my summer schedule. Fall workshops will be listed soon!

May you enjoy the dance!

CJ Shelton
Artist, Instructor & Healing Arts Practitioner


Dancing Moon Designs
Illuminating the Creative Spirit through
the Symbol of the Circle ...

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THE STORY BEHIND THE PIECE ..."Raven Spirit"
I pulled this image out of my archives because it features yet another of our great northern icons, although I suspect many people might consider ravens more pest than icon. This piece was one of the first mandalas I did back in 2010 when I was still only visualizing the future of Dancing Moon Designs, so it has a special kind of magic, just like real ravens do.

While I work extensively with Crow "medicine” and often call on its insatiable trickster curiosity to help me out creatively, Raven is more like Crow’s mysterious and magical older cousin, the “big gun”, so to speak.

Raven’s wisdom includes introspection, courage, self-knowledge, magic, mysticism and healing. It also represents creation and rebirth and is known as a keeper of secrets, a master magician and consummate shape-shifter. These qualities are also possessed by Crow, but in Raven they are deeper. Not better, just deeper …

The Medicine Wheel vortex backdrop dynamically illuminates the Raven’s silhouette and is literally the energy of creation in motion.

This particular Raven remained with me for many years until it finally flew away to a new home to do some mischief there. And while Crow is my day-to-day companion, I frequently call on Raven's magic when I need to accomplish very specific tasks.

So consider where in your own life a little Raven-Spirit could help out … but be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

Original SOLD, Cards with this image $10 each
"INTO THE MYSTICAL" Learning 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’.

NEXT CIRCLE:
Potpourri & Potluck!
Special Day & Time this month only - Thurs. August 25, 6-9 pm
Join us for a relaxed evening of snacking and discussion. Bring a favourite treat to share as well as your mystical questions. This month's Circle will be open forum and an opportunity to discuss whatever comes up! If you are a first-timer and would like to experience what "Into the Mystical" is all about, please pre-register by emailing me your question or a topic you would like to discuss.
HEADWATERS ARTS FESTIVAL 20th Anniversary
SAVE THE DATES: Sept. 16 through Oct. 10, 2016

Our regions' most prestigious Juried Art Show & Sale returns to the Alton Mill Arts Centre for three weeks. Be sure to come by my studio #206 on the upper level during the festival to view the new pieces I've been preparing for this annual big event.
Create & Colour Mandala “ART IN THE ROUND” and “ZEN-DOODLING” Parties

Book your own custom session anytime to fit your schedule. For groups of two or more. Discounts are available for large groups. Please call for a quote.

Art in the Round MandalaCelebrate and express your collective creativity by making memories with family, girlfriends or wedding group as you make beautiful “art in the round” or “tangled” designs together.

Sessions can be held in the tranquil environment of my studio or at your community location. No artistic ability needed. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
 
DRAWING LESSONS - "Seeing With New Eyes"
ONGOING SESSIONS
all Summer long!

Sun. Mornings 10am-12pm
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. Start anytime. Pay as you go.
 
**NEW** WATERCOLOUR SKETCHING WORKSHOPS
Discover Nature in a whole new way. The response to these workshops has been amazing! Thank you to all who have participated so far.

UPCOMING DATES: While the remaining summer sessions are full, I will be scheduling more for the fall. If you would like to be added to the waiting list please email me to pre-register.
Watercolour sketch
You can take just one workshop or several! $75 for a single session or three for $200.
 
**Experience the relaxing art of Zen-Doodling**

Zen Doodle‘BOUNTIFUL HARVEST’ Zen Doodle WorkshopSat. August 27, 2016 from 1-4 pm.
$40 per person.
Celebrate the rich bounty and harvest that Mother Nature offers us with this end-of-summer session of meditation and art. No experience necessary.
WEARABLE ART Pendants
$40.00 each. 10 different designs to choose from. Drop by the studio to purchase or email me your order.

Wolf Run Pendant
"Wolf Run" Pendant
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 or Breakthrough Centre in Brampton 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.
“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."

~ Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

 
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