Just Believe, this Holy Night ...
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Unto Us by CJ Shelton
“Unto Us - Solstice 2015” by CJ Shelton, from the Grace Collection

In a Manger, in a Stable
Unto us this Holy Night a Little Baby is Born ...

The Winter Solstice is a time for focusing on the sacredness of Nature as we encourage light to return from out of the darkness. As the world holds its breath during its dimmest moment, it is in the recognition of a miracle or a blessing taking place that we once again feel hope renewing, even in a year that may have been fraught with challenges and adversity. Nature’s constant cycle of birth, death and rebirth reminds us that nothing remains the same except the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’.
On our journeys around the Wheel of Life we all experience extreme polarities of dark and light, from great sadness and fear to abundant joy and gratitude. Often it is the things we take for granted - the warmth of the sun, the safety of our homes, the health of someone we love - that sometimes take a sudden unexpected turn, forcing us to face a wall of darkness. But eventually a faint point of light appears, and grows steadily, and what once was a black moment becomes recognition that somewhere along the way a miracle has occurred … all while the Wheel gently turned.
It has become a regular tradition for me to create a new piece of art for the winter solstice that reflects the energies present at that particular time. Every solstice marks the ending of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. My latest piece above called “Unto Us” marks the brilliance of that transition point when a miracle occurs and something new and vital is born - or reborn - following a period of darkness.
In its simple expression of a mother’s wonderment at the miracle shining before her, “Unto Us” has both very personal as well as global meaning. 2015, like many years, was one of extreme highs and lows, of almost unimaginable heartaches counterpointed by great triumphs of the spirit. We all bore witness to heinous world events followed by great outpourings of caring and assistance. And we all know someone who experienced trials that pierced straight into the heart of their personal lives. But something miraculous arises between the polarities of dark and light when we allow ourselves to just believe … because regardless of what faith or spiritual tradition we follow, hope and love is what ultimately gets us through and is what we celebrate this special time of year.
Unto Us” is the latest piece in my Grace Collection which I introduced this year to reflect the qualities it takes to be a true hero - humility, boldness, courage and of course, grace. These qualities are not only played out on the world’s stage but often in the most ordinary of lives led by the smallest and most unassuming of souls … yet it is often their extraordinary stories of courage that have the power to touch thousands upon thousands of hearts.
Baby Foal Head Detail‘Just believe’ was my mantra this year, not only for my own life journey, but for what I saw played out in many other very different types of journeys:  from my own brave baby grand-nephew battling head-on with cancer, to the equine hero American Pharoah achieving the impossible dream as the first horse to win the Triple Crown of American horse racing in 37 years, to our peace-loving Canada generously opening its doors to welcome thousands of Syrian refugee families, I have no doubt all heroes feel, at some point, much like the young couple Mary and Joseph did as they set out on their journey over 2000 years ago to deliver a message of hope. “Just believe” is a mantra I will continue to carry with me through 2016 for it is unto us that every child, every dream and every life is a gift, a gift of light and spirit, all the more precious because it is here and present at this special time of year.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino
To each of you who support and follow my work, I would like to offer my gratitude and say a heart-felt thank you. Many of you have expressed how much you enjoy this newsletter, so it is now my turn to thank all of you for allowing me to share my creative journey ‘under the dancing moon’. And as we give thanks on this sacred Solstice night for the darkness it honours and the light that it births, my wish is that grace and love flow through you, as it does for all those who believe …
With many blessings and much love,

CJ Shelton
Artist & Healing Arts Practitioner

Dancing Moon Designs
Illuminating the Creative Spirit ...

PS ... some of my upcoming workshops scheduled for January and February 2016 are now posted on my website at

If you would like to make any last-minute purchases of products or services from my studio for Christmas, please feel free to contact me at 519-942-2018 or to place your order or drop by my studio at the Alton Mill Arts Centre. The Mill will be open until 3 pm on Christmas Eve and payment can be accepted by cash, VISA and Mastercard. Gift certificates can also be purchased.
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