Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Live Painting at the Aumakua Heart Center

We are blessed to know a very special family. Lani Lee and her children have become our dear friends, and we are so grateful for them. They created the Aumakua Heart Center. "A Spiritual based community dedicated to the growth of love, acceptance, and awakening of our true selves." They hold beautiful gatherings once a month, each explores an expression of spirituality.  The gatherings also include drumming, meditation, and enjoying delicious vegan food. My family and I love them.  You can find out more about the Aumakua Gatherings at their website.... http://www.aumakuaheartcenter.com/

My family has attended the Aumakua's Spring equinox gathering, prosperity gathering, & Kundilini to name a few. I was honored to have the experience of live painting at their recent gathering about Shamanic Journey. I absolutely love shamanic journey meditation. It is a practice that resonates deeply in me. I was blessed to practice this sacred meditation frequently when I lived in South Florida, and form an intimate bond with my spirit guides through this practice. 

My shamanic journeys are usually very powerful and familiar...You can read about my journeys in one of my older blog posts called Spirit Bears.
This journey was facilitated by the talented Destiny Eurkus, a Shamanic coach and healer. You can check out her beautiful website here...http://riverswithin.com/

There is something magical and enthralling about seeing someone painting live. It usually draws a crowd. Who hasn't spent an hour or two watching Bob Ross paint "happy trees".  Inspired by Bob, and artists like Amanda Sage, and Alex Grey, I was thrilled to try it!

I sketched out my painting at home first. I would have been way to nervous to do it on the spot. I set up my easel, paints, and a few paintings, and got to work. As I painted the room filled with beautiful people, burning sage, and music. I painted as they drummed, and the energy shifted to sacred space. It was wonderful to stop and talk to people about their spirit animals, and shamanic journey as I worked. When Destiny began the journey I stopped and joined the group. My journey once again an amazing, nurturing, and profound experience, best described by my finished piece....

Thanks for reading!

Blessed Be!

Mom's Vibe

Home is where your Mom is. At least that's how it is for me. I sometimes reminisce about the houses I grew up in. I would love to know if my childhood cabin that my Dad built, is still a ranger station in Alaska. I love to visit the house in Florida on Lake Pioneer my parents built, where my Grammy still lives. Sometimes, I get sad that the house my family shared together in Colorado is no longer standing, but then I go to my Mom's and I remember she is really my home.


She moved from Reno 3 years ago, where she had been for 10 years. That is unheard of in my family, because we tend to move every 3-6 years or so. Usually, when we move, we move BIG, and this was a biggie. My Mom has lived in 2 of the most remote and un-populated places you can find in America- the Alaskan Interior & Central Nevada.

See...no dots!!

    My Mom fell in love with a sweet and adventurous man name Gary. Together the sold their houses, and started a new life together in the Arc Dome Wilderness of Central Nevada. It is a magical place with an amazing energy. Far from cities and towns, the stars are breathtaking, the air is full of sage, and there is a quiet serenity. We call it the Vortex.

Oma and Opa with the girls

Mom and Gary are dreamers in every sense, and the Vortex is perfect fodder. Having no experience, but big dreams, they designed and built a beautiful farm from the ground up. It is home to 20 alpacas, 8 great Pyrenees guardian dogs, 9 chickens, 1 roaster, a few barn cats and 2 German shepherds. The animals of their farm are cared for with constant love and compassion.

As they live this dream, they continue to dream, talking of creating spiritual retreats, building a tee-pee, digging a pond, selling it all and traveling, they dream, and they dream, and they dream. And it is all possible. It is manifestation.

Dreams manifest

When I am with my Mom I feel at home, comfortable, and at peace. Now that I am a Mom I watch her with new eyes. I see how she does little things to make us feel welcome and show she is excited for us to be there. Extra care she puts into making our beds, preparing our rooms, games, and toys she gets for the girls. I watch how she interacts with my girls. Engaging them in almost every chore, and activity. I see how important she makes Madilyn feel to help her Oma. I see how her day ebbs and flows from rest, to work and productivity, back to rest again. I am inspired by how she does small tasks through out the day that I don't even realize if I don't watch closely. ~She is talking to me laughing, but wiping off the counter. She is telling a story, while she straightens a cupboard. She dreaming out loud, while she waters her garden. I love this about my Mom. I tend to have an all or nothing attitude about the maintenance and chores in my life. I think I have to set aside an hour to clean or work on my house. My Mom blends it into her day with ease and grace.

She and Gary have created a special place, in a special place. I am so grateful to have this place get centered and grounded, through work, play, rest, and time with my family. This post is simply to express my immense gratitude to my Mom the dreamer, and for the Vortex.

~My Mom recently started selling her beautiful alpaca fiber and yarn. You can check it out here... https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlueSpringsAlpacas

 Autumn's Muse

Fall is here!! I love it! You love it! We ALL love Fall!
I was thrilled to participate in a wonderful art show at the end of September celebrating the magic of fall, called Autumn's Muse. 

The show was held at the funky Mystic Eye Studio on Haight Street in San Francisco. The Mystic Eye is the studio of talented, Cameron Chernoff.  You can peep his website and cosmic artwork here... http://mysticeyestudio.com

Inspired by the magical theme of the show I created 4 new paintings. Embracing my Wiccan roots, each painting is a spell and features a powerful totem and many other magical properties, inspired by this shadowy season. 

The Raven’s Alter”

Magical Properties:

 Raven Spirit Guide-

A keeper of magical secrets, known for its abilities to tell the future and read omens. It is known to fly between the dark and light and bring messages from the Spirit world.

 Deer Antler-

Symbol of gentleness unconditional love, & kindness

 Rune Cast-

-Spiritual Warrior

 Citron Crystal

Clears negative energy

 Pink Tourmaline Crystal-

Brings balance & alignment for spiritual growth

"The Spider’s Alter”

Magical Properties:

 Spider Spirit Guide-

Power, Mystery, & Growth.

Grandmother spider is the sacred weaver of the Web of Life. She is the Beginning, but also the End.

 The Flower of Life-

An ancient form of Sacred Geometry that represents Time, Space, & the connection of all beings

 Raven Skull-

The Raven is known as a messenger for the spirit world, and balance of dark and light.

 Garnet Stone-

Can purify the body and grant protection

“The Owl’s Alter”

Magical Properties:

 Owl Spirit Guide-

A guide to Shamans with detailed knowledge of Spiritual Realms.

 Dream Catcher-

Our dreams are messages from Spirit.

The dream catcher lets thru these messages, while catching the bad dreams

 Maple Leaves-

Symbol of grace during transition. Surrender

"The Black Cat’s Alter”
Magical Properties:

 Cat Spirit Guide-

 Sensitive and sensual, Black Cat teaches courage to explore the unknown. They possess natural magical powers, & harmony between light & dark, action & observation, tame & wild

 White Sage Smudge-

Clearing, calming, & purifying. Cleanses space of negative energy.

 Carnelian Stones-

Brings Empowerment, Prosperity, & Grounding

 Turkey Feathers-

Symbol of Abundance
 Rune Cast-
-Interconnectedness with humankind
-Mystery & occult abilities
-Great victory, power, & success
 Deer Antler-
Symbol of gentleness unconditional love, & kindness
 Oak Acorns-
Symbol of fertility & protection

The Autumn's Muse show was an intimate night of amazing artwork and incredible music. I was thrilled to see my sweet friend Isaiah Douglas perform again. Isaiah organized the show, played a great set on his acoustic guitar and is also a member of The Open World Tribe, who also performed. His music is full of soul, powerful affirmations, and beautiful imagery. 

This was my first time seeing The Open World Tribe. They are a fantastic group, who filled the studio with their amazing music and so much joy! You can check them out at their super cool website here....  theopenworldtribe.com

I am so honored to have been part of this event. It was fantastic to see the space fill with strangers, and by the end of the evening it was humming with excitement as new relationships and friendship were made. Art and music are such a unifying force, and truly does bring us together.

 Have a magical Fall!!


Saturday, July 16, 2016


 About the Show:

In early January of this year, I was thrilled to be invited to be part of a cooperative art show with the Concord Community of Artists. The CCoA's founder Sylvia Nuzzo Philis, hatched the idea for the show and concept.  Sylvia began meeting with all of the participating artists to discuss the theme and arrangements. It was so cool to be part of the process of creating an event like this.

My friend Lisa Fulmer, put her expertise in social media and marketing to work promoting the artists and the event. It was awesome to see all of her blogs, articles, and interviews leading up to the event. She created a buzz and a lot of excitement.  Here is a link to my interview with Lisa: http://concordartsalive.blogspot.com/2016/05/meet-artist-michelle-cicala.html?m=1


The name of the show was Sight/Unseen, and it's theme was identity. Each artist explored their ancestry, and culture for their piece. I immediately knew what I would paint. Or Who I would paint rather. I have wanted to paint my Great Grandmother for a while now. I saw this as the Universe giving me the nudge to take it on.

Sight/Unseen's theme made each piece of artwork extremely personal. Each piece was accompanied by a narrative written about the work by the artist. Rarely is an artist given the opportunity to explain their inspiration -usually the art is left to speak for it's self. The narratives were wonderful and made the show very intimate.

Here are a few photos of my Granny I used as inspiration for my painting.

This is the dress she is wearing in my painting
Granny looking out the back door
Granny in her chair. I adore this photo!

 Here is my narrative and painting:


 My Granny, Elsie May Scott, was born in Central Florida in 1914. She was married at the age of 14, and had 5 children by the time she was 21. She had 12 children, 11 survived. She was pregnant for a total of 9 years of her life. She was married for over 60 years.  At the time of her death in 2009, she was a Grandmother to 34, had 56 Great Grandchildren, and 19 Great-Great Grandchildren.

She has been an inspiration to generations of Mothers and Grandmothers in my family. She is honored and remembered as a woman of courage and faith; a strong and nurturing Mother; a Grandmother of kindness; and a wise Great Grandmother full of history and love.

I remember her as a hardworking woman, storyteller, homemaker, and an amazing seamstress. I recollect the flowers in her yard, the smell of her making lunch, and her laugh. I close my eyes a see her resting in her chair, with her feet up, and a big cat in her lap. Granny’s biscuits are famous in my family.  I cannot count the times that I have reminisced with family members about her, only to shake our heads and muse over how she could have done it all. I am so honored to have known her, and so blessed to belong to her.

As a mother I have called upon her for strength and guidance. In the flow of creativity I evoke her help and inspiration. To me, she is a Guardian, a Muse, and a Goddess.

Sylvia encouraged all of us from the beginning to step out of our comfort zone for this piece. Try a medium, subject, or technique that we normally wouldn't. I did this by painting a portrait. I tend to paint animals, so this was fun. A large overall theme for my work focuses on Spirit Animals. I wanted to include this with my portrait as well. My Great Grandparent's home was in the country. Surrounded by cows, dogs, raccoon, birds, chickens, cats, and lots of other critters. I asked some of my cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and my Grandmother for their memories of Granny. They helped me decide on the flora and the big white cat. I am so pleased with how it turned out. I feel I was able to capture her nurturing nature and the Central Florida vibe I associate her with so much!

This show was a wonderful! It was my first gallery experience. It was much different than setting up for a show geared toward selling and displaying a lot of paintings and prints. I didn't have to worry about set up or weather conditions. All I had to do was dress up and show up! My painting is very special to me and wasn't for sale, so their was no pressure there!

It was held at the Artist Den in downtown Concord. The Artist's Den has a wonder mission to engage people with disabilities in the creative process. They have a studio, classes, and a gallery space. We were so lucky to share their space and promote each other with this event.

Gus and the girls checking out the show
All of the artwork  had a wide range of perspectives. It was amazing to see visitors move from piece to piece reading the narratives, and taking in the interpretations. The mood was cheerful excitement set to live music performed by local Concord musicians.

I loved every minute of Sight/Unseen. It's success was due to the amazing creativity of all the artists, musicians, and all the hard work and planning of Sylvia Nuzzo Philis and Social Media Guru, Lisa Fulmer. I look forward to future endeavors with this group. They are a class act!

Some of the wonderful artists of Sight/Unseen
To see all of the Artist's interviews, and their work follow this link:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Finding the Gratitude~

Finding the Gratitude~

 May 6th 2016

The last weeks with my Dad were full of hope, worry, and love.  We didn’t know how sick he was. We didn’t know how much time he had left, or what his wishes were. We didn’t know he was about to make his transition. One of the hardest parts of the experience, was that there was so much uncertainty.

I miss my Dad every day. He has been gone over 2 years now, and I am still realizing what a loss his death is to me. Losing him was the hardest, most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. It left me numb and disconnected with my spirituality for sometime, and changed the way I view life and death forever.  Yet, I see now that there were blessings. I can see that the Goddess was there wrapping her arms around him and us. I can see that miracles were taking place.


My Dad’s father had a stroke in 2011 and has been in a nursing home ever since. A few weeks before my Dad passed away, he got sick with a virus. He was taken to the same hospital my Dad was receiving care.  This was one only times he has ever left the nursing home since arriving there.  At the time it seemed like too much. Too much to ask my Grandmother to bear. However, once my Grandfather quickly recovered, he was able to visit with my Dad. My Dad was able to be in the same room with his Mother, Father, sister and brother. They were all reunited one last time. They sat together, talked, told stories, laughed, and were able to say goodbye.  It was a blessing that could not have been planned, arranged, or even thought to pray for. It was truly a gift.



The day of my father’s service was one of sorrow I have never felt before. Surrounded my family and friends, we honored his memory, spirit, and adventures. I felt like a ghost of myself as we floated in the funeral procession to the cemetery with Pink Floyd as our soundtrack. I cried on the shoulder of my sister like I have never cried before. I felt that I could never leave his grave or feel anything but sadness ever again. It seemed too real and like a dream at the same time.

Later that night after my family had retired, my sister, my husband, and I were the only ones left awake. We were emotionally exhausted, and hollow. I got sick. I had been getting sick to my stomach all week. My sister’s stress had shown its self physically with a bad rash on her skin. I thought getting sick was an outward sign of my internal suffering. I blamed stress.  My husband had other ideas, and although I dismissed the idea completely he went out and got a pregnancy test.


And so, on the day I thought I would never shift from grief and loss, I found myself standing with my husband and sister, staring in disbelief at a very positive pregnancy test. It was then revealed to me just how intricate Great Spirit’s plan is. The miracle of life and death came full circle in that moment, and although I can’t begin to fathom the power and beauty, I know that even in my darkest hours I am blessed and cared for by the God and Goddess. My life is not as simple as black or white / good or bad. I have experienced that even on my darkest days I can find gratitude, if I am willing to look for it.


****If the language I use to describe my concept of Higher Power makes you uncomfortable, please feel free to substitute your own. It’s easy. I do it all the time. ;)