Friday, January 23, 2015

Spirit Bears

By: Michelle Cicala

When I lived in Florida, I would participate in a lot of guided meditation groups.  There was a very special group of people that would gather at my dear friends John Wulf and Laura Hughes' house. With the deep and reassuring voice of John as my guide, I would journey into my self. I would process many feelings during the meditations, and observe the shifts of my consciousness. I would feel unsure of my ability to do it "right". I would feel profound connection to my fellow meditators, and to my guide. I would feel hope and excitement, centered and grounded. I would float out of the room at the end of the evening.

  Grizzly Moon ~ by Michelle Cicala

Once a month we would do a shamanic journey - lead by my friend Frank. The four directions would be called upon, to help us create a sacred space. Sage would smoulder, and smell so good, earthy, and fresh. We would begin to drum together. The energy would rise, and build, louder and faster, and then stop. Silence would follow, and seem so loud in its stillness.

 Blue Moon Bear ~ by Michelle Cicala

When the time was right we would begin our shamanic journey. Frank, with feathers in his hair, would strike his drum with a slow steady beat, while circling the room. Slowly the beat would grow quicker, and quicker, growing in urgency. I would sit listening, breathing, and in my mind I would be walking down a dirt road on a bright sunny day. The clouds and sky were beautiful, and the land is rolling hills of  yellow green dry grass. The beat of the drum is the rhythm of my foot steps, and as they become more rapid, I begin to run. I veer off into dark green cool forest of redwood trees. The sun light is dappled in here, the sky is covered by the tall trees and branches. There are pine needles under my feet, as I run even faster now.
Blue Moon Bear Detail

Suddenly, the drumming stops and there is a cave. I have been here many times. I was born here. I am coming home. Inside it is dark, and warm, and silent. I let my fingers rub the rock walls as I walk deeper into the cave. I feel the ancient hieroglyphs drawn and carved into the stone by my ancestors. Pictures of animals, moose, caribou, and bears.
 Gazing Bear ~ by Michelle Cicala

I can hear his breathing, before my eyes adjust enough to make out his huge shape. The spirit bear is sleeping. His brown shaggy fur is dreaded and matted, and I can smell him. I lay down, and curl up next to him. Without a sound, or change in his rhythmic breathing, he lifts his massive paw and embraces me. This is where I was born. I am home.

Gazing Bear Detail

Stillness, silence, and breath, is all there is in this moment. I've come here with questions, but those are all gone now. Here with my spirit bear, all is understood.
We don't always sleep. He has talked with me, shown me the hieroglyphs that decorate his home. Sometimes, I find him outside. I use his shaggy hair to pull my self up on his back, and ride him through the forest. But tonight I just rest beneath his heavy paw.
Traveling Home ~ by Michelle Cicala

I hear the drum again. Its time to travel home. I silently thank the spirit bear - for all his wisdom, love, and power. I make my way back out, into the forest. Frank's drum is speeding up, and so do I. Out into the forest, and back out to the road. 
The drum is silent. I am back inside my body. I am back in John and Laura's living room, with my fellow travelers. They have all taken their own journeys, to the places, and with the spirits that have called to them.  I wiggle my fingers, and my toes. I stretch my arms above my head, it feels luxurious. I open my eyes, and I giggle.

Silver Moon ~ by Michelle Cicala

Many of the Spirit Bear Paintings are still available in my Etsy Shop.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my journey. I feel so happy to have a forum to share it with you.
Michelle Cicala

Thursday, January 22, 2015

 The Divine Mother Series

By Michelle Cicala

I took some time off. I didn't plan to stop painting for a year, it just happened.  I was a new mom, pregnant, and mourning the loss of my sweet Dad.  I was still making things - dolls, dresses, mobiles - for my girls and for my Etsy store, but I had no urge to pick up a paint brush.
Moon Goddess

A few months after Amelia was born, there was a shift.  One night after my little family was all tucked in, I found myself sketching! Soft simple feminine forms, embracing their children. Nurturing and loving their children. Mothers ~ Goddesses and babies!  
Mother Goddess

I was reminded of the simple line drawings of the Athabascan artwork my parents collected when we lived in Alaska. Round, simple figures, performing everyday tasks. Primitive, tribal, familiar.

 Traveling Home

 I started to paint. It flowed. I was excited! Sometimes, the baby would cry and I have to would stop in mid-stroke. Sometimes, she sat in my lap and nursed, like she is now. In the mornings after breakfast, my 2 year old, Madilyn, and I would paint together. 


Mother with Twins 
I am extremely pleased with this series. These Divine Mothers are so lovely to me. I feel that my prayer has been heard, and that my gratitude has been expressed.  I feel ecstatic to be painting again!  I am especially grateful to have found my process.  A way to make time for myself, and for my art.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share it with you!
Love and Light,
Michelle Cicala
 The Divine Mother Series is available in my Etsy Shop.

My Prayer of Gratitude:

The Divine Mother's healing current, 

flows through our hearts as compassion, 

it fills our bodies with sweet nourishment, 

and blesses our spirit with her divine wisdom, 

and the wisdom of all mothers