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I have so much I want to do together in this workshop! The idea of exploring  the connection between art and spirit animals has been stirring and steeping in my heart for so long that now the moment is here I find I am a bit beside myself with an excess of enthusiasm. So I will breathe deeply, set my intentions for an open and loving heart and simply follow the thread at my feet. Left, right, up, down or backwards. It doesn't matter. If I follow the thread one step to the next I know the workshop will emerge exactly the way it is meant to. 

The purpose of this workshop is to bring to life a tangible animal guide that is just right for you. Initially we will explore the concept of spirit animals and get to know more about the rich layers of symbolism and meaning that  they have come to embody in the minds of human beings. We're going to explore our connections to the animal world and ultimately discover the animal or animals that will provide you with meaningful guidance along your creative journey. 


To make your life easier I've added the links below.


Welcome to Wild Whispers

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Hello my friends:) I am quite happy and humbled to be present in this moment writing a message of welcome to all of you.  Thank you for being here! I can't quite convey with words how much it means to me that you're here and willing to walk side by side down the path of creativity  to ......where?  Where are we headed in this workshop?

....Fair question....

But the question of where this path of creativity leads is exactly the one we need to lay aside in order to get the most from the workshop. We wont' be doing any goal setting here.

Everything we do from here on will be focused on deepening our desire to create heart filled art.  Desire itself is a force that gives momentum to our creative endeavors and fuels our creative  practice.

My friend Jeanne-Marie says that in order to grow as artists we need lots and lots of "time in the seat". This means to have a passionate dedication to our creative practice. 

The challenge for me has always been how to sustain this state of deep dedication.  We already know we don't have to do this alone because we have our creative community for support and encouragement. I adore my tribe of artist friends and can't imagine life without them.  But what I secretly wanted was a twin to commiserate with. Someone who truly understood my quirks and soft spots....   I sooo wished for a twin.  But as it turns out I was gifted a companion who is far more adept at providing helpful direction than a twin would have ever been.  

 
 
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...in walks a duck...

 

my animal guide Lovely Duck

 


Animal Guides


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*** Please know I am expressing my own interpretations here. (and desperately trying to keep it short!) I don't claim anything I say as the TRUTH  or the full and accurate story of animal-human connections. Remember we agreed  to suspend reality for the duration of the workshop.  That being said I am taking the liberty of using the terms animal totem, spirit animal and animal guide interchangeably along with adding my own version of what it is they can offer us as artists.

The idea of aligning with the animal world is woven into ancient history and the thread of our connections has evolved through the centuries. Cultures such as Native American and Celtic tribes knew that all living creatures were connected and that human life was but a small part of a much grander whole. The earth itself is mutual home and the mother of all earthly life. Throughout history animals have been imbued with symbolic meanings. They've been messengers, powerful healers, helpers and spiritual guides. 

Why We Need And Want Our Animal Guides Involved In Our Creative Process

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The modern version of personal attachment between humans and animals is something most of us know well.  Our relationships with our beloved companions and pets has taken on a huge cultural and personal significance.  Our animal relationships can be quite intimate, tender and soulful. It is my belief that we have come to allow animals to be some of our strongest teachers on topics of the highest order of importance.  Compassion, empathy, love and reverence for life. Animals can help us tap into our highest selves and by extension make art that is rich and soulful.  

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I know in my own experience being deeply connected to animals has helped me be more open and vulnerable in life.  When I focus on my sweet creatures both living and symbolic I feel calm and more in harmony with myself.  I am awed at the power of this influence on my life and art and I know I am not alone in this experience.

That very same vulnerability and openness is crucial to my creative live.  I want to create authentic, personal art. In order to accomplish that I need to  be connected to my deepest spirit and my animal guide is here to direct my attention towards the  place where my soul and my art connect.


Who is Your Animal Guide?


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I think that if you are here in this workshop you already have meaningful connections with animals.  But for our purposes we are seeking a very special animal companion. We really need an animal who loves art and artists! One who is willing to devote their full hearted attention to  being a spirit guide along the path of a creative life.  A companion who is endlessly patient and prepared to guide with a gentle and firm hand.  One who is willing to direct with love no matter how often or how far we might stray from the path of a deeply creative life.

So the question is who will be the best creative guide for you ? 


 How Do I Find My Guide?


There is no straight line or single path we can take to find  our animal companions. It is a natural process that will occur without our being able to know when or how it will happen.  I look at each one of the methods  as one of many threads we can follow in our exploration for the right companion. None of them alone  tells the whole story. But a broad and open exploration allows us to look for a pattern of recognition on both sides. Your animal is the one who chooses you. Your role is to be open and willing to hear the call when it comes.

Some of you have already committed  to your guide. Others of you have met your animal but want to deepen the connection. Here you will find a variety of resources that can be helpful and interesting regardless of where you are on the journey to meeting and connecting to your own animal guide.


Meeting You Animal Guide Meditation

Prepare yourself to explore a world where imagination and intuition rules in favor over intellect and rational mind. This is the realm of spirit. It is at once mysterious and completely recognizable to us as humans.   

I've included this guided meditation  that offers a path to discovering your animal guide within that intuitive realm. I love listening to this one. It offers a pathway to the realm of imagination and spirit.


We (ourselves and animals) live out our day to day lives in the physical, tangible world.  The natural world is the best place to learn about animals and animal behavior. Through observation and study we can learn about the habits and characteristics of animals and see how they are reflected in your own personality and life. Your spirit animal often represents qualities and attributes that are either similar or that compliment what you  see in yourself. There is a synergistic quality of enhanced potential that comes from the connection with your guide in the natural world.

Experience The Natural World

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Learn About Animal Totemism

There is much to be learned from those who have dedicated themselves to the study of human animal connections and have devoted their time to sharing what they have learned. I discovered a wealth of valuable information and theories on the internet as well as within books. You will find links throughout the classroom for some of my favorite resources. The video about animal totemism is highly instructive, succinct and what she says can easily be applied to the idea of wanting an animal guide to accompany us on our creative journey.


I already included a link to this quiz  in your welcome e-mail. Those who have already have already taken it have said they found the results to be either surprising or reinforcing of what they already knew or suspected. 

Our Little Quiz :)


Sprit Animal Messages







ART JOURNALING


The questions below are a good starting point and come directly from the website Spirit Animal

Which animals have always fascinated you, especially in childhood?
Which animals have you always felt connected to?
What animals do you see frequently in the wild?
Which quality of animal best describes your personality?
Which animals do you have around you in pictures or figurines?












Bejeweled Menagerie




Clay Creations



Symbolism



Symbolism

"The enemy is only a pretext to test our strength"
(Paulo Coelho)


Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.}
— A.A. Milne



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Make an Altered Book

Click the photo below to go to the altered book tutorial.
















I think this is a good time to think about THE GAP 


I listened to this multiple times in Misty Mawn's Embrace Yourself Workshop and wanted to share it here :) Created by Daniel Sax using a recording of talk given by Ira Glass on This American Life.

Watch it as many times as you need to. Trust me, watch it any time you feel discouraged about yourself or your creations It is soooo important  to remember the incontrovertible connection between practice and success!




CONTINUE TO THE NEXT LESSON

***you will need your classroom password to continue to the next lessons***