Friday, December 31, 2010

Ode to Bear

Happy Winter to all !

I've been in a hibernating mood throughout the holidays... and its no wonder really, as I had ventured into the realm of Bear right before Solstice's lunar eclipse...

Born at the latter end of Summer, my native american zodiac animal is Brown Bear and being doubly blessed... Bear is also my Above animal totem. The above position in Animal Medicine, as told by Sams & Carson, "reminds you that you came from the stars and to the stars you will return. This animal is also the guardian of the Dreamtime, for your personal access to the other dimensions."

Bear, for most people represents the concept of hibernation... winter starts soon before the New Year begins and this transition time between the end of the year and its climax is a natural time for introspection. Introspection creates a conscious opportunity to look at the old year holistically and provides a chance to awaken the unconscious for deep insights.

In this meditative state, I review the year in terms of what was accomplished and what still needs to be done. Its a time when I look at the year's major events and go down its memory lane to review the emotional landscape that unfolded for me. If the year has been particularly rough then this can prove to be a somewhat challenging process. Fortunately, the good times are worth a lot and happy feelings help to propel me forward through it.

Bear says to look at our personal dreams & goals and find the answers or solutions within. In order to taste the honey of life & enjoy its sweetness... Bear medicine teaches us that we must make this personal journey during winter in order to awaken our inner power and bring it forth to rebirth in springtime.

To celebrate the wisdom of Bear, I created this lovely Treasury featuring her great spirit and teachings...

Click HERE to visit this Treasury !

In this collection of Etsy products, you will find some gorgeous bear photographs, original art imagery, totem carvings & jewelry handcrafts that are quite simply exquisite. Take a moment to check them out :)

Through my Etsy shop, brizel4TheAnimals, I featured one of Brizel Handcrafts Silk Tapestry boxes...

"Brizel Handcrafts presents, Mama Bear, a small unique handmade decorative Silk Tapestry Box, made of banana & silk yarns, perfect as a memory holder !

Mama Bear is a gorgeous soft fiber arts container featuring vegan banana silk yarn in variegated yellows, greens & deep reds paired up with a chocolate rayon yarn that has multicolored silk highlights."

It has a lid of its own which is embellished with a gorgeous carved pink quartz bear. Mama Bear likes to walk, especially when the ice has melted down, she loves to hear her footsteps on the ground."

This animal Silk Tapestry Box measures approx: 3 1/8" in diameter x 2 3/8" high with an interior of 2 3/8" in diameter x 2" high

Mama Bear will be gift wrapped in a box of its own and ships out via USPS First class mail. Shipments within the USA will have delivery confirmations."

To view the full collection of animal theme boxes, click here... to see other silk tapestry boxes and silkworks, please visit the Brizel Handcrafts ArtFire Studio here.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Ode to Spider

Some years ago, I heard this incredibly evocative song, sung by Frances Black, called Weave & Mend and written by Mary Trup (currently song 2 on this blog). It is a song that instantly became part of my soul... and I embraced it intensely as a prayer for personal transformation during the several ceremonial sweats I participated in at that time of my life...

Old woman is watching, watching over you
In the darkness of the storm, she is watching
She is weaving, mending, gathering the colours
She is watching over you

So weave and mend
weave and mend
Gather the fragments safe
And win the sacred circle sisters
Weave and mend, weave and mend,
Oh women, weave and mend

Old woman is weaving, gathering the threads
Her bones become the loom she is weaving,
She is watching, weaving, gathering the colours
She is watching over you

So weave and mend
weave and mend
Gather the fragments safe
And win the sacred circle sisters
Weave and mend, weave and mend,
Oh women, weave and mend

For years I’ve been watching, waiting for old woman
Feeling lost and so alone, I’ve been watching.
Now I find her weaving, gathering the colours
Now I find her in myself

So weave and mend
weave and mend
Gather the fragments safe
And win the sacred circle sisters
Weave and mend, weave and mend,
Oh women, weave and mend


Medicine Cards by Sams & Carson defines the animal totem of the North as one that "gives wise counsel and reminds you when to speak and when to listen". Animal of the North "also reminds you to be grateful for every blessing every day".

I give honor to Spider for she is my teacher of the North... through the fruition of my weaving and silk tapestry works, Spider teaches me about life's mysteries: "Know thyself and thou shalt know the Universe".

Creativity is my personal vehicle for processing life lessons... everyday I co-create my fate with my crochet needle and I get to have a glimpse of the expansiveness of great spirit and feel part of the huge spiraling cosmos. When I put my needle down, Spider inspires the art of journaling & writing as a tool for insightful teaching/learning.

In the big scheme of things... Grandmother Spider is the great balancer through the exploration of polarities... flow & ebb, rise & fall, waxing & waning, death & rebirth, male & female, physical & spiritual, past & future... She is in the beginning & in the end... at the center of it all !

Click HERE to visit Treasury

Here are three of my favorite Spider inspired products from the above Treasury of handcrafts & images...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ode to Dog

In native American tradition the animal of the West, as told in the Medicine Cards by Sams & Carson, is the teacher that "leads you to your personal truth and inner answers. It also shows you the path to your goals".

My animal medicine teacher of the West is Dog...

2006, Merlin & Me with Nimue & Dingo

Dogs, of course, are well known to be a person's best friend... a loyal true guardian who has been serving humanity for eternity. Dogs are usually devoted, faithful, and deeply sympathetic of our 'lot in life'... which is to say that they are dedicated to compassionately forgiving any & all our character defects. Dogs ability to love us unconditionally dictates that they will give their human companions second chances over & over again. Dog teaches us about delving into service work.... and on the other 'paw', they also give us the opportunity to lighten up and be more playful !

Here is the Treasury I put together of dog inspired handcrafts...

click HERE to visit Treasury

It was very exciting to rummage through Etsy for dog items... I started by selecting Team EFA products because so many of my favorite Etsy colleagues make dog theme art.

Rebecca from KneeDeepOriginals creates some fabulous pop art paintings which I adore... Patty from DogBarks crafts these incredible dog plushes and custom art tote bags... Carol from carolscanvas has the most adorable dog portraits on the planet... Jane from thedoghouse has human & dog accessories to drool for... KaysK9s puts together these felted dog ornaments that are mind boggling beautiful... and so on & so forth... lol

It was a pleasure to feature other artisans as well... excited to discover the Zodiac Dog print by Thailan and the Faithful Dog Necklace by LuannUdell which is something that i would love to wear myself... it looks like bone or ivory but is actually made from polymer to resemble an ancient artifact. I adore it ! Is it too late to pray to Santa ?! lol

I wanted to be sure to represent my own canine pack in this Treasury... Nimue is 'there' in the shape of a white greyhound, a print that i continue to lust for, and I found a dog print to represent my very own Dingo girl (abstractly speaking because she is not a yellow dog by any means). lol

Merlin got to make his very own personal appearance... A quick snapshot I took when my friends, Lisa & Jane, were putting together a Holiday Guide for Dog Lovers and wanted to feature one of Brizel's Silk Tapestry Boxes...

"Brizel Handcrafts presents, Puppy Dreams, a unique handmade decorative Silk Tapestry Box, made of recycled silk sari yarn, perfect as a memory keepsake !

Merlin is a shy boy but here he is pictured with Puppy Dreams. He has been with me since he was a pup... abandoned at the vets door along with his siblings shortly after their birth... they were bottle fed & reared there until they were 3 mo old. I visited them every couple of days & waited patiently until Merlin & his sister, Nimue, came to live with me :)"

"Puppy Dreams is a soft fiber arts container, with a lid of its own, featuring multicolor rainbow silk & embellished with a puppy dog pewter metal vintage button."

This special silk box would make a super memory box and fur keeper.

"This lovely Silk Tapestry Box measures approx: 3 3/4" in diameter x 2" high with an inside 2 3/4" in diameter x 1 3/4" high"

To view the full collection of animal theme boxes, one can click here... to see other silk tapestry boxes and silkworks, please visit the Brizel Handcrafts ArtFire Studio here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ode to Crow

Yesterday, I spent some time looking at handcrafts inspired by Crow and reading about her as an animal totem.

Crow is my animal totem of the south which according to Medicine Cards by Sams & Carson... "protects the child within and reminds one when to be humble and when to trust... so that innocence will be balanced".

Crow teaches us about Law... not human made rules but of natural spiritual Law. Crow is the keeper of written texts and is knowledgeable about the mysteries of creation. Crow lives in the void where all timelines are one- what was, is and will be. She is a shape shifter, a sacred observer and is an omen of change. The presence of Crow evokes a higher order of what's right and wrong... a calling for personal integrity to dictate our every action... to be impeccable to our word by speaking our truth and living by that standard. Crow brings about a spiritual strength that inspires one to know our life's mission and to honor it.

Here is the collection of products that were selected for my Crow Treasury...

click HERE to view Treasury

Fifty percent of these were created by members of my animal team, EFA, and all of them made by talented inspired artisans. Crow appears here in original paintings, watercolors, prints, clay sculptures & boxes, painted skulls, vinyl accessories, and folk art figurines. It is truly an eclectic array of handcrafts. Please click to visit this fabulous Treasury and from there one can visit the individual artisan shops.

I have many personal favorites in this collection... I have grown to love Akiko Watanabe's work: her store is filled with incredible animal art work... featured here is "Treasure Seeker #20" a bold Crow holding a moonstone pendant amidst a dreamy blue moonscape.

The Crow Antler Box by nancyadamsclayartist is a divine wheelthrown hand carved clay totem box with antler. It is quite simply put a breathtaking ceremonial urn !

The folk art figurine- Crow Medicine Spirit Protector by awesomeart is "Wrapped with cloth and fibers, adorned with feathers and a crow shield symbolic of protection, her sweet face was handcrafted with polymer clay, painted with acrylics, she carries a small shell symbolic of femininity. It is said that in many ancient traditions Crow Spirit is the guardian of magic and healing and that in any healing circles, Crow is present."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ode to Fox

As Winter Solstice approaches, I have been thinking about what I would like to meditate on during my all night vigil. It promises to be an exciting night as Moon will be full a little after midnight in this part of the world whilst the precise time of the Solstice is scheduled to peak at 6.38pm on December 21st.

Part of my preparation is to reflect upon my animal teachers and where better than to start than in the East... According to Medicine Cards by Sams & Carson... "the animal in the East guides you to your greatest spiritual challenge and guards your path to illumination".

Fox is my animal guide in the East and has many lessons to teach me... Many aspects of Fox relate to the magic of camouflage, shape shifting and her ability to blend into one's surroundings both physically and metamorphically.

Fox is crafty, quick to adapt, decisive, and is a keen observer with an uncanny skill of sizing up people... undetected. Fox instincts rank high and so does her ability to survive. When she travels she is smart on her feet and has powerful travel protection. She can tolerate long periods of solitude but when the time is right... she is a great protectress of the family unit, working to keep them safe at all times. Foxes are charming creatures !

Here is a collection of fox images and Etsy products inspired by Fox...

Click HERE to visit Treasury

I was delighted to spend hours looking at fox inspired handcrafts... i just love all these earth toned colors... the ambers, golden oranges, rust browns & reds and of course, if I could i would love to purchase every single one of these marvelous items. Do visit the Treasury and from there, one can click on any of the items to visit the individual's shop.

My personal favorites are Urbanimal's The Golden Fox, EtherealArt's Medicine Woman's Vision and Karen Davis' Francis on the Hill. I'm also very pleased with this Smiling Fox Silk Tapestry Box: an original & unique Brizel handcrafts item...

"Brizel Handcrafts presents Smiling Fox, a gorgeous decorative Silk Tapestry box, made of eco-friendly silk sari yarns, a unique nature trinket !

Smiling Fox is a fun fiber arts container featuring upcycled hand dyed silk sari yarn in a rich deep turquoise blue paired with a vibrant orange with red highlights."

"It has a lid of its own which is embellished with a handsome ceramic fox. Smiling Fox thinks she is a smart all knowing trixter and... well, she's probably right :)"

"This animal Silk Tapestry Box measures approx: 3 1/2" in diameter x 3" high with an interior box of 2 1/2" in diameter x 2 1/8" high.

Smiling Fox

To view the full collection of animal theme boxes, one can click here... to see other silk tapestry boxes and silkworks, please visit the Brizel Handcrafts ArtFire Studio here.
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