Elaine Clayton Jacob’s Ladder “Where the Sea Meets the Sky”
I became a Bat Mitzvah recently and had chosen as my Torah portion Jacob’s Ladder. I have for many, many years longed to chant Hebrew. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever done and I guess when I turned 50 I decided was time to experience some of the things I had always wanted to experience. I have never felt happier in so doing. The depth and breadth of Torah, the Tree of Life, the conversation and love of learning, and the healing experience in chanting tones and half tones. The ancient language alone has a momentous, spiritually life changing power in it. I created this diptych for a visual component for my D’var Torah (talk on Jacob’s Ladder). It just so happened that when we brought the paintings to the temple, they fit PERFECTLY in front of the bima–as though they had been sized and fitted to be placed there. To me, that was a sign that it was all “meant to be”.
Detail of a recent painting/ Elaine Clayton 2016
When we come together, something happens. Have you felt that synergy–the feeling of joining with others and a momentum begins? This happens especially when we connect with the intention to create out of a sense of love and goodness for the world.
Detail of a recent painting Elaine Clayton copyright 2016
As the seasons change, from summer now into autumn, the air is pleasant and my dreams have been very cinematic and the themes range from disturbing to peaceful. They are very complex and graphic. It seems dreams are this way during times of transition, there is a heightened sense of awareness or alertness in the unconscious mind. I journal when I wake up so I don’t lose the delicate threads of the meanings and feelings (meanings yet undiscovered or processed) of these astral scenes.
Detail of a recent intuitive stream drawing 2016
Playing with the lines and shapes in a stream drawing is enjoyable, meditative and meaningful. In this one, two themes joined together, that of Mother Goose and The Wolf. There is a figure 8 between that that serves as a scarf tied on the head. For me the figure 8, when present in a stream drawing, is an indicator of soul purpose (prompting questions we may often ask in life like, “what is my purpose, why am I going through this”…etc). Mother Goose signifies learning in early childhood, which includes parenting and all that goes with it. We think of ourselves as complete and ready to raise the child but in fact honestly we get our life lessons through taking care of the child.
The wolf here, from Little Red Riding Hood, symbolizes many things, according to Native American animal wisdom, wolf is “teacher”. Anything we go through in life that is tricky, difficult, hard–anyone we meet who is troublesome for us–these all present as teachers for us. The wolf in Little Red Riding Hood was a real threat, posing as the grandmother. But Little Red was not fooled, although she was still very much in danger.
These two images coming together say a lot to me about the innocence of childhood, the threats we learn to protect our children and ourselves from entering in or harming our children and ourselves.
The Mother Goose here looks to the left, signifying the past. Past lessons seen upon reflection. The wolf faces future. Perhaps this is a reminder that as we move forward we will have many more life lessons to live, we will encounter “wolf” medicine (whatever is difficult) and we will, in the end, have more wisdom after being exposed to that which may seem very threatening, either in practical ways to our sense of security, or in emotional and psychological ways.
Try a stream drawing today and see what imagery and symbolism you may find!
I am offering one-on-one and small group stream drawing workshops for adults and children at my studio. Contact me here on this site to schedule your ultra-fun, relaxing, magical and surprising stream drawing time with me. I look forward to seeing you at Cottage Studio!
Sketching on the Saugutuck: Later in the summer I will return to Westport Public Library for the 6th summer in a row! Sign up for this lovely drawing event by contacting the Westport Public Library.
In the fall, I’ll be teaching workshops at wellness centers and through Westport Continuing Education and will post more info on that soon!
Detail of a recent painting in progress
When loved ones die, we kind of tilt our heads upward and ask them to look out for us, thinking they’re up there in heaven where they can help us down here. And that is true, they can, and they do. Yet there is another thing unfolding. In Jewish Mysticism (which I fell in love with in my early twenties, or before really) there is a teaching that we actually have a large impact on those who have come before us and died before us.
How do we impact them? On earth, where there is a lot of contrast, pain and suffering, we are given a chance to expand God’s knowledge through our experiences, and then bring love, forgiveness and understanding into these painful situations. And when we bring love into sorrow or healing into injury, we not only help ourselves and people involved with us here in our lives (and often many we don’t know we are impacting) we help our loved ones and ancestors who have already died by increasing the Presence of Love. Yes, that’s right–our choices help them. And they’re rooting for us!
Our learning and expansion never ends. God is a great creator and the expansion of knowing and loving never stops.So when you forgive, you eventually do it to save your own self so you’re not miserable and unhappy, but realize too that you do that for your parents, grandparents and so forth. ALL will benefit from it, not just ourselves alone or the ones directly involved in the situation!
Is there an animal you especially relate to? When my kids were little, I related to bears because mother bears are so protective of their young. I have always been completely enthralled with bald eagles. I love horses. And lions. And…
Try doing a stream drawing and see what animal pops up. This morning, I got dog (and I featured this drawing in today’s newsletter–please subscribe to receive the images I send out with the intention to inspire, support and celebrate you/me on our life’s crazy, wild ride). Dog symbolizes trust, loyalty, unconditional love and companionship. Who is worthy of my trust? Am I trustworthy?
Oh–and a blue jay showed up–I love them. They’re fierce birds, aren’t they? I have to look up meanings for blue jay. If you know, let me know!
A recent Spirit Painting
commissioned by a client 2016 copyright Elaine Clayton
Yesterday I painted a childhood scene, above. I was born and lived on the flat plains of the Texas Panhandle until I was about 10 years old. The land may be flat out there (oh yes, it defines “flat”), but the sky is multi-dimensional and ever changing. Clouds build in fathoms moving upward, their color and shape spectacularly mounting and powerful. Shadows from the clouds move like vast omens across the land at times. And when rain came, I remember running from it with other children in summer time, until at last, the cloud full of rain caught up with us, and giant round drops of warm water made dark circles on dry dirt, or on paved roads. The sky gave what the land did not–a particular elevated and hopeful, colorful, mysterious bounty. Where the land was austere, silent and seemingly ungiving for the most part, the sky was overly generous, entertaining and voluptuous. The wind was it’s agent, whirling up dust devils and making the songs of ghosts, the way it could howl an eerie song on some days. It brought jagged looking and well-beat tumbleweeds passing by. They seemed like roaming story tellers who happened along, and somewhat like victims of circumstance. The sky knew where they had been before. I grew up expecting the sky to tell me something. I learned to look at the clouds for information and guidance. The intuitive kind of knowing that comes from feeling inspired by the brilliance in nature is what I”m talking about here, the way sky communicates that which we ought to have recognized anyway, but need prompts and reminders. Gentle and sometimes dramatic. I believe the sky is “the veil” between us and heaven, and it symbolizes our ability to know intuitively and to quietly observe things which we need unveiled. It is like doing a tea reading, but instead of looking down into a tea cup, you just look up instead.
I have the most talented, brilliant mentor and friend in Dr. Laurie Nadel, or “Dr. Laurie” as I like to refer to her. You may have read her best seller books or seen her on Oprah (she was on twice!). She writes about intuitive intelligence and is a very, very compassionate, gifted therapist and healer. Wise and caring, you’d be lucky to seek and receive her wisdom and guidance.
Dr. Laurie Nadel offers one-on-one consultations to help you heal your fears and recover from traumatic loss.
Drawing on 26 years of experience, she interprets your dreams and develops a unique blueprint for you to achieve optimal results.
Call for a complimentary phone consultation: 212.560.2333
The Creation of the Hebrew Letter Shin copyright 2016 Elaine Clayton
I’m thrilled to show new work at the Westport Women’s Club this weekend. You are welcome and encouraged to join us April 30th from 5-8pm at the Westport Women’s Club in Westport, CT. There is a selection of fabulous artists showing their work. A percentage of sales goes to a worthy charity.
About Shin, this important and mystical letter is known as the “Eternal Flame”. To learn more about Shin, see this video.