Many years ago I received a quiet and powerful invitation to participate in a 13 month program that culminated in the creation of my Personal Power Shield. The photograph in this blog is of the shield that was the culmination of my 13 month process. A few months after completing my shield, I was in the Berkshires at my former summer home and was drawn into the woods nearby to a place where the cottonwood trees were growing. At my feet were small branches from the trees that had been chewed off by squirrels and I received the message "Hoop it UP!" I knew right away that it was my ancestral grandmothers inviting me to share the process of shield making with others.
With the deepest of gratitude for the process and the medicine woman, Amylee, who shared her lineage of shield making with me, I received permission from her to share it with others. It is most important to acknowledge the source and the lineage that brought me to this sacred art making, and I am deeply grateful that I was given and accepted the gift of sharing it!
This sharing has taken different forms. I have gone to summer camps and shared the shamanic journey work of meeting a power animal. I have incorporated portions of my Native American shield teachings in school programs. And I have offered my Shield Making programs as single day, day and a half and full weekend programs.
The beautiful thing about time and experience for me is the ability to reflect and realize what works and what doesn't. When I considered offering my shield workshops here in upstate NY, I thought about how I really wanted to share this gift and knew that I did not want to compromise the process by shortening the time. I wanted to share it the way that I had created mine which entailed creating it in a sacred container during a full weekend. What make something sacred is the attention and the awareness we bring to it. All is sacred if we open our perception....
I had the choice when I made my shield to either gather with a regional shield making group or to create my own space and do it on my own. I preferred to create my own container and be in silence to allow the process to unfold with my own guidance. During a group retreat there is a lovely blend of both personal space and group comaraderie. Each has its time and place. While we are creating, we are in that quiet within space of listening. During meals and group time, everyone is in lively conversations and sharing. It is really a beautiful thing for me to observe the rhythms of each day unfold with each person working within their own personal space side by side totally immersed in their process in silence. The group energy enhances the collective energy and amplifies the experience because the process is respected. Every step of the creation of the shield has a teaching, as does each step in life if we are open to the awareness.
My role throughout the process is to be a guide and a teacher to each person's shield creation. They are all unique and I offer instruction as to the methods to simplify and enhance their work. Some people who take the workshops are artists and are self motivated. Other people are new to painting and use of the techniques of shield making, so I offer instruction and options. I have had many people find their own muse who have come to a shield workshop feeling that they were not artists or creative. They leave feeling such a sense of joy and accomplishment. Some others who have come are artistic, but have not given themselves the opportunity to explore this type of intuitive birthing process. All levels are supported during the experience.
A wonderous birtinging and initiating experience unfolds throughout this type of immersion. We enter into Ceremonial Magic....From finding the branch or vine that will become the hoop to the selection of the leather, the journey and dreamtime work, painting and decorating ....each person unfolds into their own personal power through their own shield creation. The final day is a celebration and an honoring of the birth of each shield as a living work of art, made possible through a respect for the process and a beautiful acceptance of each person's own uniqueness.
Your Personal Power Shield continues to speak to you and reinforce the truth of who you are.
I invite you to join me at Nature's Gate for this special opportunity to deepen your creative nature.