Archive for the ‘Apprenticeship’ Category

fire begonia copy

Fire Begonia Mandala –  © Sue O’Kieffe 2009

As I was creating this image, I realized how much mandala making helps me see. As I stay aware of what I’m doing, sometimes I find solutions to self-induced creative problems. It’s so easy to get all bunched up inside. I suppose this is true for lots of artists, as we learn new techniques and consider new possibilities. But I love those Aha! moments that help me realize how limiting my thinking is at times. When I allow Spirit to guide me towards the answers I need, and not keep my arms mentally crossed against my chest, I am awarded immediate awards of awareness.

And here I am, working with the lucky number 13 in this mandala, which often connotes simultaneous endings and beginnings. I believe Spirit is telling me it is time to put some closure on my self-limiting thinking and believing in order to move forward to the larger life I desire.

How about you?


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Risk to Blossom

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Recently I  set the  intention that I wanted to walk a labyrinth. I knew there were a couple around where I lived, and that it would only be a matter of time before it happened. Yesterday I had an opportunity to experience this at one of the local hospitals when I had to go there for an appointment.  Afterwards, I found the labyrinth but  the gardeners had the sprinklers on. At first I felt disappointed, and then I had this thought, “well, turn the water off, and turn it back on when you’re done. ” Now this may not seem like such a big deal to some, but for me who was raised to be a good girl and not make trouble, this was a totally bold move which made the experience all the more powerful. I am powerful.

I found walking the paths and winding around to be a soothing and embracing experience. I loved the sensation of turning a corner. Many of the big stones seemed to be calling out to me and I thanked them for being there. As I got closer to the center of the labyrinth, my steps went faster; and once I reached the middle, I grounded and prayed and thanked the Universe for leading me to this experience. As I traced the pattern back to the beginning of the maze, I noticed a small white stone, flat on one side like a cabachon, that reminded me of a snowy owl. It’s now on my computer monitor, to remind me of this day, a symbol of the journey of my life.

Owl medicine is all about the mystery of magic, silent wisdom and vision in the night, according to Ted Andrews in his book Animal Speak. This is what he says about the snowy owl:

When the snowy moves into a new area, it does not proclaim its presence. It enters quietly and goes about its own business. This is part of what makes it successful. It can teach us the same ability. When it walks, its talons are withdrawn into its well padded feet. Again this reflects its ability to be non-threatening, in spite of its power and ability. It accomplishes its tasks with timing and skill, not through intimidation. True strength is gentle and this is what the snowy teaches us. (p. 181 Animal Speak)

The message I want to share is to have courage. Find those answers that seem to keep us baffled. We don’t need to be victims to our own fear.

Many thanks. Many blessings.


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awareness of seven -finished

Awareness of Seven Mandala – © Sue O’Kieffe 2009

Seven is a number steeped in ancient mysticism, pagan tradition, and alchemical processes.  In numerology seven is an “intelligent seeker of knowledge” and corresponds to the mutable signs (Pisces, Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius) of the zodiac.  Seven energy is introspective and meditative. I asked my guidance more questions regarding their suggestion that I use the seven rayed configuration. I asked if seven was the most appropriate number for all of my art, and they said no.

Hmm. How do I feel about following this advise? Well, I know I have a choice. I don’t feel like I have given up any control. I look at the process as more of a collaborative effort.

I enjoy all this intellectual investigation. I am curious and aware that  a much larger mystery is involved that right now I am not able to comprehend.

This is just all part of my apprenticeship.


Update 7/29/09: I found this possibly related post that wordpress selected to go with my post. There is a whole bunch of information there on the number seven. Serendipity!

Update 7/30/09: I received a message from fellow mandala creatress Shari Brooks about seven pointed stars and pointed me to this information on her blog. When an intention is set, the information flows.

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The past few times I have started to create a new mandala, I’ve  picked up my pendulum for guidance. I’ve asked how many rays I should use for the next mandala. Everytime I’ve asked I have received the same reply.


Today I asked, is there a reason you are guiding me to seven? (I know. Duh, right?) And then I asked, Do you want me to learn more about the number seven?

So this will be my journey for a while.

I have been fascinated with numerology since I was in grade school. My mother was a seeker and I was her apprentice. She read an article about numerology in some woman’s magazine way back then, and we both were fascinated. Now that I am older, I am an apprentice once again. I am more conscious these days. I am waking up to who I am, and I rejoice that I am not alone. The Age of Aquarius has even arrived, on Valentine’s Day this year.

awareness of seven

When I finished the beginning stages of this mandala, I gasped and could feel my heart opening. I also grounded and claimed seniority. This mandala looks juicy and fresh. I also see the beings which appear in most of my work. I can rationalize that as being part of the joy of working in symmetry, but I know there is more.

I love this part of my life, full of newness.

I started this blog because I wanted to write about my experiences separate from the other places where I write. They are, of course, all entwined. Whatever needs to come out of this place will be made known over time.

Who wants to join me in the journey?

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