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  1. Oh, that's great to hear! And I'm glad you guys make the distinction. I have always been attracted to animals, myself. It seems to me the insights to be gained from them (and other sources, like rocks) exists on multiple levels. Stories featuring animal characters with species-specific symbolism are useful in their own way, though heavily filtered through human culture and usually much less dimensional. And very similarly, the popularized appproach to animal spirits. As an artist and storyteller, I have an interest in seeing how different cultures perceive animal symbolism. But as part of a spiritual path, the popularized approach to animal spirits seems to be based in the superficial (the best way I can explain the feeling). Like, if all human civilization fell away, the animals would not be what we make of them. They'd just continue to be as they are. Even so, animal energy is something that has always featured strongly for me in my persuits. But trying to find spiritually-oriented information that doesn't easily devolve into a superficial exercise has been...difficult. So many approaches never quite fit my interests or experiences. The Maker tradition has by far come the closest, both at first glance and as I continue to feel things out. So thanks for helping me with that. Now, a follow-up question! You mentioned shapeshifting. What are some of the practical applications Makers use shapeshifting for?
  2. I've read Makers don't really work with animal spirits. From reading and from my experience, I understand why one might choose not to. But I wonder, then, why there are several exercises that involve working with rocks. Why work with rock energy and not animal energy? I could extrapolate my own answers, but I'd like to know the reasoning of Maker folks, if people don't mind sharing.
  3. Mark - Ahoy! Thanks for replying. What I was really asking about seems to happen with "newer" stories. Like if I had a small epiphany and the next day felt so excited I tried to share it with someone else. Sometimes the simple act of saying it outloud to someone seems to make the significance evaporate. But I also agree with what you had to say about stories changing over time. I actually find this is true of my favorite books, too. Karl - That's a good idea to explore, changing myself/assimilating the story more. Thinking about different ways of sharing stories actually reminds me how, sometimes, I'll allude to a story without actually telling it. Some people will pay no mind and I'll say nothing more of it. But the exciting times when a person takes interest and I share my story, I don't think I've ever felt the story loose itself after. The phrase, "Whoever have ears to hear, let them hear," comes to mind. Rae
  4. Something I have observed over the years is that when I have a profound experience, I have to be very careful about how I share the story of it to other people. Some stories told just the right way in the right context to the right folks feel like I've actually shared the story without diminishing it. But other stories, when I share them, seem to lose their potency for me on a personal level. I find myself wondering if other folks experience this and why such a thing occurs?
  5. Heya, Kai! Thanks for the reply! You sound somewhat familiar with the art world, you hit on so many appropriate points. "...when looking at a painting it helps to sort of 'gaze through it' to feel/see/sense the intent and the energy coming together better." Very true! I do exactly that when I'm trying to really feel the impact of a painting. I don't always do it while browsing art online, but I can't help but do it when I'm in a real-life gallery. Seeing the work in real life carries much more presence. I know of the main career boxes, as you called them. And I have a rough idea of what I'd like my art to be. But I still find myself floundering. Creating art for art's sake doesn't tend to motivate me. I was an illustration major in school; stories are my real passion. But rather than writing, I usually use art to express a story. My other trouble is that making art just for myself doesn't tend to motivate, either. I enjoy creating works for others. Not being told exactly what and how to paint, but helping people express their stories through my own vision, so to speak. It seems like the shamanic naturally ties into this approach to art (for me, at least). But I have yet to figure-out how to make a career of it. I don't really know any solid examples of established artists who have built a career on doing exactly that. A matter for further reflection, perhaps (just writing about it helps!). I do know art therapy exists; I've put it on my list of things to look into later on in life! "...we live in a time when people have difficulties letting themselves experience on a deeper level and if art manages to open them up to that even for a moment, it's done an act of healing." Thank you for reminding me of that. I've known artists who make people cry to see their paintings. It is something I agree with, but easily forget. A painting has never done this for me. Music and artfully told stories can, but I've yet to encounter such a painting. Your last bit of advice is extra important. "...finding what it is in your heart that you want to express and how it happens for you, when trying to direct it I think it's important to not loose sight of the unknown and unexpected..." This is something I've been coming to accept more and more in my art, and has been a major area of focus this past year. I was a real perfectionist as a child, but now my art has become a way for me to accept and find the beauty in imperfections. The results even give me important insights sometimes (literally learning from my mistakes)! Thanks again for responding! Talking to folks helps me clarify my own thoughts a great deal. Do you have any favorite artists that speak to you with their work?
  6. Ahoy there! I am Melissa (though I don't tend to go by my first name online). Rae is a common nickname for me. Whatever mish-mash of my username is fine, too, if that's easiest for folks. I'll skip the rambling intro (for now) and just jump in with a question! I know shamanism as a calling often leads folks to working as a healer in some capacity. It seems practical (inevitable?) to integrate the shamanic into whatever work one does professionally. For people who work in "real world" fields of health and wellness, it seems pretty obvious how the healing might carry over. But I am curious how this might manifest for a professional artist (like me)? I like the idea of being able to make art that helps heal folks, but I have no idea what that career path would look like. Any examples or insights on the matter would be most helpful! For my own experience, I have been making art since I was young, but I am still new to my actual career. And I notice, as I grow in my art, I am learning the energies that actually go into making art. Not the technical skills, but the energetic awareness of what I'm attempting to express visually. It seems to me the really good, intentional art is not just aesthetically captivating, but is also a clear expression of the energies underlying whatever an artist is trying to communicate. I understand this, but I struggle to understand how to make use of it. I'm sure time will tell, but in the meantime, I thought it might also make a good topic of conversation! Thanks!
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