Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

The Mermaids Listen

in Art, Gaian Tarot, Mermaids

My sister mermaid Betsy Sauther took this photo of swimming otters during our Mermaid Retreat.

At the Mermaid Retreat last weekend, we practiced the art of listening.  Each person in turn had a chance to speak about her life as long as she wanted to (up to about an hour) with no interruptions or feedback.  The rest of the group gave her our full attention and listened intently.  When she was done, she could say whether or not she wanted feedback.   Most people did.

This practice is the core of a most magical time that we spend together.  We bear witness to each other.  And, sometimes, the Lady speaks through one of us with words of wise counsel.

The ten of us were initiated onto the priestess path nine years ago at Imbolc.  Our individual priestess paths have waxed and waned since then.  Some of us are taking a break from public service; others are moving more deeply into it.  Some of us find our priestessing is quite private these days.  I see us as floating together in the water, holding hands, ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning, dancing a spiral dance in the sea . . .

After listening, I asked each woman: “Where are you today, on your priestess path?”  I liked DragonSong’s answer the best:  “When She knocks on my door, I say Yes.”

When my turn came to be heard, I asked the following question, as if I would ask it of an oracle:  “If my geas, or holy task, is to complete my Gaian Tarot deck, why am I being required to attend to so many other responsibilities at the same time, leaving me so little time for art?”  (Just a bit of whining there . . .)

The most valuable answer I received was this:  What you value most is what you put first in your life.  Not what I say, but what I do.  It becomes quite clear then, that my highest priority right now is seeing my father through his last days.  If he needs me, everything else takes a back seat.  My second priority is earning a living and giving my clients and customers good service.  After those two, comes the creative cauldron.  Not to mention my partnership, my community, my spiritual practice, my health.

At the beginning of this year, I went through the calendar and marked “Art Day” on every Friday of the week.  If I knew I would be out of town on a Friday, I marked Thursday as Art Day.  Those days are supposed to be sacrosanct.  I don’t make any appointments on Art Days.  But things happen.  Dad falls and needs extra attention, which means extra trips to town.  Orders come in and decks and prints have to be shipped.  Clients ask for a few more changes on their websites.  Potential clients need bids written up.  The magazines I write for want their columns and articles on time — can you believe the nerve?

DragonSong repeated:  “What you value most, you put first.  Make Monday your Art Day instead of Friday.”  My jaw dropped open.  What a concept.

I made a commitment to making Monday my Art Day for a lunation.  You’ll be the first to know how it goes.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Laura Fri - Feb 10th 2006 1:54 pm

    Much luck and good wishes to you making your Mondays full of art! I have been trying to make Monday evening after work my art night for a number of months now. It is never enough time, but I have been pretty consistent about it, and that has brought me much joy.

  • Nichole Sat - Feb 11th 2006 4:59 pm

    hello. I have read your journal for a while now, but only now felt the urge to add a comment. As a new mommy I find time for me and my art scarce as well. I’ve joined a few art groups to sort of ignite my creative flames and that’s going well.
    On a more personal note I have to tell you I love your tarot deck and cannot wait until it is finished. Each card you have done so far is lovely. My favorite is the Ace of Earth and I intend to purchase a print within a month. It reminds me of my grandfather, who passed away in 94. My grandfather was a farmer and used to take me on “inspections” of the multi-acre cornfield. One afternoon, while walking the perimiter of the field along the edge of the forest we saw a fawn hiding in the brush, waiting for it’s mother to return. I swear when I look at your ace of Earth I see that fawn and am taken back to one of my favorite memories of nature.
    Thank you for sharing your vision of art with the world.

  • Cate Mon - Feb 13th 2006 1:56 pm

    Beautiful Joanna, and thank you for sharing this.
    Brightest blessings,

  • JLB Wed - Feb 15th 2006 5:19 am

    I think that feedback is great – it’s true, we put the most important things first! Best of luck with pursuing your creative endeavors!

  • Joanna Fri - Feb 17th 2006 8:37 am

    Laura, your photos continue to nourish me. I love your altar photos and your Signs of the Season photos especially. Thank you. I wonder if we will meet up at WOW next week? Are you doing other kinds of artwork besides photography on Monday nights?
    Nichole, thank you for your comment about the Ace of Earth. I love hearing the stories and connections that people have with the different images in the deck. What a wonderful memory you have of your grandfather. Walking the perimeter of your land is a time-honored pagan practice, whether your grandfather knew it or not. 🙂 A wonderful way to ward and bless the land and get to know its secrets.
    Thank you Jade – and thank you for your Tree Blog.
    Cate, so good to hear your voice again. Thanks for letting me know you’re out there in the blogosphere.
    Thanks for visiting me here. Brightest blessings to you all.

  • Spicy Cauldron Sat - Feb 18th 2006 2:22 am

    What a stunning photo. As a Piscean, I am drawn to images of water, somewhat ironically as I have never learned to swim. I guess part of me feels put out that I can’t explore water the way so many people and creatures can but I’ve never actually crossed the line into affirmative action and learned to swim! x