Experiencing Ritual through the Priestess Lyra

It's Halloween, or Samhain in Pagan or Gaelic tradition. This is the marking of a new year in these cultures. The seasons change and we must adapt as well. We move from the outward to the inner, the above to the below. It is the time when the veil to the spirit world is most thin and it is common to hold seances and rituals to connect with those who exist in the other realm. 

On my personal journey, I am continually looking to learn and to share traditions and rituals. I was honored to have been invited to participate in a ritual led by my new friend, Lyra Hill, a talented artist and priestess, in her cozy Chicago home last night on the eve of the holiday.

An intimate group gathered in the front of the apartment, lit by candles. We made agreements together for the safety of all those taking part. We would respect one another, no cell phones, you can leave if you would like to. We called for help by invoking the goddess Hecate, we called upon ancestors and descendants, upon the elements of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Center. Bravery, Presence, Calm, FUN, Sovereignty, The Moon. 

In a guided meditation portion of the ritual I was able to access a space that I shared with my mother, my aunt, and and grandmother, who led me through the landscape of the spirit world. The message they left me with: "we will be with you, but you're going to have to work for it". 

YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK FOR IT. Whatever that thing is.

Whether it be ending the destruction of our water sources, being more open to the pain, suffering, and misunderstanding in this world, finding our spiritual center, making sure our loved ones feel our appreciation for them, learning to retain and embody presence of mind, building a successful business, earning a new job, standing up for ourselves, calling out bigotry and injustice... you're going to have to work for it. 

The ritual left me feeling sad, strong, connected, appreciated, and grounded. 

May we have the strength and presence of mind to work for that thing. May we have the support of a community and the spark of curiosity deep in our bellies leading the way. Sending strength to all as we enter the cold seasons. 

I leave you with one of my favorite images, it is a painting called Soft Power, by Indianapolis-based artist, Casey Roberts.
To me, this is the embodiment of Autumn emotions. 

Soft Power (both Sides Exposed), Casey Roberts

Soft Power (both Sides Exposed), Casey Roberts



Watercolor Silkscreen Techniques

It was one of those sticky hot Chicago days and I was sitting at the Cook County courthouse, waiting for my call to jury duty. That was when I came up with the hand sketch for Sigall and Greg's ketubah, for their Palm Springs wedding coming up this month. In case you wondered, I didn't get called for duty. 

Once the sketch was ready, I knew that I could then make a silkscreen stencil and use watercolor paint to achieve the watery wash effect the couple is looking for in the artwork. While it's still in the works, I've learned some things and I have a feeling this next print session I'll get the desired outcome. The great thing about watercolor is that you paint directly on the screen. Unlike usual screen printing, you don't have to make multiple layers to achieve different colors on the page. It can be done using one screen. You can also get a pretty gorgeous effect by printing with the same screen as much as possible to exhaust the watercolor paint you applied. The ghosts printed on their own can come out looking pretty great. I've definitely learned a few things through trial and error. I recommend the following when using watercolor to screen print:

1) Paint watercolor directly on the screen and use more pigment than you would if your were painting watercolor straight to paper.

2) Be sure the pigment dries all the way before you print.

3) After the watercolor dries, you can flood the screen with transparent base for watercolor. I really like the Speedball brand. 

4) Be sure you wait 5 minutes while the trans base wakes up the watercolor pigment, then you are ready to print (I forgot to wait when I printed this the other day, so that's why some of the colors are so light in these photos!)

5) Last tip: I find that soaking my paper in a water bath makes it much more absorbent to the ink.