A Creature of This Planet

Annette Wagner
Mountain View, CA

I drove up to the land on Friday morning. By the land, I mean Terra Sophia, the land where my mentor Sue Hoya Sellars lived up in the Anderson Valley. A gorgeous, peaceful 20 acres of hills and valley, trees and clouds. Rain and winds were predicted for Friday and Saturday, possibly even thunderstorms.

raindrops in puff ballsI wasn’t entirely sure why I had decided to come up here. My partner was out of town; my daughter off for the weekend. Perhaps thats why my brain offered up this idea of heading out of town for a short retreat off the grid? Or perhaps there was something under all of that?

Regardless, when I got up to the land, I was still wondering why I had driven three and half hours to spend two days by myself. I got out of the car and unloaded, put on my hiking boots, and then went for a walk on the land to say hello. I wandered – almost as if I needed to find something to do.

It took some time for me to settle – finally I  laid down on the earth, closed my eyes, and then sighed deeply. Maybe I don’t need a reason to come here. Maybe I don’t need to find something to do.

Maybe it’s ok to just be present…

To the song of the wind in the trees.
To the sound of the ravens cawing.
To touch the seed heads on grasses dancing in the wind with abandon.
To the feel of the earth crumbling in my fingers.
To watch the dark clouds rolling past the tops of the trees.

Ya think?

raindrops in spiderwebI wandered, sketched, laid on the earth, made myself some dinner. Slowly slowing down bit by bit by bit. Stopping to take touch little yellow flowers. To notice rain drops on whiskered balls of fuzz. Until I just stood still on the earth breathing in the essence of stillness letting it fill me up.

I put out food for the deer and one came by while I ate my dinner. We shared a glance and each went back to our sustenance. I could feel the sentience of the land and how it welcomed me. Letting me drift about until I settled.

By the time I woke up the next morning, I was grounded into the earth. I went for a long walk down to the creek through all the scrub and branches and downed trees. Hunted for wildflowers and had a conversation with a lizard. Dodged rain showers and sat in the transient sunshine. I was in connection with all the creatures and beings around me and it felt right and good and healing.

fairy wingI needed to ground deeply and so the land had called me to come to her. To stand on her earth. To open my heart and feel the connection that is always there in my heart come to the forefront. To remind me that first and foremost I am also a creature of this planet in all her glory. That the human world is only one aspect of living and sometimes not a very important one despite its roar and demands and tugs.

By the time I left this morning, I was at peace. I packed the car and fed the ravens and deer. Then I knelt down and put my hands on the earth to thank her for nurturing me. And there, next to my hand was a fairy wing covered with dew.

Magic does happen






Annette-intentional-sketching with book

Annette Wagner, M.A., is an Intentional Creativity Teacher, Color of Woman Teacher Training Art Doctor, and a working artist. She paints Contemporary Symbolism paintings as well as watercolors and sumi-e drawings out in the wilds of the earth. She is the Managing Editor of the Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine and staff at Shiloh Sophia Studios.

Annette studied with American Master painter, Sue Hoya Sellars, and has a masters degree in Women’s Spirituality from Sofia University. Her background includes over 25 years of hi-tech experience and 21 patents. She is owned by her dancing daughter, two cat beings, the man of her heart, and her Muse. Learn more and view her artwork at: annettewagnerart.com. Follow her almost daily inspirational posts on Facebook.

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The art of Shiloh Sophia impacts us at the level of the heart and soul in a way that opens us up to new possibilities of healing, wholeness and connection.

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Trusting in the Mystery by Kate Langlois




 The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. Anais Nin

My friend Havi spoke recently about ‘learning to trust in the mystery’.  This says a lot for me, because even though I do love a good mystery, when one shows up in our own life, we often start demanding answers.  We want control over the situation, to be the one taking the wheel and setting the course. Letting go of control can sound scary, yet it doesn’t mean letting go of self-effort or that chaos is going to take over if we relax a little bit. We’re just choosing to look at the mystery from a slightly different angle.

I may not trust Mystery, but I can learn to live with it

Trusting in the mystery means we might just have to sit back for a little while or even a long while and wait to see what’s going to show up. While we’re in this waiting cycle, we may just decide we don’t even need to trust it, so much as learn to live with it.

I often think that Mystery and wonder must walk hand in hand. It’s WONDER that allows me to peer inquisitively into the face of life’s mysteries. Wonder makes the waiting more of an adventure, more of a game. And if it’s a game, it better mean we’re having fun too!

Wonder diffuses fear

Recently I said yes to an invitation to teach at an alumni gathering with our Color of Women Teachers. I said yes before I even knew what I was going to teach.  Instant mystery right? AND I brought it upon myself too.

A couple of years ago I most certainly would have shrunk back into the shadows instead. Even if I had said yes, my perfectionist self would me laboring meticulously over every tiny step in preparation. I would rehearse what I would say. For much of my life I had the effects of ‘stage fright’ if I spoke in front of a group of people to give a speech or a talk about something. My throat would constrict and my voice would miter out meekly in shaky mouse-like squeeks and I’d be on the verge of tears, completely forgetting what I was talking about. Though it was seemingly beyond my control, I felt nothing short of pathetic and ridiculous for not being able to come across as a strong and confident speaker.

So how was it I could say yes to teaching to my peers no less? Because through the work of Intentional Creativity I’ve created a new pattern in my response to the situation. The wires have literally been restrung into new pathways in my being. These days more often than not, I can lean into the mystery instead of running from it. Events in our lives whether they be traumatic or blissful, leave a mark on us. Our whole body embodies these events, often showing up in after-affects we may not recognize at first. If we can discover these threads from our past, we can take hold of them in the present and reweave them into beautiful new dreams as we fly boldly ahead into our futures.

Message to Myself

Message to Myself

The work of a Visionary is to know the past, dream the future and take powerful action in the present. Shiloh Sophia McCloud

The’ taking action’ piece means making a mark on a paper or a canvas without waiting for the right moment to come or inspiration to strike. For example, for me that big old boulder in the road trying to block my way is sometimes appears as whole pile of boulders surrounding me from all sides and reaching far up into the sky. Sound familiar? Well the time is past when we shrug our shoulders giving in, giving up. There is a recipe for change, ingredients of Creativity are our magical tools for clearing the way. Yes it probably will be scary-anything that involves involve facing our self usually is. Isn’t it time you peeled back the layers the world has thrown over you, tried to protect you with? Who would you be if you finally rose up to the challenge of being who you really dreamed of being instead of who others expected you to be? It may seem like a solitary journey, but I can tell you it is not. It’s one of amazing connections, synchronicity and even joy. And maybe, just maybe it’s the only thing that’s going to finally save you.

Intentional Creativity

Intentional Creativity

How to dissolve fear? 


You showing up as your Creative Self~an intention~a dream~ ~paint~paintbrush~canvas~pen and paper

  Dare yourself to play with Intentional Creativity &  invite in more of what you want for your life.  Put less attention on what is not working. By engaging in Creative Play with INTENTION and ACTION we literally become the antidote for what ails us and even for each other.

Kate Langlois 2013

Kate Langlois is a Visionary Artist and Color or Woman Teacher creating paintings  using Intentional Creativity. Her the style of the Contemporary Symbolism Movement. Kate’s JOY is in painting with women and girls to spark their own unique creative paths. Kate’s images give voice to her own journey and to women throughout the world in the shadows, without pathways for such expressions. Her paintings are a celebration of all women, and connection to the mystery beyond the physical world we all play in.

All artwork © 2013 Kate Langlois

On the Bus for the Mystery Tour by Susan Rossi

When I was a child, I knew what I knew – I could literally count the information I held as mine.

Lineage Pollinator

Lineage Pollinator

I knew 15 jokes, and I would tell them, counting to myself, so I wouldn’t forget them. I knew the name of every book I had read. My parents had names and siblings and parents of their own, and I learned our system of family relationship, repeating the names of all my living relatives in my prayers at night, holding them in the pattern. My world was solid, finite, which for a kid growing up in the city, was a good thing. It felt known and safe – if I could name its constituent parts, there would be no surprises, no upsets, no changes. Everything was in its right place, like a filing cabinet where I could put information away until I needed it, then go right to it.  “Mystery” was what my grandmother read in her Agatha Christie books. And mysteries always had solutions. All you had to do was follow  the proper clues to the information you needed and voila – you had the answer!  All the pieces in life fit perfectly, and I didn’t have to live with the tension of uncertainty.

Mystery began speaking to me when I was older, when my life was breaking into pieces. My certainty about how the universe works was in shreds. I was involved in a custody battle over my daughter and in danger of losing my home. Waking up in fear’s cold sweat, heart pounding, happened every night.

Except for one night.  I woke up hearing a voice saying, “We have never yet let you live in your car. Why do you think that will happen now?” This voice, this perspective, was not mine. Oh no, it definitely came from somewhere else. But it wasn’t scary. In fact, I felt  comforted – I had never had a thought like this before! But I knew I wasn’t crazy because of how my body felt – safe, protected. My perspective on was happening in my life radically shifted. And even stranger – what was actually happening in my life also radically shifted. One day, when I was walking to work to save transit money, I found a $20 bill on the sidewalk. No one was in sight! That weekend, I found a pack of transit tokens in an old purse I had put away. REALLY? I began to feel like I was cared for, watched over. And I got that this care and love was being purposefully communicated to me in a way I could understand.  It wasn’t abstract – I could feel its presence.

Present to Mystery

Present to Mystery

I have had other experiences of Mystery speaking to me over the years. And the communications come in forms other than voices. Once, it was a wave of Love like nothing I have ever felt before or since moving through me, assuring me that, no matter what happened, everything would be all right. I realized later that this wave was letting me know that one of my beloveds, given 3 months to live, was cured. But I also knew that even if the cure did not happen, that was also perfect, because this Love was always present with us. Another time, Mystery showed itself when I opened my eyes during a ceremony and saw the lines of light that connected all the life forms in the room, like a true web of life.

These communications are precious gifts. They are glimpses into layers beyond our “form” world. It is as if the flat chessboard on which we are pieces opens up to the 3-dimensional chess played in Star Trek. We become aware of the infinite levels of existence and how intricate the interrelationships are.  There are so many more pieces in play on the 3-D board. On the Mystery Tour, I have a sense of invisible realms working with us, holding us.

                                                “…certainty is the booby prize.” – Caroline Casey

I understand Mystery as the field of all potential possibilities – in other words, Creator.  And when I invite Mystery in, I begin to see the invisible connection between me and everything else that I cannot see when I am looking at the flat chessboard.  I can see patterns of connection to different possibilities, outcomes I had not considered.

True surrender is the Knowing that there are possibilities I cannot see, patterns I don’t understand – and may never understand.  Some things cannot be understood nor explained.  And when I can live with the tension of uncertainty, I know the mystery play is unfolding in ways I cannot begin to imagine.  And then I live in wonder, rather than uncertainty.


In our Color of Woman work, Shiloh speaks of “alchemical consciousness.” For me, alchemical consciousness is the practice of shifting perspective, of knowing that these other layers of consciousness exist and that we can see them and access them, if we shift how we interact with the world of form. Surrendering certainty about how events “should” unfold in the form world is key, in my experience. The need to own information, to count what I know and store it safely because it explains how the world works, gets in the way of dancing with Mystery. It’s only when I surrender information and data, when I inhabit uncertainty, when I have no idea how to move next and am willing to wait, that Mystery – Magic – 68px-RWS_Tarot_01_Magicianinfuses the form world of my life and opens access to the Unseen.  I don’t even know what the question is, just that I don’t know.  Connections become apparent, new possibilities show up, miracles happen. When I surrender my authority and become the Fool of the Tarot, and then invite partnership with the Great Unknown, I move into place of the Magician.

Our Red Thread Nation work with intentional creativity is one way of inviting Mystery to infuse our lives and to bring us its gifts, to open us to the Sacred Dimensions pervading our 3-dimensional world. When we create in sacred space, shifting consciousness to a place of inquiry with the intention to connect to that which is bigger than we are, our work communicates that energy and intention to those who see it.  Our paintings contain and transmit the energy of this dance with Mystery and its gifts to us. The paintings are points, portals, where power and Grace have entered the world of form, where human and Creator have met. To paraphrase Caroline Casey, who reports the Mythic News, as humans, we are myth and image – seeking beings.  To see and understand the depth and multiplicity in patterns is to be able to see in layers of meanings – to understand symbol and metaphor.  The Greek roots of “metaphor” mean “to bear” and “to

Bridging Worlds (in progress)

Bridging Worlds (in progress)

carry across.”   The images, symbols and colors present in our paintings are feeding us and everyone who sees them, at the soul level and bringing through the Unseen in ways that we cannot explain.

” Metaphor is the incarnational garb through which power enters the world.”
– Caroline Casey

I often feel afraid when I stand in front of a blank canvas. I know I am extending the invitation, I know the Dance is about to begin. I certainly don’t know what will happen, what will show up. I do know that at some point the images will become alive and will enter into the Dance with me. Then the fear becomes an ecstatic feeling, a surrender to wherever the Dance wants to go. The ecstatic dance is not always joyful. It can be painful and full of tears, but it is always a Dance of power and grace.  Unlike Agatha Christie’s mysteries, there are often no definite answers, because the Dance goes on as long as I am willing to continue.  I want to see what happens next, how the next act of  the Mystery Play will unfold, where the Mystery Tour will take me.  And no matter how scary or suspenseful,  I know that I am loved and cared for and held tenderly by the Mystery.

Susan Rossi

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner of Shamanic Arts, Wake-Up Artist and Guide to the Way In at Flying to the Heart. She works with people seeking to creatively travel the sacred path into the Heart of What Matters Most.  Her core belief is that each of us holds inside the seeds of creativity, healing and transformation. Each of us holds a sacred story wanting expression. Her passion is helping clients and students discover how to nurture themselves in the garden of possibilities, to align with their unique purpose and calling, and to shine their own brilliance and beauty in the world.  She uses traditional and contemporary shamanic work and the process of intentional creativity with clients to bring transformation, healing stories and symbols into their lives.

This journey is not for the faint of heart.  It requires the willingness to  look deeply at what can seem impossible or frightening to change. It calls up the courage to paint the images of connection and write the healing stories that reshape lives, relationships, families and communities. Setting out on the journey awakens the ability to author the future we want to create. It is Susan’s privilege to be your creative collaborator and guide.

Susan is a passionate long-time explorer of mystery and metaphor and the relationship between mind, body and spirit.  She has a shamanic practice working with clients, students and apprentices, and has studied with Sandra Ingerman, Betsy Bergstrom, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and indigenous healers, teachers and mystics for 20 years. She has explored painting, poetry and musecraft with Visionary Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Poet Caron McCloud and is a certified teacher of the Color of Woman Method.  She is a hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, reflexologist and yoga teacher.

Susan can be contacted through her website www.flyingtotheheart.com or at flyingtotheheart@gmail.com.

Paintings above by Susan Rossi-Lineage Pollinator, Present to Mystery, Bridging the Worlds


Embodiment: Honoring Ourselves as the Living Expression of Our Work by Marie Howell

Ancient Wisdom

Ancient Wisdom by Marie Howell

 “We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon

 We as artists, writers, dancers, musicians, and creatives of every description open more fully to our innate potential through our chosen art forms. Our paintings, poems, and songs become physical embodiments of our ideas and inspirations. And since the dictionary also defines embodiment as “one who embodies something,” so too we embrace and celebrate ourselves as the embodiment of the creative work that manifests through us. We learn to love ourselves more fully as we evolve in expressing ourselves more fully.

Divine Magic

Divine Magic

The word “embodiment” implies and necessitates the experience of having physical bodies to transform things from spirit to form. My clay mosaic “Divine Magic” personifies for me my embodiment as a creative being. On her chest is a tree of life that sends the roots and branches of healing into the world. Her hands are roses that allow ideas to bloom into form. She is bejeweled with crystals, jewelry, and an ornate crown, signifying the royalty of her gifts. A butterfly of transformation whispers in her ear and the keyhole next to her opens the door to all that is possible. On her skirt are the words “receive” and “joy.” She is my reminder of who and how I aspire to be.

Our bodies allow and empower us to create. I invite you to bring awareness to their miraculous abilities that make our miraculous work possible. I propose that we consciously choose to honor the bodies that bring our ideas into tangible expression. Tune into the voice of your body as you create.

You might hear things like:

“I see the whiteness of the canvas and feel its textured surface.”

“I listen to my fingers strumming the guitar strings.”

“I smell the cookies as the taste of the chocolate chips warms my tongue.”

“I stroke the computer keys and my poem appears on the screen.”

“I swirl to the pulsating beat of the drums.”

I believe our inherent creative nature rejoices when we’re consciously tuned into our bodies in the processes of painting, writing, singing, dancing, cooking, gardening, etc. We embody our work and our body makes our work possible.

She Who Knows

She Who Knows

How might we honor the bodies that afford us the privilege of creating?

In my own life, as I self-identify as “artist,” I’ve noticed my life choices and even my physical surroundings changing. My family room now has a teal and orange wall that compliments my painting hanging there. The items in my closet are juicier, bolder, more fun, and more me. Gone are the “safe” clothing choices of the past. In their place are dramatic styles and animal prints. There are outrageous jewelry items, worn simultaneously, even though I am told “one statement piece is enough.” My artist self has her own statements to make! She adorns her body with cool belts and funky hats that illustrate her uniqueness. Her new favorite treasure is a stunning long black trench coat, courtesy of Goodwill. It will be paired with vintage scarves with op-art designs. Comfy sexy boots are a must and her new purse is a large hippie satchel featuring a plethora of brass buckles and deeply pebbled texture. Even the exercise, eating, and resting habits of my artist self differ from those of my pre-artist self. These shifts are the direct result of my inner and outer connection with. and embodiment as, my art. It happened almost without me noticing and my gratitude is interspersed with wonder.

Your artist/writer/dancer/musician/poet embodiment is as unique as your work. What does her body crave? What clothing or accessories would help you portray yourself as who you know yourself to be or even as who you aspire to be as a creative being? Can your environment or routine be tweaked to further support your embodiment as the creator and the creation?

Being grateful for and listening to our bodies as instruments through which we gift the world amplifies our own “Divine Magic,” our connection to our sacred and real selves, our embodiment as the work we do and the lives we lead. “Anne Sexton tells us to “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” It is then that we are fully open and ready to create.

Held in Her Heart

Held in Her Heart by Marie Howell

As a visual artist who paints and creates assemblage art of sacred women, I’ve come to recognize the images that come through me as bridges between spirit and form. “Ancient Wisdom” represents the shaman in me who is connected to her guides and shares her gifts with others. “She Who Knows” is my Earth Mother self who grows from a tree and has a door that opens to her soul. “Held in Her Heart” is my connection to the sacred feminine with her knowing eyes and serene gaze. “Our Lady of Expectation” is created on an African fertility mask that is a life-size representation of a pregnant mother’s body, carved from wood. She is ready to birth her grace into the world.

When we create through any discipline or media by first tuning in to our inner spirit and then bringing our creations into form, we ourselves become a bridge and our entire lives become infused with this connection. How can and do you connect to the deeper place within as you create? When you dance, journal, draw, sing, write, cook, or paint yourself into being as and through your work, how can you honor your embodiment as the bridge between spirit and form?

Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” Spirit and form live within us. The “open-hearted vision of people who embrace life” that John Lennon spoke of, lives within us. Our embodiment as a creative is within us. And so is our Divine Magic, blessing and beautifying the world with the wand of our being.

Marie Howell

Marie Howell

 About Marie:

Marie Howell is a lifelong art maker, exploring both 2 D and 3D media. She integrates traditional and non-traditional techniques and materials that invite viewers into a personal encounter with the feminine image and its ability to nurture, transform, and empower. Marie is currently focusing her creative energies on acrylic painting and “assembled” sculptural collage, adding the decorative element of embellishment and adornment to both.

 Marie is also passionate about exploring spiritual and personal growth. When she paints a canvas, it becomes an altar on which she rediscovers her Divine connection, her muse, and herself, all at once. She considers it a privilege to support others as they unearth their own sacred creativity through art, writing, and other means of expression.

Marie’s journey to the destination called Visionary Artist has unfolded over a lifetime. She currently lives in Phoenix, a place named for a powerful legend about resurrection and transformation which is what her life and her art are about.

Marie’s work has been exhibited at four Phoenix-area art galleries and a local church. Her website is www.mariehowellart.com. She can be contacted at marie@mariehowellart.com

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