Tree of Transformation ~ The Evolution of my Body of Work through Intentional Creativity®

Tree of Transformation Painting and Story

Dear Ones,

I wanted to share this writing with you today in honor of my Mama’s birthday. She loves trees so it seems just right. It arose as a response to one of the Intentional Creativity Teachers asking me to share the ‘structure’ of our work. I tried to say it in normal words, but it just failed. I feel I could keep editing and refining this for hours…but here it is in draft form. A story told. A body of work.

Blessings on your day. Get a cuppa’ tea and enjoy. If you have been curious about our work this will shed some light…

Tree of Transformation

The Evolution of my Body of Work through Intentional Creativity®

By Shiloh Sophia

I dreamed a seed of hope…

The seed of hope growing within my 23 year old self was encoded with a prayer to end violence against women and girls. To change the face of the feminine image in popular culture in my lifetime. To gather community in an act of revolution that would last beyond my generation. To awaken the sleeping to rise into consciousness through a culture of creativity. Living these prayers is my sacred assignment, my devotion, and my ministry.

The original seed arose out of a context of creative content that came from the wild wisdom shared with me through my mother, Caron McCloud. She is the Poet Mother, my birth mother, and the most beautiful person I have ever encountered. She taught me context, content, curriculum, and container as my vocabulary. The Painter Mother, Sue Hoya Sellars, came into our lives before I was born, adding her unique cosmic framework and imagery to the context of my family. She is the mother of my heart. Sue also brought the gifts shared by her teacher, Lenore Thomas Straus. Their work, their love, their art and writing informed who I became, as did all the women in my family. (1970-1993)

I was created to create, so my own art making and writing grew as I grew. A glowing warmth nurtured the seed as I shared what I was learning. With time, the seed that arose from my desire was planted in good compost in good ground with great love. When the seed sprouted and broke ground we named her Color of Woman. I felt the power rising from the sprout. A potential was making itself known. I followed the call from the city to the mountain to dream freely. There I found language and image for what was growing. I studied the medicine from the two mothers as a form of healing for myself and others through painting and poetry, pottery and prophecy. (1993-1995)

The sprout grew towards the sky and the story roots hung out in rich soil keeping company with creatures often hidden from light and sight. The sprout reached up tall and focused, tender leaves mingled with the dew and the stars. A connection between heaven and earth lives in all trees. Through books, circles and classes I shared what I knew about the the emergent tree and the the information that was coming through. The women who gathered affirmed what they saw, felt, and created in the presence of the shared tree wisdom.

The little tree came to be tended by many gardeners. Especially my family, Eden McCloud, Shannon McCloud, Janet Seaforth and Bridget McBride. And the musician who sang the love for the me and the tree for 16 years. The women who gathered declared themselves Cosmic Cowgirls. Then along came the Muses who would stay with us from the beginning until now, Elizabeth Gibbons, Mary MacDonald and Jenafer Owen. There were many others who came and went, too many to name in this telling. Some stayed and played and told stories. We held fast to the red thread of connection between all us. We enjoyed such good company and lots of dancing! Spirit Warrior, Carmen Baraka chanted for us and we are certain the grandmothers heard our call. (1995-2004)

We came to know the soil through working it. We asked questions of the ground and spoke into it, and wove poetry between the sparkling particles. We called that ground Intentional Creativity and knew that the tree sprout we originally called Color of Woman grew in a good place. Awareness of “where” something grows creates context. This kind of soil is located all over the world; yet many do not know how to find it. This is part of our work, to let the others know about the context of the ground beneath their feet.The Cosmic Cowgirls are fond of saying we have our head in the stars and our feet on the earth. We began to tell the legend of the tree and the ground far and near. Many came to learn and discover their own ground. Claiming the language for what we experienced would become one of our primary creations. Developing paintings that told our story would be at the heart of our evolution. As time went on, those roots spread throughout the earth and the young sturdy tree became stronger and taller and lovelier. We were all so grateful to see the trunk so strong. (2005-2009)

With our attention the tree grew many branches. We began to understand that the tree held the information for the collective, not just a few of us. Self expression would become the way we understood and intuited the content that was arising. We curated conscious community and celebration!

The women who studied the tree and the ground became Intentional Creativity Teachers. The branches that move out from the center are the teachings and are tended by women once they graduate, and become the Intentional Creativity Guild. The branches together, with the leaves, are the canopy that create the keepers of the collective wisdom. We make shade and beauty and color and light for each other and our Beloveds. (2010-2012)

I remained a primary gardener, but tending the tree was a great work as the borders of the garden expanded. I entered into joyous union with another gardener who knew about permaculture and how to work the soil in new ways: Jonathan. He made it possible to share the harvest with many who could not come directly to the birthplace of the tree. We went quantum and the stars were happy with our leap into the cosmos. His sacred assignment is to “carry the medicine” on the Mothership.
(2012-Ongoing)

To you, those of you who are graduates, the Intentional Creativity Guild, I say,

“You are a bright bird, coming from your own land with your own information. You joined us for an initiation. You came to preen your brightly colored feathers and develop your wingspan and flight pattern. You had to test your winged eye in good company with those who see between the worlds. You came to find your voice and chirp or cluck or sing along with the other birds. You came to bask in the shade and to sit in the light. Your wingspan grows strong and you know you can fly wherever you want. In time, you will fly off to your own tree and plant your own garden. Some of you come back to sit in the shade and share our company for a while. For others, this tree is home. We all know it is big enough for everyone to gather around. In community is a humble belonging. Some of us who are bright birds, also become gardeners.”

With our songs and our company we bloom. When there is abundance, we share those flowers and fruits. We cannot pick everything. The harvest, should the tree choose to give one, is the offering of our gifts to our Beloveds. The philanthropy of the Intentional Creativity Foundation is an offering of our own abundance and this offering is a gentle gathering over time. This offering is measured with focus on the health of the tree, and the ground from which it grows. Not designed for speed or production – but the long term vision. (2017)

When have become a healthy enough tree, we can name our own garden. The garden is yet another context besides the ground or the tree, the larger framework in which it is all happening. Each awareness expands the context in which we understand ourselves. Naming is bestowing a power of knowledge upon a being. We named the garden, MUSEA, meaning many muses and many museums. This is a quantum garden that supports this tree and many other trees. The wind sends her seeds airborne to other gardens, where other life rises. (2018)

Many have asked for a map to the garden and discovered the magical Red Thread Cafe just past the garden gate. As our tree and our garden has flourished it has become known further and further afield. Many people come to see what is growing here and to sit in the garden a while. As we bask in the beauty of our magnificent tree, we see red thread tied to her branches with messages which flutter in the wind. They float intentions, placed by many souls and circles. Souls we know, and by others we haven’t met. When tragedies or blessings happen, we reach out and pull on those threads. Some of us become Red Thread Guides and call the circles.

As she has matured, our tree called Color of Woman has become known as a Tree of Transformation where the creatives in the land come to learn. We love our tree with an incredible might! The trees which are grown from our one tree will be so many different kinds of trees! Each bird and every gardener chooses her own garden space, and tends her own trees. Yet, we still gather here at the original Tree of Transformation. (Now)

Our Lineage of Intentional Creativity ancestors shines on us from the sun and the cosmos. Their prayer for us to thrive as creative beings resonates in our bones and our homes. Finally we know truly that we are stardust as we splash our canvas with the awareness and memory that this knowing brings. Flowing around us are the rivers of life that nourish us. The loving water from forever ago has been moving toward us for such a long time.

When you feel the call, you will find us, leaning up against a great tree of transformation, grown from intention and love in action. You may also find us dancing a jig in the garden, under the broad branches when the moon is full and yellow gold. Or at the salon by the sea, speaking the philosophy of muses. You will find our sketchbooks are in our hands, taking note of the universe and our easels are sprinkled throughout the world with our images and stories.

The Tree is magic and is wherever we are, the tree and garden is. The one contains the many and the many contain the one. Seeds are like that. The Tree is everywhere we are. We love the company of the others who know the story of the Tree of Transformation. We have our own stories, and then we also have our together stories. The Tree of Transformation is a together story. You are welcome here, we are glad you found us, and that we found you along the red thread.Me? Oh, I am just one of the gardeners. Come sit awhile…I will make us some tea harvested from tiny flowers that grow at roots of the Tree of Transformation sweetened with honey from the bees in our abundant garden.

I share this story today as a record of where the philosophy, ethos and practice of Intentional Creativity came from. I share it on my mother’s 82nd birthday. This writing also reflects the organic nature of our emergent business structure. April 25, 2019


Happy Birthday Mama Cloud! Our community loves you SOOOOOOOOO MUCH and we are so very grateful that YOU were born!

My mama is so brilliant, so beautiful and so encouraging. Her love for me made it possible for me to grow as a woman and an artist. I am so grateful to be her daughter.

Healing the Healer

Rachel Bavis
Aptos, California

Healing the Healer-Orange County, CA

Healing the Healer-Orange County, CA

Maestra Shiloh Sophia’s Intentional Creativity method works so beautifully to heal and rejuvenate.  I am amazed by the incredible impact the process has proven to create transformation, peace and renewal in the midst of emotionally taxing and stressful working environments. My passion and expertise as a Child Welfare Lawyer, Intentional Creativity Coach and Teacher is the foundation for development of my Healing the Healer Workshops.  The intent of these unique workshops is to help social workers, therapists and other healing professionals access their inner guide to renew, heal, and recover from Secondary Traumatic Stress. I feel passionately that these workshops should be an integral part of their training to maintain vibrant health, while doing their vital work of protecting children & youth from abuse and neglect and nurturing healthy families.

Rachel Bavis Healing the Healer Sonoma-Individual Collage

Healing the Healer-Sonoma, CA

Serving numerous counties throughout California, I offer Healing the Healer workshops privately and through the Public Child Welfare Training Academy and Bay Area Academy.  Contact Rachel at [email protected] for further information.

 

Rachel Bavis

Studying with Shiloh awakened the dormant artist in me and I became a certified Intentional Creativity coach and teacher. I believe we are all creative artists.  My art embraces the Divine Feminine, often with whimsical, symbolic animals who bring messages, protection, and playfulness.   Using acrylics, charcoal, colored pencils, and pen, I love playing with bold colors and have a strong, graphic style, influenced by those artists I love, like O’Keeffe, Klimt, Kahlo, and Shiloh Sophia.  I create with the intention to heal children and families, and–by bringing healing images into the world—the earth and all beings.  I have a Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications with a minor in Studio Art from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Transformation-Elizabeth Gibbons

When Time Stood Still

When Time Stood Still

TRANSFORMATION

I embark upon this journey

My body, the vessel of my soul

My first transformation…..birth

My mother cries out

I am born in fire and blood

The birthing waters cool me

I am pure passion and innocence

I sail forth into unknown territory

The wisdom of uncertainty rocks

my cradle

I am adorned with love

I hear the words you cannot speak

I sense the suffering all around me

The world tries to take me down

I do not let it

My second transformation…..I walk

I give my seeds to Mother Earth

She nourishes my roots

I am pure light and laughter

My veins are filled with joy

I lift my branches to the sky

The clouds of knowing are my pillow

I dream of glory

My third transformation…..first blood

I am the womb of Creation

I join the circle of women

The spiral of life is born within me

I am the kiss of Venus

Sensuality soothes my soul

I am pure beauty and grace

I am the infinite

My fourth transformation…..death

My father is torn from this life

My heart is shattered

I am broken pieces, jagged edges

I am falling, falling into an endless black hole

My spirit is covered with ashes

I am wracked with pain…it holds me captive

Anger bars my way…guilt is my jailer

I yearn for freedom

Prayers are my only anchor as the storm

rages through me

In my burning bed I dream of the phoenix

I am the winged flame

I am the resurrection

My dance is the rites of spring

A child is born within me

My fifth transformation…..I give birth

My body is split in two

A valley opens between my mountains

The tree of life bursts from me

Blossoms bloom upon her branches

From the blood of my womb

From the flames of my passion

I give birth to this child

My blood binds together the broken fragments

of  my self

I pledge my body, my heart, my life

to her well-being

Forevermore my heart shall walk

outside my body joined to hers

with the cord of my love

I have walked through the cavern of death

In giving birth to this child I have given birth to

my self

I drink from the chalice of life

I can taste immortality

My vision is the feast of miracles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Elizabeth Gibbons  c2004

Transformation is not about being pretty or neat. Sometimes it involves blood, fire, tears and pain. Actually most times. It can be and often is a messy, chaotic, gooey business. There is a time when the caterpillar is in the cocoon before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly, where it literally liquefies. It is in a state of pure chaos. I call this the “cosmic soup”. This is the phase that I have noticed a lot of people are in right now. The much talked about shift in consciousness of humanity has put us all in a state of re-calibration, reconfiguration and transformation. We are in the womb and we are simultaneously in the birth canal.  That is a little tricky to navigate as you might imagine. It is a dance of becoming that requires balance, profound compassion and ALLOWING the pain and the joy to exist side by side without denying either.

Transformation is about digging down to the bones, the foundation of the stories that are running you. It’s about excavating the cemetery of lost dreams. It is a cleaning out of your psychic closet. Which is not so different from cleaning out your actual physical closet. You don’t really know what you’ve got in there until you take it ALL OUT. When you first do, it looks like a way bigger mess than you can even believe. Let me regale you with an amusing example from the legendary life of Glitter W.A.S.P. just so we can get the giggles going. My daughter cleaned out my front hall closet over Thanksgiving. It is the mail slot closet  where the mail arrives and also the coat and umbrella and  what I call the etcetera closet. Well it’s been awhile since it got cleaned out. Guess what she found? Besides the mail from 2007 that I had never received or opened, there was still old dried mouse poo from 2011 back there. Kind of embarrassing but kind of hilarious too.

wendy-lyn-phillips-photo-messy-closet-267x336

As you first look at that pile of STUFF from your “closet” in awe and disbelief, don’t follow your first inclination which is going to be to stuff it back in. You heard me DON’T DO IT!!! Your Muse will not let you rest if you do. And the next time around the mess will have doubled. Instead laugh your a__s off about the mouse poo, shred the bills from 2007 (isn’t it great that you don’t owe them anymore?!!!!) and  grab your paintbrushes and pens and RUN as fast as you can for your studio or your writing desk. Don’t forget to  pat yourself on the back, on the way, that rather than spending time vacuuming up dried mouse poo you’ve been leaving a legacy for your family and the world by painting or writing into being the glorious wisdom and healing images and messages that arise from your soulful and DIVINE self.. Once you arrive at your studio or writing desk let the fun begin! This is where you get to become the creator and the alchemist of your own existence. All that STUFF that just came tumbling out of your psychic closet, the guilt trips, the broken vows, the shattered dreams….all that is the composting pile for your life. Even before it begins to stink, it is rich with treasures that are worth digging for. Since your “shovel” is a paintbrush or a pen or marker and your fuel is the creative fire that lives in your heart and imagination, you won’t be needing any heavy equipment. Just your intention and your willingness to show up and toss the prima materia, your psychic garbage heap into the alchemical fire of your creativity.

radiant-loving-heart-multicolored

 

Leave the judgment and the expectations at the door. Open to the magic of this process and the gift that you are giving yourself by being willing to dig for the treasures. It really is true what they say that Art Will Save the World and first it will save you. You are worth it and you are the alchemist of your own existence.

 

 

“I believe when we engage intimately with works of art, who we are and how we view our world changes. The creation of art and the viewing of it, allow for us to reconfigure our thoughts, and to make our ideas and abstractions concrete. All art germinates from a need to see, understand and communicate. Like alchemists, great artists distill and transform.  For me then, art becomes an experience and a lens through which to view the world. The alchemy in art is that it allows us to see stars where once we saw only dust.” www.alchemy-of-art.com/blog/quotes/

Yes you heard correctly. Stars where there was once only dust. What does that mean? It means that there is sparkle even in the midst of mouse poo. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not necessarily easy to see that, especially in the moment. Still let’s consider this….that the things that embarrass us the most about ourselves are also part of the ingredients that can be added to our alchemical mixture, our elixir of life, our “prime materia” , and that intentional creativity is the match that sets our souls on fire. The first step towards transformation begins with awareness so yes we need to bring those old stories into our awareness first. We can then CHOOSE consciously what to release. Sometimes even that first step of bringing it into awareness is enough to shift the whole story and move your self into a new way of showing up and being in the world.

The COLOR of WOMAN process that Shiloh Sophia, our fearless and brilliant leader, has developed called “Talisman” is a profound catalyst and process for this alchemical transformation. Our old stories, our mouse poo are literally the lead that can be transformed into the spiritual “gold” of enlightenment through intentional creativity with a nice sprinkling of prayer, visioning, ceremony and community thrown in. Shiloh teaches us that painting is one of the few places that we can be truly scared but never get hurt. Kind of makes you want to become an artist, right? What I would add to that is that it does not matter what your level of artistic skill is, the healing process still occurs, transformation happens and lives are forever altered in ways that are exquisitely, soulfully beautiful. Psyche means butterfly in Greek and it also means soul. The etymology of the word psyche as defined in Wikipedia is, “life in the sense of breath”. It is within this that the divine spark and breath of life, of our very spirit, exists. Yes in our psyche, within our prime material.

‘Psychologically speaking the mysterious prima materia represents, and is to be discovered in, the parts of the psyche that we deny, dis-own and marginalize, the aspects of ourselves that we feel ashamed of, revulsion for and turn away from in disgust. In Jung’s words, this “means that the thing which we think the least of, that part of ourselves which we repress perhaps the most, or which we despise, is just the part that contains the mystery.’ We typically want to get rid of the shadow aspects of our personality, but the alchemists understood that our wounded, inferior and unconscious parts aren’t an accident or an error, but rather, has a value and cosmic perfection to them that is stunning. Our wounds, the base material of the work, are indispensable for the accomplishment of the opus, for without these shadow parts there would be no way to make the alchemical gold.”

The ‘famous secret’, and the basis of the alchemical opus is the unique prima materia, which is the chaos and raw material out of which the refined substance or ‘gold’ is produced. To the alchemists, there was a spirit hidden in the darkness of the prima materia, a divine spark buried in the darkness of matter.”

I want to say this again in case you didn’t hear it the first time. Your wounded, inferior or unconscious parts (that mess in your psychic closet) has a value and a cosmic perfection to it that is STUNNING. As an artist I consider myself to be both creator and alchemist. Art is how I illumine my life, how I make sense of it all. Creating art for me, has become the container that helps me to integrate the whole human experience, the beauty and the ugliness, the light and the shadows, the coexistence of opposites. It allows me to exist in a space in my being-ness that is always expanding. Everything can be thrown into the mixture and as the alchemical process of transformation does it’s magic, even mouse poo turns into cosmic stardust that ripples out on the waves of laughter that shimmer forth from this legendary and wondrous place that I call “The Palace of the Soul Divine School of Glitteracy.”

What places and stories in your psyche are you shoving back into the closet because you are afraid of the mess?

How can your creative process help you to be more compassionate with yourself and more peaceful and expansive in the process of transformation?

What practices and which people support you the most as you work with your “prima mature”?

And how can you bring more of that support and those practices into your life in 2014?

Can you think of instances where a new awareness and insight has shifted your story?

What old stories want to arisnow that are willing to be released?

If you are looking for a fun, divine, enchanted inspirational transformational creativity playshop taught by your truly, scroll down to learn more about what is being offered at the Palace of the Soul. To be launched in the very near future a new web-site that will give you all the juicy details. Stay tuned for www.thepalaceofthesoul.com

GLITTER W.A.S.P. is a visionary artist and teacher, and an “Art Critic” who champions women artists. She considers it her own personal mission to spread sparkle around the world by celebrating the delightful, shimmering beauty women offer to the world through their gorgeous, artistic creations.

ElizabethElizabeth Gibbons is a visionary artist and teacher, clairvoyant healer, priestess of possibility and prophetess of enchantment also known in the Cosmic Cowgirls community as the Bejeweled Baroness. As a teacher, she encourages us to explore materials that awaken our sense of wonder, joy and playfulness. By playing with the sparkle of glitter, beads and jewels, we reconnect with the language of our soul and ignite the divine spark that Elizabeth calls our SOUL-SHINE. As we raise our vibrations, the alchemy of healing, that is part of our natural capacity, is activated.

Elizabeth, a.k.a. Glitter W.A.S.P. (or the Bejewelled Baroness depending upon the day of the week or who you ask), resides in San Francisco at the Palace of the Soul with her fabulously talented children and her revolving extended family. There she runs “The Divine School of Glitteracy” where she guides women and girls on magical adventures and ceremonies that allow them to reinvent their lives to align with more creativity, joy, enchantment, expansion, beauty and love. She teaches transformational art & embellishment classes at “The Palace of the Soul Divine School of Glitteracy.” She is currently adding “Intuitive & Playful Life Guidance & Clearing Abundance Blocks” to her menu.

To view a complete menu of classes offered go to www.enchantedeye.net/one-on-one-classes or contact her at 415-637-4290 as new classes are often developed and added before they show up on her web-site.

To view Glitter W.A.S.P.’s Daily Glitterations from May and beyond visit Elizabeth’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWmqNfLiDTnPC-_UJM2oV2Q

 

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