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Interview with Dawn of Ravenwind Illustration

Posted on August 09, 2022 by Dannika Soukoroff

                                     Dawn Ravenwind

"Dawn Ravenwind is a fantasy artist, author, and mother of one, aka. “Mother of Dragons.” She is a Metis artist born in Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada. Dawn grew up off-grid without electricity or hot water and is very connected to nature. After graduating with Honour’s and distinction with a BSc from the University of Victoria she wrote her master thesis on climate change.

Dawn has studied the Elder Futhark runes for over 10 years, and uses them regularly as part of her daily practice. She is excited to be contributing to the field through a unique illustrated art book that she hopes will inspire a new generation of runesters.

Dawn also designs intricate fantasy scale mail apparel which is available through www.dragonheartart.com her pieces have been used in film, circus, burlesque, theatre, and of course many festivals and flow jams.

When she is not toiling away in her workshop focused on creative endeavours, Dawn enjoys the outdoor life in the Kootenay area of BC with her son, little Ragnar (who also loves dragons and swordplay)."

We are so excited to be carrying Dawn's book 'The Illustrated Book of Runes'.

Gaia: Hi Dawn! Can you tell us a bit about yourself. What's your background like and what are some interests of yours?

Dawn: One thing I found really interesting out of this book writing experience is that the most common thing people comment on who have read it is my bio and that I’ve had an interesting life. I could maybe make a whole book on that one day, but the short of it is that I was raised in northern BC 45 km down a logging road without power on a small homestead. I did regular public school as we had a bus that took us to town, and ended up going to university and getting my Bachelor of Science with Honour’s in Biology at UVic. Life (some maybe call it fate) took me in a different direction when I had my son, Ragnar, while finishing up my Master’s and I moved to the Kootenays and started working on DragonheART, my art and costume business.

My interests include a lot of ecological outdoor things like hiking, bird watching, animal rescue, plant foraging and gardening. But I also have a very artsy set of interests like music festivals, painting, mythology, fantasy novels, board games, and other nerdy things. I think it’s a pretty balanced way of being.

Gaia: Your “Illustrated Runes” book is very interesting because it is a combination of valuable information & beautiful artwork. What inspired you to create a book that features both of these components?

Dawn: Thanks for that feedback! Honestly, it just started with the art. I had the idea to paint the runes with their symbology for quite a long time, as I hadn’t really seen anyone make really detailed images with how the shape of each rune related to a physical image (for example, the shape of Wunjo is said to be a flag so I wanted to show how that looks like a flag). In 2020 when everyone was cooped up there were a lot of art challenges going around and one was a rune contest by a tattoo artist that said to create a rune art image in your style.

So I did, and that was Fehu, and when I saw it I thought maybe it would be cool to make a book out of these, as I’d been thinking my watercolor style would make great illustrations for some time. I posted it on the Asatru Community page (Asatru being the name for the modern following of Nordic faith) and asked if people would support making a book with this art. It received a lot of attention and I thought well I better make this then.

The Illustrated Book of Runes

 
Fortunately (or unfortunately) all my regular events were cancelled and so I turned my focus onto the art for the book. And each time I did a painting I would just sit for an hour and channel whatever thoughts I’d had for that week into written form and it would just sort of flow. It turned out I had a lot to say about all of them, the book ended up about twice as big as I originally anticipated!

The intro and everything else I used my research skills for and sourced a lot of outside information. But all the writing about each rune is just a channel of my thoughts about them, after having read some books a while ago and worked with them daily for several years.   

Thankfully, due to raising around $12,000 on Kickstarter I was able to fund all of the art and words into the result that you have in stores now. A big shout out goes to my editor and publishing helper Stephen Aetherphoxx of Thoughtweft Publishing for helping me bring it together in such a meaningful and impactful way.

Gaia: How did you get into studying Runes?

Dawn: That’s a good question I don’t have a straightforward answer to. There’s an aspect where it just seemed to resonate with me, I studied German in high school and university and that part of the world has just always called to me in some way. I received my first set of runes as a teenager from a friend and dabbled then but never really ‘got into them’ until after Ragnar was born. I made myself a goal to do a daily rune pull and through that was able to really learn them; it’s a bit like learning a language where you have to work with them regularly to become fluent in them. Maybe I made that goal as something to keep my brain busy and learning in that dip after university, but I felt like once I really started to learn about the philosophical aspect of each rune it became less of an intellectual pursuit and more of a personal development one.

Gaia: In your bio on your website you mention that you have been studying the ‘Elder Futhark Runes’ for over 10 years. How do the Elder Futhark Runes differ from what we commonly know as simply ‘Runes’?

Dawn: The Elder Futhark are what most people first think of when they think of runes. They’re an old Germanic alphabet we know from the 1st and 2nd centuries that was revived in the past couple of centuries and has been used for divination since then, but they’re only one of the alphabets we call runes. The Elder Futhark are known as the Viking runes but they predate the Icelandic runes, Younger Futhark (Scandinavian) runes, Anglo-Saxon runes and many other that came after. The newer branches are each their own alphabet which evolved from the Elder Futhark (which we think may have developed from Roman origins). The word ‘rune’ in general covers an even much broader category that can include things like the Ogham used by the old Celtic peoples or Glagolitic script of Slavic origins, neither of which came from the Elder Futhark.

Gaia: As far as the art component in your book goes, do you take inspiration from traditional sources of imagery to guide your art, or is it totally personal interpretation of the runes?

Dawn: I went with imagery based on what we believe historically the representation was (eg. Fehu looks like a cow with its two horns). I’d use that for the starting place and focus, as the main purpose was to show this historical image in a modern and detailed way. Then from there I would also include some of my own interpretation images, like with Laguz. Laguz translates to lake, but the shape of the rune is said to be that of a leek. So leeks appear in my imagery, as well as a lake, but I also included ducks as was more of an intuitive thing which brought the image together as more of a whole.

Gaia: For people that are just starting out, besides your book, what other books or resources would you recommend?

Dawn: For runes, I’d say it’s important to read the classics. Freya Aswynn’s ‘Northern Mysteries and Magick’ is a good intuitive book and Edred Thorsson’s ‘Handbook of Rune Magic’ is a good scholarly source with lots of details like body positions and galdr (shamanic rune chants).  Some of the more easily readable books have come out more recently though, so if you want a book that is more approachable for light learning I’d go with Paul Rhys Mountfort ‘Nordic Runes.’

There are some great online resources as well, The Rune Site (
http://www.therunesite.com) and Rune Secrets (https://runesecrets.com/) are both worth checking out. I’ve heard there are good apps out there for learning, but I don’t like to use them as I don’t really think electronic algorithms are the best way to generate randomness.

You should also definitely do some reading on Norse mythology to get the full picture. Some great resources on this that I enjoy are the site Norse Mythology for Smart People (
https://norse-mythology.org/) and Daniel McCoy’s associated book ‘The Viking Spirit’, any of the translations of the Poetic and Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson and ‘D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths.’

Gaia: In your opinion what is the best material for runes to be made out of?

Dawn: I tend to stay away from saying there is a best anything, especially for something as personal as runes. There might be a best for someone that is not best for another person. For example, bone is the most historically correct substance and it comes imbibed with some energy of the animal it came from. But for a vegan, a carved crystal set on quartz would be a better match. The only thing I will say that is the best is if it has the best intention that goes along with it. If someone is purchasing a set of runes for someone else, it comes with intention as part of the gift but you should keep in mind trying to source and support a small business person and not a large manufacturing company. If you’re crafting a set for yourself, really taking time to find a material that feels special to you is the best.

Gaia: People who first get into tarot are often told ‘You have to be given your first deck or it’s bad luck’. Many tarot readers and enthusiasts I have spoken to would disagree with this. Are there any myths about people beginning with runes that have been circulated?

Dawn: Not so much, though I’ve definitely heard it said. I’ve also heard people claim a set of runes can only be used a single time and then cast away, though there is no historical record of that. People get all kinds of ideas about what is ‘the way’. The most particular people will say you should craft them yourself, but I think a gift is a great way to get someone started on learning them.

Gaia: Which rune resonates with you the most?

Dawn: Well that’s a bit of a tough question, there’s runes that make me happiest, runes that come with the most intense feeling, runes that just show up for me all the time. As they’re all fairly well integrated parts of my psyche it’s almost like asking if I resonate more with my feet or my hands, or if thinking or feeling is better. Having to pick one is really hard so maybe I’ll just go with a few.

For positive things I want to manifest and get excited when they show up we have Fehu (wealth) and Ehwaz (partnership). For one I use a lot I would pick Kenaz (creativity). For personal growth and development I would pick Dagaz (dusk/dawn, for riding out bad times and remembering all is temporary) and Hagalaz (chaos).

Gaia: What is your sun sign and do you feel you relate to it? If you know what your moon and ascendant signs are, do you feel like they reflect in your personality? If you aren’t into Western astrology, are there other systems you follow, maybe through runes, to learn about yourself?

Dawn: My sun sign is a Pisces. I do relate to it in the emotional and creative sense for sure. My moon is a Taurus and my ascendant is cusp Capricorn/Sagittarius. I think overall I feel a lot more of those earth signs (most of my other planets are Capricorn) where I like practical things, physical comforts and structure.

There’s also a calendar Freya Aswynn designed, as the runes make a cycle like the months do. You can find it in her book or in my tables starting page 137. This gives you a birth rune, said to relate to your destiny. My birthday falls under the rune of Tiwaz, meaning my destiny is related to that of a warrior. You can use your name for personality traits too, D (Dawn) is Dagaz, meaning I have a lot of intense mood shifts and I tend to see the world as more black and white.

Gaia: Can you tell us about more about the readings you offer and other products or services you offer?

Dawn: I don’t actually really offer readings except to people close to me. I feel like runes are more of a self development journey, and I’m not always keen to pry into other people’s states of being. Sometimes you also find things you or them aren’t ready for and it’s not a comfortable service, the runes are really blatant sometimes and that lack of sugar coating can outline a harsh reality. The one thing I will offer is a single rune pull when I’m running my booth, it’s more like a message for the day and something to reflect on than really getting deep into an issue.


I do have my DragonheART business as my regular service offering. I run an Etsy store and take my art to events like music festivals and comic expos. I’m known for and specialize in scalemail, a form of chainmaille that uses rings and scales to make costume pieces and accessories. I also do leatherwork and can make custom just about anything.

Gaia: Where we can find more information about accessing your products and services?

Dawn: My Ravenwind Illustration website is set up for my artwork but also has a page where you can read my write ups on each of the runes.
www.ravenwindillustration.com
Social Media is:
FB:
www.facebook.com/ravenwindillustration
IG: @ravenwindillustration

And if you want to check out my DragonheART (the shop where you can buy my book and all my other art)

www.dragonheartart.com

www.etsy.com/ca/shop/dragonheartspace

FB: www.facebook.com/dragonheartart
IG: @dragonheartart
Tiktok: @dragonheartspace

 

Gaia: Are there any other personal spiritual practices you have? Do you mind sharing about them?

Dawn: In university I spent a lot of time doing Zen Buddhism and I still do meditations that way. As a Metis person, I also have some Native American practices like thanking plants before I harvest them. I’ve also studied tarot, astrology and Kabbalah. So I have a sort of mesh of different beliefs from a number of places. I also like learning the psychology/science behind myths so there is a practical side to that spirituality too.

Gaia: Are there any spiritual philosophies, beliefs or paths you are drawn to that you would like to learn more about?

Dawn: Slavic mythos seems really rich and unsurfaced, I definitely want to dig more into that. There are a lot of Celtic ideologies that interest me also that I feel I want to spend some time learning about. And, as there is always learning to do and more to know, there is still a lot of Asatru/Nordic path stuff I want to keep learning.

Gaia: How do you think you have grown as a person in the last year?

Dawn: I’ve gotten more confidence in my crafts and myself over the last year. I was about to give it mostly all up for a Shopify tech support job that was offered to me (they even sent me a computer!) but the BC government funded me with a COVID recovery grant last year. It’s helped me get to a point where my store is so busy I hardly have time to restock for summer events. So I think I made the right choice there!

 Gaia: What is one thing you would like to grow about yourself in 2022?

Dawn: I’d like to keep focusing on my art and business development. I have plans to get more printed merchandise happening, like a calendar with my artwork and maybe mugs and water bottles. I’m posing around some ideas for illustrated kids books with Norse myths but I can’t make any promises I’ll get to that! I have a lot of leather and a new sewing machine from the grant I’d like to do more neat things with too.

I guess that’s all more tangible things to do rather than about myself in particular. I’d say it all relates to building up more confidence and continuing to put myself out there, coming up with new ideas, focusing on creativity and continuing to learn new things as I go. I’ll throw in a goal for some travelling too, as getting out of your comfort zone is always a good place to keep growing in new ways.

Gaia: What would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising?

Dawn: All the crystals! A whole dragon horde worth! Also some cool statues, pleasant smelly things like essential oils and incense, interesting books, pretty oracle cards and maybe a little instrument like a chime or two.

Posted in

Interview with Terry Sidhu, local Meditation Coach & Tarot Reader.

Posted on August 04, 2022 by Dannika Soukoroff

                                

                           Terry Tarot

Terry is a local Meditation Coach & founder of Moon Meditation. He is also a fabulous Tarot reader and will be offering Tarot readings in front of Gaia Rising on Saturday, August 6th from 1pm-4pm! Suggested donation of $20-$30. Please enjoy our interview with the thoughtful Terry :)

Gaia: Hi Terry! Such a pleasure to be interviewing you! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Terry: I’m originally from England and ethnically my background is Indian. I was raised in a Sikh household where seeking Truth, equality between all people, and serving your community was the way of life. I’m self-expressive by nature and growing up I found myself finding sanctuary in meditation as the world around me seemed too restrictive. For me it was either conform or retreat, I chose to retreat in meditation. I was introduced to meditation around 9 years old, also something I learned through my Sikh upbringing, and through meditation I discovered my love for dance, life, philosophy and curiosity for human behavior. I went on to study psychology, however after two years of study and no mention of meditation, I switched my focus to Marketing which to me seemed like a better study of human behavior, or as I understood it, ‘psychology in action’. After university I moved to Canada, started my own life coaching practice by turning marketing & management tools into personal development ones, and through coaching is how I started teaching meditation.

Gaia: In your own words, can you describe what the practice of meditation is to you?

Terry: The practice of meditation to me is to seek truth. I learned that everything we experience in mind, body and beyond is a mere creation, and the role of meditation is to enable you to observe creation and study it to seek its creator; the truth of the matter. For example, consider a problem in your life as a creation, in meditation you study it to seek the creator of it, which then enables you to understand it and create a solution.

Gaia: How did you learn about meditation? Who did you learn about meditation from?

Terry: Meditation was normal growing up, it was depicted in the artwork on the walls at home and in the temple, and I had access to the resources I needed to learn. Not everyone in my generation was into it, mostly because of the religious association to the practice, but I found a freedom in meditation like no other. My mother, who introduced me to the fundamentals of the practice, encouraged me to read and learn from all faiths and ways of life. I was taught to seek truth, to feel and experience it for myself, instead of blindly accepting what I was taught and told in the material experience of the world.

Gaia: Why do you see meditation as an essential skill to have for managing stress, anxiety and supporting us through mental health issues?

Terry: We sleep to recover from the limitations of the mind and body, we meditate to overcome the limitations of the mind and body. Meditation enables you to separate yourself from whatever experience you’re having, and creates a moment for you to change your perspective; to raise awareness. You start by conditioning the mind to not react to any state of mind, and I think these beginning practices alone can transform a person's experience of life and being. Ultimately, meditation is safer than any other mental health practice out there.

Gaia: Besides supporting us in managing our mental health, what other benefits are there in practicing meditation?

Terry: Mental health is just the beginning, meditation will help you improve focus and concentration, boost productivity, ignite creativity and will give you the confidence to live true to who you are. Beyond the benefits for life, meditation will awaken your inner-spirituality as you create room in your mind to feel and connect with the intelligence that is you and that surrounds you. Meditation can help you physically too! It teaches you to listen to your body and as you do, you will identify the changes you need to make to live healthy.

                             Terry

Gaia: In your book ‘Meditate-Breathe into meditation and awaken your potential’ you have a 5 step process that you recommend for beginning meditation. Without spoiling all 5, can you give us a synopsis about one of your steps you talk about in the book?

Terry: Sure, Step 3. Locking. One of the fundamental steps in Meditate is activating your meditative state, which I call locking or locking into your meditation. Locking is a subtle and gentle movement, you roll your eyes up toward the center of your mind as if to shift awareness away from life and into mind. It’s ritualistic at the beginning stages but as you develop your practice you will start to notice a shift in being, it’s quite remarkable!

Gaia: What made you decide to write a book? Why did you feel that it was important to you on your path in life?

Terry: I moved to Nelson to teach meditation full time, I had a studio in town and all was going great until COVID. When the studio closed I decided to take the time to write, I figured I came here to teach so teach I shall. I also feel it's important to immortalize this knowledge too, to leave a clue for future generations to find whenever they start seeking as it has helped me so much in my life.

Gaia: From what I understand you are also a tarot card reader. How would you say tarot and meditation compliment each other in spiritual practice?

Terry: I think tarot is a great way to express the truths felt within. Sometimes I have experiences in mind that I have no context for in life, so I reach for my tarot deck to help me form context, a narrative of sorts, to help express the experiences within. I also use Tarot with my students to help them stimulate creativity and brain activity before heading into meditation.

Gaia: What is your favourite tarot deck to work with & why?

Terry: I don’t think I ever thought about a favorite, I tend to switch up my deck every few months to challenge my mind and keep my reading skills fresh. Right now I’m using a samurai deck, the imagery is really cool and I’m watching a lot of Anime right now so they’re enjoyable to read. In the past I have found a lot of value in Celtic decks as I found them to contain a lot of hidden details that encourage you to look a little closer.

Gaia: Are there any tarot decks that you are interested in working with that you haven’t yet?

Terry: I’m hoping to explore oracle cards soon, though with Tarot I feel I just work with whatever falls in my lap. I’ve also read tarot with a regular set of playing cards too! Though I’m keeping a keen eye on a Vedic-scripture inspired deck, I think I’d do quite well with them.

Gaia: Which card in the major arcana do you find you relate to these days when you look at the big picture of your life?

Terry: The Moon. I feel like I’m experiencing some growing pains as I’m learning to integrate some internal shifts that have caused me to see life renewed.

Gaia: If you know, what are your sun, moon & ascendant zodiac signs in Western astrology and do you find that they resonate with who you are? Do you work with or believe in Vedic astrology? Same question as above regarding Vedic astrology (if applies).

Terry: Astrology is something I try not to dive into, I grew up having my palm, my forehead and my charts read by so many people that I ultimately don’t want to know any more. I am aware of my dharmic duty, and each reading I get aligns quite accurately with it. However, outside of my dharma, I want life to surprise me. I find more pleasure in being than in knowing these days, and as lovely as it is to learn of nature and my nature, I’ve consciously decided to just embrace my truth instead of trying to fulfill it.

Gaia: What other spiritual practices do you have in your life and are you open to sharing a bit about them? 

Terry: A couple I am happy to share, first is Tantra. Tantra, in summary, is the fullest expression of truth. It’s often associated with sacred sexuality but that’s just one branch off of the Tantric tree. To stand up on one's tantric expression is to exist as the truest form of self unapologetically, and by doing so you enlighten every aspect of your life, everything from what you eat to who you communicate with! You’ll often see me in a Tantric expression when I dance, it’s most evident there. The second is an Islamic state of prayer called, Istikhara, you simplye pray life and learn from or seek guidance and knowledge from the thoughts, ideas and visions that conjure up. It’s a beautiful meditation. 

Gaia: Are there any spiritual philosophies or practices that you are interested in learning more about?

Terry: I’m eager to learn more about Taoism, I think there’s a simplicity to that way of life that makes life a purer and much less complex experience.

Gaia: How would you say that you have changed over the last year?

Terry: I would say I have developed a new found confidence in myself as a teacher of meditation. Recently, I’ve had to manage a lot of new responsibilities in my life and was met with many new challenges, and delving into my meditation practice to manage it all was the thing that made me realize how developed my practice really is. It was like putting my practice to test and it made me realize even more how crucial it is to get this knowledge out there.

Gaia: Where can we find information about where to access your products & services?

Terry: Head on over to moonmeditation.io, it will connect you to all my services and resources.

Gaia: What would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising?

Terry: Incense, a pooja bell, a deck of tarot cards and a good thought provoking book!

Posted in

Interview with Shannon Silvermoon, local artist, Spiritual coach and healer

Posted on July 28, 2022 by Dannika Soukoroff

We at Gaia rising are so pleased to have had the opportunity to interview  Shannon Silvermoon! Shannon practices as a spiritual healer and personal growth guide here in the Kootenays, working with inner child and identity development techniques to heal the psyche and mend ancestral wounds. Alongside her many healing services, Shannon is also a visual artist! She focuses her talent into paintings featuring the moon, Goddesses and the spirit of nature and animals.
Gaia: Hi Shannon, we are so happy to be chatting with you. Tell us a bit about yourself!

Shannon: Growing up I moved a lot as a child and attended 13 different schools in 12 years. I felt very isolated and alone and took some comfort in drawing and just being with myself feeling my feelings. I never really felt like I had a place that felt like home until I moved to Nelson other than my family homestead in Ontario and Ireland where my ancestors originated from. I love to travel and have been to many countries including Israel, Jordan, Thailand, Cambodia, Ireland, Scotland and every country in Central America.  

Gaia: How did you get started on your healing journey? What prompted you to go inwards and ‘do the work’?

Shannon: Growing up in a difficult family dynamic & atmosphere, I acted out a lot as a child and young adult. I became a teenage single mom and had to do everything on my own. When my son grew up he began to act out as well and had done something that was heartbreaking and tore the family apart. We were both alienated from the family and the pain was so devastating. Along with my father's death shortly afterwards, I knew I needed help desperately during my breakdown. I started with regular counseling and continued to investigate every healing modality possible. If there is a healing modality out there I have likely done it. 

Gaia: Why did you decide to offer healing service to others? Where did the inspiration come from to assist others in their healing journey?

Shannon: After over 12 years of doing my own healing path I slowly began digging myself out of depression and the victim mentality I clung to growing up. I realized that I was entirely responsible for my own thoughts and beliefs. After healing and learning from my mentors and counselors, I began learning how to heal myself. I wanted to give that gift to others so they could feel as free as I had felt by owning my own S*%t and doing the steps. I learned a lot of tricks and tips along the way, and I love seeing others connect to love and joy that returns to true selves.

Gaia: Besides your literal offerings… what do you feel you offer as a healer to other people? (From a personal standpoint).

Shannon: One of the most powerful modalities that worked for me was inner child and parts work. I learned to connect with the lost, lonely and abandoned parts of myself. Rather than looking to all of the external things that are empty and do not fill our needs like booze, drugs, work, relationships, shopping I realized that I had to be the parent that I never had. Once I embodied that role I felt more fulfilled. I have learned to facilitate healing offerings of this kind of approach to others in a safe, non-judgemental, loving and nurturing space. Whether that is in person or on line it is very effective as I guide my clients into meditation and hypnosis in the comfort of my space or their own. 

Gaia: Tell us more about your healing work. How you got started, the traditions you studied from or education you pursued. 

Shannon: Learning from my inner child work mentor, I found many tips and tricks. Afterwards I trained in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programing) hypnosis training, Spiritual coaching courses and I am currently training in a new method called Iopt that is a form of resonating with your parts similar to Family Constellation work but with your own psyche and intentions. 

Gaia: You offer what you call ‘Empowerment Sessions’ what do these sessions look like?

Shannon: Every session is different and with a free consultation we discuss what the client wants and needs and what would be the most effective modality for that individual. Most sessions do involve meditation or some form of an inner connection. Some clients may not feel comfortable with a hypnosis session which would connect them deeply with their inner child. Some may want a more interactive hands on approach which I may suggest using a method called automatic writing or painting. Another modality can be with Parts Work. By setting an intention and having myself or objects resonate with their intention. If the client is not yet ready to dive deep into their psyche we can start by setting  goals, dreams, and raising vibrational frequencies through discussing how they would like to grow in their life and ways that I can support, nurture and hold them accountable with thought provoking homework to complete. 

Gaia: What have you learned from working with others on their healing journey?

Shannon: I have learned that everyone is perfect where they are at now and are ready for whatever they are ready for to heal in their own time. So often we have that friend or family member that we see and think “Gawd if only they could see what they are doing with their life! If only they would stop doing X or Y they would be happy” But we have all been that person as well and one day the light bulb turns on and we just GET IT. But no amount of nagging from your best friend or your mother would have done it, in fact it may have annoyed you until something happens or you are ready for that new thing that makes it click. I may see the deeper wounds or what they may need to do to change but it is ultimately up to the individual and how much investment, courage and curiosity they have in themselves to do the work will it eventually click. There are also many layers to what we can see as well and if they can at least see the first layer that is a blessed start. 

Gaia: What do you believe your mission is on the Earth?

Shannon: I believe that my mission is to help others heal from their pain, traumas from our own past and intergenerational trauma and to believe in themselves. We are powerful beings capable of anything. Its our beliefs that hold us back to being the greatness that we are. I want to untangle the thoughts that we are not enough, or are too much so that we can express our gifts in this world. Then we can have a world that works for everyone, with enough room for everyone, so that we can love each other without greed, jealousy, fear or lack. 

Gaia: We have recently started carrying your beautiful cards. My personal favourites are ‘Jabowalkie’ & ‘Foxy Moon’. Where does the inspiration come from for your art? What kinds of mediums do you use to create your paintings?  

Shannon: I like to play and experiment with different mediums but mostly I work with Acrylic or water color. My inspiration comes from my own spiritual experiences through my healing journey experiences. Also I have been fascinated by the moon since I was a toddler and am an avid follower of the cycle, I find it to be influential in my moods. I also love wild animals and their spiritual medicine meaning to their personalities

Gaia: What is your sun sign and do you feel you relate to it? If you know what your moon and ascendant signs are, do you feel like they reflect in your personality?

Shannon: I laugh inside when people ask this as I can just hear some people go ohhhh…. when I tell them my signs. I am a Taurus Sun sign and a Taurus Moon sign with a Leo ascendant so even though I can appear to be out in the spotlight and social it can take a toll on me as my Taurus energy is strong. I am very grounded which I believe really helps me in my guided healing practice with my clients and I am told that I have a very earthy motherly energy in sessions.  I do have to work on my stubborn side but when I have made up my mind I am firm and stand by my word. I also love comfort and do most of my computer work at home in my very warm and cozy bed with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

 

Gaia: Are there any other personal spiritual practices you have? Do you mind sharing about them?

Shannon: I love to meditate and journal. I try to meditate every day even if its only for 5-10 mins but I strive for at least a half an hour. There is no one way that I do it, sometimes its breathing in the car to calm my anxiety for a few mins, other times its putting on my headphones and listening to a guided meditation and other times if I can’t sleep or need clarity I will listen to some bilateral beats. Journaling is something I have done since I was 13 as recommended by a family counselor. At the time it was to write out my aggression and frustrations, it continued that way for most of my life but now I use if to record my dreams- I love dream interpretation, and for my gratitude and affirmations. Journaling  also helps to work out problems in my current situation before I confront others in an overly emotional way, this helps me defuse it. 

Gaia: Are there any spiritual philosophies, beliefs or paths you are drawn to that you would like to learn more about?

Shannon: I love learning about different philosophies beliefs and religions, I take what resonates with me and leave the rest. I really gravitated to the Centre for Spiritual living when I was living in Kelowna and when I took their classes and workshops outside of their regular Sunday service I really learned a lot and grew immensely. They follow the teachings of Ernest Holmes who wrote the Science of Mind in the 1920’s. Ernest incorporated many of the basic principles of the Bible, the Quaran, teachings of the Buddha, Krishna and Muhammad and extracted the messages of love, unity and all is One in, through and as God. Then he took the law of physics and the power of the mind showing the science of how our thoughts affect our mind, body and spirit decades before it was acceptable to believe this. Lastly he incorporated philosophers like Emerson and Thurow who like him wrote about the power of our mind and God. This changed my life. 

Gaia: How do you think you have grown as a person in the last year?

Shannon: Wow, this is a big question. I have grown in so many ways personally. I have learned to become more confident in myself, to feel into my body and know what it wants and needs - even though I don’t always listen. I have learned to speak up for myself more and stand up for what I believe in even if it means loosing people or even jobs. I am listening to my intuition more knowing that a gut feeling can lead you to great opportunities or risk loosing things because it does not serve me anymore. Once I let go the Universe/God/Source will fill it with something greater once the slate is clean.

Gaia: What is one thing you would like to grow about yourself in 2022?

Shannon: I see myself growing into a bigger more badass version of myself. Trusting myself and others more, believing that I am supported by my friends, community and the Universe. I see myself growing my businesses with clients and many sales exponentially everyday. More confidence and relaxing into being “seen” and working smarter, not harder. 

Gaia: Tell us about more about the readings you offer and other products or services you offer?

Shannon: I’ve talked a lot about my coaching and guided healing services so I will expand on my art. I love to create and grow as an artist. I offer original art, prints, cards and even love to create costumes. I use recycled and upcycled materials to make festival belts with skirts and purses as well as fancy crowns, antler headpieces and fairy ears and wands. 

Gaia: Where can we find more information about accessing your products and services?

Shannon: Anyone can reach me on Facebook or Instagram under Shannon Silvermoon. I can also be contacted through email at ShannonSilvermoon@gmail.com. If you would like to learn more about my Spiritual Coaching, Inner Child or Parts work please check out my website at www.Silvermoon-Coaching.com 

Gaia: What would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising? 

Shannon: Ohhhh almost everything… but if I had to choose the three things I would for sure have is a new deck of oracle cards, a fancy journal, and a Goddess statue! 

Posted in empath, freedom, growth, healing, innerchild, spiritual

Interview with Cosmic Cardinal, AKA Dayna Larson.

Posted on July 14, 2022 by laureen barker

 

 

Gaia: Hi Dayna, such a pleasure to be interviewing you. We love your astrological mountain stickers and seeing all of your art on Instagram. Can you tell us about yourself?

Cosmic Cardinal: My name is Dayna Larson, and I was born and raised in Kelowna BC. As soon as I moved to the Kootenays (around 5 years ago) I instantly fell in love with the mountain town culture and lifestyle. Being outdoors with nature, whether that be hiking, snowboarding, or backpacking, brings me back to center. Surrounding myself with mountains, streams and forests helps to keep me grounded, as well as in a constant state of inspiration.

I’ve always been extremely passionate about the environment, which is the backbone for all the work I produce. I consider myself a sustainable artist, incorporating eco-friendly practices and sustainable supplies in my studio. I enjoy repurposing materials to make art, such as painting on things such as : snowboards, skate decks, rocks, driftwood, you name it.

I have spent the majority of my working career as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, working in hospitals all throughout the Kootenays. I have taken some much needed time away from Western medicine to focus on natural healings. I now work with clients as an Intuitive Energy healer, working with crystals and healing frequencies.

Gaia: How did you first get into creating art?

Cosmic Cardinal: As a young girl I always loved drawing, plain and simple. I would draw animals, trees, flowers… anything nature related really. I admit, I was definitely one of those crazy horse girls that drew them any chance I could. I always loved creating what was in front of me, adding personal dimension.

I took some time away from the sketches, and went off to post secondary school. When I first moved to Nelson I started picking up analogue cameras. I started using my film camera every chance I could, experimenting with different developing methods, chemicals and expired film. Capturing those first film photos is what really sparked my interest back into the wonderful world of Art. I then picked up some paintbrushes and started creating my own unique style. I would spend hours painting on days off, or after a shift at the hospital. It became apparent that I didn’t just love painting, I needed it.

Gaia: What were some of the first mediums you worked with?

Cosmic Cardinal: Growing up, good ol’ graphite pencil was where it all started. Starting with the basics of shading with pencil made the transition into other mediums so much easier. From then on I grew to love color, adding pencil crayon tones to my drawings. Color added more depth, which meant new mediums to try : pastels, watercolor, and acrylic paint. I stopped creating for some time during my adolescent years, and left many mediums behind.

Gaia: What are your favourite mediums to work with now?

Cosmic Cardinal: As an adult, about 4 years ago, I rekindled my love for art with traditional oil paint. The paint's rich color, and buttery texture has me reaching for it with every painting.  I have been absolutely hooked ever since. I am even able to make the paint sustainably with just pigment and walnut oil, while using a soy based solvent. I also love a good wood canvas

Since purchasing my first iPad a few years back, I have also sparked a love for digital art. This is a form that I have grown to love. I will be one to say there’s nothing quite like the classic pencil to paper feel… but you have to admit creating an initial sketch or idea on a piece of paper, and then being able to put it on a screen and make as many changes on the fly with the swipe of a pen, is pretty amazing.

Gaia: What inspires your art?

Cosmic Cardinal: Art was always a way for me to express myself. It first started making an appearance in my adult life when I moved to Nelson and started my first permanent job at KLH. Sometimes I just needed an outlet to express my emotions after a shift working in healthcare, just like with any job there’s good days and bad. Art has always been there for me like a journal to the writer, the cinnamon bun to the baker… and so forth.

Nature of course, has a very special place in my Art. The unknown answers to our humanly questions, the infinite possibilities the cosmos holds, and art through healing are my main focuses when it comes to my “Why”.

Gaia: We have your beautiful Astrological Sacred mountain stickers here at Gaia. What inspired you to select a sacred mountain for each zodiac sign?

Cosmic Cardinal: Mountains are some of the most sacred places here on Earth, in my opinion. Having a connection with the Earth around us is so important. Experiencing certain parts of life with universal understanding makes me feel closer to the world around me. When I go for a hike, it's so rewarding to stand on top of a giant mountain, feeling its energy beneath my feet. Sacred mountains are ancient, and that alone is to be respected. Mountains are the closest we can get to the heavens, so for me, it's a spiritual experience all together.

Each design was inspired by the heavens and earth, our Lunar Moon meeting a mountain horizon. We are all made of a unique combination of the twelve zodiacs, just like certain mountains are made up of a combination of different minerals. Energy exists within all matter, and I wanted to bring the saying “As above, so Below” into a meaningful form of art.

Gaia: You mentioned you were a cancer. What does the sacred mountain you chose for Cancer mean to you? 

Cosmic Cardinal: Machu Picchu is the sacred mountain I chose for the Cancer zodiac, for a few interconnected reasons. Located in the Andes of Peru, this sacred mountain and the surrounding environment was considered “Pachamama” - meaning Mother Earth. As a Cancer, we feel things immensely, and show our love to those we care for by doing motherly things. We all know that Cancer knows exactly when a hug is needed. We are able to literally “feel you out” in a millisecond and be there when you need us. With Machu Picchu being almost completely surrounded by the Urubamba River, this alone symbolizes how much we Cancer signs ebb and flow with the currents of Life. I can’t think of a better symbolic mountain to represent me and my fellow moody crustaceans. We swim in the watery realms, and absorb intuitive insights to nurture those around us. 

Gaia: What other projects are you working on right now?

Cosmic Cardinal: Currently I am working on some custom paintings, and getting busy with digital art designs.

I am very passionate about our environment and protecting the wild things in our backcountry. I have created a large statement painting a little over a year ago, representing Piq kiʔláwnaʔ (New Denver - Kaslo), an area that is currently under threat from corporate development. I will be looking to host an event to raise awareness about the misconceptions behind Zincton Mountain Resort. I have been working with the Autonomous Sinixt regarding this event, and we believe it is a positive step forward towards a consolidated future. This project aims to bring our community together by protecting our biodiversity within the New Denver - Kaslo Corridor.

Gaia: What is the most challenging thing about being an artist? What is the most rewarding, fun or exciting thing?

Cosmic Cardinal: I will keep this topic light, as this topic can be picked apart just like any profession. I do believe though, that it is healthy to talk about the struggles artists go through. Everyone goes through hard times, yet some artists use this pain as fuel to their craft. The challenges that I see around this lifestyle, or passion… is getting past the initial hardships. Getting over imposter syndrome, feeling as if you have no artistic freedom because you are worried your next design won’t be as accepted as the one before… or feeling the need to tailor your work to the masses' idea of what “art” is. Getting past these feelings of self-doubt is where the journey begins. Making your art, being proud of it and confident that it came from your he-art-space is something special.

The most rewarding part of being an artist is being truly authentic in the work you produce. Terming your creations as ‘work’ is actually where it all goes wrong. Make the definite line between work, and play. We make art because we need that expressive outlet, but also as a safe place to create with no boundaries. The emotions we pour into our art is an extension of ourselves, and in that way we can heal so deeply, and with such compassion.

Gaia: Are there any other personal spiritual practices you have? Do you mind sharing about them?

Cosmic Cardinal: I try to spend a large chunk of time away from technology. Living in today's world makes it hard to completely disconnect. Those periods of being in the moment, and working on myself with positive intention has made such an impact on my life. A spiritual practice on its own I would say. When we tune into our spiritual side, and create lasting routines that make us feel good about ourselves it can really be the stepping stone to a more peaceful life.

Crystals, Numerology, Astrology, and of course Divination are big players in my spiritual practices. I love using Runes, as they are a part of my Scandinavian heritage. I feel a strong connection when I use them in my divination toolbox. Also being in sync with the moon phases is something I do without even being aware (sounds like something a Cancer sun, mercury, and ascendant might say).

Gaia: Are there any spiritual philosophies, beliefs or paths you are drawn to that you would like to learn more about?

Cosmic Cardinal: Eastern philosophies are so fascinating. If you ever want to dive deep into conversation with me, just bring up something in that area. I live my life based on the rules of Karma, and I believe everything has a purpose/happens for a reason. I believe in a world where we are all the same, made up of the same energy, and came from the same Source. We are all here experiencing our own emotions, and are here to learn life lessons.

I love learning about our minds, and what works for one may not work for another. Having the realization that we know nothing about what's right or wrong, opens up so many possibilities to what life really is.

Gaia: How do you think you have grown as a person in the last year?

Cosmic Cardinal: I have probably grown more internally than I have externally. I have changed so much in the way I talk to myself, about myself, or even the way I see and feel things. People are getting to know me all over again, and it feels good to be changed in a positive light.

Gaia: What is one thing you would like to grow about yourself in 2022?

Cosmic Cardinal: Taking responsibility for my own happiness, and taking care of myself is the theme for 2022. This year is about getting back to myself and finding deep healing in everything

Gaia: What is your sun sign and do you feel you relate to it? If you know what your moon and ascendant signs are, do you feel like they reflect in your personality?

Cosmic Cardinal: Cancer, being my Sun, Mercury, and Ascending signs has me feeling ALL the feels… ALL the time. Some say being sensitive is considered a weakness, but what would life be if we couldn’t feel? We would be lost without an inner light. I love being a nurturer, and providing comfort to those around me. Being a safe space provider for those who need someone to talk to is a common theme in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I feel that my Natal Chart speaks so much truth about me as a person, and more intimately… myself in a spiritual sense. I believe that being aware of all the different varieties in ourselves is an essential tool we all could benefit from in our lives.  The stars don't lie - so we might as well utilize this ancient wisdom and harness our unique strengths and weaknesses through Astrology.

Gaia: Tell us about more about products or services you offer?

Cosmic Cardinal: I offer custom artwork, prints, stickers and other forms of products. I source my products through a sustainable print company, and take pride in offering eco-friendly options to my clients

I offer energy healings, with or without the use of crystals. I love working with alchemy and the powerful energy of the metaphysical world. These sessions can be done over distance (ie phone, skype etc) or in person.

Working in a hospital, and frequently seeing patients in low states makes someone like myself want to help get to the bottom of their initial suffering. It’s in my nature to think this way. The physical manifestation of an illness is the final stage, the level of awareness most of us see ourselves grasping for help the most. We tend to let things slip until we hit the physical wall where suffering cannot be ignored. I would like to assist those seeking to fix their root cause, the energetic imbalance within

The biggest take-away I am trying to say here is : the ultimate healer is ourselves. Being open to healing is where it all begins. I would love for my artwork, paired with energetic healings to help others to follow their emotions. To use them as a guiding light, instead of these things we attach ourselves to so fiercely. My artwork heals me through expression, and I would like to extend my energetic healings to the public as my personal form of He-ART-work.

Gaia: Where can we find more information about accessing your products and services?

Cosmic Cardinal:  www.cosmiccardinal.com The website is currently under construction but you can find me on Instagram at the.cosmic.cardinal! :)

Gaia: What would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising?

Cosmic Cardinal: Crystals (of course), a salt lamp, sacred geometry oracle cards paired with white sage!

We will be doing an online giveaway of Cosmic Cardinal's astrological mountain stickers! One for each Zodiac sign. Email us back your Zodiac sign to be entered!!

 

Posted in

Interview with Sue and Amanda creators of Soul Guidance oracle

Posted on June 30, 2022 by Dannika Soukoroff

 

            Sue  Amanda

Sue & Amanda created the Soul Guidance Oracle Deck to help those reading from their cards to develop self awareness and assist in their spiritual growth. Their goal is to help guide the collective on a beautiful, joyful journey.

In this 52 card deck and intuitive guide, they have integrated animals with geometric shapes, watercolors and numerology to help readers develop their intuition, consciousness, ascension and spiritual guidance.

We have had the total honour of carrying their Soul Guidance Oracle deck here at Gaia Rising! Please enjoy our interview with Sue and Amanda as we learn more about them and their oracle deck!

Gaia: Hi Sue! It is such a pleasure to be interviewing you. Thank you for providing some answers for Amanda as she is not present for the interview! Tell us a bit about yourself!

Sue: I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan on a Ranch. Now living in Alberta. I am married, I have 2 daughters & 2 stepsons. My biggest interests are anything Spiritual as well as being in nature, surrounded by trees and the mountains. I am an Empath and Channeler. I use these gifts to help guide others and myself to co-create an authentic life.

Gaia: What inspired you to create the ‘Soul Guidance Oracle’?

Sue: I kept getting messages that I would be working with someone soon. I trusted that it will happen when the time is right. Then Amanda came over to my place one day and she said, "We should create our own deck one day, it would be so amazing." And at that moment I received the message- this was the one and it felt right. We then started researching and creating. It happened very fast and was very easy. Everything flowed easily.

Gaia: Can you tell us about the other creator on this deck, Amanda Robin?

Sue: Amanda is a good friend. She is a powerfully intuitive Medium reader and has been stepping into her gifts in bigger ways. 

Gaia: What kinds of things influenced the oracle deck? I notice you have mostly animals as symbols in the deck, what is the inspiration behind?

Sue: While Amanda and I were collaborating, we talked a lot about each of our visions and she is a lover of Spirit Animals, as am I. We decided this would be our theme as well as geometric shapes for the animals as we both felt there were not many decks created with these shapes. As with any deck the numbers were a big part of our creation as well. Then what came next for us was watercolors and it just kept flowing from there.

Gaia: Sue, tell us which 3 cards resonate with you most in the deck and why?

Sue: 3 cards that influence me, that’s a tough one - I love all of them.

I love the Butterfly - I am all about new beginnings, growth and creating more.

Pink flamingo is another favorite- creating a solid foundation. I feel without creating a foundation it is hard to build something that can withstand the forces that are put upon each one of us

Bee - Community & Dedication - I love the Bee because I feel we need community- even a small one, that are loyal and a like minded tribe. For support and space for each of us to grow and share our love.

Bat - Conquer Your Fears- I feel we need to step out of our fears and step past our ego to create a life we desire. It often creates more than we could ever imagine.

The deck as a whole. I love the colors and animals of each of the Cards as they symbolize so much for the reader.

Amanda’s favorites are:

Owl - Knowing Your Inner Purpose. This is a beautiful message to go inside and truly process where we are in our journey. What is it that we aspire to be for our souls’ purpose? 

Tiger - Time to Take a Journey. I love this card as it is a sign of a shift coming. The numerology is 4 on this card. Dedicated to your foundations, organization, structure and your angels are around supporting your movement. 

Unicorn - Magickal Wonders Await. What’s not to love about this card? It’s believing that anything is possible. New doors opening, creation and adventure. Mystic, and endless possibilities. 

Gaia: Are there other decks that you love besides your own that you would suggest to people who use oracle decks? Which ones are your favourite?

Sue: Wow this is a tough question because I do have so many decks. I am energetically connected to so many.

A few of my favorites are:

Natures Whispers by Angela Hartfield & Josephine Wale - I love the artwork and all the beautiful messages in the pictures. There are so many.

Heal Yourself - Inna Segal - I work with many people to help them see within to heal and this deck is a great guide to look within.

I am an Angel lover and Metatron is a huge guide for me- I also love the Archangel Metatron - Self Mastery Oracle by Amanda Ellis

Mystical Shaman Oracle by Alberto Villoldo, Colette Baron-Reid, Marcela Lobos

Amanda’s favorites:

Light Seers Tarot by Chris-Ann. This was the first deck of Tarot that I could easily connect with. Beautiful artwork that I could easily connect with intuitively and the meanings behind each card truly resonated with me during connection to my deck. 

The Spirit Animal Oracle by Collette Baron-Reid is one of my favourite animal decks. The detailed artwork and messages on the cards bring me much joy to read with. 

And along with Sue I love Natures Whispers by Angela Hartfield & Josephine Wall. The imagery and intuitive feelings I get from these cards are magical. These are definitely a go too for me. 

Gaia: Tell us about more about other products or services you offer?

Sue: I am a Certified Soul Coaching Practitioner® A program created by Denise Lynn. As well as I am an Angelic Reiki Master Teacher® & Healer. I have also created many spiritual courses online. I recently have started Consciousness Rising Spiritual Academy, where I continue to add courses, meditations etc. for others to do online. To help them heal what holds them back and co-create their life with the divine, as well as to help them tap into intuition and psychic gifts.

Amanda:

Amanda is a Psychic Medium that resides in Alberta, Canada. She also teaches Psychic Development as she loves to help others grow and learn at any stage of their journey.

2) You can find more information for Sue and Amanda at: www.soulworksbysuepickering.ca

Consciousness Rising Spiritual Academy at https://sue-s-school-fd25.thinkific.com

Instagram.com/soul.works.by.sue.pickering/

Amanda:

You can catch her on Facebook and Instagram at Intuitive Awakening. She also does live readings on TikTok at Intuitive.Awakening www.intuitiveawakening.ca

Gaia: Are there any other personal spiritual practices you have? Do you mind sharing about them?

Sue: My daily spiritual practices are meditation, reading something that will help me grow, journaling and I will usually pull a few cards for a daily message for me.

Gaia: Are there any spiritual philosophies, beliefs or paths you are drawn to that you would like to learn more about?

Sue: Right now, I have been drawn to learn more about Astrology & Runes.

Gaia: How do you think you have grown as a person in the last year?

Sue: I have grown so much over the last year, especially my psychic abilities and empathic abilities. I have also pushed myself out of my comfort zone putting more info and courses online. 

Gaia: What is one thing you would like to grow about yourself in 2022?

Sue: 2022 for me is about stepping more into online teaching. Helping to guide more people to heal - mostly with their shadow work. And for them to truly live authentically from their heart center. I feel our world needs more love and light.

Gaia: What would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising?

Sue: 

Some of my favorites in your online shop are:

- Earth Warriors Journal

- Spirit of the Wheel Meditation Deck

- Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards

- Can you ever have too much of Satya Nag Champa? 😊

- I think you have Soul Path Oracle by Terra Kenzie Longacre??  It is a deck on my wish list 😊

 

 

Posted in

Interview with Bree Prosser AKA November Wild

Posted on June 16, 2022 by Dannika Soukoroff

                            Bree

Bree Prosser AKA November Wild is a prolific artist, illustrator & photographer in Nelson B.C. She has created branding for Die Blute, Bonedarling, Oath Oracle & Nelson School of Yoga... just to name a few.

With her enchanting and distinct aesthetic, Bree creates a world of wonder. Her intuitive approach in working with her clients, helps them clearly communicate who they are in their branding. 

Her water trifecta (Scorpio, Cancer & Pisces) in her natal chart, comes through clearly in her art with ethereal, whimsical & magickal aesthetic. 

                           White snake

Gaia: Hi Bree, such a blessing to be interviewing you. Why don't you tell us a bit about yourself?

Bree: I'm originally from Saskatoon, but have called Nelson, BC home for 17 years. The things that are most memorable from my days in Saskatchewan are biking through the city, going up to our cabin and really just exploring and expressing my creativity through things like fashion and all of the fun crafty projects I always had on the go. My friends would have probably described me as free-spirited, crafty, and a bit quirky. I have a real fondness for my time there and all the people who shaped me.

I fell in love with Nelson when I came here to vend at Street Fest with my partner at the time back in the early 2000's. I didn't end up moving here until later, but I instantly knew that I loved the Kootenays. The pace of life, the connection to nature and the creative community are all things I deeply treasure here. I attended the Digital Arts Program at Selkirk College in Nelson from 2013-2015. I have been operating my freelance design, illustration & photography business, November Wild ever since then. I've worked with many wonderful businesses both locally and world-wide (thank-you Instagram), helping them to capture their business through design and photography. I love what I do and I'm so grateful to do it from the comfort of my home in this beautiful little mountain town. When I'm not working you will find me going for long walks with my husband, camping around the Kootenays, and taking photos of flowers.

Gaia: Before photography & digital media, what are some of the mediums you liked working with?

Bree: I had always considered myself a crafter having explored different mediums throughout my life like sewing, jewelry, weaving, repurposing and DIY projects, etc. I later got into acrylic and oil painting, chalk pastels and illustration. Before I went to school to study Digital Arts I was really into collaging. My portfolio for entry into the Digital Arts program was a compilation of my collages. I didn't really know what I was looking for in studying Digital Arts other than thinking my art style might translate well digitally. I had just started using Instagram at the time and was really enjoying using photo apps to merge my photography with cool visual effects. That gave me another indication that I would enjoy exploring the digital art realm, without truly understanding everything it had to offer. Before Digital Arts I was also exploring ceramics. I had spent the summer taking private pottery lessons and I actually applied to both the Ceramics and Digital Arts program as I was unsure of what direction I wanted to go. I ultimately decided on Digital Arts because the potential seemed so vast and I thought there would probably be a culmination of things that I could piece together that might make sense for me!

Gaia: Did you always intend on having a creative career path? How did you arrive here and decide that you wanted to be an artist?

  Nelson Die Blute

Bree: I've always desired a creative career, but also had a really hard time discerning what that would be or what it might look like. I knew that I thrived when I could freely explore my creativity, but was astutely aware that I needed some sort of structure and direction alongside that or the Pisces in me would float off into the abyss. I did well in English in high school so I went the obvious route of getting my English degree and enrolling in Education to become a teacher. After my first year of Education, I volunteered at a Buddhist center for a summer in Colorado and came back with a lot of clarity that I still had some personal exploration to do. I decided to quit the Education program and moved to Nelson with my partner at the time who came here for music school.

Nelson introduced me to a lot of alternative things which I think really changed the course of my life. I started working at a local hemp shop and this really fed my interest in the natural health and wellness industry. I went on to do an Aromatherapy program online, which then led me to go to school to become a Spa Practitioner. I started working in spas doing bodywork, facials, esthetics, and reflexology, but after about 6 years in that industry, I realized that I was craving something more creative. I knew I wanted to stay in Nelson so I decided I would choose from the programs available to me here, which led me to the Digital Arts program. I had no intention of becoming a graphic designer going into that program. By my second year, I was intrigued at the thought of having a product line comprised of art prints, stationary, and fun accessories. After I had completed the program, several people I had met through the spa industry started reaching out for design and photography services. It is here that my past interests and new skill set started to merge. I was getting opportunities to creatively be of service to people in industries that I was personally passionate about. I am just now circling back to my initial interest of having a product line and am currently integrating that into my business.

Gaia: Do you have creative projects that you have going just for fun? Are you experimenting with any new styles of art or mediums, or anything that is outside of what you do for work?

Bree: As I mentioned, I'm currently working on a product line. I've wanted to add another layer to my business for a while now and it took a couple years of exploring different ideas to get clarity on what felt the most aligned. I knew I wanted to create something magical that inspired and supported intentional living. My products won't be released until later this year, but it's nice to feel such stability in the current structure of my business that I can now envision  adding in this extra layer.

Luna Moth

                                 Luna Moth taken by November Wild

Gaia: Your work always has a very distinct look. Has this been a natural process in developing your art or is this something that you intentionally created?

Bree: I'd say both are true. It's been the culmination of the right people finding me based on certain industries I've circulated in throughout my life and also being super selective with the work I take on. Intuition plays a big part in my creative process and I discovered early on that if I don't feel some personal connection or appreciation for a project then that intuition becomes much harder to access. A personal motto of mine is “The work you do dictates the work you get” and this has really helped guide me as I consider what I want to attract in my career.

Gaia: What are a few of your favourite photographs that you have taken? What do you like about them?

Bree: It's hard for me to pick favourites as each shoot holds its own specific magic and memory for me. I always love my shoots for Communion Botanicals and Bone Darling as they are two of my best friends and will forever be muses of mine. Even though the thread of my aesthetic is apparent in all of my shoots, I really love trying on different moods and colour palettes depending on the business that I'm working with.

I recently photographed a collection of candles I illustrated for Ritualcravt. I put a lot of thought into creating each photo as though each were a spell of its own. I carefully curated 13 different scenes reflective of the intention of each candle. It's really special when I get to photograph products I've done the design and illustration work for.

Lastly, I will say a couple favourite photos I've taken are of my friends beautiful white snake Moonflower and a series of photos I took of a Luna Moth. I really cherish the opportunity to capture magical creatures that you wouldn't typically see in your everyday environment.

                                  Bonedarling

                        Alyssa of Bonedarling taken by November Wild

Gaia: What is your inspiration for your photography and your digital media illustration and branding?

Bree: I find a lot of inspiration in nature, the cosmos and the metaphysical realm. More specifically I'm inspired by folklore, witchcraft, divination, astrology, plant medicine, the spirit realm, seasonal magic and so much more. I also love being prompted by the ideas and projects of my clients. I love the challenge of piecing together the direction they give me with my own intuition and seeing what's conjured as a result.

Gaia: You have created branding for Bonedarling, Nelson School of Yoga, Communion Botanicals, Althaea Herbals, Die Blute, Oath Oracle& Essence of Ash.. just to name a few. There seems to be a strong theme in the people you work with, in the sense of their offerings… body, mind, spirit, artists, magic... Did you anticipate that you would be filling such a niche?

Bree: I knew the only way I could enjoy being a designer was to collaborate with those who were working in the realms I felt some sort of connection to. I didn't anticipate, however, that niche happening and growing so effortlessly for me. Instagram really launched me further into that niche and connected me with like-minded people from all over the world. My work for others is truly a reflection of the things I personally value and appreciate. I feel truly lucky to help represent so many businesses I deeply respect and admire.

                            Bleeding hearts

Gaia: Are there any other personal spiritual practices you have? Do you mind sharing about them?

Bree: I like to be quite loose and follow whatever inspiration finds me. I don't adhere to a strict or routine spiritual practice, but I do have certain rituals that bring me joy and help me live with intention. I write out my intentions for most new and full moons. I sometimes turn to tarot if I need some guidance in my life or I'll have my dear friend Alyssa of Bone Darling do a tarot reading for me. Having an altar space is probably my favourite ritual to tend to. I love curating an altar with meaningful objects that reflect my life and the season at the time. I'm enchanted by the Wheel of the Year and love practicing rituals to honour each season. I'm an avid walker and find it to be one of my most therapeutic practices. It pulls me out of my head and into the magic of the world around me. I'm most routine about my yin yoga practice as I attend classes 4-5 nights a week. It's a time where I can truly drop everything I might be carrying throughout my day and just simply be. 

Gaia: What is your sun sign and do you feel you relate to it? If you know what your moon and ascendant signs are, do you feel like they reflect in your personality?

Bree:  I'm a Pisces sun, Scorpio moon and Cancer rising. This all feels very true to me as I live pretty guided by my intuition. My career gives me structure, but also diversity which I've come to learn is best for me as a water sign. I've dreamt of doing so many different things in life, but my career allows me to do what I do in such a myriad of ways for so many different businesses that it keeps things really interesting for me. I definitely have that watery flowy nature which I think makes me a pretty fluid and adaptable person. I'm easily enchanted, have a playful spirit and like to meet the world with a sense of wonder. I imagine my Scorpio moon is responsible for the darker/moody aesthetic you see in my work. I'm attracted to the unknown and find mysterious things very compelling. I really think my chart greatly informs how I move through the world and how I run my business. I'm very grateful for that watery influence as I think it has gifted me a very intuitive approach to life and has ultimately led me to a life that I truly love.Flowers hair

Gaia: Tell us about more about the products or services you offer?

Bree: I provide Branding, Illustration, and Photography services for conscientious and magically-inclined entrepreneurs to help them communicate their business and its offerings. I also offer packaging design for clients with products. I like to help create a brand's identity from the ground up and to continually work with clients throughout the years as their businesses evolve.

     Yarrow Natalie Rousseau

Gaia: Where can we find more information about accessing your products and services?

Bree: You can view my work and see a list of my services on my website at www.novemberwild.com. I will be launching a new website at the end of the summer, but for now you can find all of my most current work through my Instagram account @novemberwild.

Gaia: What would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising?

Bree: I'm obsessed with your black Obsidian scrying mirrors so definitely one of those! You'd also find some seer smoke, dressed candles, black beeswax candles, Thoth tarot deck, Tarot: Mirror of the Soul book by Gerd Zeigler and some crystals of course.

             Communion Botanicals

 

Posted in

Interview with Monika Smutny, Holistic Healer of Crystal Garden

Posted on June 02, 2022 by Dannika Soukoroff

                            Monika

Monika Smutny, or as we know her at Gaia Rising, 'Monika of the Cosmos' is a local Holistic Healer offering a large range of services, huge love and a beautiful heart.

"The Quality Of Life Is About The Time You Invest In Yourself"

Gaia: Hi Monika! Tell us a bit about yourself. Background, upbringing, interests….

Monika: I was born in Vancouver and grew up in the East Kootenays of BC in Kimberley. I have 3 adult children and have spent the last 15 years in the West Kootenay areas of New Denver, Nelson and Rossland. Mostly grounding now in the mountains of Rossland the last 8 years. I grew up in a household of loving parents and 1 older brother. My interests in holistic healing dates back to a young girl, with fond memories of wild berry and flower picking and wild crafting plants into medicines with my mother. My favorite times were camping by rivers up in the mountains, far from civilization. I have studied herbology and used applied plant medicine, wild crafted, grown, and created herbal teas, and tinctures for myself, family, friends and colleagues for over 25 years. I have worked in horticulture, business and healthcare for a combination of over 30 years. My most recent passions and experience over the last few years are in Crystal healing, Reiki, Indian Head and Foot massage, Crystal wand & rollers face massage, meditation, acupressure, aura cleansing and chakra balance. I love to spend time with my 3 children and cat in my zen space at home or out in nature in the forests hiking, skiing or on the water kayaking. All things green, and gardening are my passion and collecting and working with mother earths gems and crystals. My soul soars when I connect with women in circle and celebrate magickal ways of our ancestors. I believe that all life flows through us and to us from a divine universal energy source.

Gaia: Where did your spiritual journey start?

Monika: My spiritual journey started when I attended a women’s circle in my teens about 17 years old. Curious to learn more about sacred medicine and ceremony, I was introduced to a medicine woman and attended a sweat lodge, created medicine wheels, and then became a solitary practicing green witch/shaman. There was a time that I lived in communal spiritual house where I learned more about soulful minded healthy clean living and vegetarian cooking.

Gaia: What guided you to become a healing practitioner?

Monika: After a devastating divorce and surviving trauma and the effects of that in my family, my own healing journey guided me to study and becoming a healing practitioner.

Gaia: You have such a large repertoire of skills! What discipline did you start with in your healing practice?

Monika: The very first healing method I started with was Herbology and candlemagick in my teens and early twenties.

Gaia: Is there a healing service that you offer that you prefer more than others? Or that resonates with you in ways that some of your other services do not?

Monika: I love to combine loving touch, energy work and gather in sacred circle with women. I am especially drawn to work with crystals, herbs, and sound to incorporate them into my sessions. One of my favorites is the Rose Quartz Facial Massage that include heart chakra balancing and ear reflexology. I use a combination of rose oil, raw and polished rose quartz while bringing in the universal energies of the divine source to bring in love frequency. My most booked service is the Ayurveda Foot and Head Massage, where I apply ancient massage practices that are centuries old from India, where the Ayurvedic "Art of Life" book of techniques was written. Such a beautiful practice that I truly feel connected and am blessed to be a portal through and from.

Gaia: What are a few herbs you love to work with and why? What are your favorite crystals to work with lately? Are there any archetypes or expressions of divinity you are connected to lately and why?

Monika: Herbs I like to work with lately are fresh or dried snippets of cooking and medicinal herbs that I can add to soups or teas, such as thyme, oregano, chives, mint, and raspberry leaves. Lavender and Rose are always a go to that I have abundance of around for aromatherapy, elixirs, and smudging. One of my favorites that do not grow here is Lemongrass, that I used to pick in bunches and put in hot water for tea or let it cool for iced tea when I travelled to Ecuador it grew wild! Crystals of preference lately is Hematite for grounding and protection, as well as I love my Dendritic Agate or as some call it Merlinite. I have a ring of this shaped like teardrop. There is a sense of great balance, magick and peace when I wear this gemstone. An old calling to Morgana or Morgan le Fay of Avalon has been with me for as long as I can remember. She is both a powerful sorceress and priestess of Avalon, Queen of the fairies and has a dark mystical side to her as well that is so entrancing and intoxicating. I feel called to her homeland in Avalon. Aphrodite, Greek goddess that emerges from the seas of beauty and love is also a strong caller and I feel she has messages and connection with me, when I am near water I can hear her song.

Gaia: What do you feel you offer as a healer? Personally, not services.

Monika: I can offer personally as a healer, what the receiver is ready to allow in. Energy and healing must come from a willing participant to do their own work. I am an open portal for my own healing, but I also know that energy is sourced from within and I can allow myself to be a portal of this healing from the divine source and pass it through. With each healing, I am also being healed.

Gaia: What is your vision for Earth & humanity?

Monika: My vision for the Earth and humanity is that more of us walk on earth with compassion and reverence to take care of our earth mother and each other. To not be judgemental and learn to forgive with ease, so we live more wholly and completely with more happiness and peace.

Gaia: Are there any spiritual philosophies, beliefs or paths you are drawn to that you would like to learn more about?

Monika: I am drawn to goddess study, wiccan, the green and white witch path, priestess magick and also shamanism. Ayurveda roots and Avalonian mysteries are deep within my soul, but I like to think of myself as a Mystic Holistic Healer & Eclectic Priestess/Witch. Trying to step into my power!

Gaia: How do you think you have grown as a person in the last year?

Monika: The last year has been a rollercoaster of major events, and I have grown more calm and accepting of change. I have learned that you cannot heal others not willing to heal themselves. I have stepped back from too many obligations and learning more to trust in the ebb and flow.

Gaia: What is one thing you would like to grow about yourself in 2022?

Monika: In 2022, I would like to come out more of the broom closet, not be afraid to show my gifts and get grounded. I have been floating around up the cosmos awhile now, and would like to bring all that golden sparkly energy down from the stars and ascend to mother earth and call her home.

Gaia: What is your sun sign and do you feel you relate to it? If you know what your moon and ascendant signs are, do you feel like they reflect in your personality?

Monika: I am a sun sign in Taurus, ascendant Virgo and moon sign in Pisces. I can relate to my stubborn, hard working, organized self that loves to be surrounded by beauty. My emotional self loves to gaze into the moon and being near water is important to me. I now live by a creek, and a forest, so am feeling more balanced. I need to have nature close by and my personality is also very bull headed. I like to work towards, and know I can achieve with bullheadedness my dreams.

Gaia: Tell us about more about the readings you offer and other products or services you offer?

Monika: I offer Oracle card reads, along with an upper chakra meditation journey. During this session I bring in the energies of Amethyst and Lavender to help recall dreams and messages. Another offering is the Aura Cleanse and Chakra Balance, with the use of selenite, a natural high vibration crystal, we can clear stuck energy and external thoughts. I use crystal pendulums to assess the chakras for imbalances and then gently lay gemstones on the 7 main chakra points to help align the chakras, gain more balance and centerness. Crystal balls on the foot for grounding

Gaia: Where can we find more information about accessing your products and services?

Monika: For more information visit my website https://crystal-garden.ca/ or book an in person session at the Madhu Wellness Collective in Rossland at this link below or visit madhucollective.ca https://madhucollective.janeapp.com/#/staff_member/28 I also sell the Ayurvedic Hair Serum Oil I use during the Indian Head Massage. Email: info@crystal-garden.ca Mobile: 250-231-2174

Gaia: And finally, what would be in your shopping bag at Gaia Rising?

Monika: I love to shop for crystals, ritual candles, incense, smudge, aroma sprays, books, tarot and oracle cards, jewellery, bells, bowls, and décor at Gaia Rising! LOVE YOU AND YOUR STORE!

 

 

 

Posted in crystalhealing, healing, holistic, womenowned

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