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  • Pilgrimage to Egypt — Call for Support

    Pilgrimage to Egypt — Call for Support

    CALL TO EGYPT

    “There are songs that are meant to be sung through you there.

    There are stories that are meant to be remembered through you there.”

    -Achintya Devi

    Three months ago, I sat inside the High Garden teahouse in Nashville, Tennessee, and started drawing Egyptian deities. I did not know why, and had not connected with them before, as I have been studying the mythology of India for quite some time. However, on that day in mid-May, I drew an image of Isis and one of Horus, accompanied by the Hindu Deity Ganesh and other animals that I connect with, the owl and the tiger. The art flowed freely and easily, and I sat grounded for hours in the attempt to birth the images, drinking tea and soaking in the afternoon light. Throughout the creation, as happens in a good teahouse, I heard inspiring conversations around me, namely group of women talking about sharing their gifts with the world. Fast forward to this week, when I received an email about a pilgrimage to Egypt in December. A two week pilgrimage with 18 women, taking place in my birth month, culminating with a ceremony inside a sacred temple on my 37th birthday, the Winter Solstice. I immediately felt ripples of goosebumps across my body, and recalled these images of Horus and Isis that I had painted in May. 

    The Egypt journey is guided by two women who I know, Achintya Devi and Sarah Naia Soleil. Achintya and I went to the same college, and met way back at the end of the last century while volunteering at an Earth Day festival. We ended up going to the same massage school, living in the same house (at different times), and sharing skills and being on staff at a women’s skillshare gathering called Spirit Weavers for a few years in a row. We both grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and have had beautiful alignments in our life. Sarah and I met several years ago at the women’s gathering, and we were able to visit one of our teachers, Mata Amritanandamayi, together on a cosmic journey one mid-June day. I also took a class with her called Spirit Baby Communication, was able to connect with my own spirit baby and feel so comforted in her sweet presence, as she is a doula and a wise woman in many ways. Both of these women are a shining example to me of women doing their true work in the world, in a big, visible way. They emulate sisterhood, support, and nurturing, inspiring women to connect with their bodies, with their voices, with their truths. I want to be such an example in the world; I am done with being small and hiding my gifts. To journey with these two holding space feels like a dream come true, and such a full circle experience for me. Just two weeks ago, I moved back to my Hometown after living for 14 years in other places, namely Portland and California, as well as traveling out of the country 3 different times to Europe, SE Asia and India. It’s been six years since I left the country, and in this time I have gone through many transitions, namely a big relationship shift and now this extraordinary move. I returned back to the Salish Sea to follow my heart, to truly devote to my artistic practice, and to see what is on the other side of trusting my voice and my true offerings. This trip to Egypt could not come at a more auspicious time. 

    I am writing this to ask for support, as I am in a transition point in my life. I see this Egypt journey as the culmination of what I have been studying since I started at Fairhaven College / Western Washington University in the Fall of 2001. I graduated with an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s of Arts degree entitled Women’s Holistic Health: Expressive Arts and Body Awareness as Tools for Healing and Wellness. During my studies at Fairhaven, the class that was the most influential for me was Cross Cultural Shamanism, taught by Leslie Conton, where for my final project I painted a large acrylic painting of the animals and symbols that I saw in my dreams and journeys. This was the first time that I remember where I was able to translate with such feeling the visual language of what I saw on the intuitive, mystical realm. Something deep opened in my art with this experience, and I think it was the first time the potential of art as healing was revealed to me. With other studies of art therapy, awareness through the body, music, dance, ethnobotany, creative writing, and cross cultural healing modalities completed there, I went on to study massage and therapeutic bodywork at the Heartwood Institute in Northern California (guided by my friend Achintya Devi, one of the women holding space in this Egypt trip!) At Heartwood I dove deep into healing my own body, learning how to listen, to meditate, to breathe, to tune into subtleties. A saving grace during this transformative experience was journaling, and I utilized my creative writing and art tools learned in college to maintain impeccable journals and notes during my year on that mountain. The art was such a healing tool for me as I learned how to translate my emotional and physical growth onto the page for reflection and support. After Heartwood, it took several years of integration before I and my partner at the time Carson were ready to venture on our first International journey. I am so grateful for Carson for being such a catalyst for me to leave the country, to venture to places in Europe like Ireland and France where some of my ancestors lived, and to journey to Thailand, Bali, and India where I felt such resonance with the culture, spirituality, and mythology. Especially in India, something very familiar opened for me there, and ever since my visit I am haunted by images from the two months I spent there. I am constantly researching the mythology and spiritual practices of India, and since my birthday last year have been diving into what i know will be a lifelong study of Jyotish, or Vedic Astrology, a system that incorporates everything I have been learning into a full understanding of this universe we live in and the patterns that are present in the every day. Tuning into such wisdom weaves in a sense of magic and serendipity into all moments, when we are aligned with the elements, the patterns, and the roots of knowledge.

    And so here I am, at a crossroads, moving back to my hometown, living in a place where I can see the waters of the Salish Sea, the waters that called me into this life in the first place. I am here to discover and find what I am to share in the world, and only a mile from the classrooms of Fairhaven College, I find that it is to return to art. I want to share the art that flows through me as a form of healing for those who gaze upon it. I want to translate the powerful images of animals, mythology from places like Egypt and India, and images of flowers and plants and elements in ways that help people connect with the creative spark inside of them, and to the Earth Herself. I want my artistic process to be an inspiration to others to connect with their own artistic process, and to realize that we are all artists in our own way. Art is a tool that we can all have access to, and I want my process and the subsequent workshops that I teach (I have shared a few classes on my Art as Ceremony process over the years) to be a well of inspiration for each attendee to draw from in the reclaiming of their own voice through art. I also want to continue raising my voice as a call for the animals and the Earth, and through the painting of animal imagery to raise money for different organizations that are making a difference in their preservation and protection. I also intend to create my own Tarot deck, weaving in the mythology of India and Egypt with the pre-existing tarot symbology. I want to record and release an album for tea ceremony and meditation with my partner Gregory, and to use my voice in ways that bring healing and peace to those who listen.

    Big dreams. My dreams. This is a huge step, and unveiling, a call for support. I am offering 5 x 7 size prints of the two images I painted in May. You can display these images in your home and visualize me on this journey of the heart, visiting sacred sites in Egypt, soaking in the inspiration of these ancient places, stepping into my power as a woman on the earth at this time, opening my voice, translating the magic of these places into images for healing and joy, and sharing the inspiration with others through this process. I am ready to come out of hiding and to share my voice; to make a difference for the animals of this earth through supporting them through my art; to commit to helping others connect with their own source of creativity; to believe in myself and fully immerse in this journey of trusting in my creative vision; to travel to sacred places, such as Egypt and a return trip to India, and through my physical presence there be able to translate the power of the place into my art and words for others to benefit from. 

    I am trusting it will all unfold the way it is meant to be, and that it is of greatest significance and importance to put my story and truth out on this day, and that it is aligned to call in support from the universe for me to fulfill my destiny here on the planet at this time. It feels good to write, to share. Thank you for being here with me.

    All love,

    Melissa