Full Moon in Leo Art Ritual

The full moon in Leo is a perfect time to release whatever is holding you back from feeling confident, singing your own praises and letting your light shine. You deserve to feel good about who you are and believe in your magnificence but if you’re like me and still struggle with your worthiness from time to time, you may appreciate this ritual.  It is best enjoyed with a group so gather your soul sisters or invite your family to join you in this fabulous evening of feline pride.   Scroll down for the printable step-by-step instructions.

I created this ritual specifically for the full moon coming up on January 31, 2018 but it would be a fun ritual to perform during any full moon that sits in Leo. It’s also great for anytime you want to play with your inner wildcat and use her power and prowess to help you release what you no longer need or want in your life and whatever you’ve been holding onto that you know would be best to just let go already.

I’ve never formally studied astrology and my interest in it pretty much starts and stops with the moon but this moon had me paying close attention to those psychic skies. The full moon on January 31 is a pretty spectacular occurrence astrologically speaking. Some may even call it a super blue blood moon that will kick your ass and smile while doing it – at least that’s what I’m calling it. It’s a super moon because it’s a full moon that occurs closest to the earth so it can appear bigger and brighter in that night sky. It also coincides with a lunar eclipse which can give the moon a reddish glow hence the blood moon name and it’s the second full moon in January which makes it a blue moon.

Full moons amplify the energy or characteristics of whatever sign the moon is in on that day and a super moon is like that sign on steroids and an eclipse just throws a wonky glitch into the astrological mishmash. Yikes! Eclipses tend to bring the areas in your life that need attention to the surface which really just means – all the shit I thought I had overcome came back to bite my ass this week. Issues like poor body image, financial mismanagement and health problems resurfaced and paid me an annoying visit. Thankfully, I practice enough ritual, prayer and meditation that this moon isn’t taking too big of a bite out of me. Especially since, to help me and my Moon Sisters take advantage of the power behind this full moon and release and heal the old stories and wounds that were surfacing, I created this lioness inspired fire ritual.

Before sharing it with you, I want to remind you that when engaging in a full moon ritual, there are a few steps I perform before I sit down to do the writing, painting or creating part of my ritual. They include gathering my materials, clearing my mind and my physical space, inviting or calling in my spiritual helpers and setting boundaries or placing a circle of protection. I outline these steps in more detail in my “Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for Art Rituals” which I send, along with other helpful goodies, when you subscribe to my Moon Sisters Art and Ritual Magazine.  If you would like the guide delivered to your inbox, you can subscribe to the magazine on my home page.

After completing the steps outlined in the”Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for Art Rituals”, I had my Moon Sisters sit down with pen and paper and contemplate what exactly they wanted to release during our ritual. I find when digging deep to inquire into the heart’s authentic needs, it helps to light a candle, play some gentle music and prompt myself by mentally scanning the different areas of my life, such as; health and body, relationships, family, home, career, love, sex and spirituality. I let my mind think about each of those areas and consider what I need to release or let go. What is no longer serving me? Where am I holding a grudge? Are there emotional wounds standing in my way? Am I choosing thoughts that are not kind to me? Do I have patterns or stories I keep repeating that I could use help healing or freeing? Do I need to forgive someone or myself? Is there baggage I’m holding onto that prevents me from feeling the Love I know is there waiting for me? I posed these questions to my Moon Sisters and invited them to write a list of things they would like to release. I asked them to separate each item on their list with a little space so we could cut the paper in strips. This way each strip contained one thing they wanted to release and later, when we were sitting by the fire, we could take turns and share what was written on each strip one by one.

The next step was to create our crowns. The sign of Leo is represented by a lion so I thought a crown that looked like a lion would be fun but in the end, I felt a lioness was far more appropriate. I wanted to call in a fierce and strong energy to help us claim our inner beauty. I also wanted a ferocious symbol to help us banish what no longer serves us with power and passion.  I also like to tie my rituals to my own ancestral spirituality. My very distant ancestors hail from Belgium and France and I discovered that in Ariege, France there is a “Chapel of the Lioness” that dates back to possibly 14,000 years ago where a large engraving of a lioness on an altar with votive objects “carefully placed in crevices below it and around the walls” ( This made me feel especially connected to the energy of the lioness I was feeling pulled to call into this ritual.

I also think the energy of the lioness is helpful for this ritual because female lions take care of the cubs and work together to hunt and provide food for the pride. There is usually one male lion per pride so the aunts, sisters, mothers and grandmothers all work together to nurture and sustain the community. The courage, power and sisterhood it would take to be a hunter and a mother in a pride inspires me. Although I used the symbolism of the lioness in this ritual, I also had in mind the wildcats native to Canada. I don’t have a lot of personal story around lions but I do relate to the cougar, bobcat and lynx.

The energy of all these wildcats is what I brought into creating our crowns. I drew a template of a wildcat everyone could paint, color and embellish to reflect their own fierce Spirits. You can download the template here if you like:

Wildcat Template

It looks like this.


The first step is to add decorative details to the wild cat’s face with black marker or pencil.


Then it’s time to paint or color the details. I chose warm colors to reflect the fact Leo is a fire sign.

After the paint dries, it’s time to embellish the creation. I used things like glitter, gems, beads and feathers.

The last step is constructing a band for the wild cat face to be showcased on. Obviously, the crown has to be a perfect fit for the head it sits on. For my head, I just placed the cardboard on my head to measure it perfectly and glued the cardboard band together at the ends. For my Moon Sisters, I created open bands with the cardboard that could be tied to fit each head perfectly without the need to measure. We glued our faces to our bands and reinforced the face in the back with popsicle sticks to keep the paper from bending or flopping over.

Here are the other crowns that were created during my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circle.


When the crowns were completed, it was time to head to the fire.  At the fire, we donned our crowns, opened with a prayer, called in our angels and spiritual helpers and took turns sharing what we wanted to release and tossing our strips of paper into the fire. It was a powerful experience but also a fun and playful one. We cheered our fellow Moon Sisters on with purrs, meows, hisses, roars and catlike behavior. One Moon Sister in particular was particularly adept at emulating our feline sisters. She decided it must be because she herself is a Leo.



Here’s the step-by-step instructions of this ritual in a format you can print for your convenience. If you do perform this ritual publicly or share photos of the ritual, please respect the work of this artist and creator by providing a link back to this original post. Also, if you end up performing this ritual, I’d love to see what you completed. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals

Enjoy the full moon my friends.

with love,

Dana da Ponte


Full Moon in Leo Fire Ritual
Moon Phase: Full Moon
Suggested Month: Any month the full moon is in Leo
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
An art ritual to help you release what holds you back from seeing your magnificence.
  • template printed out on card stock paper
  • acrylic paints and/or markers and/or pencil crayons
  • brushes
  • magazine images cut out for collage
  • scissors
  • thin cardboard
  • glue
  • black marker
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • candle
  • pen
  • writing paper
  1. Print the wildcat template on card stock paper.
  2. Light a candle and call in your spiritual team. Inform them of your desire to release what no longer serves you.
  3. Cleanse your space and art supplies using your favorite method of spiritual or energetic cleanse such as Reiki, prayer, herbs, crystals, salt, etc.
  4. With pen and paper, list the things in your life you are ready to release, heal or let go. Mentally scan the different areas in your life, such as relationships, family, home, health and finances and write down whatever patterns, wounds or grievances you are ready to surrender.
  5. Leave space between each item on your list.
  6. Cut your writing paper into strips with each strip containing one item on your list.
  7. With your black marker, draw designs on the face of the wildcat template.
  8. Color your designs with paint and/or markers and/or pencil crayons.
  9. Embellish with glitter, gems, beads and/or feathers.
  10. Cut out the wildcat face.
  11. Construct a band out of thin cardboard that fits on your head.
  12. Glue the wildcat face to the band.
  13. Safely light a fire outdoors, put on your wildcat crown and gather around the fire.
  14. Share an opening prayer and quiet reflection time.
  15. Take turns sharing and releasing into the fire the things you wrote down when contemplating what you are now ready to energetically, emotionally and spiritually release.
  16. Close the ritual with a dance and a song and take turns sharing a random act of kindness you vow to do as an offering to the earth, moon and trees.
  17. End with a prayer of gratitude and a celebration of food and drink if appropriate.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!


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If you could wave a magic wand and make the next moon cycle unfold exactly as you want it to, what would you like to see happen in your life? The New Moon is a perfect time to think about your dreams and imagine what the perfect month ahead might look like.  In this post, I share a mixed media mandala painting you can create to help you explore your new moon intentions. Scroll down for the printable step-by-step instructions.

During the New Moon, I like to perform art rituals around manifesting, getting clear on what it is I really want, looking forward, planning and thinking about what I want the next Moon Cycle to look like. This particular art ritual includes a visual representation of the moon phases painted around a mandala collage. The collage is similar to a mini vision board but I add a couple steps I think are helpful and add visual interest to the piece. What I like about the moon phases circling the collage is the way the painted circles show the moon grow full then retreat back into darkness. This reminds me of the tides of creation – that ebb and flow movement of stillness, inspiration and action.

When performing a new moon ritual, there are a few steps I perform before I sit down to paint. They include gathering my materials, clearing my mind and my physical space, inviting or calling in my spiritual helpers and setting boundaries or placing a circle of protection. I outline these steps in more detail in my Moon Sisters Art and Ritual Magazine.  You can subscribe to the magazine on my home page if you like and you’ll receive a collection of magazine samples that includes my “Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for Art Rituals”.

After I completed my preparations for this new moon ritual, I chose three tones of a similar color. I put a dot of the lightest tone of paint in the middle of my canvas and swirled it around in a circle. In this particular piece, I used a light beige as my lightest tone then a tan color and finally a dark brown mixed with a bit of espresso metallic paint. I kept swirling my colors in circles blending the edges somewhat together until I liked the finished effect. Then I painted the sides of the canvas with my dark tone of brown because I like to finish the edges of my canvas instead of worrying about framing them. I was going for a galaxy looking background but instead of blues and purples I decided to paint a brown galaxy. I’m not sure why. I don’t particularly like brown but it was fun to try something different.

Once I was finished blending the background, I splattered different colors to give the appearance of stars floating in the galaxy.

Next, I found the center of my canvas and made a dot. With my compass I drew a big circle from the center of the canvas. Then I drew an even bigger circle and along the edges of the bigger circle I made dots where I wanted the smaller circles to appear. I imagined a clock and I knew I would need a small circle at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock position. I drew a cross from the center of the  canvas to help show me where the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions were. To find the position of the other four small circles, I made my best guesstimation of the distance between the other smaller circles. I obviously wasn’t right on target but perfection isn’t my strong suit. I prefer to just roll along even if there’s a jig and a jag where a zag and a zig should be.

Once I outlined all the circles, I painted them in. The smaller circles will represent the eight phases of the moon – new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, gibbous, full moon, disseminating, last quarter and balsamic moon will all be included. The larger light circle will be where I create my mixed media mandala to hold my new moon intentions.


I painted the moon phases with gold paint. Again, they aren’t perfect but I love painting the phases of the moon regardless how imperfect they turn out.


After the paint dried, I used a fine tipped waterproof marker to write a letter to Divine Mother and my team of angels. I enjoy using both words and imagery in my art rituals. I also like the meditative calm that washes over me when I light my candle and write letters to my spiritual team. Including those letters in my art makes me feel like I’m sending my message out into the universe over and over again like a song playing all day long on the radio.

Next, I wanted to include some symbols that represented power, abundance and communicating with Spirit. I mixed blue and green paint with glazing medium. This causes the paint to be transparent so the symbols I drew were visible but they didn’t block the words I had written.


Then it was time for the fun part of searching for just the right images in my magazines. I wanted images that would help me anchor my new moon intentions which, this month, are to claim my inner artist and commune more deeply with Divine Mother along with act as a vessel for her love and compassion.


The last step was to include embellishments with paint. I painted roses in green and blue, added dots of blue, green and purple paint in the mandala and drew rough rose shapes with my brown marker. I like how the final step of adding embellishments ties everything together.

Here’s the step-by-step instructions in a format you can print for your convenience. If you end up performing this ritual, I’d love to see what you completed. You can even post the finished piece on instagram with the hashtag #danasartrituals

Enjoy the new moon my friends.

with love,

Dana da Ponte


New Moon Mixed Media Mandala
Moon Phase: New Moon
Suggested Month: Any new moon
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
An art ritual to explore and set out your intentions for the next moon cycle.
  • canvas
  • acrylic paints (i used craft paints)
  • brushes
  • magazine images cut out for collage
  • scissors
  • glue
  • glazing medium
  • water for cleaning brushes
  • compass
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • candle
  1. Light a candle and call in your spiritual team. Inform them of your desire to explore your intentions for the next moon cycle. Request their help to be clear and to allow inspiration to come from your true heart's desires.
  2. Cleanse each space and art supplies using your favorite method of spiritual or energetic cleanse such as Reiki, prayer, herbs, crystals, salt, etc.
  3. Choose three tones of the same color and paint the background using a circular blending motion going from the lightest tone of the color in the center of the canvas to the darkest tone of the color along the out edges.
  4. Splatter paint all over the canvas to give the appearance of stars in the night sky.
  5. Using a compass, draw a big circle from center of the canvas leaving enough room for either smaller circles to orbit the bigger circle.
  6. Draw eight smaller circles around the bigger circle to represent the eight moon phases.
  7. Paint all the circles with a background color of your choosing.
  8. In the smaller circles, paint the eight moon cycles.
  9. In the bigger circle, write a letter to your spiritual team expressing what is in your heart and what you would like to see happen during the upcoming moon cycle.
  10. Mix a small dot of paint (color of your choice) with glazing medium to make a transparent color and paint magic symbols or designs that are meaningful to you over the words in your big circle.
  11. Find images in magazines that represent ideas, dreams or goals you'd like to achieve during the next moon cycle. Cut them out.
  12. Glue the images in your big circle.
  13. With your acrylic paints, paint designs, images or embellishments to finish your work of art.
  14. End with a prayer of gratitude.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!


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In this post, I share how I created my Mandala Forecast for the Year Ahead.  Scroll down for the printable step-by-step instructions and for a free downloadable Card Spread.

The first person to explain to me I had a highly sensitive nervous system was my Naturopath many years ago. It took me a very long time to understand what it meant, how to manage it and why self-care was extra important.

One of the things that affect my highly sensitive nervous system is overwhelm. I process things deeply therefore I can easily become overwhelmed. Things need to run at a slow and steady pace for me to function at my best. I can’t control everything but I can do my best to ensure I’m giving myself the most advantage possible.

One of the ways I do this is by taking time in December and January to look at the year ahead. I create my calendar of the Moon phases and use it to gauge when the best time to do certain things is. For instance, running a retreat during an Aries Full Moon wouldn’t be my idea of fun since I’d be surrounded by people who would most likely be feeling a lot of emotions. It would feel energetically noisy and overwhelming for me and that wouldn’t be setting me up for success. If I have to do it, then knowing what I’m up against helps me prepare accordingly. In my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles, I help everyone understand and use their own personal calendar of Moon phases and signs because it’s been such a helpful process for me.

Another way I prepare my highly sensitive system for what might lie ahead is by creating a Mandala Forecast. It’s my creative way to collect signs and messages from Spirit about the year ahead. I start with choosing one Tarot deck and one Oracle deck. This year I chose “The Green Witch Tarot” by Ann Moura and Kiri Østergaard Leonard and “The Mother Mary Oracle” by Alana Fairchild and Shiloh Sophia McCloud. 

The reason I choose one tarot deck and one oracle deck is because I like to team up the thoroughness found in the tarot system with the lighter optimism I find in oracle decks. Oracle cards are usually created around one theme – love, forgiveness, animals, angels etc. – whereas the tarot system includes in-depth insight into major issues in my life and everyday concerns. I used to shy away from tarot decks because I was afraid of what I judged to be their darker messages but that was naive of me. Tarot provides complex answers that reveal the challenges, celebrations, hidden desires, obstacles and ego side of life and my personality. Tarot doesn’t pretend life is all chocolate and glass slippers. Life throws shit at me all the time. Pretending everything will be perfect is ridiculous and unrealistic. Personally, to support me through my difficult times, I’d rather have a head’s up on what challenges might be coming than be caught by surprise.

A couple years ago, a few tarot cards I pulled were devastating. They showed buildings toppling over and a man dying from swords planted in his back. I was worried and knew something unexpected and unwelcome would happen. In the spread for the year, the months following these ominous messages were optimistic and happy. I knew no matter what happened during those darker months everything would work out in the end.

The year progressed and I eventually came to the months my yearly forecast predicted as difficult and lo and behold, my husband lost his job. We were devastated and worried. We didn’t have a financial cushion to lean on and the job market had crashed in our area. Jobs were much harder to come by than in the past. Things looked bleak but I remembered pulling cards for my yearly forecast and I reassured my husband everything was going to be all right – and it was. He managed to find another job and everything worked out in the end. That time of not knowing what was going to happen would have been so much more stressful on me had I not taken the time at the beginning of the year to create my yearly forecast.

This year, without realizing it, the two decks I chose both had roses on the backside of their cards. I thought this was interesting since my focus this year is on my relationship with Divine Mother and I associate roses with Divine Mother. I also started a 100 day art ritual on January 1st where I draw one rose a day and use it as a way to pray and connect with Divine Mother so roses were something I was already drawn to. I thought it was a nice confirmation that I was on the right track.

After I cleansed each deck, I pulled one tarot card and one oracle card for each month of the year.

Next, I wrote the title of each card for each month in my journal and I read the description of each card in the accompanying guidebook. I summarized the message of the card and took note of any information I thought was relevant and important. This year, I wanted to include significant words and inspirational messages in my Mandala Forecast because I found last year that images weren’t enough. I think, along with the images, keywords will help keep me focused and will inspire me throughout the year.

After getting a feel for the messages, I gathered my art supplies to create a sun mandala. I hang my yearly mandala forecast on the wall in my office alongside my yearly intention painting and this year, I wanted the forecast to be painted on an image of the sun and my yearly intention setting to be on the image of the moon so they could sit side by side in a reflection of day and night.

To create a sun mandala I cut an 18″ x 18″ piece of heavy watercolor paper and drew a circle in the middle of it and divided the circle into 12 equal sections. At the top of each section, I drew a petal shape then erased all the lines so only the outline was visible.

Here’s a look at how I did that.

I marked the middle of my page and placed the point of my compass on the mark then drew a large circle. The circle was small enough to leave room for large petals to be drawn around it.

Next, I drew a cross from the center of the circle. (Make sure to measure equal distance from the outside edges of your page so your cross is perfectly in the middle of the page. Because my page was 18″ x 18″ that meant I had to measure 9″ in from the outside edges of the page.)

Then, without changing the distance of my compass, I placed the point of the compass on each outside point of the cross and made a mark on both sides of the line.

That gave me marks to guide my ruler as I divided the circle in 12 sections.

All I had to do was place my ruler from one outside point across the center point and over to meet the opposing outside point on the other end of the circle and draw a line. This created 12 sections. The sections pictured here aren’t equal because I made the mistake of forgetting to measure my cross properly but I’m not a stickler for details so I just went with it regardless of the mistake.

Next, I added a larger outer circle and made a dot to mark the center. I didn’t measure this to be accurate. From the dot, I drew a couple curvy lines to give the idea of a petal (or sun ray in this case).

I continued to do that for all 12 sections of the mandala.

I then erased all the lines except the outline so all I was left with was a shape that reminded me of the sun.

Once I had the outer mandala shape I wanted, I painted the background with watercolors. I worked in sections and painted my paper with water before I put down any color and because I wanted to play with cloudy effects with the paint, I made sure there was a lot of water mixed in each color of paint. It was fun to watch the way water and paint danced together to make pretty swirls of color.

I used the same watercolor process to fill in the sun shape.

My last step was to draw the images and include the words and phrases I wanted to remember in each petal of the mandala. I started with January, of course, then continued to work my way around the mandala until I had captured the messages I thought were important to remember for the year ahead.

Here’s the finished piece.

I shared this process with my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles and Christine Steele, one of my online Moon Sisters, made a couple changes and came up with these two beautiful year ahead forecasts.

The first showcases the tarot cards she pulled for each month.

The second piece showcases the oracle cards she pulled for each month. I thought it was a nice twist on the instructions I shared.

If you’d like to create your own Mandala Forecast for the Year ahead, below you can find printable step-by-step instructions. I’ve also included a Year Ahead Spread workbook where you can write down the name and a short description of the card you pulled for each month of the year ahead.

Download the Year Ahead Spread Here

Mandala Forecast for the Year Ahead
Moon Phase: New Moon
Suggested Month: January or near Spring Equinox
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
An art ritual to receive and document the messages you receive from Spirit about the year ahead.
  • watercolor paper
  • watercolors
  • watercolor pencils
  • markers
  • one tarot deck
  • one oracle deck
  • brush
  • water for cleaning brushes
  • compass
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • candle
  1. Light a candle and call in your spiritual team. Inform them of your desire to receive messages for each month of year ahead. Request their help to choose the perfect card from each deck for each month of the year ahead.
  2. Cleanse each deck using your favorite method of spiritual or energetic cleanse such as Reiki, prayer, herbs, crystals, salt, etc.
  3. Pull a card for each month of the year.
  4. In a journal or on the Card Spread for the Year Ahead worksheet I created for you, write down the names of cards you pulled for each month and after looking up the description of the card in the accompanying guidebook, write down any words, ideas or phrases that seem relevant and important.
  5. Cut your watercolor paper into a square. I used an 18" x 18" square.
  6. Find the center point of your square and, using a compass, draw a circle in the middle of the page. Make sure to leave enough room between the outer edges of the circle and the border of the paper to draw petals around the circle.
  7. Divide your circle in 12 equal sections.
  8. In each section, draw a petal shape on the outside of the circle.
  9. Erase all unnecessary lines.
  10. Paint the background.
  11. Paint the sun shape mandala.
  12. Starting with the petal on the mandala that you choose to represent January, take the tarot card and the oracle card and your written summary of the messages you pulled for January and draw whatever would best represent the overall feeling and message you received for the month of January.
  13. Repeat the process for the remaining eleven petals on the mandala.
  14. End with a prayer of gratitude.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!


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Mother can be such a beautiful word.  For many it conjures up memories of a welcoming shoulder to lean on, a warm hug to fall into and a batch of fresh baked cookies to ease the pain of a bad day. But it’s also a complicated word – a word loaded with difficult memories and yes, sometimes a lot of hurt, abandonment and pain.

Every woman experienced a unique relationship with her mother but not every woman blossomed in that relationship. Many women, despite their mother’s good intentions and well-meaning hearts, endured relationships with their mothers that caused issues that affect them to this day – and this isn’t usually the mother’s fault. The problems we face are bigger than that. I believe being negatively impacted by the mother-daughter relationship is as common as it is because women, as a gender, have endured centuries of abuse, neglect, dismissal and oppression.

The arguments we keep repeating with our spouses, the areas we feel disconnected from our children, the unhealthy patterns we keep repeating, the insecurity that plagues us, the mistrust we have of our own intuition and gut feelings, the areas in our lives where we can’t speak up, the competitive or inauthentic relationships we share with other women, the challenge we have with setting healthy boundaries and the way we feel removed from our passion and purpose can all be traced to the legacy of how women were treated that runs in our family.

If we don’t know what that legacy is, how can we hope to heal it?

I work with women who have experienced complicated relationships with their mothers and the one thing I’ve come to understand is women are a brave and beautiful bunch. We are emotional warriors who, despite the pain and tears, face the scariest and most grueling emotional battles with courage and determination – and we do it for our families, our marriages and because we want to take care of our communities and the world. We heal because we care. We heal ourselves and our own emotional wounds because we want to prevent our children from experiencing the suffering we endured. We talk about our feelings and dig up our past because we want to offer unconditional love to our spouses. We look at our issues and take responsibility for our emotional wounds because we want to heal the planet and make it a more peaceful place. We aren’t perfect but try and we care a lot.

We put other people’s needs ahead of our own. We empathize and carry the emotional burdens so others won’t have to. But the mother wound exists because women have been expected to do this. They have been forced to shoulder more than their share of the emotional labor in the family, in their communities and in the world and it has left them depleted, spent and empty.

And, in their emotionally depleted state, they’ve often been responsible for raising children – who had, of course, no choice but to become emotionally depleted also.

It’s not just that mothers have been raising children from an emotionally depleted state. It’s also that their wisdom has been devalued and mistrusted. For instance, in the culture I was raised, emotions, intuition and creativity are regarded as frivolous, unnecessary and ineffective more often than they are acknowledged as powerful and important. These ideas about emotions, intuition and creativity affected my grandmothers and they affected my mother and they have most certainly also affected me. You can’t take that which is inherent within me, put it down, devalue it, dismiss it and expect these actions not to affect my self-esteem, my choices, my relationships and the way I parent.

The Mother Wound is real and it is most likely affecting your life in one way or another. But healing the Mother Wound doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as beautiful as women coming together and supporting each other in healing circles. Women coming together to mother each other – spiritually and emotionally – heals the Mother Wound for every heart in the room who is witness to the healing. Sisterhood is medicine. And it is such an important medicine for mothers of daughters to take regularly. It will heal the past and usher women into a new relationship with each other and ultimately reunite each woman with her innate wisdom.

And from her center she will navigate her life with her unique internal compass and her life will become her own.

She will no longer apologize for having an opinion.  She will no longer feel content with playing small to make someone else feel comfortable. She will no longer swallow her feelings, sweep the issues under the rug, cry herself to sleep without asking for help, expect herself to be a super woman, ignore her dreams, feel ugly in her body, settle for inequality, keep her mouth shut or feel like a bitch, value being nice to the point of sacrificing herself and take care of every single other person while putting herself and her needs high up on some abandoned shelf.

Through the Mother Wound, we learned to abandon our intuition, our passions, our opinions, our needs, our magic, our creativity and our emotions. We sacrificed ourselves. Meeting with other conscious women in an authentic and sacred commitment to unconditional sisterhood, we can find ourselves again. And when we heal, our relationships heal, our children heal, our communities heal and our daughters are freed. Our daughters can lay down the Mother Wound and follow their hearts.

But first it’s up to us. Let’s nourish and free our own hearts and show them how it’s done.

If you’re interested in exploring your own Mother Wound, I host a free of charge online Mother Wound Wisdom Circle most Mondays at 10 am MST. We meet in my private online meeting space and use intuition, sisterhood and simple soulful art activities to mend the Mother Wound and return to our personal power. You can register here or read more about it here.

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There’s a scene in “Eat, Pray, Love” where Elizabeth Gilbert is in her bathroom on her knees asking God for help and to her surprise she hears an answer. It isn’t a great big boom or an earth-shattering revelation. It is a simple, firm but quiet instruction to go back to bed. But that simple, quiet instruction becomes the moment everything in her life changes.

My life happens to be peppered with those simple, quiet instructions from God and Spirit. These instructions always come in the exact way as Elizabeth Gilbert describes it. Short, blunt but peaceful sentences that set my life on an entirely different course than it was previously on.

The first time it happened I had flunked out of my first year of University. I was lost and heading into a depression. I laid in my bed, looked up at the ceiling and said, “Now what?” to no one in particular. To my surprise, I actually heard a one word answer; “Victoria.” That was it. No explanation. No insight; just “Victoria.” I had never thought about Victoria before. I had no real knowledge about the city  of Victoria other than it was a city in British Columbia, my neighboring province. It was a completely random, out of left field answer. I didn’t realize this until just now but I didn’t even think it was odd to hear that voice and I listened to it without questioning it for a second. I went downstairs and told my mom I wanted to go to college in Victoria, B.C. to try and get back into University. With my parents help, I enrolled and moved away that summer.

In Victoria, I healed and found myself again. I received top grades, was in the best shape of my life and glowed with happiness. It was an extremely pivotal year. After the year, I moved back to my home town, graduated University and assumed I would become a teacher but that firm but loving voice returned with other plans. One day, after putting down the phone, I heard the words, “Write this down.” I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and I wrote what the voice continued to say. The voice went on for a while describing a woman and explaining a message she needed to hear. Then, as suddenly as the voice came, it stopped with another firm but loving instruction stating, “Your mom will know who this is for.” I showed my mom the message and she did indeed know who it was for. We hand delivered the message I received and from that moment on, I pivoted on my career path from teacher to messenger for the angels. (You can read more about that story here.)

Years later, that same voice chimed in one day with the simple instruction, “Go here”. I was roaming the internet for something unrelated and landed on a page of an Advaita teacher who was unfamiliar to me. I live in Alberta, Canada. He lives in Sedona. He was an Advaita teacher. I had no idea what Advaita was. I had no intention of traveling but I couldn’t ignore the voice so I booked a flight and enrolled in a satsang he was hosting. Despite not knowing what satsangs were, I listened to the voice and my spiritual life was never the same. During a break in the weekend satsang, I went on a solitary sightseeing walk. At one point along my walk, I stopped and looked over to the red mountain scenery and time stood still. All thoughts fell away and my mind felt like it was no longer confined to my brain. It felt like my mind was the wind and the sun and the mountains. I was everything and everything was me.

The moment came with a sense of peace that has never left. Regardless of whatever drama, emotion, worry, depression, illness has come and gone since then, this tiny center of peace has remained and I’ve been able to witness everything I experience from that center. I’ve been able to observe my thoughts from that center. I’ve been able to watch my emotions crash, fall and rise from that center. And it’s given me this overall sense that no matter what is happening everything is going to be okay because that center is really where I am. The rest is just dramatic moving pictures.

I’ve had a few other pivotal moments in my life when the voice returned with specific instructions but the one I want to write about today is the one that interrupted a quiet moment I was enjoying with my friend. We were sitting on the couches in my living room reading. It’s a secret joy of mine to read with people. I don’t know why I enjoy it so much. It’s not like reading is a team sport but my heart just lights up when I get to do what I love with someone I love beside me. While we were quietly reading, I heard the voice interrupt my silence with a question this time, “Will you devote the rest of your professional life to Divine Mother?” This was the oddest request of all. Divine Mother? Who is Divine Mother? Something in me must know because I said “Yes!” without thinking about it and spontaneously burst into tears.

This brings me to my latest art ritual. I’m at the very beginning of my spiritual journey with Divine Mother. I don’t really feel like I know who Divine Mother is. I have a general idea and I know I relate Mother Mary to her (I was raised as a Catholic) but much like when you’ve been set up on a blind date, I only know minor details.  That’s part of the reason I’m writing this blog. I want to share my journey of learning who Divine Mother is. I suspect the journey to discovering who She is will inspire another series of life-changing moments. If the journey inspires life-changing moments for me, perhaps if I share my story, it will inspire life-changing moments for someone else.

It’s really hard to share my journey publicly since it’s such a private, sacred kind of journey. I’ll have to expose my vulnerabilities and ignorance. I’m sure I’ll write things that I’ll later want to take back because I’ve learned something more. It’s different sharing the journey as you walk through it than writing about it at the end when all the pieces have fallen into place. I’ll have to let myself be imperfect and that makes me feel worried about being judged. But I’m going to do it anyway because I’m trying to be a braver person. So if you’re here to witness my journey, be gentle and kind. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I did decide that solidifying my decision to say yes to Divine Mother was important so I created an art ritual to commemorate it. I came up with this handmade paper invitation on which I wrote my request to have Divine Mother grace my altar.

inviting divine mother to grace the altar

As I was creating my invitation, I realized Divine Mother had some words she wanted to share with me. This is what I received as her words to me:

The world is starving for Divine Mother energy. Energy that nurtures. Energy that protects. Energy that gives selflessly. Energy that sacrifices for the family – the Earth family.

Many moons ago, in your white Western culture, the Divine Mother was murdered on the altar and replaced with the shadow of the Father – not even with the Divine Father but instead, a power-hungry, murderous father who would banish his children to suffer in pain for all eternity! It is time now to return the Mother to the altar. Return the Divine Mother and the Divine Father to lead this family to peace. 

The Divine Mother should be held in the arms of Divine Father. She should be supported and ready to birth Love into the world.  A devotion to Divine Mother is a devotion to caring for everyone – including yourself and the planet. This is what your culture is missing. Other religions, faiths and cultures have it but yours, the consumerist Western culture, does not. This is what your culture needs to make more room for – the simple act of caring; the simple act of divine mothering. When you care for someone or something you take an interest in them. You appreciate and enjoy them. You are concerned about their well-being. You are attentive and tender. You worry about their needs and you do what you can to help them meet their needs. You listen and try to understand. You provide a safe space to be heard. You provide a warm space to be held. You communicate your affection and you are sensitive to their wounds. You are kind, thoughtful and gentle. Even if they are different.

World peace is no more complicated than that.

But the shadow image of the Father judges, rejects, banishes, punishes and attacks. This leads to conflict. This leads to war.

Who sits on your altar controls your heart and rules your mind. Who are you devoted to? Are you devoted to Love or are you devoted to Attack? Make no mistake about it. If a judgmental, punishing, fearful God sits on your altar, you, my child, are devoted to Attack and you will attack the earth, the animals and your brothers and sisters. And you will feel justified in your attack because you will be living in the image of your god.

Dana, it is time to bring the Divine Mother back to grace your altar and your celebrations because the Mother within you and the Mother in the planet wants to heal the suffering. She wants to soothe the pain and comfort the wounded. She wants to wrap all her children in her arms and return them to Love.

I sat with her words and realized I’ve never believed in a judgmental God. It just never rang true for me. But it did ring true for the religion I grew up in. And I do worry about being attacked by other people, I do carry a lot of guilt and I do have a voice within me that secretly believes everything is always my fault. All of this does cause me to act protective and defensive and many opportunities where I could have acted with Love, I reacted with an ugly combination of attack and defense. And I do believe that if I can’t explore how to move from these attack/defense tendencies in my personal relationships then I will never understand how to be the peaceful change I want to see in this world. I’ve studied A Course in Miracles for years and co-created a therapy approach based on it’s principles so although I would not have worded it the way I received it from Divine Mother, I definitely welcome her to teach me more about putting Love in action in my life and in my world. I guess only time will tell where this goes.

As for the invitation, I think it’s a pretty way to keep a handwritten letter on the altar. This particular letter, I imagined as a scroll invitation being delivered by a man on a horse that would read…

You are hereby cordially invited to grace the altar of one Mrs. Dana da Ponte.

I didn’t write it that way but I liked the formal quality of creating the scroll.

If you would like to create your own handmade paper ritual to invite Divine Mother (or any other spiritual deity) to grace your altar, this is how I did it.

I collected scraps of paper from my recycling bin.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I searched the internet to find instructions on how to easily make handmade paper. I liked this site’s clear instructions so I followed them and asked my husband to make the frame with screen stapled to it. My husband, being the kind man he is, gladly obliged. Next, I put my scraps of paper in a blender and filled it with water.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

The next step was more ritual than craft. I tuned in and decided which oils, plants and flowers I wanted to mix in with my paper. I chose to add as many flowers as I could, especially roses since I associate them with Mother Mary. I also added specks of gold because it felt regal to me and like I was honoring the Queen of Love. I added Lavender essential oils because I thought it should smell peaceful and floral.  With each plant, flower and oil, I prayed, invoked Divine Mother, spoke to her with my own ideas about what our relationship might be and told her about the special place I was making in my heart and on my altar for Her and Her mission of Love. This step was as pretty as it was sacred.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

After this meditative step, I turned the blender on until a gooey mush formed. I poured the gooey paper mush in the screened frame my husband made.

inviting divine mother to grace your altarI then removed the frame from the tray and soaked the water up from the paper with a paper towel. A note about environmentalism here, I should have used a sponge. It makes no sense to recycle paper only to create more paper garbage by using paper towels. Duh, Dana!

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I then removed the frame and continued to soak up more water.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

It didn’t take long for the paper to be dry enough to remove from the screen. (Those are my husband’s hands. He wanted to help and see how his paper making frame worked.)

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

One blender full of gooey paper much made three pieces of paper. Once the pieces of paper were mostly dry, I placed a thin towel over them and ironed them out flat with my clothes iron.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I only needed one piece of paper for the remainder of the ritual so I chose that one piece and wrote my invitation to Divine Mother with a nice fountain pen a friend shared with me.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

After my heartfelt letter was written, I gathered two sticks and some ribbon and turned on my glue gun. I glued a piece of ribbon in the middle of each stick and I glued each end of the handmade paper to a stick.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I love the way it turned out and it smells as pretty as it looks.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

Here are the easy-to-print instructions if you’d like to recreate this ritual for yourself.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

Handmade Paper Invitation for the Altar
Moon Phase: Disseminating
Suggested Month: Any month
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
A handmade paper invitation ritual to invite Divine Mother, or any deity of your choosing, to grace your altar.
  • recycled paper pieces
  • blender
  • water
  • mould & deckle (a screened frame)
  • tray
  • sponge
  • clothes iron
  • 2 sticks of relatively the same size
  • 2 pieces of ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • lavender essential oil (optional)
  • rose petals (optional)
  • dried lavender (optional)
  • gold leaf specks (optional)
  • grains of paradise (optional)
  • basil (optional)
  • dried chamomile (optional)
  1. Fill your blender loosely with recycled paper pieces. Don't compress them as they will bind up your blender.
  2. Add water to cover all the paper.
  3. Add to the water and paper whatever elements you want to ritualistically infuse in your handmade paper.
  4. Blend it all together until it's a watery gooey paper mush.
  5. Place your mould and deckle at the bottom of your tray and pour the paper mush into the tray until all parts of the screen are covered.
  6. Remove the mould and deckle from the tray and pat the watery mush down with a sponge removing water carefully until the paper feels flat, compressed and damp.
  7. Remove the overlapping frame and pat down the paper some more releasing more water.
  8. When the paper feels ready, remove it from the screen and place it somewhere to dry. You may have to allow it to dry overnight or to speed it up, you can blow dry it.
  9. Once it is dry, place a thin towel over the paper and use your hot iron to flatten the paper.
  10. Your paper is now ready to write your letter inviting Divine Mother or your deity to grace your altar.
  11. Glue a piece of ribbon to each of the two sticks you collected.
  12. Glue each end of your letter to a stick.
  13. Carefully roll your paper on both ends to meet the sticks in the middle. The paper will rip if you go too quickly.
  14. Wrap the ribbon around your scroll and tie a bow to seal it.
  15. Place your invitation in a special place on your altar.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!

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handmade paper ritual

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