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This is a great art ritual to enjoy when the new moon is in the sign of Gemini.  A Gemini new moon day is a great time to think about the moments in your life you listened to your inner critic instead of your inner wisdom. Your inner critic isn’t your enemy. She usually shows up when you are hurting or scared but that doesn’t mean you should follow her guidance. This ritual asks you to consider following your heart and believing in your dreams instead.

Reflect

The voices in my mind aren’t always nice to me. They ask me to be different. They want me to change. They think I would be happier if I was better or stronger or more likable or a thousand other things I used to think was wrong with me. But nothing was ever wrong with me. Sure I made mistakes (sometimes really BIG ones) and yes, I made bad choices every now and again (sometimes daily) but the behaviors didn’t make me bad or unlovable.

One day, I refused to hate myself. I refused to change myself if my desire to change was rooted in judgement or shame. I would only pursue changes that came from love and kindness. This was revolutionary in my world because everyone always talks about what they need to change and how they need to be different in one way or another. So few people extend kindness and compassion toward themselves. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.

All my problems didn’t go away but how I treated myself changed. I’m patient now and when I notice thoughts rolling around in my mind that aren’t nice, I don’t believe them. I see them but I don’t get caught up in them. The mean girl in my head doesn’t pull me down like she used to. Instead, I understand my mean thoughts are just my mind’s way of letting me know something is bothering me so I get curious. The mean thoughts never say anything true. They are just a symptom. The mean girl that lives in my head is really just hurting. She’s lashing out because she doesn’t know another way to get her needs met but when I tend to my heart and whatever it’s been missing, she grows quiet and grateful.

If you have thoughts that put you down or hurt you, I hope you remember they aren’t true. Something inside is trying to get your attention. Your inner mean girl might just be trying to show you that somewhere inside you are hurting and that’s the only way she knows how to get your attention.

She might need your attention and she might be showing you something inside you is bothering you but that doesn’t mean she gets to make all the decisions. As you perform this spiritual art ritual, think about the one place in your life you will no longer allow her to take the wheel then express those intentions by writing a letter to your inner critic. I wrote my letter on a hand-drawn journal page I created that is rich with symbolism for transformation. If you’d like to receive my free hand-drawn journal pages, simply join my mailing list by entering your name and email address on the home page of my website. But don’t worry, you don’t need to use my journal pages. Use whatever you like. In this case, the tools are not as important as the intentions and the feelings with which you create.

 

Create

After you created sacred space, cleared the energy and invited Spirit to join you for your art ritual, create a page that holds imagery and symbolism of transformation. The new moon is a great time to plant new seeds of intention so any imagery that reminds you of birth or change or newness and growth will work well.

Once your page is drawn and colored (I colored mine with watercolor pencils), start a letter to your inner critic. Be kind. Your inner critic isn’t your enemy so it doesn’t make sense to be mad at her or want her to disappear but it’s also okay to set some firm boundaries. Imagine, as you are writing, you are speaking to a child you love. You want them to feel heard and safe but you also want them to understand you are the leader. Explain to your inner critic in what areas of your life you are stepping in and taking over and what changes you will be making. Think of all the times you didn’t follow your dreams or listen to the song in your heart because she took over. Let her know this won’t be happening anymore. You will be the one making the decisions, not the parts of you that are scared or hurt. You will tend to the scared and hurt parts but you will not let them choose your destiny.

When you are done, thank Spirit for being with you and hang your letter somewhere you can read it over again a few times during the next moon cycle.

If you end up completing this spiritual art ritual, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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This is a great art ritual to enjoy when the moon is in the sign of Sagittarius.  A Sagittarius moon day is a great time to think about your dreams and the direction you’d like your life to go in the future. It’s also a great day to take carefully considered risks. Risks require you to say YES! even when fear or self-doubt begs you to stay comfortable. Sometimes the power of the word Yes!! is what you need. This spiritual art ritual is for those times.

Reflect

The ways in which you’d like you life to change often require you to treat yourself in kinder, more supportive ways. It also requires you to show up in ways that might push you out of your comfort zone. Staying comfortable is easy and the older we get, the easier it is to forgot how life-affirming it is to take risks and say YES!! to things we know will bring more joy and adventure into our lives.

Where in your life are you settling for the status quo? Are there things you want to do but fear has gotten in the way? What do you want to say YES!!! to? Who do you want to say Yes! to?

In this spiritual art ritual, you are invited to consider all the things you want to start saying YES! to. What kinds of experiences do you want more of in your family life? In which relationships can you open your heart and say YES! instead of building a wall? What kinds of opportunities do you want to say YES! to in your professional life? What kind of risks are you ready to take? How can you live a little more boldly?

Create

After you have created sacred space, cleared the energy and invited Spirit to join you for your art ritual, cut a piece of cardstock paper in the size and shape you want your YES! sign to be. Find three decorative papers and cut them in sizes to each fit a third of your cardstock paper. Glue each piece of decorative paper to your cardstock paper. Draw one letter for the word YES! on each piece of decorative paper. Doodle or decorate each letter in whatever way you choose.

I chose to fill in the letters ‘Y’ and ‘S’ in by writing the word YES over and over again. I did this intentionally as a meditation. Each time I wrote the word YES, I thought about all the things I want to say YES! to in my life. I want to say YES! to movement and strength and believing in myself. I want to say YES! to walking in the forest everyday and spending time with the river. I want to say YES! to finishing my book and doing things I’m afraid to do. I want to love myself boldly and unapologetically. When I veer toward the comfort of “No!”, I want to stop and consider the possibilities of “Yes!”

If you end up completing this spiritual art ritual, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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This is a great ritual to enjoy during a full moon or when the moon is in Scorpio. Better yet, try it when both are happening and the full moon is in Scorpio. When the moon is in Scorpio, you can feel more easily triggered by situations or relationships. Instead of reacting in an unhelpful manner, use it as an opportunity to dig deeper and find out if there are buried issues or memories causing the pain or discomfort.

Reflect

Emotional triggers aren’t fun. Everything could be going just fine when all of a sudden something happens or something someone says or does knocks you sideways. Your heart races, your muscles tense and you either want to rage, hide or freeze as a whole wave of uncomfortable emotions rise within you. The reason you are feeling triggered isn’t always logical. Sometimes you know you shouldn’t be reacting the way you are but you can’t help it. It can feel so powerless and unpredictable.

Emotional triggers often have a memory or a collection of memories attached to them. These memories are sometimes so old and/or are rooted in times when you weren’t old enough to respond in a way that makes sense to your adult mind. The memories were stored in your subconscious mind and whatever happened in your present day life woke up the memory and the same thoughts and feelings you carried way back then surface. Your body responds just like you did all those years ago and if it was an especially triggering event, the emotions that come flooding in can overwhelm the nervous system and cause you to react in fear or anger instead of respond in a way that is more helpful or makes sense to you.

In this spiritual art ritual, you are invited to think about a person or situation tat provokes an intense emotional reaction that you don’t enjoy. How do you feel when that person acts that way or you find yourself in that situation? What do you want to feel instead?

Create

After you have created sacred space, cleared the energy and invited Spirit to join you for your art ritual, take a rock and on the side of the rock you like least, describe with words or pictures, how you feel when you are in the middle of an intense emotional trigger.

On the other side of the rock, describe with words or pictures how you would prefer to feel. When you are done, place the rock outside in the dirt with the good feelings side face up. As the side with your difficult feelings touches the dirt, imagine Mother Earth holding you and comforting you in the middle of an emotional trigger. Then look at the side facing up and contemplate the way you prefer to feel. Imagine the light of the full moon shining on your rock and growing the good feelings in your heart.

In the video below, I worked through an emotional trigger I have that is rooted in childhood trauma. I imagined my memories pouring into the earth where they were cared for and returned to me as the more helpful emotions I want to feel instead.

If you end up completing this spiritual art ritual, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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This is a great ritual to enjoy when the moon is in Libra. Libra is a sign that invites reflection on relationships but I like to imagine this includes my relationship with Spirit or the Divine – not just love or family and friend relationships.

Reflect

I consider my relationship with my angels and Spirit Guides and with Divine Mother, God and the life force that live in all things as important as all the other relationships in my life. For this reason, I think spending time reflecting on the relationship, the thoughts and beliefs I carry into it and the experiences I desire from it is important.

There are so many messages we receive in our culture and religions that can frighten us or create barriers that prevent us from feeling comfortable communicating with spirit. If you can’t communicate in a relationship or hear what the other person is trying to communicate with you, how strong will that relationship be?

In this spiritual art ritual, you are invited to think about what your relationship with Spirit and the Divine has been like in the past, what it is like now and how you would like it to be in the future. Many of us have experienced beliefs that hinder our connection to Spirit, the Divine and the spiritual energy living in all things. If you struggle with fears and doubt, identify what those fears and doubts are then think about which beliefs would be more helpful to you.

Create

After you have created sacred space, cleared the energy and invited Spirit to join you for the art ritual, draw a candle with imagery that captures your gratitude for how Spirit and the Divine has supported you already and imagery that represents the direction you’d like your relationship with Spirit and the Divine to grow.

In the video below, I drew a tree because I am so grateful for how dependable Spirit is and how often I can turn to the earth, the trees, the moon, my angels and all that is Divine. They never falter. They are always there when I need them.

I drew a sun and moon because in the future I want to continue feeling their presence day and night. And I included the words “Surrender” and “Trust” because I’d like to be able to do that more frequently.

If you end up completing this spiritual art ritual, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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Beginner's Guide to Animal Magic

How do you work with animal magic? This is a question I recently asked myself. The first step, for me, was connecting with animal spirits.  This is the story of the spirit of an animal appearing before me and how I figured out the message she wanted to share with me. If you’re like me and relatively new to the spiritual gifts of animals, scroll down further where I include a few suggestions on how to start working with animal magic.

Animal Spirits

I never gave much thought to the spirit of animals. I knew animals had spirits but growing up on a farm where animals were utilitarian and being raised in a religion that perceived animals as soulless and less important, my past conditioning prevented me from being spiritually open enough to connect with the spirits of animals in deep or meaningful ways.

I was emotionally connected to animals but not necessarily spiritually connected to them. It broke my heart to watch them die or suffer. I could feel the pain animals endure. I could love them and be loved by them but I wasn’t really open to connecting to them in a spiritual way. Yes, there are a couple significant moments sprinkled in my past where I felt the magic of animals but mostly, the closest I felt to them spiritually was when I used my animal themed oracle cards and this, for me, is a pretty shallow connection.

Recently I was visited by the spirit of an animal in such a way that my brain could not deny the fact that, yes, indeed, animals do have spirits and yes, these spirits want to help.

Beginner's Guide to Animal Magic

The visit happened one day as I was working on my computer. I had just finished giving a client an online Intuitive Therapy session. I was about to turn my camera off when I caught a glimpse of my eyes. They spooked me because I couldn’t see my eyes. Instead, I saw big cat eyes. I looked deeper into the eyes and everything else in my field of vision started to look as if it was being covered by a heavy fog. I could no longer see the room in my peripheral vision. I was locked onto those fierce cat eyes when all of a sudden my face disappeared and I saw the face of a spotted jaguar. I actually didn’t know what jaguars look like. I just heard the word “Jaguar” in my mind in the same moment I saw the face appear.

The jaguar’s spirit face disappeared as quickly as it had appeared and I was left feeling like one does when they realize they just experienced magic; grateful but a little unsettled.

I knew there was a message I was supposed to receive with the visit but I didn’t know what it was.

I live in southern Alberta, Canada. I have obviously never had a personal experience with a jaguar, nor do I have any real knowledge about the animal. For this reason, the first thing I did was look up the spiritual meaning other people have given to the animal and waited to feel a resonance with the words. I was waiting for that feeling I get when I know I’m on the right track. In the book “Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David Carson, the following words struck a chord:

Since the death of Skygod, the god-like being who had come from the stars and led the Maya to prosperity and a golden era of spiritual understanding, his teachings of love, integrity, impeccability, and the power of a compassionate heart had been perverted. The distortion of her Jaguar teachings had degenerated to where the priests were sacrificing human beings, foolishly cutting out the victims’ hearts to reclaim the power of the golden days of the empire. 

Beginner's Guide to Animal Magic

Jaguar teachings? What could those be.

I wanted to know more but as a white woman of European descent I felt I wanted to develop a clearer picture of how white colonialism affected the Mayans before I researched their spiritual beliefs. I opted for a history lesson by John Leguizamo in his performance of “Latin History for Morons” on Netflix. The first time I watched it I was brought to tears. It is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, so well-crafted, expertly thought-out and presented. A deeply moving personal story intertwined with 3000 years of Latin history.

I learned a few things.

  1. People of white European descent were responsible for wiping out 95% of the indigenous people in the Americas. Before Europeans arrived, the continent started with around 73 million people. Latin and Indigenous civilizations were these beautiful thriving cultures that European colonizers judged to be savage and worthless. Complete civilizations were wiped out to extinction. The crack their death sounded across the Universe can still be heard. Listen for it.
  2. There are still way too many white people who carry untrue ideas and destructive judgments about the people whose land and cultures they ‘conquered’ and these thoughts and beliefs are just as destructive, dangerous and false as they were the day Columbus set foot on Caribbean soil. 3000 years into the future and white colonial thinking continues to kill.
  3. Anti-immigration policies foster fear and are founded on white colonial thinking. Everyone who inhabited this land before Europeans came to claim it, including the Cherokee, Apache, Navajo, Aztec, Inca, Taino and Mayans, were, in John Leguizamo’s words, “a vast network of tribes that co-mingled, co-habitated and freely migrated north, south and central; Caribbean, Mexican and Indians…are all the same blood.” They are all so interconnected his modern DNA test could describe him only as “Native American”.

Beginner's Guide to Animal Magic

After going on the historic and emotional roller-coaster ride with John Leguizamo, I felt a little more prepared to look deeper into the message the Jaguar spirit wanted to share with me. I used the internet for the rest of my research. I knew I had to keep searching until something clicked. It felt like one of those quests where I would just know when it was time to stop searching even though I had no idea what exactly I was looking for.

I landed on a National Geographic article by Chip Brown called Inside the Hidden World of Jaguars. I learned that the Jaguar was sacred to most of the Latin cultures – the Incas, Mayan and Aztecs all built temples to the Jaguar. They placed Jaguar imagery on pots, thrones, temples, handles, spoons and shawls.

I learned the Mayan word balam means both Jaguar and priest or sorcerer.

I learned their bite is so strong it can instantly kill as the bite sinks into the skull and punctures the brain. I actually found this fact fascinating because although it sounds fierce, it also seems kind…a relatively clean and quick death in the world of predator and prey.

I learned Latin medicine people believe Jaguar spirits work to protect the forests and waters.

I learned deforestation and poaching threatens present day Jaguar populations.

I learned a lot of super interesting facts but I knew I still hadn’t received the message the Jaguar spirit that visited me wanted to share with me.

I kept reading.

At the end of the article was a story of a healer’s apprentice who had a dream where he saw the bones of a Jaguar skeleton lying by the side of the river. The bones were perfectly laid out from head to paw. The healer and his apprentice both took the dream to mean the spirit of Jaguar was communicating with them that Jaguar spirit can no longer protect the forest. Chip Brown closes his article with explaining how it’s now up to the healer and conservationists everywhere to tap into the Jaguar’s power and grace to keep the forests alive.

Boom!

That was it.

That was my message; we must become like the Jaguar spirit and fiercely protect the forests and waters.

I don’t know yet how I’m going to do this but I know what my first step is; to deepen my connection with nature. I will be walking towards my learning with the spirit of Jaguar as my teacher.

In celebration of this animal magic and in hopes that you embark on your own journey to connect more deeply with nature and the spirits of animals, I outline below a few tips to help you start working with animal magic. I’ve also created a few hand-drawn journal pages to help you document your experiences. You can scroll past the tips to learn how to access those.

Tip #1: Release Past Conditioning and Beliefs Blocking You From Connecting to Animal Spirits

I know part of what allowed the visit from Jaguar spirit to happen is my commitment to clear past conditioning and subconscious beliefs I held around nature and humanity’s relationship to it. Some of the beliefs and/or conditioning you may want to check in and see if you still hold include the belief that:

  • …humans are superior to animals
  • …animals are here to serve humans
  • …animals are without souls or spirits
  • …humans are at the top of some evolution pyramid.
  • …the natural world is disconnected from us.
  • …the natural world is inferior to the spiritual world.
  • …the main purpose of the spiritual world is to supply our human needs.

Beliefs and/or conditioning you may want to adopt or strengthen include the beliefs that:

  • …animals can communicate with humans.
  • …animals have spirits and/or souls.
  • …animal spirits are as important and precious as human spirits.
  • …animal spirits can communicate with me.
  • …animal spirits want to support, teach and guide me.
  • …I have the ability to connect with animal spirits.
  • …learning more about their physical attributes and behaviors and acquiring knowledge about them helps me to understand the guidance, messages or support their spirits want to share with me.
  • …approaching nature with reverence, gratitude and respect helps me connect with the spiritual wisdom of animals.
  • …an emotional and spiritual connection with nature is possible (and critical to our well-being as a species, in my opinion).

Tip #2: Explore Your Childhood Relationship with Animals

There’s a lot of spiritual wisdom you can access from your inner child and her relationship with animals. Journal or reflect on the following questions.

Which animals played a role in your childhood?

Which animals were you fascinated with as a child?

Which animals were part of your family?

How did you feel about how animals were treated in your family or community?

Which animals scared you?

Which animals comforted you?

Tip #3 Witness Their Suffering

There are so many animals suffering because of climate change and other destructive challenges. Research and become familiar with the species that are struggling near where you live and learn what the cause of their struggles are.

Tip #4 Express Gratitude to the Spirits of Animals by Making an Offering

Learn what the animals living around you need and make offerings of food or drink to them, if appropriate.

Grow plants you know that animals living around you enjoy.

Allow native plants to grow in your yard.

Pray, meditate or send healing energy to a struggling species.

Stand up for and protect their natural territories or support people and organizations who do.

Donate to organizations that support wildlife.

Hand-Drawn Animal Magic Journal Pages

In celebration of the Jaguar spirit that visited me, I created a few journal pages for you to enjoy.

If you resonate with the message  Jaguar shared with me about humans stepping up to protect the forest and waters, you may want to print the drawing I made of a Jaguar, color it then hang it somewhere as a reminder.

I also created a page where you can draw an animal whose spirit you would like to connect to. You can color the background, add your own patterns to the leaves and draw your animal then place the page on your altar. You might want to regularly leave offerings to the spirit of your animal to strengthen your connection.

For a limited time, these pages are available by joining my mailing list. To access them, all you have to do is visit my home page and enter your email address. When you do, you will be emailed directions on how to download my hand-drawn Animal Magic journal pages. You will also be added to my online community where I will continue to send you free journal pages every month to help you harness the magic of nature and the moon.

If you do complete the journal pages or share photos of them or perform the activity with a group, please respect the work of this artist and creator by mentioning the source and/or providing a link back to this original post. Also, if you end up completing the journal pages, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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Beginner's guide to animal magic

Beginner's Guide to Animal Magic

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