Join Me for a day of Shamanic Journeying, Drum Painting and Awakening

I am excited to be offering a day-long retreat to move into journeying, drum painting and awakening our drums and ourselves.

I have always loved drumming. It moves me into deep journeys within myself, with guides and power animals. It attunes me to my innermost rhythms. It heals places in my energy body that are blocked and it opens my heart to new pathways and possibilities.

I invite you to:

Attuned to the Rhythm of Our Bliss: Painting Drums

with Havi Mandell, Earth Dancer and Visionary Artist

Sunday, July 23, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Art Square, 1025 S. 1st Street, Suite 140


There is something about drumming that tunes into the deepest rhythms of our heart, the dance in our soul, and the voice of our truth. When the drum is also our intentional creativity canvas, magic happens.

We will connect visioning, intuition, image, sound, sensation, movement,  and creativity into a jambalaya of joy!

I invite you for a day of drum painting (with a vegan drum skin) and heartfelt drumming, creating, awakening and celebrating the rhythm of your bliss.All materials provided. Bring paint clothes, dancing feet, your magical muse and munchies you like.

Sunday, July 23, 10-5, 1025 S. 1st, Suite 140, Las Vegas. Call Havi at (702) 376-7663 for more info.

Pre-registration required by July 17. $150, includes 14 inch. Remo drum and painting supplies

Join me in painting your own medicine drum! To register go HERE

Claiming a Theme for the New Year

Each new year offers a sunrise into new beginnings. Nature offers her own daily fireworks of the gentle emerging pinks and blues of sunrise emerging from the darkness, celebrating a new day. The end of a year has a certain sense of both darkness and the anticipation of emerging light. There is that inevitable review of all that has transpired, the good and the bad, the dreams realized and those lost or put on hold. And it is a time of looking forward, of visioning a new dream. My birthday falls at the end of the year, so that always makes that sense of newness more potent.

Havi Mandell, 2013

Manifesting Magic, Havi Mandell, 2013

As I look back over this past year, I feel blessed. In my work, I got to dance in my artist and teacher self so much more. I painted my way up the Tree of Life, honoring powerful women symbolizing qualities of the sephirot. I helped teach the Tree of Life with Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s powerful painting and spiritual ministry and Caron McCloud’s brilliance and deep wisdom.  In my personal life, I had the joy of celebrating my daughter get married and shared time in the incredible beauty of nature with my son. I watched my mom get two books published.  I went on retreat awakening in ceremony and painting, the phoenix energy in my soul and came back ready for rebirth and renewal and clear that the fire of my passion will find a way to thrive.


As you look back over the past year, what are the highlights, those special moments, achievements, illuminations that sparked something delicious?

On my birthday, I worked on a painting moving through past wounds and essential symbols to create a talisman for myself, based on Shiloh’s talisman painting series. This emerged:

Havi Mandell, 2013

Wise Heart, Havi Mandell, 2013

I had started painting a heart on her and then visioned her heart transforming into an owl. I began playing with the notion of a year of a wise heart. This was clarified even more for me as I played with my word or theme for the year. I started with Ahava Raba, Great Love, opening fully to flowing loving energy. I thought of the word “boundless”. Rather than feeling wonderful, I found myself feeling more and more irritated. It seemed like there was so much I was being pulled to do and began to feel like I was confronting a chore list rather than flowing loving, abundant energy. Rather than opening to flow, I felt the strong need to set limits. I remembered the message of “wise heart” and realized that perhaps I was not ready for the overwhelming “yes” of Ahava Raba until I learned how to wisely say no, not out of fear, but out of self-love.
And yet, I still wanted to put those past emotional pains and hurtful self-conclusions that kept sticking to my sides be released and that vision of amazing flow kept holding strong. I thought of “wise heart” but that didn’t carry the exuberance I was looking for. I played with words. I thought of “unleash” and the freedom that represented. Yet “unleash” created some of that tension that “Ahava Raba” did and I didn’t know if that really captured what I wanted.  I felt that straining for freedom in this Year of the Horse, and yet there was something else that was missing. I didn’t want just freedom or flow, I wanted to feel a deep joy in my flow and freedom. I kept listening for words to light up and went to sleep asking my Inner Guidance to wake up the word.

Havi Mandell, 2013

Bliss, Havi Mandell, 2013

Then, I just started painting, which is, for me, the best way to connect with that Inner Wisdom that sometimes seems so elusive. As I was painting, and looking at what was emerging, I thought of the word “bliss”. and that felt wonderful. I checked in with my wise heart and “bliss” still felt good and felt freeing. I let myself dream into it. I woke up with a happy sense of bliss as:

Intuitive Illumination
Spacious Sacredness and

I felt one Yes and after another. This is my year of Bliss…not “out of this world” Bliss but the Bliss of fully coming home to and living all of me! This is my guiding word. As I make choices, as I vision, I will ask, “Is this in harmony with Bliss?” and let that guide my path for the year.

What word calls you this year? What theme will be guiding you?

If you’d like to do more to bring alive your vision for 2014 and start welcoming that energy in, join me for my playshop, Painting Your Alchemical Dream for 2014.

And there are still a few Creative Soul Card decks available.

May your New Year be filled with Blessings and Blissings!

Cleansing the Old, Welcoming the New

I am starting this new year with a cleanse on all levels. I am cleansing my body (my liver and kidneys), cleansing my mind, and cleansing my soul. The first is fairly straight forward: some herbs to help clear toxins, water to flush the system. I am combining some body and soul cleansing with a ceremonial shower to clean and brush my body, cleanse away dark, heavy energies and welcome in flow.

The mental and emotional clearing is a bit more work. Earlier today, I journeyed into my energy body, asking for the stories and beliefs that truly no longer belonged in my life. I immediately began to feel my jaw tense up and the energy around my face pull inward. Breathing in loving acceptance, I asked for clarity.

digital art by Miriam Brysk

digital art by Miriam Brysk

There was a flood of memories and conclusions about these memories. All of them revolved around feeling ashamed or humiliated for stepping forward and being seen and there was a particular undercurrent of the thought: I thought I mattered and I was wrong. As all of these images and beliefs revealed themselves, I felt the pain and self-negation they represented.

And then I thought about the magically wonderful creative explosion in my life in the past year. How could I hide in shame, how could I be convinced my expression and my being don’t matter and, yet, feel so alive and compelled by creative expression?

I allowed myself to be with that bind, the pull in two different directions, and asked: Now what?

I was not willing to compromise with this bind. It was time to loosen the hold that “not mattering” had on me. I breathed love into all the tight places in my jaw and face. I invited my Wise Heart to shine Light and Love on me as I imagined stepping forward into the spotlight that is my life.

Havi - david014

This did not feel like ego, it felt like love… the same kind of loving spotlight in which I viewed my children so very often….seeing their special gifts, their joy, their creative expression with absolute enjoyment that filled me…the Yiddish term is to kvell. I gave myself permission to kvell about me.

I know that I will return to dealing with these issues for they have been there a long time. I will keep breathing, keep journeying, keep connecting to my wise heart. And I will paint the process.

When the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut happened, my teacher, Shiloh Sophia McCloud suggested painting through the pain. I painted my pain:

In Remembrance by Havi Mandell

In Remembrance by Havi Mandell


This helped me move through the energy to paint the healing:



This week I will paint my way through from shame to kvelling.
I invite you to tune into your bodymind.  What is calling on you to cleanse and heal in the new year? Move through the process above in your own way:
Experience your body cues and energy blocks
Journey into the energy and memories
Explore beliefs and conclusions
Wise heart offers guidance and illuminates new possibilities
Embrace a new vision, a new choice
Love yourself.

All spiritual journeys, all of life, is transformation. As I cleanse my body, release blocks, and shift my way of seeing and thinking, I open a path to joyfully living the magnificence of Spirit. What will you choose for yourself for this new year?

I invite you to join me for my transformational retreat series, Alchemical HeARTistry:  Paint the Alchemy of Your Soul Retreat.

Or join Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Caron McCloud on the Red Madonna year-long journey into The Tree of Life (I will offering teachings as part of that journey).

I always welcome one-on-one transformational creativity coaching as well.

Wishing you all the brightest blessings for 2013 and beyond!

Sharing my Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine Interview

I wanted to share with you  my interview in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine (please follow the highlighted link). I was interviewed by an incredible artist and inspirational woman, the “Glitter W.A.S.P.”, Elizabeth Gibbons about painting as a transformational process.

Painting the Goddess Within by Havi Mandell

This is my latest painting, created for the online course, Painting the Goddess Within. I hope you can join me for this wonderful experience of painting, healing, writing, and spiritual and creative exploration.

Also, if you would like to work with me in person, I am starting a powerful retreat series, Alchemical Heartistry: Sourcing the Golden Light from the Cracks of Your Heart. This retreat series will delve into each step of the alchemical process: visioning, painting and exploring each step starting with the retreat day and continuing for the month. This creates the opportunity to immerse in the process together and, with intention, live in and learn from that stage of alchemy for the month, ready to continue to the next step with each retreat gathering.

The first retreat focuses on calcination,  the burning away of worn out and limiting beliefs, the sacred fire to cleanse, clear and release the images, fears,  and stuck places that hinder us. It connects us to the transformational power of fire.

Are you ready to release what no longer serves you, what limits and binds you and create the space and freedom for transformation?


Harmonizing Creativity with Power Animals

I recently did a visioning journey in preparation for guiding a journeying process for my recent playshop, Painting Your Sacred Essence. The visioning included meeting our left brain and right brain power animals to better understand the roles, interactions, harmonies and disharmonies between the right and left brain.

My right brain power animal was shiny black snake. She was beautiful and sensual, dancing every movement in full connection to the earth. She truly felt and tasted every morsel and moment of life. Her senses were alive and she and her lived life were one, there was no sense of separation, of watching from a distance.

She showed me the power of knowing when one has grown out of one’s skin and risking and surrendering the old stories and paradigms to reveal the new.


I realized that this is very different from re-inventing who I am. It means continually opening to the Me that keeps growing and blossoming and inviting her to show up, letting go of what no longer fits with full surrender, trust, and flow. She experienced life with a fullness and adaptability I can only imagine. As I learned more about Snake Medicine, I learned of her importance as a healer (the caduceus), a transformer, and as a symbol of the goddess.

My left brain power animal was a black mama bear. I was surprised that she showed up as a left brain power animal and that, in and of itself, forced me to challenge my negative left brain biases. I have always admired Bear Medicine. It is the medicine of the healer, the herbalist, the shaman traveling above and below, rebirth and renewal, dreaming, introspection, and mother energy. I was curious how this connected to my left brain.

Mama bear told me that she pulled me inward to slow down, think, consider and keep me safe. I realized that she has, in my life, done a far too impressive job of this at times, pulling me into the role of silent introvert in some situations, afraid to step out of the shadows and let my light shine. There has been a sense of safety that goes with this, as I can stand back and observe and not stick my neck out, but it has been too inhibiting. And mama bear’s large presence demands my attention and is far more in-my-face than the black snake.

In dialogue, it was clear that there was a wonderful harmony on some levels between these animals. Each had a deep knowing of the earth. Each carried the energy of healing and of rebirth. Each was a strong aspect of the Sacred Feminine. The disharmony was that the size and voice of the bear far exceeded that of the snake. When I approached a creative project, the bear’s presence filled my consciousness powerfully while the snake’s presence slipping into spaces and moments.

In my visioning, I saw the bear being held in my heart, the snake swirled in my throat, touching into my heart and connecting with the bear. The energy of the bear was informed and nurtured by my heart. She was less intense and large, more of a caring Mama Bear. The energy of the snake opened and transformed and evolved my creative expression, touching base with the wisdom of the bear, pulling the truth of my heart into expression. Both harmonized in my heart.

Right/Left Brain Power Animals by Havi Mandell

I invite you to go on a journey to meet your left and right brain power animals, learn from them and find a harmonious balance of their energies in your creativity and in your life. If you’d like a guide for your journey, schedule a session with me and I will guide you on a journey into the beautiful wisdom within you and your essential nature expressed through your powerful animal.

Embrace the Goddess Within!! Join a wonderful online course beginning 12/21/12 with a variety of talented teachers to explore through writing, energy work and art the joy of Painting the Goddess Within.

Transforming Hit-and-Run Depression

There is a kind of depression that has a nasty habit of sneaking up out of nowhere and knocking me to my knees. I have developed an impressive tool box for dealing with the type of depression that wants to hang out and set itself up as a permanent fixture in my brain. I have my depression martial artist well-trained to keep that kind of depression on its toes and my visual artist can get out my paints and brushes and sweep away that depression in bold colors and strokes and muse creations.

Howling to Joy by Havi Mandell

But, it is a lot trickier dealing with hit-and-run depression. That depression seems to suddenly shift the energy. I can be feeling great and then, suddenly, whoooosh, I feel like a weepy, scared, worthless mass of darkness. Clarity moves to confusion. Hope moves to despair. I lose my footing. I lose my way. I feel instantly lost and struggle to connect with the good feelings that embraced me such a short time before. I don’t know what secret triggers call that kind of depression to jump in.

That’s what makes it such a “good enemy”. It is not something I can truly prepare for. It calls on me to approach my depression in the moment, with faith, creativity and with silliness…all things that depression mightily tries to wipe out.

What is my response?

(1) I invite my magical child to play and invent something fun and silly and cool out of just about anything.  Do you remember when you were little a discovered that rubber bands erased pencil marks or you made things out of the cardboard toilet paper rolls or drew plans for machines or cities or clothes? Free your playful imagination to embark on fun, creative adventures.  You will see the most ordinary things as extraordinary and it will spark that remembrance that life, that YOU, are gloriously extraordinary.

Havi as a kid

(2) I look for something to make me laugh: I watch a silly TV show, read a George Carlin book, or think of a memory of something cute my kids did. If I can have just a few moments of glee, I can bring in some hit-and-run joy.
(3) I start to paint gateways with bold bright colors, inviting not only my joy, but my very being to return. Creating the gateway on canvas symbolically opens a gateway to my joy and the brighter the colors, the brighter the bridge out of depression. If I can’t garner the energy to do that, I start sketching, even if it starts as doodling. I ask myself: What are the lost pieces and how can I invite them in? Sometimes I end up doodling shards of lost pieces to start or angry, jagged strokes. Sometimes I draw and paint the beauty and joy I am finding it so hard to feel. Sometimes I finger paint and fist paint, putting what I can’t find words for out there so it is not  living as toxic slime in me.  I can then dialogue with it, brush stroke by brush stroke, whisper by whisper, scream by scream.
(4) I call on my power animals to help me feel and embody my instinctual nature. I howl, I roar, I spread my wings and squawk. I connect with my essential self free of over-analyzing, fearing, judging, and worrying.  I ask these power animals to help sniff out what feels lost and journey with them to retrieve it. I remind myself how precious all those parts of me are.

Eagle Shaman by Havi Mandell

(5) I share my feelings, especially in writing, with someone. The very process of writing them out, acknowledging the feelings in black-and-white, and having someone acknowledge me and those thoughts as a sacred witness often transforms them.
(6) I remind myself of my juiciest dreams and hopes and focus on heartstorming living my passion. I write and paint and daydream about waking up my dreams in all sorts of fun, unusual and magical ways.
(7) I pray prayers of gratitude and blessing, celebrating the beauty in life. I bring my spiritual energy into seeing, hearing, feeling, knowing the blessings in my life, the beauty in my world. I love the hummingbirds in my backyard because I can always count on them to show up and bring a smile of gratitude for their joy and beauty in even the darkest moments.

Finding More to Bless by Havi Mandell

(7) I put on irresistible dancing music to get myself moving and breathing and out of my head. If my depressed self refuses to dance, I walk, even if it is just from one end of the room to another. It offers, literally, a different point of view. Singing along with the music is always a great addition.
(8) I do some little thing to help the world be a little better place, no matter how minor. Offer a compliment,  clean up trash on the side of the road, help someone out. Let a random act of kindness and beauty create, in the moment, a connection to the beauty, joy and wonder of the world and your power to be an artist of kindness.

Hit-and-run depression is a good enemy in that it gives me a loving kick in the ass to dust off and bring to life the tools, the dreams, and the joy that I sometimes take for granted. It challenges me to love myself even when it seems easier to give up on myself.

It reminds me that my heart is waiting to live passionately, joyfully and out loud, and it does not want to keep waiting. It is beating the rhythm of my dreams and the dance of my life right now and that hit-and-run depression reminds me not to treat my life as a hit-and-run accident, but as an intentionally creative journey, moment by moment,  in creating and celebrating my heartrageous life.

If you are struggling with moments of hit-and-run depression, consider setting up a  healing session with me to heal the energies and beliefs and awaken your creative, light-filled self, or join me for my retreat series beginning in January, Alchemical HeARTistry: Sourcing the Golden Light from the Cracks of Your Heart.

Accepting the Beauty

One of my favorite soul words is “Beauty.” When I think of beauty, it is not in the context of some ad for cosmetics and clothing. I think of the Tree of Life and the sphere of Beauty located at the Heart, Tiferet. This “beauty” is the beauty of harmony, balance, connection and gratitude. It is the heart that is full and in flow with creation.

Attunement by Havi Mandell

Even the surface definition of beauty seems so challenging. It amazes me how difficult it can be to accept Beauty—to accept being beautiful and being surrounded by beauty. There is a strange fascination with ugliness. People stop to gawk at a car accident or someone losing control.

How often do we stop or slow down to admire beauty?
When do we take the time and mindfulness to notice the beauty in others?
What space do we give for beauty in our lives?


I have spent most of my life with a very loud inner critic perpetually telling me that I am not beautiful physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. I can detail every flaw that I believe I possess and magnify it into sheer ugliness. I don’t think I can pinpoint where that came from and I am not sure that even matters. I do know that there is a part of me that seems to go out of its way to find evidence to support the critic and struggles to accept feeling beautiful. It astounds me that after all the deep work I have done on healing myself, I can still be seduced by a strange addiction to focusing on my flaws in appearance or behavior and gawking at myself at times as if I am one of those car accidents on the side of the road.

Muppet Critics by Jim Henson

What is the strange pull of the inner critic that makes its voice so seemingly powerful?
How is it that what drags us down is given more credence than what lifts us up?




I return to Tiferet- beauty defined as a dance of harmony, balance, connection, flow and gratitude from the heart. There is one word that is definitely not part of that definition-“perfection”. Tiferet, true beauty on all levels, has nothing to do with perfection. Perfection is not a dance. If something is perfect, it has nowhere to go and nothing to grow. It is, in a sense, stagnant. It lacks the aliveness, the flow, the magnificent cracks and flaws that create interest, creative possibility, and the space for the dance and, as Leonard Cohen would say, the space to let the light in.

I remember my teacher, Lynn Andrews, holding up a crystal. She commented that the crystals that are the most beautiful are the ones with inclusions, with flaws. These flaws create a beautiful landscape within the crystals and, when held to the light, reflect rainbows and gateways. A “perfect” crystal looks like a clear chunk of glass. What if we could see our flaws as rainbows and gateways, as beautiful unique landscapes of our souls?

Illuminated Crystals by Havi Mandell

I am no longer willing to lock myself into the belief that beauty is perfection and that I must push and strive and beat myself into trying to create perfection or I am somehow not good enough, not loveable, not worthy.

I love the flaws in the crystals, the knots in the trees, the paintings that leave spaces in the lines and color (what my teacher, Shiloh Sophia McCloud calls “the glow”), the wonderful lack of perfection that adds a glorious uniqueness and poetry to all of life. I even love looking more deeply into what on the surface seems ugly to find the beauty. An old rundown building still carries beauty and story in its cracks. Creepy crawlies (which do make me squirm) have a beauty and uniqueness when viewed through a different lens. And each person carries a particular beauty if we take the time to look and listen.

Temple Image

And, toughest to accept of all, each of us carry within us a profound beauty of being, of soul, waiting and longing to be acknowledged and expressed in the world.

Take some time to seek out the beauty in your world. Notice the beauty in the cracks, in the tiny places, in the “ugly” places. Notice the beauty within you. Be with it. Write love poems and poetry to it. Sketch it. Paint it. Honor it.

How will you honor and express the beauty of your soul today?
How will you honor the beauty of creation within you and around you?

Express your beauty through the magnificence of your creativity!

Consider immersing in an alchemical painting retreat journey beginning January 2013:

Alchemical HeARTistry: Sourcing the Golden Light from the Cracks of Your Heart and honor, love and source the Golden Light in your Heart.

Or, claim your goddess self and join the online course:

Painting the Goddess Within and awaken your inner goddess on canvas and in your life.

Medicine Wheel in the East: Coming Home to the Creative Mind

Take several cleansing breaths and turn toward the East. The East is the place of the rising sun, of illumination. The East is concerned with the mind, creativity and the wisdom of the old wise ones and our ancestors.

Coming home to the mind can be tricky for the mind is a powerful trickster. It is the source of glorious ideas, creations and constructs and can bring us from chaos to order. Yet, the stories the mind tells us can also powerfully alter our view of ourselves and our world and trap us in a fixed set of beliefs.

Some of my beliefs have been powerful motivators moving me forward in my future. I hold a strong belief to leave the world better than I found it and my mind is downright gluttonous for more knowledge, skills and experience.

I have been told that I am descended from Tzaddikim, “holy ones”, who felt deeply spiritually connected and devoted their lives to healing and celebrating God in all life. Their beliefs and their values strongly inform my life and actions. These ancestors, old wise ones, flesh out my bones with their sacred stories and example, providing the deep wisdom of their experience.

Heartsong by Havi Mandell

There are also those beliefs that have thrown mud on my visions and held me back. Beliefs that I am not good enough, that I am stupid, that I don’t belong anywhere, fear-based beliefs from my Holocaust roots, and all my depressive thinking have scared me from truly stepping forward into my dreams and into my life when I let them define me.

While it is essential to have values and vision, any belief that defines you too strongly blinds and binds you, keeping you from growing into the fullness of who you are.

Those “good beliefs” above led me to become a healer, but, in the way I narrowly defined them, they kept the door of the artist closed because it did not fit my definition of being a healer.

In my work with Lynn Andrews, I learned about the Heyoka, the sacred clown that lives in the East of the medicine wheel. The Heyoka tests the validity of institutions and beliefs with humor, irreverence and backwards thinking. The Heyoka helps shake up our glorification of beliefs and ritual, getting us to see with fresh eyes. There are stories of the Heyoka of a tribe pissing on the altar, not as an offensive act, but to shake up over-serious attitudes and deifying the altar as God.

One of the images often associated with the Heyoka is riding into battle backwards with a broken lance. This represents a powerful aspect of the Heyoka, that of absolute trust. In some ways the Heyoka is very much like the Fool Card of the Tarot, walking off the cliff looking out not down, with trust and fresh eyes.

If we can approach our beliefs with fresh eyes and a willingness to let them grow and evolve with us, they create a sacred garden from which we can be nourished and can blossom. If we rigidly hold on to a belief, unwilling to look and feel, again and again, the aliveness is sucked out of it and with it, some of its true meaning.


Nurturning Joy by Havi Mandell

As an artist of life, those fresh eyes, fresh ideas, fresh possibilities illuminate us and our world again and again.

In Lynn Andrews book, Flight of the Seven Shields, she describes a Heyoka practice of spending a day (or some amount of time) walking backwards looking through a mirror to shake up our perceptions. It is a powerful exercise, even if done briefly in helping us see in a fresh way.

Coming home to our minds and creativity, interestingly, involves this ability to let things shift and be reborn, like decorating again and again the living room of our understanding mind with new life and color and inviting others in to its warmth and lively discussion. Or, more practically, it is keeping that room cleaned from old clutter and cobwebs and opening the windows regularly for a breath of fresh air and fresh possibility. Then the mind is truly a home…for ideas, for creativity, for the magic of our lives.

Our minds are incredible wellsprings of creativity and can turn an idea into a magical reality. Our minds offer wonderful questions and a soulful journey to the answers.

 When we balance thoughts and feelings in the east and west, informed by our connection to Spirit in the north and grounded in caring for our bodies and relationships in the south, we are in a beautiful dance of harmony that sings our souls home in each moment of our lives.

Consider creating a Medicine Wheel outside, on an altar, or in a painting, infused with the healing and awarenesses you have experienced in this journey with me. If you enjoyed this journey, join me in my playshop,  Painting Your Sacred Essence: A Shamanic Painting and Visioning Journey.

If you are struggling with freeing your mind and freeing your creativity, consider scheduling a session with  me. My upcoming retreat series, Alchemical HeARTistry, will be a wonderful healing journey to  free the “gold” of your Soul in a creative, nourishing way.


Medicine Wheel in the North: Coming home to Spirit

Having welcomed home into our bodies, senses, feelings and hearts, we now journey to the North of the Medicine Wheel, welcoming home into our souls.

Take several cleansing breaths and turn from the West of the Wheel to the North. Take some time to feel and welcome the energies of the North.

In the North, we connect with the Divine Breath joining with ours. We breathe in the Divine, we breathe out our prayers. We breathe in all life, past and present, we breathe out our presencing in life.

Coming home to our spiritual self is going deeply into what touches our soul, what moves us. We connect with all that has informed you we are, all that we know ourselves to be and the greatest strength and truth that resonates with our soul.

Tree of Life by Havi Mandell

I have always been moved by a story told about Michelangelo. After he had created the masterpiece, David, someone, in awe of his work, asked him how he could possibly have conceived and created such a masterpiece. Michelangelo replied, “I simply carved away everything that was not David.”

Coming home to our spiritual self is, in a sense, carving away everything that is not truly who we are, carving away messages from others that that do not ring true and that keep us living a life that is not quite our own. As those messages clear, more and more of our true self is revealed.

There is nothing to change ourselves into or to become. We reveal what we already are.

As you come home to your spiritual self, your perceptions of your lived world shift. The distortions that distorted your self-image also distort how you experience and respond to the world. As you come home, these distortions can begin to lift, revealing a beauty and harmony in all things.

One of the most powerful processes I have found in my spiritual homecoming is deepening my relationship with my Muse, an aspect of myself I first embraced, painted and learned from in my work with Shiloh Sophia McCloud. I also learned about the process of intentional creativity.

I experience my Muse as a version of my Higher Self, my Inner Wisdom. My definition of Higher Self is that wise part of me that bridges between this physical, embodied world that I live and the world of Spirit. My Muse is that being that is fully a part of me and my stories, yet has an energy and vantage point that sees beyond my normal seeing, that can hold up mirrors for me to see myself in a more empowered and Spirit-filled way, help raise my vibration and perception within, and inspire a level of artistic co-creation with Spirit that would not otherwise emerge.

My Muse awakens a deep level of awareness and artistry informed by Spirit. She is not limited by self-consciousness, social norms, fears, and self-questioning. She is the Shero within who has traveled and is traveling her Legendary Journey. On some level, she is the me who would be if I felt free to be exactly as I am without any self-imposed shame-or-fear-based limitation (physical, material, emotional, relational or spiritual) and filled with the Light of my Being shining out in all its glory.


Divine Spark of Creativity by Havi Mandell

Every time I paint, I connect with different aspects and dimensions of the Muse. Each painting reveals more and more of that self that lives beneath the layers, connecting me to the juiciest parts of me, some of which have been in hiding for a long time. As I look back over the past year, I can see the shifts that have occurred with each dance with my Muse on canvas and in my dialogue with her while painting and in writing. Each painting fleshes out more and more of the Sacred Feminine as she lives within and through me.

Each painting reveals a beauty and soul truth that is essential to the person I really am and as I paint, those kernels of truth are planted, nurtured and blossomed into being. The more I paint, the more spiritually awake I feel.

Free to be Joy by Havi Mandell

Intentional creativity means approaching whatever you are creating, in fact, approaching your life, with mindful intention and weaving that sacred intention into your work. When I prepare to paint, I set an intention, I create a ceremony to set the space and welcome in what will be revealed, and I bless and anoint the canvas. As I paint, I listen deeply to what is asking to be revealed.

This intentional creativity informs not only my painting, it now informs my life. I start my day with gratitude and with an intention for the day. I sit aside in my backyard and open to the beauty there. I am always tickled that a hummingbird seems to love to flit by when I am doing this.

The more I acknowledge the sacred in my life and world, the more I experience sacred moments and a homecoming to my sacred self.

I would invite you to create a sacred practice each day, even if just for a few minutes each morning. Find a place. Acknowledge what you are grateful for and set an intention. Tune in to your intention periodically throughout the day. Feel free to add candles, ceremony, prayer or whatever else creates a sense of sacredness.

Consider taking one of my painting playshops and connecting with and painting your Muse or working with me individually to help you bring your Muse to life in art, in writing and in life.

Your life is a sacred canvas. You are the artist and you are Art.

Medicine Wheel in the West: Coming Home to Our Feelings

We now circle to the West of the Medicine Wheel. The West is the place of  feelings and emotions, death and rebirth, dreams, and our inner adolescent.

Take a deep breath and visualize a large medicine wheel of your soul. Turn to the West, sit down and take in the energies of the West.

When we are teenagers, we are often ruled by our emotions. It is a time when everything is felt deeply, when we are transforming and redefining who we are on our own terms, questioning all the givens and seeking new truths. The West is that liminal place where the sun sets and we enter into the dark and into dreaming. It is a place of transformation, death and rebirth.

Rhythm of Transitions by Havi Mandell

My teen years moved me into my first depression as well as my first love. I seemed to alternate between feeling all powerful and powerless. Life either was an amazing adventure of possibility or a hopeless pit of despair. In one moment I was in awe. In another, life seemed too lonely and painful to bear. The unknown was terrifying.

Years later, I began to appreciate the unknown, began to recognize the beauty of the Mystery, truly the place where all possibility is born. The Mystery asks us to dance in that place that is neither here nor there. It is the in-between, liminal space of becoming. It is the place of the heart always beating, moving, growing.

Emotions are energy in motion.

They move life energy through us with qualities that we attribute to those energies. In order to truly live, we need to FEEL our lives. That is what adds color and texture, passion and purpose to our lived world. If we disconnect from our feeling self, our world sinks into a depressive, meaningless fog.

Grief to Gratitude by Havi Mandell

In order to come home to the self, we need to come home to our feelings.

That includes all of our feelings and the deaths and rebirths that come from flowing with our feeling self. All creation requires the ability to let go and surrender to create space for something new to be born and formed. For there to be a true sense of home, home must be able to shift with our inner transformations. Home in the West is about the ability to flow and let go, not holding on to a static concept of who we are or where home is.

We seek not rest but transformation.
We are dancing through each other as doorways.
We are ripples crossing and fusing, journeying and returning from the core of the apple, the eye of the mandala,
the cave in the heart of the rose,
the circle without boundaries centered on silence.
~Marge Piercy

Take some time to feel into the home in your heart. Let your heartbeat carry you on a shamanic journey into the center of your heart space. Around you, the sun is beginning to rise, moving from the darkness into the light. Breathe into this in-between world.

Listen to your heart. What is the darkness you are moving out of, the light you are moving toward?

As the light starts to fill your heart space, look around at the sanctuary, the home, in your heart. What are the colors and textures that define that home? What feels like home?

How do you flow and let go into at-homeness with yourself? What will you let go of to welcome in home?

Paint the colors of home on your canvas. Spray them with water and watch the flow. Begin to add the colors and textures of home in the heart.

Journey with me individually or through playshops and retreats to flow into your at-homeness.

Next week, we move to the North on the Medicine Wheel: Coming home to Spirit, our inner adult, spiritual essence and prayer.