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N O LT O N

ART / SPIRITUALITY / SHAMANISM

En†er †he world of Fai†h Nolton
can powerfully alter and enrich our experience of the world around us. Visionary
painter and shamanic guide, Faith Nolton shares her celebrated “Soul Garden” paintings — pictures
that have the power to uncover aspects of soul awareness in a circle of life where all things are connected.
By weaving together her own shamanic practice and spirit conversations with her skills as a painter and
poet, she encourages readers to explore and expand their own awareness by creating sacred art that
nourishes the soul.
Whether used as a manual, for inspirational reading, or as a unique art collection, Gardens of the Soul
is a rewarding journey that uniquely reflects a world of mystery and interconnection.
MAKING SACRED ART

FA I T H N O LT O N

“I have followed the way of the mystic and poet all my life. My images, like modern icons,
reflect a sacred world where all things are connected. Where beyond the surfaces
of everyday life the souls of plants, land, trees, and creatures sing.” — Faith Nolton

is a poet, author, and one of the most beloved and respected painters of “visionary art.”
She lives in Wales, UK, where she gives creative/spiritual guidance sessions and workshops using imagery
and sacred art ways. SoulGardens.co.uk
F A I T H N O LT O N

DIVINE ARTS | DIVINEARTSMEDIA.COM
DIVINE
ARTS

MAKING SACRED AND SHAMANIC ART

“For years I have admired Faith Nolton’s brilliant visionary art
which opens doors and shows us worlds most of us feel are here,
around us, but unseen. Her generously illustrated book Gardens
of the Soul goes one step further and invites us all to step over the
threshold and meet the visionary artist in our hearts. Open this
book and step into your own soul’s garden. And that is only the
beginning!”

— J onathan Horwitz, co-director Scandinavian Center
for Shamanic Studies

“Faith Nolton’s book is wonderful and beautiful, with paintings and
text that can only come from a deep understanding of ­shamanic
experience.”

—M 
ichael Harner, author of The Way of the Shaman and
Cave and Cosmos

“The luminous inscapes of Faith Nolton’s images shine with the
true clarity of the shaman’s inner world, enabling us to enter into
a deep communion with spirit beyond time and space.”

—C 
aitlín Matthews, author of Singing the Soul Back Home
and Celtic Visions

“The first artists were shamans, and this book shows how art can
be a powerful bridge to the spirit world.”

— S acred Hoop magazine

Gardens of t he Soul

F A I T H N O L T O N      M A K I N G S A C R E D A N D S H A M A N I C A R T

Published by DIVINE ARTS
DivineArtsMedia.com
An imprint of Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd. #1111
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 379-8799, (818) 986-3408 (FAX)
Cover design by Johnny Ink. www.johnnyink.com
Cover Art: Faith Nolton
Interior design: William Morosi
Copy Editor: Matt Barber
Printed by SC (Sang Choy) International HK Ltd
Copyright © 2013 Faith Nolton
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without permission in writing from the author, except for the i­nclusion of brief quotations in a review.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Nolton, Faith, 1947Gardens of the soul : making sacred and shamanic art / Faith Nolton.
pages cm
Summary: “Gardens of the Soul explores the different ways sacred art can expand
awareness and nourish the soul. Through her paintings and writings Faith Nolton shares
the creative processes of sacred art -- both the inner journeying work and the practical
art techniques. She weaves together her own shamanic practice and spirit conversations
with her skills as a painter and poet. Her paintings uniquely reflect a world of mystery
and nourish the soul”-- Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-1-61125-022-0 (paperback)
1. Spiritual life. 2. Art and religion. I. Title.
BL624.N65 2014
203’.7--dc23
2013033526

Con†en†s
INTRODUCTION
CH

1:

ix
1

Bo∂y and Soul

Linking with the sacred – windows to spirit – influences + fusion –
Spirit realities – feeding the soul
CH

2:

15

The Process of Vision

Using imagination – exploring altered states – liminal spaces –
the studio as energy space – balancing fire and earth
CH

3:

29

Wi∂er Percep†ion

By-passing expectations – the editor brain – making a still hunt –
the language of symbols – dance of life
CH

4:

43

Bringing For† h

Being midwife – my first steps – recording visions – overlapping worlds –
tools of the trade
CH

5:

57

S† ory†elling

Weaving life – gathering stories – myth and culture – medicine gifts –
times of change
v

CH

6:

71

Soul † ending

The shamanic journey – our circle of ancestors – uncovering true self –
recovering soul – soul-restoring painting
CH

7:

85

Walking wi† h † he Spiri t s

Animal helpers – the spirit worlds – art as offering – deepening connection –
cosmologies
CH

8:

99

Songs of † he Land

Spirit of place – garden spirits – asking for help – songs of plants – land shrines
CH

9:

113

Ar† of Blessing

Pictures of health – blessing for all our relations – blessing trees – a world to bless
CH

10:

125

Soul Gardens

Self care – sanctuaries – heart connection – gardens of the past – star garden

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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136

N O L T O N

ACK N OWLE DG M E NTS
My first thanks goes to my spirits, whose patience and guidance is truly
wonderful. I am also deeply grateful to my shamanic drumming c­ ircle
— Janey, Karo, and Nick — who have encouraged, supported, and
reflected to me throughout the making of this book with great love
and honesty.
I give thanks for the generosity and wisdom of my teachers in all
worlds, especially to Leo Rutherford and Jonathan Horwitz, who have
been inspiring and loving guides for myself and so many others in
this world.
I remember the day when Michael Wiese phoned me to ask if I
would consider writing for Divine Arts... after I had just planned this
book and offered it to spirit. Thank you Michael and all the Divine Arts
team for your intuition, expertise, belief, and encouragement.
Lastly my heart goes out to this beautiful and ancient land of Wales,
witness and sheltering lodge for the making process — thank you for
all the wonder, the quiet walks by the river, the owls calling in the night,
the dawns and sunsets that reminded me of the importance of the
­reality of our sacred connection with all that is.
Blessings to all.

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INTRODUCTION

Int roduct ion

I have always seen life through the eyes of a mystic, sensing the sacred
within the everyday, wondering at the mystery at the heart of life. I
have expressed this human journey by making pictures, poems, and
stories all my life. And as I have gathered layers of experience and
information, and had an ever closer and more conscious relationship
with guiding spirits through the practices of shamanism, I have come
to realize that what I am making is sacred art.
As we are becoming aware that our world is a vaster, more complex and intricate web of life than we had assumed, many people are
seeking those things which are unchanging, sustainable, life-affirming — the balanced, heart and soul-honoring ways that have stood the
test of time. The sacred art record of humanity — whether inscribed
in cave and temple, tattoo and dance mask, or painted on drum, bark,
silk, and canvas, or crafted in stained glass and mosaic — records and
celebrates our human trails on our Mother Earth. It shows that art
made with clear soul intention can bring healing and blessing for people, places, and situations.
And technology plays its part in this human journey now; through
internet networking we exchange creative ideas and perspectives
worldwide; we share how imagery, symbols, story and ritual can heal
and renew; see how the simplest offerings of imagination and thanksgiving can restore our individual and social dialogue and balance with
the Great Mystery.
The incredible personal and creative journey this book has taken
me on has shone a light inward, as I unpacked the information and
experiences squirreled away in many years of creative learning and
soul exploring. I had to decide what I, and more importantly my guiding spirits, really wanted to share with you.
In the end I chose those words and pictures that describe my own
personal soul journey. And as you read on I hope you will be encouraged to make your own explorations, experiments, and discoveries.
There are “suggestion boxes” throughout to give you ideas and inspiration. These are starting points, doors to go through and explore,
so that you can make sacred art from the center of your own unique
experience and perspective.

“We are all related. Therefore what
we do, say, or think, ripples out
into the whole of Creation”
“Through making sacred art,
we can dialogue with the Mystery
within all life”

I ntroduction

ix

My own creative path began with a conventional
Fine Art training in Liverpool, where I gained technical skills, knowledge of Western art history, and
assorted theories and experience. But my inner mystic and poet found it hard to find direction in the
brash pop art and abstract art scene of the 1960s.
There was some part of my own creativity that was
deeply unsatisfied and felt lost.
A tutor there once berated my work for not being
in line with the tough social comment in fashion at
the time; I was not engaging with the dark shadows
of life: war, suffering — it was the time of turmoil of
Vietnam, nuclear threats, protest movements, and
rising militant feminism. My reply was the first time
I experienced words rising from me from somewhere
else, words Spirit wanted me to hear. I spoke with a
power and conviction that took me aback: “No, my
work is about Beauty — the pain of the world needs
Beauty to balance it all out.”
That did not go down well, but I knew those
words had showed me my truth and direction. It
would be many years before I found ancient tribal
practices in which Beauty is a powerful force for healing and connecting with essential spirit. Much less
did I realize that when words come in with that spontaneous and clear tone they are coming through our
awareness from a higher wisdom place. At the time,
my words felt crazy, but my soul nevertheless knew
them to be true. I paid attention, recognized their
power, and kept them safe in my heart until I could
make more sense of them.
As I plodded on through my art training I found
it impossible to rationalize or account for the images
that came to me complete from somewhere else, or
explain the shifts in time and space I experienced
while painting and dreaming. Images and inspirations came suddenly and with a random force and
clarity that neither I nor my tutors could make
sense of. Feeling even more creatively lost after I left
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college, I gave up painting and followed my intuitive
nose, and found my feet directed to exploring perception, healing, psychic energies, and the power of
the mind to direct intent and energy.
It was not until the late 1980s that I encountered
the teachings and cosmologies of the Native American peoples and other earth wisdom ways that were
just beginning to be shared with non-natives. I found
the beautiful map of creation, the Medicine Wheel,
and under the guidance of my teacher, Leo Rutherford, I found new doors opening for creativity and
living, for weaving art and ritual to connect with the
powers of the natural world.
I found that myth and storytelling could be rudders and waymarkers for everyday life, that sacred art
and personal vision were natural, vital, and healthful parts of everyday well-being. To my great relief I
had found the spiritual maps that my perception and
inspiration had needed; at a deep level I knew I had
come home.
Exploring a different “history of art” than I had
been given through the Western art tradition, I
discovered the techniques, imagery, and sacred processes of making sacred art. With great delight and
much relief I started to make pictures again.
Now, after many years of practicing shamanism
under the wise guidance of Jonathan Horwitz and
my own spirits, I am familiar with the Otherworld
territory that is my creative wellspring. The support,
guidance, and love of my helper spirits continues to inspire me and present me with images of
great healing and soul nourishment. The perception of the sacred that I have arrived at is beyond
creed or culture, liturgy or nationality — it is a core
human knowing in the heart, and it is at the center
of all things.
The paintings I have chosen for the book tell stories of my own journey along my life, and have mostly
been made in the last ten years. Half of the paintings
I ntroduction

xi

were given to me by my spirits specifically for this book. Through them
I can share with you how one can look beyond the blinkers of cultural
assumptions and expectations. For the sacred art maker walks between
the solid world and a realm of the unseen, the imaginal, the intuitive.
My spirits have worked me hard, and with their usual great love
and patience. I can be a stroppy human sometimes, and very slow to
get the point. So the process of making this book has taught me much!
Therefore I send unending thanks to my spirit helpers, to the innumerable people’s hands and lives that have made the paints, stretched
the canvases, printed the book, delivered the copies, engineered the
computer at which I sit and write right now. I thank all my teachers,
those who understood, and those who didn’t — I learned from both
ways! I honor the tribal people who risked sharing their wisdom with
those whom many perceived as cultural and spiritual thieves, and I
deeply appreciate all the folk I sit in circle and ceremony with, as our
hearts hold hands and we share the sacred journey together.
Above all, I thank the land that spreads out beyond my window
as I look up from my work table — the magical Welsh valley where
I live, with its myth-rich river running through that line of trees down
there dripping gently in the summer rain, the scurrying feet as my
annual visitors the swifts tend their nests and young in the roof above
my head, the deep hill into which my own stone nest is built....
And so this book has become a weaving of a whole circle of time
and space and intention meeting at this moment. Woven for you. For
all our relations in Creation. We are in circle. Come with me on this
trail of pictures and words to explore our sacred connection and find
ways to bring forth your own innerscapes, stories, and soul gardens.

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CHAPTER

1

Body and Soul

1

HOLY GROUND
2

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N O L T O N

LI N K I N G WITH TH E SACR E D
Many forms of art could be described as “sacred,” whether they come
from the iconography of a particular spiritual tradition, or by their presence and subject matter. So when I refer to “sacred art,” what do I mean?
We meet the sacred in everyday life in many ways — in a fleeting
moment of a dramatic sunset, or maybe a building may wrap us in such
powerful harmony of form and light that we connect with something
so much bigger than our own life. We know that our soul has been
touched, and our perception has shifted and stretched in some indefinable way — we are “moved.”
In this book sacred art is about our inner creativity — about reaching out to find the deeper layers of reality, the energy within the forms,
and recording in pictures what we discover on that search. The form
and visual language that we use may be from within a tradition, or may
be intuitive, instinctual. Such acts of life-affirming art “making” weave
positive threads into the Web of Life. These threads may repair broken
strands of soul, or bring blessing and healing, and are gifts to Life and
Spirit, rather than for personal fame, therapy, or ego.
Tribal peoples have a deep understanding of this health-giving
function of personal creativity — often there is no word in the language of such cultures for “art” or “artist.” They understand that all
things are connected, and when we intentionally enter into a sacred
relationship with the unseen and unknowable mystery, we link into a
vital source of well-being.
In the more urbanized cultures there are now many intuitive,
soul-led art makers appearing, often self-taught, or skilled in other
energy working, such as different forms of healing. They are answering
the ages-old, deep imperative to make sacred art as a natural, health-­
giving and irrepressible function of our human being. And as we are
all connected, each act of “making” contributes to the communal pool
of balance and health.
This book allows me to share with you how I make sacred art and
tell some of the stories that my paintings have brought me on my own
creative and soul search. I work closely with my spirit and ancestral
helpers, often receiving a painting “commission” directly from them.
So their voices are very much part of this book too, and I have learned
much from the many the paintings included here that they have asked
me to make.

From the center
of my heart
To the center
of the world
Deep in my being
I touch
the Infinite

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WINDOWS TO SPIRIT
I know that certain paintings are not for everyday
Making sacred art is rather like tuning in a radio
or TV. What we receive then remains em­bedded in
display, and I ask my spirits before exhibiting or pubthe work created, linking the everyday and spirit
lishing a work. We have a kind of joint responsibility.
dimensions.
Sacred art may be kept covered or secluded until
The practical process is often accompanied by ritneeded. Then it can emerge to help focus the enerual, prayer, or meditation, to help the artist connect
gies of the event or ceremony, such as a processional
clearly with the spirit world, and so enable him or
banner joining the parade on its saint’s day celeher to become the physical agent of a spiritual intent.
bration, or a particular mask being worn by a Hopi
Katsina dancer according to the vision received in the
Sacred preparation, dedication, and cleansing of the
kiva from the spirit overseeing that particular point
physical materials to be used is usual, for all must be
brought into alignment to ensure the transmission
in their ceremonial year. An artefact may only be disof image and energies is precise and effective. For
played at certain significant times for pilgrims to kiss,
Navajo weavers this is known as “Sitting in the Beauty
or touch, or pray to, as they seek blessing or healing. History shows us that these very ancient sacred
Place” — the place of centered presence. For the artist’s state of being during
acts go far back beyond
recorded time, depicted on
the process affects the prothe walls of caves and rock
cess and embeds itself into
what is being made.
shelters, and in the makThe work created may
ing of altars, shrines, and
have a final moment of
land decoration — places
birth or empowerment, with
to connect and tune in with
a symbolic act such as addthe unseen.
ing the dot of white in the
The artefact may also be
covered so that it is enereye of a Christian icon to
“wake” it, or the mantra writgetically “asleep.” A Tibetan
thangka, for instance, is a
ten on the back of a Tibetan
thangka, imbuing the work
deeply symbolic painting
with a constant prayer of
to evoke the presence of
awareness. For sacred art
an energy being, and may
is alive, with its own spirit
be displayed only during
intent, an outward form of
meditation on that being’s
TREE OF SOULS [LOWER PANEL]
an inner meaning.
energy, and covered at other
This intent will dictate how, when, and where it
times with its silk curtain.
is displayed. For whether the work be kept in temple
For an image acts not only as a window into
or meditation room, displayed on mountainside, or
which the observer can look, but also a portal from
city office, it will be acting as an aerial for its original
which the particular spiritual energy, being, or blessintentional vibration or purpose. In my own work
ing can flow.
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In the West we are used to a painting being a oneFor Australian Aboriginal peoples the ancient
off creation that will stand the test of time — a lot to
concept of Dreamtime is many-layered and comdo with its gallery investment value. For traditional
plex; sacred imagery, stories, dances, and music are
peoples however, sacred art is often very different,
woven into rituals and ceremonies that constantly
using impermanent materials, painted on rock or
renew reality itself — the seen and unseen aspects of
body, or maybe re-painted when needed or as part of
life being an inseparable whole that must be maina repeating ceremony.
tained. The paintings, and the rights to make them,
The Navajo Blessingway sand paintings invite the
are inherited or bestowed as an honor to individuals
yei — the holy, spirit people — to come and perform
who have proved their worth and wisdom; sometimes
healing. A specific design is chosen by the medicine
just a single section of the image is “owned,” so that
man or woman, and is then traced onto the carefully
the keepers of all the pieces have to assemble to comprepared ground in lines of colored sands by the
plete a sacred painting. This sacred art reinforces
shaman or “singer.” Many chants and prayers accomcommunity connections and a complex clan syspany this complex process, which can spread over
tem. The Aboriginal images are often very secret and
several days and involve the whole community. The
guarded by their keepers, and such privacy should
energy choreography is so precise that if a mistake is
be respected.
made, the whole process has
Far more public are the
to be abandoned. During the
exuberant paintings of the
healing the patient actually
Madhurbani people of Rajasbecomes part of the painttan in northern India. Their
ing by literally sitting on it,
painting tradition is passed
and the sands from the paintfrom mother to daughing are then rubbed onto
ter, and is centered on the
them according to the help
home. Images of gods, godbeing sought.
desses, and the stories of the
The Huichol of Mexico,
Hindu pantheon are painted
on the other hand, make yarn
with joyous patterns and colpaintings made from brightly
ors on the walls and floors
colored threads pressed into
of the house, bringing the
a wax and resin mix. On
sacred stories right into the
pilgrimage to the sacred cereheart of the home, as part of
monial lands of Wirikuta they
everyday life.
hold traditional peyote cereTREE OF SOULS [CENTER PANEL]
I continue to learn much
monies, to receive visions of
from these different traditions, not seeking to copy
the sacred forms of the world and personal revelaor imitate them, as I respect the power and depth
tions and healings. They trace these visions in colored
that they hold, but rather finding understanding
wools, building up intense and complex images of
about the processes that are possible through complants, creatures, and sacred symbols. These yarn
paintings are both prayer, meditation, and offering.
bining imagery and ritual.
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BIRTH OF A TREE
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INFLUENCES + FUSION
It is sometimes easy to forget how much our knowledge and experience of the sacred in other cultures
has grown over just a few decades. When travel,
trade, and territorial ambitions increased contact
between Europe and the Far East and Africa during
the 19th century, artists had new creative options:
Picasso studied African tribal masks; Gauguin found
the colors and sacred dreaming of the Marquesas; the thirst for historical artefacts — not always
ethical of course — brought ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Mayan imagery and sacred symbolism and
sacred Egyptian symbols such as the lotus and sun
disk became familiar in everyday designs in the early
20th century.
All these waves of cultural interest infiltrated
Western lifestyle and awareness, whether adopted
consciously or just through the wish to have the “latest thing.” For everyday design has always spoken in
symbols, from Esso to McDonald’s, the simple handprint to the flower symbolism of a Chinese vase.
When they arrive they soon become part of the cultural landscape. Through this time of rapid increase
in our visual vocabulary we have seen that art can
hold symbolic meaning beyond formal composition
and realistic representation of a subject.
We have likewise been brought into contact with
new spiritual viewpoints and practices that connect
with the sacred. The human life markers of partnership commitment, birth, death, and all the other
change points of life, are being changed by the new
spiritual choices we can explore.
My personal path of shamanism follows the
ancient ways of walking with the spirits that help us,
the ancestors and currents of awareness that run
through the land and wider cosmos. I have learned
to receive images from spirit. I had been doing this
all along without realizing it, hence my dilemmas in

conventional art college training; shamanism has
given me a way to understand and direct the process. I have discovered how sacred art is a wondrous
conversation with creation — seen and unseen, midwifing the images that spirit wishes to be birthed.
My art form inspirations have come from all
kinds of sources. The visionary art of American
Meinrad Craighead has inspired me for many years.
Her beautiful personal encounters with the sacred
encourage me to portray my own innerscapes and
soul meetings. I also return again and again for an
inspirational boost to Blake and Chagall, Medieval
illumination, Greek Icons, Indian and Persian paintings, Alex Grey, and Frida Kahlo.
Those things which attract us deeply are like
vibrations on a sympathetic string, giving a resonance and harmony to our soul. We must notice and
honor our personal sources of inspiration, be they
images, sounds, colors, textures, myths — anything
that kindles our creative fire and sets our senses reeling. Collect them in postcards, quotes, color charts,
fabric swatches, doodles; keep them in a treasure
box of sensual sacred goodies that you can visit when
you want refreshment, and to soak up what makes
you feel delight and nourishment and deep connection with your true self.
Throughout the book I have put “suggestion
boxes” offering simple ways to have a go at making
sacred art. These are creative nudges. Muse with
them, let them unfold how they will for you on your
soul journey.
S U G G E STIO N B OX :
Make a simple image of a symbolic tree like the one shown
opposite — let it arrive in its own way. Don’t stress about
the right materials — biro and notepad are fine. Intend
that you are planting a new spirit tree in the sacred forest,
planted with love and as a prayer for all trees.
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BLESS MY BONES
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SPIRIT REALITIES
My relationship with my guiding spirits and the
ancestors that I meet in the trance or altered state
of the shamanic “journey” has been established
over time. Making sacred art for me is a service to
them that has become my life. I cannot now imagine
another way of being and I am in effect apprenticed
to my spirits. They teach and train me to continually widen my perception and understanding of
the sacred.
When a shaman enters this trance state to meet
and communicate with his or her helper spirits, they
often take the form of animals. These spirits become
very close allies. The trance itself always has a clear
purpose — no recreational “day tripping” — and
the shaman journeys to the spirits to ask for healing,
advice, information, and all kinds of support. In my
own experience the response and accuracy of these
spirit encounters is truly amazing. So accurate is the
information and help I have been given, for myself
and others, that I do not question what I am shown.
I may not fully understand what I am shown, but I
have learned to trust it. And trust is the key both to
shamanic work and to making visionary and sacred
art. The mind and logic often have to sit still, pay
attention, and not interfere!
The painting “Bless my Bones” shown opposite is
an example of this.
When I received it I was sitting with three friends,
a shamanic circle with whom I work on a regular
basis. Working with a group of others in circle really
enhances and focuses how we connect with the spirits. It forms a more powerful tuning system!
On this occasion, I sat asking for a gift of
strength to help me recover from a fairly serious
bout of ill health and resulting loss of confidence.
I waited for some while in silence, wondering what
I would receive, when suddenly I was surrounded

by joyous, dancing spirit women. This totally took
me by surprise. My awareness was hauled around
to stand face to face to observe my physical self sitting there in the chair. I clearly beheld myself in
skeleton form, bones shining with a most beautiful
pearly pink, alive and glowing. I was overwhelmed
at the sheer beauty of those alive, radiant bones! I
was entranced.
Meanwhile the spirit women danced around and
around, laughing and whirling and swirling, and in
the background I saw myself aged about seven. My
only sortée into ballet had been to be a sea fairy
in the ballet school’s annual show. As the memory returned in sharp focus, I remembered how I
loved that little tutu and the joy and freedom with
which I had danced then! My spirits reminded me
how my wonderful bones had supported my physical being through all the ensuing years and I really
should thank those faithful bones — deeply. Then I
was told: “Paint this and celebrate your bones,” adding the advice I hear from them so often — “and
dance, dance!”
I realized that I only had the vaguest idea of a
skeleton’s structure, despite having lived with one all
my life. So I researched, and sketched, and felt along
my own bone lines. And as I painted this picture I
felt the joy and pleasure of those whirling women
and my own young self dancing in my bones. In
response to my plea for help, I had a huge return
of physical confidence and when I moved around I
was so aware of the sturdy bone structure inside me.
Whenever I look at the painting now I reconnect
with the energy I have been gifted.
Although this painting was a personal healing
process, I was told that I should let others see it.
It has passed on the sense of joy and strength and
humor, and has given many positive “messages”
to people.
B ody

and

S oul

9

SOUL DOODLE
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G A R D E N S

O F

T H E

S O U L         F A I T H

N O L T O N

FEEDING THE SOUL
I need to remind myself that the soul part of me
that travels through different incarnations, worlds
and dimensions, is always present. We are all souls
in bodies: all is well. Yet how often are the needs of
the soul ignored? Amidst discordant relationships,
or stressful work demands, the soul craves peace. In
the headlong rush to do and become, it needs connection with the sacred.
Feeding our physical bodies is obvious, yet what
about feeding our soul? People who come to me for
shamanic help are so often very under-nourished at
a soul level, or on a bulimic round of spiritual highs
and lows. Their soul diet needs attention.
Drumming, silence, song, dance, storytelling,
or making sacred art all helps re-align and reconnect with our soul core. It is not about getting
high on moonlight, or blissing out on the colors,
wonderful though these are. It is about being in a
personal sacred space and giving some quality time
to your inner core. It need not take long — five minutes of conscious soul feeding on a regular basis
works wonders.
To pay your soul some good attention, you could
send it a “soul doodle,” a visual love letter. Making
pictures is a beautiful and very direct way of connecting to the soul. First equip yourself with something
to doodle on, and something to make the marks: a
piece of paper, a flat stone, a piece of card can be the
“support” or surface. Next find a marker pen, biro,
charcoal, chalk — whatever is at hand, it needn’t be
“arty.” Serendipity of what you find easily to hand
can play a big part in the process.
Sit quiet for a moment and connect with your
intention to send your soul a blessing, love, peace,
whatever you feel is simple and needful at that time.
Then simply step off into the page, forget about
“getting it right” — it’s not about “being good at”

— it’s about being there, being in our heart and
being willing.
Just start a line off and see where it wants to go;
let patterns emerge, scribble, make rhythms; embellish familiar symbols, like hearts or stars. The soul
and the spirits love to play, and respond best through
symbols, colors and patterns. You cannot make mistakes! All is perfect!
When you feel finished, thank your unseen helpers — whether or not you know them yet — and step
back into your everyday self by focusing on the solid
world, wriggle your toes, make a cup of tea. By doing
the soul doodle you have already sent it. The blessing is given.
You may find you have lost some connection with
time and the everyday as you soul doodled; in effect
you have been in a light trance as you shifted your
attention inwards. If you hear critical sniggers inside
about your doodle, it is not from your helper spirits,
or your soul — it’s your own historical hurts and putdowns from others which you are doing to yourself
now. That wounding heals over time and you could
send it a few soul doodles to help it along!
We all have those wormy little whispers. Some
years ago, as I got caught up with my own perfectionist inner critic — which was in full flood along the
lines of “You call yourself an artist?!!!” — my spirits
told me firmly: “It is the process, not the product.”
And they had me write it big and put it up by the
light switch of my studio where I would see it often.
It is still there, and I often need the reminder. They
know me so well.
S U G G E STIO N B OX :
Start to collect symbols and patterns that you like into
a sketchbook or folder. These can be designs from
fabric, illuminated manuscripts, floor tiles, other paintings — it will grow into an invaluable reference and
inspiration resource.
B ody

and

S oul

11

MOONLIGHT WOOD
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G A R D E N S

O F

T H E

S O U L         F A I T H

N O L T O N

W H AT H A P P E N S I N M O O N L I G H T
What called me out
On my way to bed,
Into the mist-breath garden
Is mystery.
The hunkered stones,
The drinking plants,
The hidden scurriers
Pause,
Bathe in the sound of your
Pouring down power.
In the warp of your song
We are all connected.
And dance stillness,
Woven,
In this moment.

B ody

and

S oul

13