Hello and welcome. Displayed here are a selection of artworks, photographs, mixed-media and collages created by Sheree Angela Matthews; artist + teacher + creativity enthusiast. Visit the store to find out how to buy.
The Pilgrim goes on a journey. An outward journey, usually on foot, which mirrors an internal journey at the same time.
January has started slowly, just the way I wanted and needed it to be. I’m listening to what I need and I need more time and space hibernating, or wintering as I call it. I’m taking a slow walking journey within for the next few months which means I might not be showing up here as often as I’d like or want. But this pilgrimage towards my soul is needed. It’s needed to replenish as well as heal me.
The Hunter is a predator and is always on the hunt. To fail, and not bring back the prey, is not part of their makeup.
The Hunter will journey far and wide seeking what her heart is calling her to seek. Skilful, decisive and focused when this card appears, there is an activation of the great creatures of the world such as the lion, the shark and my favourite the wolf.
When this question appears, you have to ask yourself three questions: What am I hunting or seeking? Why am I seeking this? Is the weapon of choice I’ve chosen needed for the task at hand?
In response to these questions I had to be honest and really look within. Journaling around them my answers become clearer.
I’m seeking healing justice. I’m not sure what that is or what it entails but this is the feeling and focus that came through. I know to heal is everything and this is not just on a personal basis. I know when I work through my trauma, I’ll be in a better position to show up for others, to support others in their healing journeys. That’s the reason why I seek healing justice for me and my community.
My weapon of choice is a pen, my creativity, but it come powered up the connection I forge, daily for myself and others, with nature. I believe that once we heal and re-connect with Mother Nature, we are beginning to heal and get back to our true selves who is and always will be one with nature.
The Crone was the first card I pulled for the theme of my year, 2021. I thought this card was very apt as I’m moving towards my 50th birthday on October, as well as this card being the thirteenth in the Wild Unknown Archetype deck. This is my number. So I feel that The Crone has a wealth of wisdom to impart upon me this year and beyond.
The Crone is the third figure in the triple goddess path, and she has been around long enough to have seen it all. She has reached the point of rejecting dualities in life and accepts it all, the beauty with the suffering, black with white.
Often present with crows, a symbol of wisdom as well as death, the Crone gives and takes life, using all energies to reveal hidden knowledge. The Crone resides in us all but is often feared because of her power.
I accept whatever she will bring this year, and look forward to deepening my relationship with her rich and unapologetic magic.
I see The Crone’s appearance now as a reinforcement of the decisions that I’ve already made. I don’t have time for any superficial and petty discussions or relationships. I feel in order to heal myself, that I need to go deeper, deeper within even if this means I travel alone.
This going deeper will be supported by further study into such goddesses as Dhumavati, Hecate, Baba Yaga and Lilith.
Seeing in the end of the old year and into the new is a time I always take for reflection. Visioning and re-visioning my dreams and plans for the year to come is something I do to focus my energies for moving forward with purpose and grace.
As I mentioned in my last post, my guiding word for 2021 is SLOW. To support this process of living into my word with intention, I spend time working through Susannah Conway’s workbook Unravelling Your Year. This year, the pulling of a tarot card for each month of the year is missing from the workbook for some reason, but I’ve followed this ritual for so many years now, that I didn’t need anyone else’s guidance to do so except my own intuition.
So using Kim Krans’ The Wild Unknown Archetypes deck, I proceeded to pull a card for each month of 2021, and one final card as a guiding theme for the year. When I pulled the final card, there were two stuck together so I went with the two as my guiding principles. The Crone and The Hunter were the two cards that will become my over arching cards of 2021.
I intend to go into detail about what each of these cards signify and could mean for the year ahead in the following posts. I will also share about each card pulled for each month in a post within each month moving forward too. This is a good way to keep focused and coming back to the magic and potential that each card can offer as I journey through this coming year.
I know I’m not alone in stating that 2020 really kicked us in the nuts. It was a year from hell in so many ways, and not what was expected or wanted. But it also was a year of great change and realisation for myself. It was tough but there were also good things to come out of the chaos. One thing that I carry with me into the New Year is the practice of slow.
Whether we wanted to, or liked to, or not, 2020 made us all slow down. Being locked down, in the UK, for the most of the year, I got into a routine and practice of slowing down and being satisfied by achieving less and less each day, each week, each month. Consequently, being more in touch with my life moment to moment. I had to be more present within my life on a day to day basis as that’s all I had to occupy my attention. How I moved through my day, what I did, or ate. Who I talked to or not, who I spent time with or not, was all magnified to huge proportions, that I came to appreciate what I had and didn’t have within my life.
Slowing down was my way of living to the full within the restrictions and limitations. To the point that when the restrictions were eased, when there were more opportunities to re-engage with society, at the back end of 2020, before we went back into a lockdown, and the tiers were introduced, I chose to remain in this slowed down pace way of living. People were rushing and frantically trying to get back to ‘normal’, trying to catch up for the time they felt was lost and wasted during lockdown, but for me this time at home was time gifted. Time I used to go within and really work on myself.
Slowing down is a gift and a privilege which I’m not rushing to give up as we enter 2021. I’m going to use the word ‘slow’ as my guiding word for the year as an anchor to continue exploring what my life can become when I chose to go, to work, to be at my own pace. I intend to work out on a day to day basis what it means to slow down rather than work or perform at someone else’s urgent-got-to-be-completed-yesterday demands.
Slowing down is empowering as it means I’m taking back control of how I operate within this world. I’m not going to make demands on other people’s time or energy as if it’s totally necessary as I don’t know their story. I don’t know what other pressures they’re carrying at this time, so I don’t want to add to their burden with my time-sensitive demands. I hope through practicing this for myself and with others that other people will offer the same gesture to me. To allow me to move and be at my own pace, a must slower pace. Things will be done and completed all in good time.
I want to bring about change to what is valued within society, Western society in particular, where productivity and demonstrating our busyness is seen as admirable and something we should all constantly strive for. Rather than being slower, slowing down to savour the moments, and being more focused at the same time. Slow is not lazy or backwards or to be dismissed. Slow is simple and calming and nourishing.
I look forward to this year and exploring the art of slow/ slowness/ slowed down living and being.
I was hoping to finish for a Christmas break sooner in December than I actually did. I wanted to ease into the holidays, getting snug and cosy and reading to my heart’s content. Of course even the best laid plans go awry. But I still managed to clock up some reads, as I got ready for 2021. What is going to be my focus the new year? I think there’s some clues within my December reading list.
Here are the books I read this month:
Black Bodies, White Gaze – George Yancy
Keep Going – Austin Kleon
Creatrix – she who makes – Lucy H. Pearce
Slow: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Hectic World – Jo Peters
The first two weeks of November have come and gone. Fast.
The first week was all about conversations with people around the globe. And all of them seemed urgent and necessary. So I gave them my all. So that going into the second week, I had to think about my boundaries and start to control the conversations. Work more to my schedule and energy levels and needs rather than others.
The second week of November was no less demanding, as I had to plan a number of differences workshops that were/ are coming up. So this week has definitely been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to keep the shop front neat, sort of thing.
So my energy levels and attention spans have been up and down already this month and this has affected the time and attention and care I could offer up to my memoir.
Two weeks in then to the NaNoWriMo challenge and nearly 20000 words down. And considering all that I’ve just shared about November so far, I’m pretty pleased with the word count. Ideally, it would be good to be at 25000 as it is the half-way mark, but it is what it is. And it’s 20000 more words than I would have created if I’d not taken up this challenge. Win win I say.
I might not clock up as many words in the second half of the month as I move into editing mode. But we’ll see. The aim is to complete the current essay around grief as well as complete another essay about slavery, DNA and my body. So plenty tochall be getting on with and hopefully I’ve got a better handle on my diary as we enter the second half of the month.