Friday, September 25, 2009


THERE IS NO TIME MANDALAThere is No Time (Earth Mysteries series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: sand from Elk's Head, Trinidad CA

When doing becomes infused with the timeless quality of being, that is successSAND ~ Eckhart Tolle
One of the pleasures I experienced this summer was drumming with a friend at the ocean. We walked a long enough path through a couple different microclimates, stopped to examine the blooming flora of the season, then descended down to a place butting out in the ocean and got out our drums. We could hear seals barking and watched gulls, pelicans and cormorants fly past us. We drummed to the earth and the ocean, chanted and felt the wind blow through our hair and the sun shine warm on our faces. When I drum, there is no time.
I created this mandala as a remembrance of those very special times honoring Mother Earth with the heartbeat of my drum and the sacredness of my voice.
View from Elk's Head

Thursday, September 24, 2009


sage wisdomSage Wisdom (Circles of Awareness series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: decorative sage

Faith is our direct link to universal wisdom, reminding us that we know more than we have heard or read or studied that we have only to look, listen, and trust the love and wisdom of the Universal Spirit working through us all. ~ Dan Millmandecorative sage

I love this mandala! Everything about it makes me happy...the yellow, the purple, the texture, the eleven points, the star in the center. It speaks to me of consciousness and creativity, of wisdom and universal love . I had never seen decorative sage like this before which grows in my friend's garden like shrubbery.

I've been busy healing from the flu and almost two week's worth of laryngitis. Rest and art keeps me going. Next on my to do list is creating a store on Etsy. I let you know when my grand opening occurs!

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Sage Wisdom Mandala


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Amaterasu MedallionAmaterasu (Goddess Circle series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: Japanese maple leafjapanese maple leaves

Amaterasu is the Japanese Goddess of the Sun worshipped in the Shinto religion. In the myth, Amaterasu and her two brothers were responsible for governing the Universe; her brothers were jealous of her because she was favored by her father. Amaterasu, as the sun goddess, was responsible for making sure the rice crops thrived. She was also a skilled horsewoman and weaver of fine silks and brocades and was known for her beautiful kimonos. One day during a fit of jealousy one of her brothers killed one of her horses and Amaterasu fell into a deep depression. She crawled into a dark cave and the rice crops began to fail. The gods and goddesses decided to trick the radiant goddess out of her cave when all other attempts to coax her out had failed. A large bronze mirror was placed in front of the mouth of the cave, whileUzume, a lesser goddess of dance and mirth, danced on an overturned tub. Her dancing was very bawdy and suggestive; she lifted her kimono up over her head and everyone laughed and clapped. All of this noise and laughter roused Amaterasu's curiosity. She came outside the mouth of the cave where she was dazzled by the brilliance of her reflection in the mirror. Immediately the gods and goddesses rolled a large bolder in front of the cave to keep Amaterasu from going back in, and Amaterasu's grief was dissipated by the revelry around her. Light was once again restored to the land and the rice crops were saved.

I wanted to share this story as we enter into Autumn to remind us all to continue to let our lives shine. When things get dark, find that mirror and be dazled by your own radiance. If your spirits are low, grab a drum, put on some music and dance dance dance. Dare to be bodacious. Let your energy soar.

What do you do to take care of yourself when life starts to get you down?
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Amaterasu Medallion


Monday, September 21, 2009


the abundance of fallSummer Abundance Mandala (Summer Circles series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: huckleberries

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been waiting to post this mandala for the Fall Equinox. The photograph of huckleberries was taken a couple of weeks ago on my birthday walk with my friend SueZen, and the autumn equinox is her birthday. I love how this mandala came out, with the grey representing our ever present coastal fog, and the lusciousness of the ripe and ripening berries in a never ending circle. What would we do without the juiciness of our friends' companionships sharing in each other's hopes and dreams?

This one's for you, girl. Happy birthday.
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The Abundance of Summer Mandala


Monday, September 14, 2009


Everlasting MandalaEverlasting Mandala (Fall Circles Series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: pearly everlasting
pearly everlasting
Pearly Everlasting is a late summer bloomer in my neck of the woods. Native to Asia, it can be gathered and dried and used in flower arrangements. It's one of those plants I forget about and then am happy when I stumble upon it during my early fall walks.

I will let this mandala speak for itself.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I Really Don't Know CloudsI Really Don't Know Clouds Mandala (Exploring the Mystery Series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: thunderhead cloudsthunderhead clouds

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow

It's cloud illusions I recall

I really don't know clouds at all

~Joni Mitchell

Breaking out of a comfort zone is a pretty good thing, even if it's hard at first dealing with resistance. Up until the past few days I have had some firmly entrenched creative rules which I stubbornly refused to break. Silly Sue. Thank goodness my sense of wonder is stronger than all my shalt nots.

There were some stunning thunderhead clouds in the sky over the weekend. I pulled over and took a few pictures. Yesterday when I was editing them, my creative voice said Do it!
How nice to know that voice is growing stronger than the voice of my ego.

The finished mandala reminds me of a cyanotype, an old fashioned printing process which you can read more about here if you are interested.

Do you have rules that beg to be broken?

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Clouds Mandala


Sunday, September 06, 2009


Crow Drums With Shamans (Power Shield Series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: tree branches

There was a lot of activity in those dead tree limbs. Crows cawed, flickers pecked on wood rat-a-tat-a-tat, hummingbirds flitted back and forth between them and the feeder at the house. Something about the way the morning sun shined on the naked branches caught my eye. For the longest time I just soaked it all in, wondering what would happen next. Those were precious moments, and the gifts I received when watering a friend's garden while she was on vacation.

When I created this image, the emotion that it called up in me was what I imagine finding petroglyphs or cave paintings would be like, that sense of awe and history and magic and wonder. It's not unlike how I felt observing those trees. I know everyone will have their own story when they look at this image.

Tell me what yours is.


Thursday, September 03, 2009


Morning Star MandalaMorning Star Mandala (Messenger Mandalas) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: pigeon feather

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star ~American fok song

Pigeons have a reputation for being pests, but I love their shimmery beauty and soft, nurturing coos. Pigeons medicine is about finding your way home again, even if once you felt lost and off track.

Stars represent the Self, and the number of points in the star is significant. Alchemists believed that transformation occurred in seven stages, and Jung said the number 7 stood for the highest stage of illumination.

Stars are also a navigation aid guiding the sailor home. We all have our own internal GPS systems, if we take the time to listen and not second guess what we hear.

How do you know when you are home?

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Morning Star Mandala


Tuesday, September 01, 2009


fairy dance mandalaFairy Dance Mandala (Awareness Mandala series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: alyssum

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.~Iris Murdochalyssum

While recently photographing flowers at a friend's house, the alyssum on her porch seemed especially inviting after an early autumn sprinkling. I swear sometimes I hear flowers saying to me "Oh please take my picture." How could I resist something as sweet as that?

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Fairy Dance Mandala