Thursday, October 29, 2009


Bright Spirit MandalaBright Spirit Mandala (Circle of Awareness series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009thistle
source image: thistle gone to seed

To the illumined mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light ~ Emerson

I love creating mandalas from photographs of things that have gone to seed. More than any other subject that I capture, plants at the seeming end of their growth cycle seem to show off the light within them. Of course, that growth cycle never really ends, as their seeds are scattered for the coming year. There is always that growth potential.

Bright Spirit Mandala shows that sizzling brilliance that is always inside of us and inside of our worlds, because really there is no separation. Thank you, thistle, for helping us see.

Brightest blessings to you on your path!

Sue O'Kieffe

Sacred Circle Mandalas


Saturday, October 24, 2009


Amandla ShieldAmandla! Shield (Circle of Awareness Series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - unidentified autumn leaf

My computer had an attack of old age this past week that resulted in replacing her motherboard. By all accounts, this should keep her in good stead for a couple of years while I manifest the funds for a brighter lighter zippier system. My tech guys say Windows 7 looks pretty good. I thought it ironic the new O/S came out the same day I got the news about the needed repairs on my baby.

The first thing I had to do once plugged in was to create a new mandala.

A friend of mine told me that the word amandla was the Zulu word for power. Amandla! Awethu! means power to the people, and the phrase was the inspirational call to arms against apartheid in South Africa.

The vision suggested in this version is we are all powerfully connected to each other as elements of Hindu and Muslim cultures are blurred in with the central mandalic statement. I included Mehndi (henna tattoo) patterns and Arabic calligraphy in the field surrounding the mandala and blended them as a statement of oneness: Our cultural influences support the greater good. We Are All Powerful. The 13 rays suggest our own individual uniqueness within the great circle of life, as 13 is a number unique unto itself.

Finding our power and not giving it away to anyone or anything, I believe, is the ongoing quest of a lifetime.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

(Mandala prices include shipping and handling)



Friday, October 16, 2009


Power of Love ShieldPower of Love Shield (Power Shield Series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: cedar tree bark

When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.
~ Arapaho Proverb

When I was reviewing this photograph of the bark of a mighty cedar tree, I clearly saw two faces snuggled up against each other, and I thought, this tree is all about giving and receiving Love.

Cedar trees are steeped in mythology from different traditions.
The cedar is referenced many times in the bible as a symbol of prosperity because of its long life. Cedar trees are also revered in Cherokee tradition; for a time the Cherokee tribe prayed for continuous days of sunshine, which was granted to them. When the people realized they had made a mistake, when their tribe began to die away from days of continuous heat, they once again asked to have night returned. This was also granted, but Spirit left them with the cedar tree as a reminder of those that had passed away. Cherokees believe powerful spirits of those who had left them lived in the trees. (from Cedar Tree Myths).

There is also a smudging ceremony, which I am most familiar with:
Cedar is burned while praying either aloud or silently. The prayers rise on the cedar smoke and are carried to the Creator. Cedar is also spread along with sage on the floor of the sweat lodges of some tribes. Cedar branches are brushed in the air to cleanse a home during the House Blessing Ceremony of many Northwest Indian nations. In the Pacific Northwest, the people burn cedar for purification in much the same way as sage - it drives out negative energy; but it also brings in good influences. The spirit of cedar is considered very ancient and wise by Pacific Northwest tribes, and old, downed cedar trees are honored with offerings and prayers. (from

I'm sure you know other stories about the cedar tree and I'd love to hear them, too.

I was guided to create the Power of Love Mandala in this configuration. It reminds me of a rose like you might see carved on a cedar chest . I also see the Four Directions. But mostly what I see and feel is the strength of never ending love.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Sunday, October 11, 2009


My 2010 Sacred Circle Mandalas calendar is now available for purchase! This year, all of the images are accompanied by quotes from Rumi. Choosing just the right quotes to go with each mandala was an act of love for me, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Want to see a calendar preview?

The calendar is $24.95 plus shipping. This year I am offering North American residents the opportunity to order directly from me. I am accepting payment via Paypal, check or money order. To insure you receive your calendar in time for holiday gift giving, I will need to receive your payment by November 30th. Email me here for more further. Ordering directly from me will give you a bit of a price break on shipping and I will receive a bit more revenue for my calendars, so it's a win for us both. We're all in this together, right?

If you want to receive your calendar sooner or live outside of North America, then by all means order directly from the publisher. Here is the link to (For those of you who encountered problems with their shopping cart last year, the issues have been resolved. Hurrah!)

This week I'm celebrating the Grand Opening of my Etsy shop, Sacred Circle Mandalas, with a 20% off sale everything in the store through October 18th. Opening this store is just the beginning of a three year old dream, and I have to say it has been worth every minute I have spent on it. Please come by and take a look at my offerings. (If I could I would even offer tea and cookies.) Suggestions? Comments? Questions? I'd love to hear them.
If you are not on my mailing list and want to be updated on the latest, including offers that wont be posted on my blog, I know have a sign up widget on the top of my blog. Be assured, I respect your privacy and won't sell my list to anyone.

Friday, October 09, 2009


autumn splendor mandalaAutumn Splendor - (Fall Circles Series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: walnut leaves
walnut tree leaves
Looking up gives light, although at first it makes you dizzy ~ Rumi

I know a walnut tree whose branches cover what I bet is close to a city block. The tree, I'm sure, is over 100 years old, and whenever I see it I feel uplifted. I'm sure this tree has great stories to tell, of swings and people reading under her and lovers' trysts. When I looked up to take the photo I used for this mandala, I did get dizzy from the light shining through her leaves. She is truly magical, and I wanted to create a mandala that would showcase her splendor.

I have lived on the North Coast of California for almost 25 years, but there has been something about this fall that has been truly special. I am seeing the world around me with new awareness, and I am full of gratitude. Every day is a new beginning.

So I am sending out special thanks to you, my readers, who have followed me for the last 293 posts, who have purchased my art prints, my greeting cards, my calendars. I am here to testify that following your dreams is worth the effort. Creating art is the most God-like thing I know of.

Can I hear a hallelujah?

(Mandala prices include shipping and handling)

Peace Mandala


Wednesday, October 07, 2009


October Fire MandalaOctober Fire Mandala (Fall Circle series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: unidentified leaf

Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity~ Hal Borland

I love perfect autumn days when the sun is out, the wind is not, and the light is a golden glow. I went out for a photo shoot yesterday. My intuition was urging me out the door, and I'm so glad I listened. Unfortunately I don't have any idea what kind of bush it is that caught my eye when I was walking about town. Purple on the top side and totally autumnal underneath with the sun shining through, it was striking and begged to be noticed. I love the slant of shadows on the leaf the hidden-ness, and having to search for the prize; these are common themes of mine.

Everything about creating this mandala just seemed to flow into rightness. I was going to make it six-rayed, but it quickly morphed into twelve. Twelve is symbolic of cosmic order, as well as being related to Jung's idea of individuation, according to Susanne Fincher. Twelve is seen in the twelve months, twelve planets, twelve disciples and can be seen as the end of a cycle and completion of a period of time. It seems like this mandala could be a great image for someone who is celebrating the completion of an important task or maybe needs some spiritual support in getting there. This mandala seems to shout out I am so powerful; don't nobody mess with me now. And, it is for sale on my Etsy shop too!

I am putting on the finishing touches for my shop and will be annoucing the grand opening, complete with a grand opening sale, within the next few days. In the meantime, for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, get out there and enjoy those crisp October fire days!


Monday, October 05, 2009


mariposa mystery starMariposa Mystery Star (Exploring the Mystery) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: mariposa tulip

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes ~Unknown
mariposa tulip
I never knew the Mariposa tulip grew anywhere on the North Coast until this spring when I spotted this low growing sweetie hidden in the grasses along the bluff line of my walking path. Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish, and I love the way this delicate wildflower transformed itself into a six-pointed shining star. Six is a number of creativity and the star is a symbol of the Self. And if you look closely, included in the circle surrounding the star, are 6 bi-colored purple butterflies!

I am just about done setting up my store in Etsy, and will be announcing the Grand Opening very soon. Oooh, it's all so exciting.


Saturday, October 03, 2009


ancient wisdom mandalaAncient Wisdom Mandala (Circles of Awareness series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image:Henderson's Angelicahenderson'sangelica

Angelica is an herb in the carrot family related to Queen Anne's Lace and Poisonous Hemlock. For all the time I have spent exploring the nature on the North Coast of California, I don't believe I had ever seen this plant before. Henderson's Angelica is not used in herbal remedies, but I like the herbal lore surrounding the angelica plant. In pre-Christian days in Northern Europe, angelica was revered as a plant to thwart off infectious diseases. After the advent of Christianity, the story was that an angel revealed in a dream that it was a remedy for the plague.

I named this mandala for the ancient wisdom contained within the angelica plant. Angelica as an herbal remedy is still used for the treatment of coughs and colds. I love the calming sage green and burgundy colors. Who wouldn't be healed meditating on these colors?


Thursday, October 01, 2009


floral heavenFloral Heaven (Circles of Beauty and Light) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: hydrangea buds

O let us live in joy, although having nothing! In joy, let us live like spirits of light! ~Buddha
Hydrangeas are one of those flowers that keep on giving and giving. They begin blooming here in the early spring; and now, on the first of October, they are still producing buds. Offhand, I would say this is the third mandala I have created from hydrangea blossoms, and this one is a beauty.
What a pleasure it is to visit friends' gardens and fill my eyes with the wonders they see every day where they live.

I love the elegance of this image, the nurturing blues and greens set off by the high spirited purples and pinks.

Seven is a sacred number of the ancients. Pagans honored the number seven because it is comprised of the numbers three and four. In goddess tradition three is feminine and four is masculine, so seven represented the union of masculine and feminine, a sacred wholeness.

Wouldn't this mandala make a lovely wedding gift?
(Mandala prices include shipping and handling)

Peace Mandala