Sunday, December 27, 2009


impermanence mandalaImpermanence Mandala (Ocean Series) © Sue O'Kieffe
source image: sea foamsea foam

My gift for the holidays was an afternoon at the beach on Christmas Eve. It was a perfect winter day, which for me means sun out/no wind.

The lesson I receive whenever I visit the ocean is that nothing stays the same. The waves roll in, leaving sea foam behind. The bubbles glisten on the sand for a while, then pop pop pop they are gone. To visit the ocean is to learn about impermanence.

Pacific Ocean
This visit to the beach on Christmas Eve day was holy; I got to take in everything offered to me -- the sounds of roaring waves, the smell of fresh salt air, the exhilaration of highly oxygenated air -- and in return I sang back my praises to mighty Pacifica. Give and take ... the tide rolls in and then rolls out. This is the ocean's pulse.

The mandala created from sea foam has 13 points. While some consider 13 to be an unlucky number, others consider it to be a number of new beginnings. It signifies the beginning of a new mandala series. I look forward to exploring the stories the ocean has to offer and sharing them with you.

How do you explore the sacredness in nature?

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Friday, December 25, 2009


Love Came Down at ChristmasLove Came Down at Christmas - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: cotoneaster

However it is you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) this time of year, may it be filled with Love and the spirit of giving.

From my heart to yours,

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Monday, December 21, 2009

Everlasting Dance Mandala

everlasting dance mandala
Everlasting Dance Mandala (Circle of Winter series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: Japanese skimmia

japanese skimmiaI discovered Japanese skimmia while nosing around the local nursery and was immediately taken by her showy red berries. I knew the photograph would transform into a powerful mandala.

The seven points of this mandala relates to the mystical traditions of many different religious orientations. When I look at this mandala created in traditional Christmas colors, I see a celebratory joyous image. And yet there is tension in this red and green combo, as opposites on the color wheel do.

Red is a passionate color associated with blood, fire, and transformation. Green is harmonious and a color of balance. It is the color of the heart chakra and is the resolution of darkness and light. There is a colorful dance going on here, with the boldness of red vibrating against the calmness of green.

Is it possible that, because of the colors we have chosen to celebrate this time year, we have created an opportunity to take a look at these seemingly opposite energies, and create for ourselves and for humanity a compassionate dance of peace? What would it take?

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bare Trees Mandala

bare trees mandalaBare Trees Mandala (Circles of Winter series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: twigs in sandtwigs in sand

I created this mandala a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until Solstice to publish it. The source image, two little twigs I spotted in the sand of a riverbank after a heavy winter rain, seemed like a runic message left by the storm gods for someone to interpret.

Solstice is a time of magic and mystery. This past fall I began studying with a shamanic practitioner and learned how to communicate with my spirit allies. It was a potent time, and tonight I am going to a shamanic journeying circle to experience Solstice with other journeyers. While Solstice is often celebrated as that time of returning to the light, tonight we will be journeying with the spirits of darkness. I think it will be a potent time.

Those of you who know my art know that exploring the mystery is one of my favorite themes. I am most true to life when I stop trying to control it and let it - and me - just be. At that time is when I am most aware of the unknowable.

How about you? What truth do you find in the dark?

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Elegance Mandala

holiday elegance mandalaHoliday Elegance Mandala - (Holiday 2009 series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: decorative kaledecorative kale

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony ~William Ellery Channing

During the process of creating this mandala, I started to think about my mother. She was a woman who loved all things elegant, and I learned a lot about that quality from her. It shows up all over the place in my art, in my choices of color, in my preferences for having things "just so." This Martha Stewart perfectionism of hers pretty much drove me and my dad crazy, because there was no making her happy. As I grew older our relationship was harder and harder to sustain, but I did make my peace with her by the time she passed away.

By the time this mandala was finished, I was thinking Mom would have liked this. She was at her finest at Christmas time, with everything sparkly and glittery. She found the most wonderful ornaments for the Christmas tree, the best wrapping paper, and she made everything look special. I am grateful to her for these qualities. It keeps me striving to find that certain way of expressing my vision.

I'm not sure if she ever saw decorative kale in person. I never saw it until I left the Midwest for California, where plants like this grow in winter. I'm pretty sure she would have loved it. This is an elegant plant, with its delicate frills and symmetrical beauty.

So today, a week before Christmas, I want to say thanks to kale for being so beautiful and thanks to Mom for helping me find ways of expressing beauty in my own way.

How do you, as the daughter of your mom (or son of your father) share similarities with your parent and how have you grown past them?

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Divine Star Mandala

Divine Star Mandala
Divine Star Mandala (Winter Circle series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: phormium (New Zealand flax)

For each one of us there is a star to discover, and a Being within ourselves to bring to life ~Author Unknown
~~~~~~new zealand flax
I had a conversation on Twitter the other day with @TheSeekers , a woman who is both an artist and numerologist. We had a lovely discussion about patterns (we both love 'em) as well as about the archetypal vibration of the number nine. Julia is a wealth of information. You can visit her website here. With so many cool people online, we shall have to learn more about astral projection so we can visit each other in the ethers!

My guidance had led me to create this mandala from the leaf of New Zealand flax with nine points. Nine is considered a sacred number. Early numerologists did not even include the number nine because it was too magical; but when Pythagoras came around, he introduced nine to humanity. We had evolved enough to be able to handle the magic of the nine vibration. It takes nine to come together to create the whole. It is a completion.

I let this mandala talk to me for a couple of days before writing about it. I wanted to focus on the significance of the nine-pointed star. And then, at a Sacred Singing Circle the other night, I was given the quote I used above. We all have nine-pointed stars inside of us, we are all complete, magic and divine. We have created so much darkness around us; but at our core is true perfection, our True Selves, the perfection of Love. This is the mandala's message. What better time is there than this holy time of Light coming out of the Darkness for us to be reminded!

My winter prayer for all of us remains this -- Be Love.

Bright blessings on your path.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Geminid Star Mandala

Geminid Star Mandala

Geminid Star Mandala (Exploring the Mystery series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: driftwood

Walking river banks and beach lines after a heavy rainstorm is full of mystery and magical energy.driftwood Driftwood is washed ashore, sand dunes are washed away. Walking over sticks and wood chips and fallen tree limbs is eerie, and also makes me aware of the ever changing qualities of nature. When I saw this double branch formation laying in the sand, it reminded me a rune marking. I wonder what its meaning is? In my files I named the image Gemini. I've often drifwood sculptureimagined inhabitants from other galaxies have visited here and left subtle messages in rock formations. I think these structures are where they must stay. They seem to pop up after rainstorms too.

The Geminid meteor shower will occur Dec 13-14, at the time of the New Moon. You can read more about it here.

If you were to see a falling star, what would you wish for? I would wish for the end of polarized, black and white thinking and an embracing of the present moment for everyone.

Consider this mandala your star to wish upon.

Bright blessings on your path.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shadowland Mandala

shadowland mandala
Shadowland Mandala (Exploring the Mystery series) © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: purple brussel sprouts

What is the body? That shadow of a shadow of your love, that somehow contains the entire universe ~ Rumi

purple brussel sproutsExploring the mystery of dreams is one of my favorite themes. It seems like as soon as the weather turns cold and days grow shorter, my dream world is revved up ten fold. I am not one of those people who will ever worry about sleep deprivation. I love spending time in the outer realms.

I associate purple with late November and early December. When I saw these purple brussel sprouts at our last farmer's market, I just knew they would have something special to share.

As we expand into new awareness, shadows of our past appear to be recognized and healed. It's not easy work, sometimes, and it calls for us to embrace ourselves with even more love. Sometimes angels appear to help us out. You just never know.

I created this mandala to honor the angel and to honor the shadow and to honor the wonder of dreamland.

Be blessed.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas