Medicine Shield

I’ve been reading a very interesting book about Adverse Childhood Experiences, Childhood Disrupted: How your Biography becomes your Biology, and how you can Heal, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. It relates to research which shows that, when you have one or more Adverse Childhood Experiences, you are quite likely – particularly if you are a woman – to experience ill-health in adulthood which can involve autoimmune diseases such as muscular sclerosis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, as well as depression, skin problems and so on. The book examines the physiology of ACE and also offers ways to approach healing of these life issues.

When I first read of ACE, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut because it made sense of many of the health issues I’ve faced over my lifetimev- bad back, fibromyalgia, skin problems (head-to-toe hives) and depression.  I’ve had to read the book in small chunks as it’s brought up a lot of memories, helped me understand my responses not only to childhood experiences but also to present-day physical responses.  If anyone speaks sharply to me, I still freeze, my mind goes blank and I stutter. Part of the healing work I’ve started has been the creation of this medicine shield.

Medicine Shield 1

I originally bought the round canvas for another project but changed my mind about using it. By that time I’d painted it purple (well, what else????) so yesterday I gathered a few items and created a medicine shield which reflects my healing and empowerment journey.

Purple represents my spiritual life and the blossom in the centre my opening up after reading this book.  At the top is the wing of a barn owl.  I found the body of the barn owl by the side of the road when I was living in Pingelly, on the wheatbelt east of Perth, Western Australia.  My husband was less than impressed, as we had to leave the two wings to dry and he had to bury the body (which our Jack Russell, Rosie, did her best to dig up again). This wing represents for me the clearing of issues to do with my father and his mental abuse throughout my life. It opens up new perspectives.

The two black wings belong to the body of a crow I found on the roadside when we lived in Bowraville, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia. They represent the mysteries of life and the ability to move through time and space. I had a very powerful, moving dream in Pingelly which confirmed for me life after death. Crows also represent resourcefulness, something I’ve developed despite health challenges and limited income. They also represent the ability to see humour wherever possible, as crows have a great sense of humour – the hooded crows here in North Cyprus take great enjoyment in flying up quietly behind pigeons on the roof opposite us and then dive-bombing them to send the poor birds flying in all directions.

The two feathers either side of the barn owl wing – one black and one white – represent intellectual gifts I’ve been graced with in my life, courtesy of the nine air signs which are part of my astrological chart. Feathers represent air and each of these feathers was gifted to me here in North Cyprus – the black crow feather being left on the verandah outside my workroom, and the white feather found in the foyer of our apartment block.

The spider represents my animal totem.  Iconnected with this totem in Pingelly when I lived in – wait for it – Cobweb Cottage!  When my totem arrived in my life, every spider in that mud brick cottage came out of the woodwork to say hello.  Even my husband, a convinced cynic about metaphysical matters, noticed the spiders running around.

The dried rose petals are from the Apothecary’s Rose in our garden. It is an ancient rose endemic to the Turkish region and it reminds me of the enduring power of love to heal and bless one’s life. The two white hearts with birds on represent the love I’ve experienced in my life (my daughter gave these to me as earrings in 1994 during a holiday to the UK). The Scottish pin reminds me of our Scottish connections – it’s where my daughter lives and where we lived for six months in 2002-3. The angel pin the other side reflects the spiritual energies permeating my life At the bottom is a red dragon brooch representing my Welsh and  Celtic heritages.

The turquoise owl necklace and pendant represent wisdom learned throughout my life. The small feathers around the owl figure and the dried plants in the middle are reminders of my life in Australia.

Around the outside of the shield are, at the base, Angel Phantom Amphibole Quartz – crystals which I love and which, to me, represent the mysteries of life and also sweetness of life when dark things happen. Other stones around the circumference are Nebula stones which remind me of our starstuff energies brought to the Earth in a practical way.

I’ve really enjoyed creating this Medicine Shield, different artwork to the digital art I work with most of the time.   I’m also sorting out further healing work aimed at overcoming a life-long problem of never feeling good enough, something which plagues quite a few of us, I think, and which is a relic of my childhood and teenage years.