Monday, January 24, 2011


Between snowdrifts of a monumental size, and air temperatures bordering on torture, this time of year in Minnesota is a great time to hunker down and work at all of the indoor hobbies you mean to get to, but don't always. I am pulling out my sketch book and pencils, I am going back through lots of photos that have been languishing in my camera and on my computer, and I have been reorganizing my workroom. The dog doesn't think this is much fun, although we have equipped her with new chew toys to while away the time. She would so much prefer the leash brought out, and the door to the great outer world opened, until she gets her paws onto the icy snow, and then she is lifting one paw after another and looking longingly at the house.
I am loving Traci Bunkers' daily challenge of rubber stamp carving, accompanied by a sketch or two each day.
I like the idea of a daily challenge, and think that may be just what I need to help me get through the hardest month of the winter - February. What are you challenging yourself with this winter? How is it going?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Muse pays a visit

It is always fascinating to me where ideas and inspiration comes from. The muse seems to find the most interesting times and places to show up. On
my last night visiting with my mother, I was taking a long, stress-reducing bath, enjoying a few moments of calm and the lavender scented bathwater. Suddenly, as I floated with my head partially submerged, listening to the sounds of the pipes and water flowing in other parts of the building I saw/felt/knew a story I needed to write. When an idea comes to me like that, suddenly and out of the blue, my first response is to stay as still as possible, when the channel is open, I want to make sure that I am getting all the information there is to receive. Staying as still and silent as possible seems to be the best way to do this.
For the last few days then, I have been writing, working on taking that glimpse of an idea, and making it into a story. It is fun, though as with all expressive art forms, challenging and work. I have the opportunity to take almost nothing, just a hint of an image and a ghost of a feeling, and make something from them. I feel lucky to have at least the occasional brush with that mysterious force I call the muse. Now, if I can just write a story that is even one one hundredth true to the original flash I experienced, I will be satisfied.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Visiting Mom

I have been visiting my mother, and her dogs. She currently has four (down from five a month ago). These are dogs that she has chosen to bring into her home, or that have been left here by previous roommates, and now she can't bear to give away. She just turned 82 a few days ago, and my sisters and I are slowly scooching her toward a different living situation (she is becoming forgetful, and it is too dangerous for her to live alone much longer). But of course, one of the hardest parts of this imminent change is all these dogs. My mother's heart is as big as Texas when it comes to dogs, it always has been. Growing up, we had multiple dogs, and then litter after litter of puppies. She is happiest when she is sitting (sometimes sleeping) in this big chair, a football game on the TV (preferably the Green Bay Packers, once a Wisconsin girl, always a Wisconsin girl) and all of her dogs around her. I guess it can be this simple, sometimes.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Deep Freeze

It is getting colder again here in the north land and Ana Purna, my kitty has the right idea. The lovely radiators pump out heat that is irresistible right now. Fortunately, after seven years in our house, we have finally found where to hang curtains, and learned which windows must be covered with plastic. Now, no matter where I am in our wonderful home, I am cozy and warm. One of the best places to be right now is sitting at my desk, shoulder to shoulder with the radiator. It makes it easier to look out the window, watching the people and vehicles struggling with the ice and snow, observing the deepening snow piles and the new snowflakes beginning to fall. Why do we stay here? Bragging rights! And there is nothing better than crawling under the down comforter to snuggle and dream through these longest nights of the year, listening to the gurgle of our faithful radiators.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Tarot Class

In a few weeks I will be teaching my Tarot and the Kabalah class at Sacred Paths Center here in Minneapolis. It is a class that I originally designed and taught with my friend Loui Pieper. We taught the first session of it in the early 1980s, back when tarot was relatively obscure and mysterious. There were only a few books out on tarot, and only a few decks available. Now, tarot is everywhere, books are published weekly, new decks (and reprints of old ones) appear monthly. Teachers, and information abound, and that is not to even mention what can be found on the internet. And yet, when I taught the class last spring for the first time in years, I found myself and my students still captivated by what there was to explore in the material and in our decks. The layers and depth of the symbol systems associated with the tarot are astounding (or, to use the terminology of the year, epic)! So it is with great enthusiasm that I offer this course, looking forward to the journey and those who will join me on it this time around.

Tarot & The Kabbalah

The following four classes cover the entire Tarot deck and various reading techniques. The information will take a student from beginner to reader. Both those new to Tarot and experienced students will find this course reveals more of Tarot's layered mysteries and offers new perspectives.

Each class can be taken separately, but a discount applies to students taking the full set. Prepaid discount price is $300. Repeat students are welcome and may take the class at a 20% discount.

Minor Arcana

Basic Kabbalah and elemental knowledge presents the students with an understanding of the numbered cards of the suits and insight into how the meanings of each card were derived.

4 Session beginning Thursday, January 20th, 7-9:30 pm $80

Major Arcana

All the rich symbols and archetypes associated with the 22 trump cards will be discussed and correlated to the Tree of Life as well as the paths and transformative changes in our own lives. Both esoteric and practical day-to-day meanings will be explored.

6 sessions beginning Thursday February 17th, 7-9:30 pm $120

Court Cards

Representing the people in our lives as well as aspects of our own personalities, these 16 cards can be tricky to get a handle on. We will look at them in depth in this 2 week session.

2 sessions beginning Thursday March 31st, 7-9:30 pm $40

Introduction to Reading

Covers basic card spreads, reading techniques, communication styles, ethics and responsibilities of reading for others. Knowledge of definitions and familiarity with the meanings of the individual cards are required.

4 sessions beginning Thursday April 14th, 7-9:30 pm $80

These classes taught at Sacred Path Center, 777 Raymond Avenue, St. Paul

Call 651-644-3727 for more information or to register. Preregistration is required. Taught by Nell Morningstar.

Nell Morningstar has studied and read tarot professionally for over 35 years. A lifelong journal keeper, writer and artist, she is also a doll and puppetmaker and devoted to studying myth and mystery.